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The Georgist Registry Global Report: USA


COUNCIL OF GEORGIST ORGANIZATIONS
Dr. Drew Harris, President
844 Catalpa Ave., Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone: 201-928-1399 Fax: 201-928-1650

CGO is presently planning the 1996 conference to be held in Ontario, Canada, October 11-14, 1996. All Georgists are invited and urged to attend.

The CGO Annual Conference, held in Evanston Ill. in June 1995, featured reports on activities of member organizations as well as challenging concepts for the future.

Addresses included:

  • A theme statement by Evanston Mayor Lorraine Morton that "freedom for the individual must balance with social responsibility. "
  • "The Ethics of Geo-Economics"­ Dr. Nicholaus Tideman, Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • "The Democratic Imperative (equity)," a panel discussion moderated by Edward Dodson, President of the Henry George School of Social Science, New York.
  • "From Thomas Paine to Henry George"­ Dr. Jack Schwartzman, editor, Fragments
  • "Progress on Research Projects Since 1993"­ reports by Drs. Michael Hudson, and Nicholas Tideman; moderated by Dr. Lowell Harriss
  • "Implementing a Land Tax in Novgorad, Russia"­ Ron Banks, President of the Land Policy Council, England
  • "Educational Programs and Plans of the HGSSS"­ George Collins, Executive Director, and Lindy Davis, Assistant Director, HGS,NY, Dr. Michael Hudson, and Sam Venturella, Director, HGS,Chicago
  • "Educational Effectiveness­Using Measurement as a Structure for Change"­ Matt Harris, Training Specialist
  • "The Interstudent Program"­ a demonstration of this novel high school program by Harry Pollard, Dir., HGS, LA
  • "How to Get a Two-Rate Tax in Your City"­Dr. Steven Cord, Director, Center for the Study of Economics
  • A tour of the ECTV studio and taping of two panel shows (Affordable Housing; Free-Trade) for cable access TV, conducted by Scott and Sue Walton of the HGS, Chicago.
  • "The Revolution Within"­Ron Banks on significant changes in the organization, methods and projects of the English Georgist Movement
  • "Georgists View Chicago," a bus tour with commentary by Scott Walton, and Chuck Metalitz of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, both members of the HGSSS, Chicago Board of Directors.
  • "Closing the New Frontier"­ a presentation by Lindy Davis on the potential of the Internet for George.
  • Videotapes of presentations are available from: Sue Walton, Better Cities Committee of Illinois
    1111 Church St., #405, Evanston, Il 60201
    Phone: 847-781-2077; fax: 847-475-3776.

COMMON GROUND­USA
Nadine Stoner, President
1118 Central Ave., Beloit, WI 53511
Phone 608-362-7873

CGUSA focused on outreach this past year.

CGUSA chartered new chapters in West Virginia and Ontario, Canada, bringing the total number to 20. Member recruitment letters and newly designed brochures were sent to 1,000 prospects. The new Chapter Development Handbook, How to Start and Operate a Chapter of Common Ground-USA (revised by Marion Sapiro), was distributed to those who attended the CGO conference and CG-USA annual meeting and mailed to every CG-USA member and others requesting copies.

LANDTAX.org was established as an Internet 'domain' by CGUSA Secretary Scott Walton (E-mail: swalton@interaccess.com). Selected GroundSwell articles and other George oriented material will be published through this medium. A CG Web page for on-line education/information/discussion among Georgists and potential Georgists is coming. He requests that interested persons send their E-mail addresses to him for the directory that he is compiling. A display advertisement was placed in the 1996 National Conference of State Legislatures Exhibitors Pocket Guide for the NCSL annual conference to be held in St. Louis, Mo. in late July. CGUSA will also rent an exhibit booth to distribute literature and establish contact with legislators of all 50 states of the USA. A special brochure was developed for this audience entitled, The Revenue Source Is Under Our Feet.

CGUSA sponsored an 'event' for the United People's Assembly (a United Nations affiliate) which met in San Francisco June 21-24. Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Outreach Director of the Henry George School, San Francisco and a CGUSA member, served on the Steering Committee of the Action Coalition for Global Change which organized this conference coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Over 100 organizations and 6,000 people participated. Assembly resolutions to the U.N. included one, initiated by Georgists, addressing access to land and natural resources.

Issues were researched and 'Letter Lobby' kits were distributed by Chair, Nadine Stoner, soliciting letters to legislators re:

  1. splitting the operations budget from the capital improvements budget;

  2. entitlements (re Social Security);

  3. capital gains (stressing that most gains are from land value which appreciates, not buildings which depreciate);

  4. operation/policies of the Presidio National Park Commission;

  5. tax reform recommendations of the National Commission on Economic Growth

GroundSwell publicized projects conducted by CG chapters and members during the year and cited those which earned Wylie Young Award Certificates.

