The Oregon Trail...To land value taxation
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The Oregon Trail...To land value taxation
















The expansion of land value tax from its bases in Pennsylvania cities and jurisdictions all over Australia and New Zealand, may have just taken a strong step forward in the state of Oregon, where LVT advocates have been studying the legalities and the practical administrative steps to implementation of the past decade.  

The Salem Statesman Journal published a comprehensive policy piece by Kris Nelson of Common Ground OR/WA and Tom Girhing . The op-ed provides solid theoretical underpinnings and empirical reality to make the case that Oregon cities, and indeed the whole Northwest have to join their Red State brethren and find ways to reduce traditional property taxes on labor and investment as well as pull back on taxation of wages.

Portland is an ideal candidate for a land value tax. Academic studies and statistical GIS modeling have shown that Portland has very high land values, in part caused by governmental action meant to curb sprawl: The Urban Growth Boundary.  The literature on the success or failure of the UGB is dictated by perspectives the authors already posses: either its a blow for Smart Growth or a blow against Liberty and free markets.

From the perspective of classical economics that acknowledges that land economics is the wellspring of all other factors such as wages and capital, we know the truth to be in be-tween.  That's where LVT for Oregon comes in.  For sure, restricting the supply of land drives up its price. Driving up its price forces lower-wage people to live worse or live elsewhere. The  city currently frets that it's becoming harder for families and minorities to live in Portland.

The selling price of land has to moderate; the high values are currently pocketed by private speculators, which a land value tax would stop.  The community could recoup the value of the UGB-caused land scarcity and divert it back to the community.

State approval of land value tax research is to be heartily recommended, and wish success to The Northwest's LVT advocates!

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