How can the ideas of Georgism — specifically the beneficial application of Land Value Tax — be promoted successfully?
In my previous essay “13 strategies to advance Georgism” I listed a “baker’s dozen” ideas obtained primarily from reddit/r/georgism advisors. All the plans are excellent, but the total is too large — moving forward efficiently requires prioritizing the multiple schemes.
So I’ve done that — I’ve honed in, altered, and embellished a trio of plans, that I believe are sufficiently entertaining, and practical. Here they are:
ACTION PLAN #1 : Encourage the city council of Altoona, Pennsylvania, to reinstate full LVT in their municipality. This mid-sized city voted to slowly raise LVT in 2002, and by 2011 they had elevated it to 100% — city property taxes [were] based entirely on the value of the land — and not at all on the value of the buildings on that land — its the only town in the USA to ever do that !
Joshua Vincent, the head of the Center for the Study of Economics, said “the land value tax provided relief for the vast majority of homeowners and businesses [in Altoona],” and the higher LVT was eliminating downtown blight. Everything was progressing perfectly, right?
But then, OH NO. In 2016, rather suddenly (and suspiciously?) the Altoona City Council dropped the LVT innovation entirely. Why did they backtrack? Opponents claimed it “scared off potential business development,” and, (warbles Altoona Mirror staff writer William Kibler) “the tax never proved to be effective and… it caused confusion.”
Only one bright, brave person on Altoona City Council supported the continuation of high Land Value Tax — this heroic person’s name is Dave Butterbaugh. As a compromise he “argued for scaling back land value halfway to the traditional norm” but he was hugely over-ruled.
Today — nearly a decade later — Dave Butterbaugh is still on the city council. (see above) I’ve written to him, thanking him for his past support, and urging him to BRING LVT BACK 100% TO ALTOONA.
You, dear readers, can easily message him a similar note at THIS LINK. While you’re at it, you can also contact the other city council members and urge them to correct the grievous mistake of their predecessors, and do the same as Dave. Their names, photos, and contact pages are available HERE.
More Info on the Rise & Fall of Altoona LVT can be obtained at the news sources below: City council decides to cut land value tax (Altoona Mirror) The short life of Pennsylvania’s radical tax reform (Washington Examiner)
ACTION PLAN #2 : Let’s pressure political parties to adopt LVT as a prominent feature of their platform. The Solidarity Party (here’s their website) purportedly supports LVT but it isn’t readily visible — my only evidence is the 1.5+ year old tweet below:
My advice is to email The Solidarity Party at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them you will consider joining and supporting them if they promote LVT more profusely, championing it on their platform and tweeting about it monthly or weekly.
The UK Green Party has openly supported LVT since 1990- they issued a manifesto endorsing it in 2019, and a Green councilman in the city of Bristol advocated LVT replacing other taxes, also in 2019. If you’re a Brit, you can register with Greens if LVT if that’s your top priority; if you’re in the USA, that nation’s Green Party is lagging behind but you can pester them with an email at email@example.com and insist they adopt LVT, perhaps in their Green New Deal.
PolSPoster believes, however, that it is poor strategy to “focus on the UK/US Green Parties.” Instead, he recommends appealing to the right and center, suggesting, “for the UK, I’d focus more on the Lib Dems, whose anthem is literally ‘The Land.
PoSPoster also suggests advertising the success of the German state of Baden-Württemberg (it passed LVT in 2020) and most Australian states (where LVT is imperfect, because there are exemptions for primary residences).
You can of course also suggest LVT to the USA’s Democratic Party and Republican Party, and any or all of the dozens of minor parties listed HERE.
ACTION PLAN #3. Make A Big Movie About LVT/Georgism. We can urge the creators of YouTube films on Georgism, like BritMonkey’s excellent “Georgism 101” to go full-feature, or we can encourage a Canadian in the film industry named Kevin to develop his screenplay on LVT. He tells me “it’ll be a comedy film, kinda like how The Big Short took a complicated subject… and made it entertaining… I think this is a huge opportunity to introduce LVT to the mainstream.”
Perhaps a creative genius can elevate Henry George into the public view, resurrected from semi-obscurity like Lin Manual Miranda’s Hamilton?
You can contact Kevin via reddit; his username is Futuristic Sounds, or email me and I’ll introduce you. BritMonkey’s twitter handle is predictable.