Among the most far reaching projects are those of the Chicago chapter­Better Cities Committee of Illinois . They have produced 15 new videos Committee of Illinois. (an affiliate of CGUSA). Scott and Sue Walton and colleagues produced 15 new videos since October, 1994; including 5 so far in 1996. They also filmed the 1994 and 1995 CGO conferences and will film the 1996 conference as well. They continue to originate cablecast twice weekly in five suburbs of Chicago. They have used video to develop relationships with other groups such as the World Federalists, the Evanston Republican Party, Evanston First Night, Evanston Democratic Party, the Reason Foundation and the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

BCCI uses the Internet to "spread the word" by subscribing to discussion groups and responding and posting messages to various Internet discussion groups. They found that communicating with government officials and newspapers via e-mail is far more effective than letters or phone calls.

Among the political accomplishments of CG chapters and members were these:

A bill was introduced in the Washington State Legislature requiring the State to do a study of the 2-tier tax. In conjunction with this legislation, the booklet Let the State of Washington Look to the Land was published by Eugene Levin of the Washington State chapter (written by Walter Rybeck).. The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation made a grant for a tax study of the Olympia area, similar to that done in Seattle two years ago by Dr. Thom Gehring, an urban planner.

In Missouri, Al Katzenberger (St. Louis Chapter) got his "Economic Issues Concerning Public School Finance" resolution reaffirmed by the American Federation of Teachers in Missouri and forwarded to the national convention where it was referred to the AFT Executive Council. In conjunction with this and other projects of St. Louis CGUSA, the Public Policy Studies Department of St. Louis University released a comprehensive report in 1995 entitled, "The Land Value Tax: A Study of Its Feasibility and Potential Impact on Land Values and Property Tax Revenues in the City of St. Louis."

In New Hampshire, the legislative committee that deals with property taxes (in the state which depends most heavily upon them) agreed to study LVT in depth. Rep. Richard Noyes of Salem is the Clerk of this committee . HB 1380, sponsored by Noyes, which would allow a higher rate on land than buildings, will go to Interim Study this summer and fall.

Mary Rose Kasczoroski was appointed as Common Ground­USA's Non-Governmental (NGO) Representative to the United Nations Habitat II Conference to be held May 30 to June 16. Alanna Hartzog is the delegate of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade. Judith Vidaver of the San Francisco Chapter of CG­USA will participate as well.

The Draft Agenda for Habitat II contains a section on "Land Access" which recommends "land value recapture" and several other policies in accord with the Georgist agenda.

Alanna Hartzok and Mary Rose Kasczorowski are organizing a forum for Habitat II, entitled: "The Earth is the Birthright of All People." Every issue of GroundSwell carried feature articles by numerous Georgist authors on critical issues of the year, reviews of important new George oriented books and an inserted issue of Insights, political commentary written by Stanley and edited by Marion Sapiro. Plans and projects for the year 1996-97 will be determined at the annual meeting, October, 1996 in Ottawa, following the CGO Conference, and set forth in GroundSwell .

All Georgists are invited to join CGUSA. Dues, $36/yr. include subscription to GroundSwell (6 issues) and (4) Letter Lobby kits. Subscription to GroundSwell, only, $12; GroundSwell plus Georgist Registry Report, $15.

To become a member of Common Ground­USA, use the membership application form below.

Common Ground-USA
Application for Membership

Your Name:

City															ZIP       			State								

Signature:
                                            Date:


Enclose Fee of $36/person
               $48/family


Mail to:  Sue Walton              Phone: 847-475-0391
          Common Ground­USA       Fax:   847-475-3776 
          1111 Church St. #405    Email: swalton@landtax.org
          Evanston, IL 60201, USA
          (Mastercard & Visa accepted)

THE HENRY GEORGE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, NEW YORK
George Collins, Director
121 E. 30th St., New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-8020 FAX 212-889-8953

The HGSSS aggressively pursued its educational programs in 1995. Classes at the New York headquarters continue to be popular, and seminars on topical issues introduce large numbers of people to the school and its services.

In the last school year, 970 individuals completed courses at the New York headquarters. Five hundred and sixteen of them studied Progress and Poverty, in both English and Spanish. Over 1,200 people attended forums and seminars. Alumni of the school are becoming increasingly active. A Spanish alumni association has been formed, which has organized Friday evening seminars at the school, and held Fundamental Economics classes at three community centers in the city. In conjunction with a recent new course on "Taxes, Real Estate, and Urban Decay," the Graduate Research Committee has been established. This Committee will do research on land assessments and the probable effects of a shift to LVT in New York City. An HGS alumni discussion group is, also, being organized, independently, by recent graduates.

