In a recent post, UrbanTools/CSE broke the ice with some short snippets of an interview conducted by Jacob Schwartz Lucas of Earthsharing.org that describe what we believe are critical first steps in discussing land value taxation, how to interest people, how to maintain momentum, and finally how to implement LVT. Produced by Earthsharing, it links to three distinct avenues to LVT understanding and acceptance.
If the reader has time (and no need to watch it all at once), here’s a presentation/discussion that UrbanTools/CSE gave at the invitation of the Connecticut General Assembly’s MORE Commission in 2013, a creation of then-House Speaker Brendan Sharkey. The commission agreement was to explore innovative and new strategies to make Connecticut’s urban areas fiscally stable, more competitive, and more attractive to investment and population. LVT was suggested by members of the Hartford Legislative Delegation, including Reps. Vargas and Ritter
CSE’s testimony – intended for 20 minutes – expanded into nearly an hour with much bipartisan give-and-take with interest from both political parties and suburban and urban legislators.
We believe this is a good guide to how working in front of elected officials can be done with good preparation, listening hard to the questions, and giving the best answers possible. Saying “I don’t know” is a real advantage.
In one instance Senator Len Fasano asked us could a parking deck be feasible under LVT if it became disadvantageous to hold onto a surface parking lot. Within a week, CSE prepared a policy brief that answered Senator Fasano’s questions with solid research. Senator Fasano is now the Senate Republican leader in Connecticut, and it’s easy to see why; his questions were probing and indicated solid preparation.
All parties involved, including longtime opponent of LVT - the Connecticut Business and Industrial Association’s Joe Brennan - asked all the right questions. They didn’t waste the taxpayers’ time, and CSE returned the courtesy.
How did all this work benefit the policy option of land value taxation? The answer is clear: legislation was recommended for passage and it was signed into law by Governor Malloy. The legislation provides for a pilot program for land value taxation, and cities have until 2020 to put forward a program. This is how the political process works, and results can be very satisfying.