What They Want You to See
What They Don't Want you to See Behind the Green Curtain
For 500 years, Jamaica has been a byword for lush tropical
beauty, pristine beaches and the Parrot-Head lifestyle deluxe. Dozens of nonstop flights from North America
and Europe land daily to whisk away carefree tourists to fabulous resorts carefully
cut off from the everyday life of Jamaica. Therein lies the problem.
The Jamaica fantasy rarely references the elimination of the
Taino and Arawak people.
An Idea Worth Implementing
Ask nearly any economist. Discover what left and right can
agree on. It’s the political and economic philosophy that reconciles and validates
the needs of both community and the individual. What do you have?
Land Value Tax
Land Value Tax; also called site value rating, the single
tax, economic rent, incentive taxation, the Smart tax, well you get the point.
It’s a Great Idea,
One of the most important questions that the Center for the Study
of Economics – a.k.
a recent post,
UrbanTools/CSE broke the ice with some short snippets of an
interview conducted by Jacob Schwartz Lucas ofEarthsharing.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.
The question then arises what to do if interest is piqued?
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
As always, the answer is in the numbers...
It's nowadays accepted that beverages with added sugar are bad. New York City a few years ago had it's own psychodrama on Big Gulps and Frappuccinos, when the unlikely nanny state of Michael Bloomberg tried to impose a tax on sugary drinks as a public health measure.
It was eventually defeated in court, but the idea is still very popular by those who have no problem telling other people what to put into their mouths.
Certainly, soda probably not the best thing one could drink.
Homewood: A Storied History
In the middle of all the nonstop happy talk about the revitalizing urbanification of older Rust Belt cities likeBuffalo, Cleveland and our old friend Pittsburgh,
UrbanTools notes that the benefit falls on a very narrow slice of the body politic: the development "community" and other hustlers who ask that government pays for their slick new condos and apartments for transient Millennials. Meanwhile, all of these cities are losing population and unemployment rates are still high.
Philadelphia. A great city strategically placed on the East Coast halfway between New York City and Washington DC.
Yet, it's fiscal crisis has been a fact of life for decades, with no end in sight. Philadelphia is a great paradox, and explaining why takes patience and the willingness to question great assumptions.
Philadelphia. Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, it is the poorest. It has problems such as crumbling infrastructure, ballooning expenses, and struggling schools and neighborhoods.
We are happy to present a new integrated diary/blog brought
to you by the Center for the Study of Economics, using our street name
“UrbanTools.” That’s where we spend most
of our time: traveling, meeting with communities, doing outreach, performing
research and overall presenting an alternative way of looking at political
economy in the real world.
The best place to start? Most likely CSE’s annual meeting of
the Board of Directors[i]
on November 19, 2015. With attendees in person at our physical HQ at the
friends service Center at 1501 Cherry St.
In living memory, Connecticut was the Gold Standard for how
a state could be run for all the people from poor to middle class to wealthy. Starting in 1991 with the advent of state
income tax, and increased business taxation, Connecticut started a barely
noticeable decline that hasaccelerated dramatically
in recent years.
UrbanTools is pleased to see that the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is recommending exploration of land value taxationfor
distressed and struggling communities
, the number of which are increasing
exponentially even after the supposed end of the Great Recession.
Revisiting the land value tax in Lancaster
For some years, the visionary Mayor ofLancaster
has worked tirelessly with his team to return one of the oldest and most distinguished of American cities to its rightful place as a muscular economic and cultural hub of Lancaster County and Amish country.
Mayor Rick Gray: I've got an Idea.
Mayor Gray has also been a firm advocate of land value tax, yet peculiar valuations imposed on the city by Lancaster County have been a political barrier.
Downtown Frederick Maryland: No More Lights Out?
has been around 30 years, covering that beautiful old city in Maryland and the surrounding countryside. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the travel tips, restaurant coverage, and its beautiful visual explorations to visit, live, and work.
The magazine also covers the not so pleasant realities that any city of any size must deal with. People may be surprised that such a lovely city near the center of national wealth in Washington DC also suffers from commercial and residential blight.
Doctor Herbert Barry, professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, is always looking for a better way. Joining thinkers like Joseph Stiglitz and James Galbraith, here is a recent submission by Doctor Barry into the marketplace of ideas, from the Pittsburgh post-Gazette:
Friday, March 27, 2015
March 19 article described a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to increase
revenues for the Pennsylvania government to support early education (“Wolf:
Billions in Revenue From Proposed Sales Tax”).
On February 4, 2015 , just a few days into the Connecticut legislature's 2015 session, the Land Value Tax expansion bill was accepted for action and testimony by a unanimous bipartisan vote of the joint Planning and Development Committee voted in favor this time. This is particularly quick considering past practice.
With the 2015 Legislative Session open, Connecticut faces a structural fiscal deficit of nearly $175 million, under-performing tax receipts, crumbling infrastructure, and declining aid to municipalities.
The remedy is just as Henry George prescribed. CSE has been on the ground working to supply the research and analysis to motivate Legislative action.
Pennsylvania even after decades of heavy lifting by the taxpayers is still
lurching from crisis to crisis, with the root cause based in fiscal
uncertainty. Philadelphia and its nearly
insolvent school district still has not discovered a true “fit for purpose”
revenue source that will provided - at the very least - revenue stability. Poor, working and middle-class people pay a
larger share of their incomes on tax than in nearly any other American
city. Turning to those who can least
afford to pay ought to be the last choice, but ironically in Philadelphia it’s
nearly always the first choice.
Altoona's Future Includes a land value based policy.
The September 24, 2014 edition of the Financial Times features an article on a subject not often covered by the mainstream media: land value taxation. Interest in LVT has been highlighted in the past several years in the UK by such respected columnists as Martin Wolf.
The article concentrates on one of the cities that implements a version of land value taxation:
Q. What happens when a city taxes buildings more at the beginning of the greatest building boom in American history?
A. Not much.
One of the best examples of the efficacy of land value tax (LVT) was careful study of the city of Pittsburgh culminating in theOates/Schwab study of Pittsburgh published in 1997
which concluded all things being equal land value tax policy had the effect of unleashing construction demand – especially downtown construction –just as the steel industry collapsed, and just as the US entered a significant recessionary period (late 1970s and early 1980s)