The library has enhanced its research and outreach potential through Internet. Voluminous material generated in the Land Access Discussion Group is being saved and indexed, and a list of on-line resources, relevant to the land question, is being assembled.

The HGS's High School Program continues successfully. A new, uncompromisingly Georgist high school economics workbook was enthusiastically received by teachers who had already used the School's other written and video materials. Circulation of the Henry George Newsletter (for high schools) continues to grow, and comments are favorable.

The 18 week Interstudent economics series of the Los Angeles HGS has become part of the approved economics curriculum in the California La Quinta School District.

Other extensions and affiliates attracted audiences found to be accessible and open to their approach.

In San Francisco the School participated fully in the United Nations 50th anniversary programs.

Classes and lectures were eagerly received in poor Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Chicago found churches hospitable to classes and libraries made room for the School's classes on Long Island.

In Arden, Delaware's "single tax town," residents became aware of their town's land-reform history through courses offered by HGS Director Mike Curtis. An enthusiastic group of new Arden residents have formed a "Georgist Guild" to facilitate Georgist education there.

Oscar Johannsen is to be the new President of the HGS Board and Susan Klingelhoefer, previously with the Schalkenbach Foundation, has become a new Board member.

THE HENRY GEORGE INSTITUTE
Lindy Davis, Director
c/o Henry George School of Social Science, New York
121 E. 30th St., New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-8020 Fax 212-889-8953
E-mail: hgsld@echonyc.com

The HG Institute made it through its first year without its beloved founder, Bob Clancy, not without stress, but with plenty of forward progress. In 1995, it enrolled 126 new students in Fundamental Economics. Eight new volunteer teachers joined its correspondence-course work, and the membership roll stands at 308.

HGI's income (though not large) is sufficient to meet its current expenses, but is insufficient for significant extension of its major projects (Henry George courses on the Internet).

HGI's computer system, donated by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, now contains all student and membership records. The Institute's staff members are ready to take advantage of the next set of opportunities. Toward this end, contributions are still solicited from members and other Georgists.

The Georgist Journal (the publication of both the HG Institute and the International Union for LVT and Free Trade) was not published in 1995, but publication will be resumed in the summer of '96. An Editorial Board is currently being formed.

The World-Wide-Web version of the HGI's flagship course is nearly complete. This will be a full course in Understanding Economics, available over the "Web". Text will be the abridged edition of Progress and Poverty, available "on line" in an illustrated edition along with newly-composed study supplements, all fully illustrated. Each enrolled student will be assigned a teacher who will give feedback and evaluation via e-mail. The on-line course will be "live" by June, 1996.

THE ROBERT SCHALKENBACH FOUNDATION
Dr. C. Lowell Harriss, President
Mark A. Sullivan, Executive Assistant (writer of this report)
41 E. 72nd St., New York, NY 10017.
Phone 212-9888-1680

The Foundation publishes and distributes the works of Henry George and others who advocate the use of land rent for public purposes. The new catalog, given a new format and a color cover, is sent free upon request.

The George Studies Program, a major series of books edited by Dr. Will Lissner and Dorothy Burnham Lissner, includes three volumes: George and the Scholars, George and Democracy in the British Isles, and George and Ohio's Civic Revival. A fourth volume is in preparation, George and Europe, by Dr. Michael Silagi, a Senior Research Fellow at Georg-August Universität in Göttingem, Germany.

There is an attractive new hardcover edition of Herbert Spencer's Social Statics, with a new forward by Mark A. Sullivan and a new preface by Dr. Jack Schwartzman, editor of Fragments. The preface calls attention to George's critique of Spencer's later repudiation of the book's most radical principle, "The Right to the Use of the Earth." A new hardcover edition of George's Social Problems was also published in 1995. With the growing interest from Spanish reading students, the Foundation has reprinted new attractive paperback editions of George's Problemas Sociales and Proteccion o Librecambio.

Reprinted booklets, with a new look, include several of the speeches of Henry George, and a series of new booklets, including: The Urban Dilemma by Mike Curtis (Director of the Philadelphia Henry George School), Henry George, Rerum Novarum and the Controversy Concerning Private Property in Land, by Jack Schwartzman, and Financing Planet Management: Sovereignty, World Order and the Earth Rights Imperative, by Alanna Hartzok. This last title has been sold and given to hundreds of readers, especially within the United Nations community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by Foundation board member Pat Aller and the author, who have represented the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade at the UN.

