The Dutch Ground Lease System from a Georgist Perspective

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Seventeen years after the publication of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, the city of Amsterdam decided not to sell any more of its land. Instead they installed a system of municipal ground lease, to ensure the community would benefit from the increased value of the land. The system has been hotly debated ever since, including by Georgists.

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.

Who Says You Can’t Have a State Property Tax?

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Well, okay. Lots of people. One of the crowning strategies to rouse the rabble is to ream the property tax. Fair enough. But in some states like New Jersey, the property tax is unpopular, likely because the property tax is just as high as the state income, business, and sales taxes.  But some states have a lifeline for tax efficiency, equity, and progressivity. Yet because we live in strange times, state governments get the shakes regarding property tax. So instead, they throw themselves upon regressive, volatile, or inefficient taxes. Not surprisingly, these taxes hit parts of society that are powerless or don’t vote.  The property tax can trace its unpopularity to simple (and fixable) quirks in most states: the bill comes due once a year. There are legitimate concerns over what happens to people on a fixed income. The house’s value may go up, but there’s no cash flow to pay for a tax bill that goes up. 

Free Newark Now!

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Along with New York City, Newark, New Jersey, possesses one of the best locational advantages of any city in the United States. Founded in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans, the town grew by leaps and bounds; the Industrial Revolution sparked a meteoric increase in population and a multi-sector industrial and commercial base. First, canals and then railroads converged into the city. With a population of 8000 in 1820, people poured in, swelling the city’s population to 367,000 by 1910. 

A Report from Denver: The 2022 NCSL

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Your faithful correspondent returned from the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures, held August 1-3, 2022. Since our mission is to present politically neutral and “just the facts, ma’am” research, it’s a blessing to meet and break bread with a political, national, and otherwise diverse audience. We like to build relationships with people on both sides of the aisle because they see that the land value tax serves the communitarian and free market philosophies.

Hermitage

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We have been asked to study the property tax systems of several communities in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Mercer County is located in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. Historically, it has been the home of gritty factory towns, mining, and agriculture. Mercer County, PA has 19 municipalities, three of which are cities: Sharon, Hermitage, and Farrell. Like much of the industrial Midwest, community and individual prosperity peaked around 1960. As a result, the population has been in decline, from 127,000 in 1960 to around 110,0000 in 2022. Statewide, the PA population has increased by 12.4%, while Mercer’s has dropped by 8.5%.