LVT on the Ballot in New Zealand

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New Zealand is suffering many of the same ills that afflict American cities. Tenants facing ever-rising rents, young people and ethnic minorities being priced out of homeownership, widening inequality driven by soaring land values, sprawling cities and congested streets. A long and bitter debate that blamed land use regulations for these problems has largely been won by ‘YIMBYs’, with several waves of upzoning producing a budding building boom for townhouses and apartments. While there are some signs that rents may be easing as a result, these problems are far from solved, and public attention has begun to look for alternative solutions.

Mississippi: The Tangled Web of History, Class, Race and Water

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It's too easy for a northeastern US observer to have an overbearing and infuriating attitude regarding Mississippi. Unfortunately, Mississippi has a laundry list––or a butcher's bill if you like, of past sins that stick in the craw of humanists and the respecters of justice alike.  That said, no one is innocent. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed (after getting hit with a brick in Chicago), "As long as the struggle was down in Alabama and Mississippi, they could look afar and think about it and say how terrible people are. When they discovered brotherhood had to be a reality in Chicago and that brotherhood extended to next door, then those latent hostilities came out."  So, we ought to look at the current problems in Jackson, Mississippi, bloodlessly and try to keep emotions out (I'm not saying it's easy). What happens when a group surrenders political power but economic power remains the preserve of the privileged? Perhaps, it will turn out that political power is often no power at all. Instead, it takes politics and economics for political economy like two elements forming a chemical compound producing different behaviors. 

Let this tax wither on the vine

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CPTR is in accord with the basic rules of economics. Adam Smith’s so-called “canons of taxation” are a good jumping-off point for a fundamental understanding of taxation, whether that tax is progressive or conservative. As untrammeled monopolies gain more power in the post-political age, tax burdens inexorably are shifting to what we used to call the middle and working classes.

Puerto Rico: On the Edge of Some Very Risky Business

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The Puerto Rican budget depends to a high degree on the Sales and Use Tax (IVU for its Spanish acronym)  and the Commonwealth income tax and corporation tax. To pay off hundreds of billions of dollars in bonds, Puerto Rico decided to pay off the bonds with the IVU. Current bond debt and unfunded pensions amount to about $125 billion. There is no guaranteed revenue stream to rebuild infrastructure after earthquakes and hurricanes. The Commonwealth government has made its books look good by reducing aid to municipalities. Municipalities have no own-source funding. The cost of basic needs for the populace, such as energy, export facilities, and the Jones Act, makes life on an impoverished island very expensive indeed.

After Covid and local recessions…Unearthing the Big Apple’s revenue under its feet

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Last January, CPTR piped up with its observations on the surprise bid of Andrew Yang for the mayoralty. Borrowing from his own 2016 presidential campaign, he proposed a basic income (BI) plan for those New Yorkers left behind by pandemics, economic…