Books by other publishers are also featured in the new catalog, most notably the Georgist Paradigm series published by Shepheard-Walwyn in London. This series was launched in 1995 with its first three volumes, The Corruption of Economics, Land and Taxation, and A Philosophy for a Fair Society.

The first volume, by Dr. Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison indicts the neo-classical academic establishment, financed by American vested interests, for deliberately evading Henry George's very popular critique of monopoly and privilege. It has proven to be the Foundation's best-selling new title in 1995. Dr. Nicolaus Tideman is the author of the second volume in the series, and Drs. Michael Hudson, G. J. Miller, and Kris Feder are the authors of the third, which offers an alternative to the failed public philosophies off both Marxism and corporate capitalism.

The Foundation also funds various projects whose purpose is to teach the principles enunciated by Henry George. In 1994-95, Foundation-funded research and consultation teams, which included board members Ted Gwartney, Dr. Nicolaus Tideman and Dr. Steven B. Cord, went to Russia and Eastern Europe. The EcoGrad Research Center in St. Petersburg worked with these teams. * (See note below by Registry Secretary, M. Sapiro re the Lincoln Foundation's impact on this work). The Foundation helped too with the travel expenses of two EcoGrad Directors, Tamara Chistyakova, and Tatyana Roskoshnaya, to attend the October 1994 Georgist Conference in Fairhope, Alabama. The Foundation is supporting Alanna Hartzok's participation in the June, 1996, UN Habitat II conference in Istanbul, Turkey. The April 17, 1996 edition of the Morning Herald of Hagerstown, Maryland reported on Ms. Hartzok's mission: to convince participants that "Taxing land at a higher rate than buildings will promote economic development, affordable housing, better land-use planning and a more equitable distribution of wealth among all people."

The Foundation has extended its direct marketing via international book fairs, the latest being June, 1996, in Warsaw, Poland. The Foundation continues to publish The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, an interdisciplinary scholarly quarterly edited by Dr. Frank C. Genovese. Among recent articles published in the Journal was a two-part contribution on "Henry George: An Unrecognized Contributor to American Social Theory" and "Consequences of Inattention to his Contributions," by R. P. Siemens. Every issue of the Journal has at least one scholarly treatment of some aspect of George's social thought.

Other scholarly efforts supported by the Foundation include the Henry George Chair and lecture series at St. John's University in Queens, New York. The Spring, 1996, lecture, "Economic Development and Change: Elements of Order and Chaos." was given by Professor Douglas C. North of Washington University of St. Louis. Dr. North and his co-recipient Robert Fogel were the first economic historians to be honored with the Nobel Prize in economic science.

Foundation-supported research efforts into the application of land value taxation have also been useful to policy-makers in New York state, especially the city of Amsterdam, which adopted a two-tier property tax. Foundation board member Al Hartheimer and consultant Bill Batt of the Central Research Group are responding too these research needs.

The Foundation is an ongoing supporter of Georgist education efforts designed to reach the general public. Most notable, this past year, has been the funding of the Henry George Institute's computerization and an Internet course in Progress and Poverty designed and compiled by Lindy Davis.

Other Foundation projects are in various stages of development.. Schalkenbach welcomes your continued support.

ARDEN, ARDENTOWN, and ARDENCROFT (Delaware)
William Press, Chair of Town Assembly
1809 Harvey Rd., Arden, DE 19810
Phone: 302-475-8038

These three townships are the only Georgist enclaves left of the 17 that have started since 1900. They continue to collect ground-rent to pay school taxes, county taxes and themselves to run the villages. But, they only collect money that they need for these purposes (1/3 of full rental value).

CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF ECONOMICS (Maryland)
Dr. Steven Cord, President
Center for the Study of Economics
2000 Century Plaza, Columbia, MD 21044
Phone 301-740-1177 FAX 301-977-1608

Publications completed by CSE:

