Vermont Report Includes Single Tax on Land
GroundSwell, May-June 2009]
A report, "Valuing Common Assets for Public Finance in
Vermont," was released in November 2008. The Vermont Green Tax
and Common Assets Project, Burlington, VT, is the project of the MPA
Program and Gund Institute of the University of Vermont. Gary
Flomenhoft is the Director. The purpose of the project is "achieving
environmental sustainability, distributional equity, and an
efficient economy through the use of market mechanisms like green
taxes and common asset payments."
The collected papers were written by the University of Vermont
Public Administration #395 class. The Schalkenbach Foundation was
among the project sponsors.
Among the revenue sources examined were curbing transportation
emissions, wildlife and fish, forests, ground water extraction,
internet access, broadcast spectrum management, stones and minerals,
surface water, a single tax on land, and economic rent in the wind
The 2-page article on "Potential Revenue Collection Through a
Single Tax on Land" assumes revenue neutrality. Listing first
the French Physiocrats, David Ricardo, and Thomas Paine, Henry
George's Progress & Poverty is then citied, "which explored
the phenomenon of land speculators driving up prices based on the
productivity of labor, enabling them to absorb all economic rent.
This led George to believe land must be treated as a common asset;
rent could be collected through nationalization and leasing, or
through a single tax on land itself." The article, concludes "collecting
economic rent from land is a perfectly viable way to fund most, if
not all, state obligations."