Welcome

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This website acknowledges that land is free – as free as sunshine, air and water. However, the further fact is that we think it can be owned, and this has a serious effect on the distribution of wealth.

That land is free by nature cannot be disputed.

It is here when we arrive, and we cannot take it when we leave. By natural law, all must have equal rights to its use. But we have devised  a system of absolute ownership with the right to charge a rent to a user. This is completely entrenched in the law of the land.

Of course, man must be able to use land for a reasonable term so as to be able to bring his product to completion and sale, and also to continue in business. The use of certain pieces of land bring benefits, either due to fertility, or more importantly, due to facilities provided by the community around.

So the question is, how to recognise the freedom of land, wbookshile providing security of tenure, and return to the community the result of its efforts as they apply to each piece of land. If we do not upset the laws we have too much, so much the better.

The method for collecting revenue supported by this website is a levy of a site value each year on each site. Although termed a tax, it is really a return to the community for the benefits attached to each site, whether negligible or enormous.

The following Topic Papers explore some of the implications of this proposal. The general intention is to name a particular problem, then to show how it might be dealt with under site value taxation.

The consequences of not recognising natural law are growing. The heavy burden of land prices and the increasing gap between rich and poor are problems that will have to be dealt with.

Please note; Signed Articles must be considered personal views of the contributors, and not necessarily the views of Landisfree.

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SA83. Ulm is buying up land, sent by Dirk Lohr

German real estate: Renters’ woes are speculators’ profitsGermany’s cities are facing a crisis: They’re just too popular. Living space is getting increasingly tight; property values and rent prices are skyrocketing. But the city of Ulm might just have the solution.

Ulm is buying up land

The city of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg is an example of how things could be reorganized in future. Here, the administrative system protects construction land from speculation — and has done for more than 125 years.

The administration of this alternative land policy happens not far from Ulm’s famous Minster. The local authority real estate office oversees the plots of land and buildings in public ownership. Continue reading

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SA82. Radical Tax Reform by Duncan Pickard

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RADICAL TAX REFORM: THE ANSWER TO TAX EVASION, BUDGET DEFICITS AND WELFARE CUTS

The governments of almost all countries have budget deficits and increasing national debts. The taxes* they currently collect are unable to meet the increasing costs of health and welfare provision for their older people and for the care and education of their young ones. Because the taxes they impose on earned incomes, employment and trade have severe negative effects on economic activity, the bases of the taxes are reduced, which means that different sources of revenue are needed. Continue reading

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SA 81. All taxes come out of Rents, by Rumplestatskin.

Received via Prosper Australia.

Mason Gaffney has for years been describing the nature of economic rents and its relation to taxation. His key idea, which would have been uncontroversial prior to the rise of the neoclassical school, is that all taxes come out of rents (ATCOR). This means that a single tax on the rents earned from ownership of natural resources can always provide sufficient taxation revenue.

Let me explain.

To do this I first need to be clear about why rents are not a feature of current mainstream economic reasoning. Continue reading

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SA 80. The Housing Crisis and the Common Good, by Joseph Milne

Why do we have a housing crisis in the UK? Why is it that a wealthy country, increasing in wealth each year, cannot provide enough housing for its citizens? I am sure you know of the latest figures which show that fewer and fewer young families can buy a home, and that more and more are forced into rented housing with very little security. In 1990 about two thirds of people aged 35 purchased their own homes, now it is just over one quarter. Fewer and fewer young people can afford to even save up for a deposit, let alone get a mortgage. In the 1970s a home cost about three times one person’s income, and that was about the amount the old building societies would lend. Now a home is about ten times the annual income of one person. Continue reading

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SA 79. The “housing crisis” is no such thing, by Mark Wadsworth

The ‘housing crisis’ is no such thing. It is a ‘transfer of wealth’ crisis

Reprinted from “Young People’s Party” submission to the Intergeneration Commission.

The current state of the housing market is not a ‘crisis’ – something that suddenly happens because of unforeseen forces outside the government’s control – but the inevitable result of quite deliberate changes in government housing policy over the last thirty years, i.e. the dismantling of the old system.

There is no lack of physical housing in the UK. All we are seeing is a massive transfer of wealth (via house prices and rents) from younger generations to those lucky enough to have inherited land, or acquired it cheaply in the past (the Baby Boomers). Continue reading

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SA 75. A Note on Swedish Taxes, by Tony Vickers MScIS MRICS

Purpose.         This note was initially prepared for the UK Liberal Democrat Party’s  Tax Commission. The author had heard that Sweden incorporates an element of property taxation within its income tax system and also has a very modern, map-based property tax and local income tax (LIT). The Party currently favours LIT but also wishes to develop its longstanding policy of land value taxation (LVT) by modernising existing property taxes. The reason for studying Sweden is that both its Tax Board and Land Survey Department are internationally renowned for the efficiency and transparency with which their land information and property tax systems work together. This note is based on an earlier version specially prepared for the Tax Commission: a more technical and theoretical discussion of the subject can be found shortly at www.landvaluescape.org

Summary.      The Swedish tax system operates with a highly centralised administration. Direct taxation involves a single annual tax form each for individuals and companies but all taxes – including property taxes – can be paid off through earnings. Almost everyone pays local income tax (which averages 29%) whereas only people on above average earnings pay state income tax of around 20%. Continue reading

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SA 74. Homes Vic by Emily Sims

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Like most 30 somethings with a substantial HECS debt and an addiction to avocado on toast, I am an aspiring first home buyer. I’d love to buy the home I currently rent: a daggy 1960’s ‘six-pack’ flat on a main road in Footscray. It’s currently valued around $360,000. To put down a 20% deposit, I’d need to save $72K. A daunting figure for a single woman on a not-for-profit’s payroll.

Much less daunting is $18K. This is the 5% “genuine savings” I require to apply for the government’s shiny new shared equity scheme, HomesVic. HomesVic enables first home buyers to access 25% equity funding towards residential property. Government-backed shared equity schemes have existed in W.A and S.A for a number of years. The initial pilot will include 400 first home buyers, buying new or established homes in strategic locations specified by the government. Footscray is on the list.

Continue reading

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SA73 Public Revenue Without Taxation by Peter Bowman

Public Revenue Without Taxation.

Introduction

It is now widely recognised that the free market system provides a self-organising process that enables a more efficient allocation of a society’s resources than alternative arrangements based on the implementation of pre-conceived plans by central authorities. At the same time the market system offers much greater individual economic freedom and the opportunities for individuals to fulfil their potential in society.

In a free market, transactions are voluntary and are undertaken between a willing buyer and a willing seller. There are many independent buyers and sellers who can compete on quality of service and price. Prices are the outcome of the law of supply and demand, and the overall outcome under a prevailing set of conditions is a condition of stability and optimal allocation.

And yet, when it comes to the provision of public services, which in a modern economy can account for around half of the total economic activity, an entirely different mechanism is used which in many respects is the antithesis of the market system. Goods and services are often made freely available and corresponding costs are met mainly by taxation: “a compulsory contribution imposed by a public authority, irrespective of the amount of service rendered in return”.[1] For these services there is now no willing buyer or seller, no competition and no price mechanism. If one traces back the origins of these arrangements and, in particular the varied and complex methods of taxation employed to collect revenue required to pay for the services, it is found that they are rarely due to the application of sound economic principles and more often are the result of short term political expediency. Continue reading

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