  • 44 Objections and Responses (to LVT)
  • 14 Alleviation's of Special-Case Hardships
  • 12 Formulas for Converting a 1-Rate to a 2-Rate Property Tax
  • 22 Procedures for Converting a 1-Rate to a 2-Rate Property Tax
CSE studies/projects conducted in 1995 included:
  • a parcel-by-parcel study of North Beach, Md. at the request of Mayor Hartley, with provisos for tax rates;
  • a class/use study of Chestertown, Md., at the request of Mayor Bailey and Councilor Bristoll which proved that longtime permanent residents would not suffer, but out-of-town second home owners would; and that important historical properties were safe from undue development pressure (Rates were suggested.);
  • a study conducted on a district-by-district basis for the City of Hagerstown, Md. analyzing residential, industrial, and commercial breakdowns (The city finance officer credited the study for the serious discussion of LVT for fiscal '96-97.);
  • a representative sample study of homes based on different city locations that would mimic income status (This was done at the request of City Manager Jeffrey Repp. Low-income properties saved, as did most developed commercial properties);
  • a study concentrating on city-wide assessments broken down into use categories (City of Laurel, Md. Planner Karl Brendle asked for this study.);
  • several smaller-scale studies of Hyattsville, Fairmount Heights and Riverdale, Md. (All were conducted with the assistance of the Prince George's County Assessor Mr. Whitmer, who also did complex runs on Laurel for CSE.);
  • a parcel-by-parcel study for the City of Farrell at the request of Mayor Pasci.
  • assistance to LVT leaders in the business community in Allentown, Pa. which led to an LVT popular vote on 4/23/96;
  • a complete study for York, Pa. in conjunction with City Finance Office.
  • a massive 33,000 parcel study for Reading, Pa. and the Reading School District which could lead to adoption of 2-rate tax system by one or both entities in '96;
  • taking a massive 40,000 parcel representative sample of New York City commercial properties with an eye to possible shifting to lower rates on structures (Council Prexy Peter Vallone is encouraging this work.);
  • helping Harrisburg, Pa. with the numbers to expand their land tax, now up to a 4:1 ratio.
  • research for land-taxers on the legal status of LVT in Oregon, N. Dakota, and Wyoming. Prospects for introducing a 2-rate tax structure for N. Dakota and Wyoming are encouraging. Plans for the Future:

Continued development and operation of projects similar to those above.

THE HENRY GEORGE FOUNDATION of AMERICA (Maryland)
Dr. Steven Cord, President
The Henry George Foundation of America
2000 Century Plaza, Columbia, MD 21044
Phone 301-740-1177 FAX 301-977-1608
Advocacy and projects conducted by HGFA 1995

  • Josh Vincent, Robert Schwab (U. of Md.) made advocacy presentations and Walter Rybeck submitted written support for H.B. 259 in the Maryland Assembly, which would have permitted counties and Baltimore to enact 2-Rate legislation.
  • HGFA members Vincent and Al Hartheimer went to Concord, NH to speak in favor of HB 1380, sponsored by Representative (and former CGO Prexy) Richard Noyes. It is an enabling law for 2-Rate taxes in towns and cities.
  • Consultation was given and presentations were made at City Budget hearings in North Beach, Md., Hyattsville, Md., Farrell, Pa., Amsterdam, N.Y., New London, Ct., York, Pa., and others.
  • Steve Cord submitted testimony on two bills being considered by the Congressional House Ways and Means Committee (Bill Archer, Chair).
  • Josh Vincent and HGFA Treasurer Bill Kells appeared before the Allentown Home Rule Committee. Allentown is now the #16 two-rate tax city in Pennsylvania!
  • Carl Shaw, of W. VA, was assisted in his year-long effort to get Butler, Pa. to adopt LVT.
  • Al Hartheimer spurred the implementation of a two-rate tax in Amsterdam, NY, by getting up-to-date assessment rolls and computer software installed in time for the city to exercise its option.
Public Relations:

Dr. Cord appeared on "NewsTalk TV" with Steven Moore of the Cato Institute on the federal deficit and again on the Social Security crisis. He presented commentary on the "Bloomberg Business Report" radio program. He engaged in a discussion with Steve Moore on the deficit and the Georgist solution on KSGA-AM St. Louis and participated in a WNFL-AM Green Bay Wis. radio call-in on Social Security. He also participated in Internet discussion through the new web page established ('96), http://www.smart.net/~hgeorge. Josh Vincent and Steve Cord made presentations before the Sierra Club, the Md. Libertarian Party, a Habitat II Town Meeting, 4 Baltimore neighborhood associations, and at the Henry George School.

Foreign Relations:

HGFA provided advocacy before officials from Moldava, Ethiopia, Slovenia and Albania. Steve Cord journeyed to Estonia to support work being done by Dr. Henn Elmet and Olaf Klasen. He engaged in dialogue with the Malaysian Finance Ministry suggesting they go all the way with a land tax. He also developed a relationship with the Scottish Crofters Union, which is advocating the Single Tax for N. Scotland. HGFA will be assisting them in their advocacy and implementation efforts.

Publications:

HGFA publishes Incentive Taxation (which carries many empirical studies intended largely for public officials) and Equal Rights (a quarterly for lay readers).

Plans for the future include:

  • continued sensitivity to and follow-up on opportunities which keep developing; and
  • continued publicizing of LVT, especially on radio and TV.

THE BENJAMIN BANNEKER CENTER
Public Policy for Economic Justice (Maryland)
Hanno T. Beck, Director
5465 High Tide Court
Columbia, MD 21044
Phone: 410-740-0969
E-mail: banneker@smart.net
WWW site: http://www.smart.net/~banneker

The Center was founded in October, 1995, by Hanno Beck. Its goals are to boost public awareness and debate about fundamental economic questions such as tax reform, economic justice and land ownership. On December 1, 1995, the Center launched its main outreach and communications project, a World Wide Web site. The address or "URL" is noted above.

Since its start, the Web site has enjoyed over 2,000 visits from individuals across the world, and has been favorably reviewed in newsletters and on-line newspapers. The site offers a wide range of educational and thought-provoking activities and services not available elsewhere.

The Center will extend its service from this initial base.

PUBLIC REVENUE EDUCATION COUNCIL (Missouri)
Al Lubin, President
19 Spoede Hills Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63141
Phone: 314-432-8809 FAX 314-233-4487

PREC continues to build a collection of literature which is useful in addressing politically influential persons and organizations. They have printed a 28 page pamphlet from a paper entitled, Henry George and the Reconstruction of Capitalism, presented by Dr. Robert Andelson this year at the American Institute of Economic Research, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. They also supply free copies of a ten page condensation of Henry George's major concepts.

PENNSYLVANIA FAIR TAX COALITION
Alanna Hartzok, State Coordinator
P.O. Box 328
Scotland, PA 17254
Phone/Fax: 717-263-2820
Email: alanna@earthrights.net

Allentown came on board as the 16th two-rate tax city in Pennsylvania‹Pennsylvania's most meaningful victory yet. Joshua Vincent of the Henry George Foundation of America had been working hard with city officials and civic leaders of Allentown and thanks are also due him for this current victory. Allentown's voters voted 2 to 1 to accept the Home Rule Charter.

One provision of the charter is a freeze on all taxes, save the property tax. This is to be split into two rates with an ever-increasing ratio of land to building tax. By law, the ratio may only be increased. The ratio will start at 1.49 to 1 and expand to 4.7 to 1 by the year 2001. It can go even higher after that, if the Council wishes. The land value tax can be overturned, but not until after 2012 and then only by a referendum vote."

Last fall, the Senate passed SB 2, threatening legislation sponsored by Senator Melissa Hart, which would give localities the option of bringing in sales or income taxes, in which case the property tax would be cut as a requirement.

The bill is now being considered by the House which reconvened in May. Watch the next issue of GroundSwell for news.

A number of bills that would further land value taxation in Pennsylvania have been introduced into the state legislature: HB 2093 (Rep. Ronald Buxton) would give the two-rate option to all school districts; HB 1258 and 1259 (Rep. Joseph Gladeck) extends two-rate to second and first class townships; HB 1261 (Gladeck) and SB 580 (Sen. Terry Punt) would give this policy choice to the nearly 1000 boroughs of the state; HB 1260 (Gladeck) would give this option to a city that desperately needs it, the first class city of Philadelphia.

Additionally, Rep. Gladeck's "Tax Free Development Zone Act" (HB 1256) recommends that municipalities wishing to designate an area as a tax free zone use the split-rate tax.

New opportunities abound to educate and advocate for this public policy approach. The Challenging Sprawl Symposium, sponsored by Preservation Pennsylvania was held in Lancaster last December. Dan Sullivan spoke on site value taxation policy and its success in curing sprawl. An agenda was established which included Action #3, "Seek tax policy reform to encourage regional planning, investment in existing communities and resource conservation."

As a result of this conference, a coalition has been initiated by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) which has the potential to really get the word out about land value tax reform. Interested Georgists are urged to link up with this movement by contacting PEC at 1211 Chestnut St., Suite 900, Philadelphia, PA 19107, phone: 215-564-0250 or fax 215-563-0528.

Alanna Hartzok and John McDonnell, Earth Day Founder, wrote a paper entitled Pennsylvania's Success with the Local Tax Reform - An Earth Trustee Policy Approach.

PFTC intends to be heard in Harrisburg (the state capitol) during the next few weeks.

INSTITUTE FOR GEONOMIC TRANSFORMATION (Washington)
Jeffrey Smith, President
443 156th St., SW, #203
Seattle, WA 98166
Phone: 206-431-5156 Public Fax: 206-244-0393

Jeff Smith writes and publishes quarterly issues of the Geonomist, which delivers a libertarian/Georgist slant on world events. It is sent to subscribers, environmental groups and other potential allies. Each issue contains news about taxes, subsidies, and the environment, reviews of cutting edge books, reprints of ground-breaking articles, commentary on pieces from op-ed pages and other sources, letters and updates on Geonomist activities.

He sold scores of illustrated booklets through the year. Some of the titles priced at $2.50 are: 101 Famous Thinkers on Owning Earth; Greens on George­64 Notables on Taxing Land Alone; Where Tax Reform Has worked­17 Case Summaries; From Gandhi's Trusteeship to Putting Earth in Trust, and Population and Consumption Stabilized. Booklets at $1.75 include: Apparent Contradictions in Geonomics Resolved­good ecology from a new economy; and Laws from Land, The Real State is Real Estate; Income Ideal­3 streams close the gap, Plugging Leaks in Local Economies; America's Most Famous Forgotten Man: Henry George; and Rescue the Rainforest­entitle the peasant.

Many articles were published in various periodicals, including: "Housing Sprouts on Affordable Land" in Santa Barbara, CA's Green Scene (cir. 2,000), "Land Tax Could Redistribute Land and be Engine for Economic Growth" in The Oregonian, Portland's major daily., "Tax This" in Baltimore's City Paper, which won Libertarian support. Washington State's Hispanic News also carried many articles by Smith, in English and Spanish.

Smith met with several celebrities in their fields, including: Dr. Robert Repetto, Chief Economist of the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC, and with Bruno Moser of Switzerland. He arranged to meet with city officials of Mazatlan, Mexico, on using geo-bonds to finance water treatment (a la California's Irrigation Districts a century ago). He has also presented geonomics to other important groups such as the Planning Commission of Mendocino County, California His plans for 1996-97 include four more "fantastic" issues of The Geonomist and publication of a ground-breaking book: Free Time, Green Earth, and other G-benefits. He plans a special campaign to recruit new supporters from the Northwest population. And he plans to raise $3,000 from major donors to disseminate the geo-bonds idea throughout Mexico and the story of the citizens dividend throughout Europe. Groups in both places have asked for presentations.

To help the Geonomists have another year of progress, they ask, "Please become a supporter for $25 or more, all tax-deductible.

WISCONSIN PROPERTY OWNERS LEAGUE
Nadine Stoner, President
1118 Central Ave.
Beloit, WI 53511
Phone 314-781-2077

Non-partisan WPOL engineered a major break-through when the Democratic Party, at its June 1994 convention in Wisconsin, approved the phrase: "We encourage the study of site value taxation." as an addition to the Platform's section on Economics and Taxes. Though insertion of this endorsement was suggested by Daniel Efner of Beloit, who serves on the Democratic Party Platform committee, major support came from Madison Mayor, Paul Soglin, who chairs the Economy and Taxes subgroup of the Democratic Party Platform committee. Daniel Efner is also V.P. of WPOL. Nadine Stoner, WPOL President, and Gilbert Halverson of Madison had previously contacted Mayor Soglin who already knew about the two-rate incentive tax enjoyed by Pennsylvania cities. Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist also wrote supporting a study of land value taxation.

WPOL took this stand after the State Assembly approved, almost unanimously, taking school financing off property taxes. A letter from WPOL to all 33 state senators, opposing elimination of property taxes as the source for school financing, was delivered by Senator Weeden's staff. The Assembly bill failed to pass the Senate on a 17-16 vote. Among other arguments, WPOL pointed out that the Wisconsin constitution, though citing education as a state responsibility, also requires that each town and city raise taxes for support of common schools therein.

WPOL's effort to compel publication of the City's assessment rolls in their entirety in a local newspaper was also successful. WPOL also succeeded in getting a full-time in-house, city assessor hired, instead of the contracted-for out of state firm used during the previous two years.

A study of the Wisconsin Constitution indicated that a Constitutional Amendment would be required before Wisconsin could levy higher taxes on land than on improvements. WPOL's work is cut out for it.

AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Dr. Robert Gilmour, Director
Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Phone 413/528-1216 Fax: 413/528-0103
E-mail: aier@world.std.com

Dr. Gilmour presented an address‹"Toward an Ethical Tax Base: Land, Labor, or Capital?" in March, 1995 at the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University It was printed as a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy working paper.

The Henry George Graduate Seminar at AIER, June-August, 1995, was conducted by Professor Kris Feder of Bard College, in conjunction with AIER's 1995 Summer Fellowship Program for graduate students of economics. Professor Robert V. Andelson presented the guest seminar.

Dr. Gilmour served as a member of the Faculty for the Lincoln Institute conference in Tallin, Estonia, October, 1995 titled: "Real Estate Finance, Regulation, and Tax Policy to Support Land Development."

Dr. Gilmour serves on the Board of Directors of Schalkenbach and coordinates AIER's efforts with theirs.

AIER has a large and continually growing collection of books, pamphlets and manuscripts relating to Henry George as part of the E.C. Harwood Library's special collections, as well as a computer database of land valuation and tax data.

Many Georgist scholars visited during the year, and many more are expected in 1996.

PRO-HOUSING PROPERTY TAX COALITION OF WASHINGTON, DC
Samuel Gordon, President
3161 Adams Mill Rd., NW
Washington DC 20010
Phone: 202-204-9384

PHPTC mapped out a strategic plan to get a DC study of split-rate taxation. They are in the process of follow-through.

CENTER FOR PUBLIC DIALOGUE (Washington, DC)
Walter Rybeck, Director
10615 Brunswick Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895
Phone: 301-933-3535

Following are just the highlights of the Center's accomplishments for the period, July, 1994 to June, 1996.

  • In Washington DC: The Center:
    • helped get a law enacted requiring the Mayor to offer an alternative split rate (LVT) option when presenting a conventional property tax measure to the Council.
    • enabled prominent economist Anthony Downs and church leader Knighton Stanley to publish a Washington Post article urging DC to use a split rate tax;
    • took religious/political leaders on a land tax study tour to Pittsburgh.
  • In West Virginia, the Center:
    • assisted secretary of state Ken Hechler in his campaign to assess natural resources at market value, instead of a minuscule portion thereof -- the press and citizens were enthusiastic, but tax officials, pressured by absentee coal owners, are moving slowly;
    • got Delegate Bruce Peterson in '95 to offer an amendment permitting a two-rate tax‹Alanna Hartzok and Ted Gwartney conducted an educational session on this for the legislature‹the Constitutional Committee and full House passed it overwhelmingly in '96 and the Center is working to get the Senate to follow suit in '97;
    • conducted a study which projected positive effects of a two-rate tax in Wheeling. The Mayor/Council endorsed the reform; the state Municipal League put the issue on their agenda; and other West Virginia cities now want studies.
  • In Maryland, the Center:
    • Got a long interview in Warfield's Business Record about the land tax. This led to a contact with Delegate James Campbell., who then introduced a bill permitting Baltimore and urban counties to use a two-rate tax. The Legislature included it in a packet of issues for their study session in the summer of '96.
  • Miscellaneous: Walter Rybeck:
    • wrote an educational booklet, Look to the Land for the Washington State Chapter of Common Ground-USA which they used in their effort to get the Legislature to conduct a study of two-rate taxation;
    • encouraged Wallace Oates and Robert Schwab, U. of Md. economists to give more credit to two-rate taxation in their major study of Pittsburgh;
    • assisted the Washington DC working group on the UN's Habitat II conference to strengthen its land tax language in the draft for the June, '96 conference in Turkey;
    • was named as the Vice-Chair of the National Tax Association's Standing Committee on Property Taxes.

FAIRHOPE SINGLE TAX CORPORATION (Alabama)
Gale W. Rowe
Secretary, Fairhope Single Tax Corporation
336-340 Fairhope Ave.
Fairhope, Alabama 36532
Phone: 334: 928-8162

FSTC hosted the 1994 CGO Conference and then continued with a year long celebration of the founding of Fairhope. Two plays were written and produced in 1994 regarding the motivation for the founding of Fairhope.

In 1995, a "Centennial Hall" was completed and dedicated to public use. Another play was written and produced in the Hall along with dedication ceremonies. FSTC contributed $200,000 to this venture. Governor Fob James, Jr., issued a proclamation declaring Alabama to be an "Earth Trustee State," stating, "citizens desire to make an effort to think globally and act locally to address and eliminate poverty and pollution in Alabama.

A substantial amount of money came from condemnation proceedings of the state of Alabama, attendant to the widening of a main thoroughfare in Fairhope. This land fund will be used to acquire additional land. Some will be donated to the City to create and maintain a new park and storm drainage control facility and the balance of the land will be offered for lease.

FSTA is now engaged in strategic planning "to guide us for the next century."

HENRY GEORGE INSTITUTE OF MIAMI, FLORIDA
Juan Zuccotti, Director
P.O. Box 113352, Biscayne 1 Sta.
Miami, FL 33111-3352
Phone: 305-577-0958

For information about the Institute's program, directed particularly to the Cuban population of Miami, write to Juan Zuccoti at the address noted above.



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