SA 49.Prosper Australia – Vacancies Report

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[ We have included the Executive Summary and Conclusions of this paper, to read the full article click here ]


Executive Summary

Prosper Australia’s Speculative Vacancies Report demonstrates how Government housing, tax and supply policies have allowed widespread residential and commercial vacancies in Melbourne.

Melbourne’s three main metropolitan water retailers, City West Water (CWW), South East Water (SEW), and Yarra Valley Water (YVW) made their data available for this report. Continue reading

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SA 48. LANDED (Freeman’s Wood) by John Angus-StoreyG2

We are grateful for this example of land appropriation, and at the end will add our comments on how the proper collection of public revenue would bring justice.

– an exploration of land ownership through contemporary art.

Introduction

StoreyG2 is a small contemporary art organisation based in Lancaster, in north west England. In 2014-15 we ran a project researching land ownership and its effects on people’s lives. “Landed (Freeman’s Wood)” is centred on a plot of land where the interests of a local community collided with those of global capital. Continue reading

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SA 47. Justice and the Common Good by Joseph Milne

I begin with a quotation from Aristotle’s Politics:

“And it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.”

― Aristotle, Politics Book I Chapter II

It is worth pondering what this is saying. The human species is distinguished from all the other species because it alone has a sense of what is good and evil, and a sense of what is just and unjust. Continue reading

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SA46. LAND VALUE TAX: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE By Henry Law

lvt1


LAND VALUE TAX: A VIABLE TAX ALTERNATIVE?


HENRY LAW, LAND VALUE TAXATION CAMPAIGN

Land value tax (LVT) has been high on the political agenda for most of the past two centuries; in the three decades up to World War I it was backed by a widespread popular movement. Thus, in the broader perspective, its eclipse since about 1950 is exceptional. The flurry of fresh interest in recent years is due, amongst other things, to the
realisation that tax systems have hit the limit to what they can raise, whilst expectations of government continue growing and attempts to cut large welfare bills consistently fail.

LVT in its classic form is a tax on the annual rental value of all land, ignoring buildings and other developments, the valuation being on the assumption that the land is at its optimum use. It would not be additional to existing taxes but a partial or complete replacement for them. Proponents argue that it is a precondition for the solution of a wide range of apparently intractable economic ills. Opponents usually come up with objections
which are criticisms of what is not actually being proposed. Continue reading

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SA45. Of course, it wouldn’t solve all problems………by Tommas Graves

A friend remarked “It would be foolish to think that LVT or Location Value Refund would solve all our problems”, and you would have to agree, but:-

  • This is a refund of benefit already received, it cannot be passed on
  • It will reduce poverty by removing one cause of inequality
  • Infrastructure improvements, such as transport and communications will produce their own financing
  • It is a fair way of producing government revenue
  • Booms and slumps would be much reduced
  • It would do away with many of the glaring faults in our tax system
  • It would eliminate the shortage of building land
  • It brings to the fore the factor of land, so long forgotten
  • It removes harmful taxes from production
  • Higher wages will appear without false promises
  • It will reverse the decay of urban communities
  • The likelyhood of  financial crashes will be reduced
  • Unemployment will be mostly eliminated
  • Housing will become affordable
  • The home owner has a duty to look after the land he uses
  • Windfall gains from land sales will be eliminated
  • The whole natural world will become common property
  • Local government will become a matter to be proud of
  • Spoiling the environment will be reduced
  • Sites will not be held out of use
  • The Chancellor will have an expanding revenue, easy to ascertain
  • Tax havens will lose their meaning
  • All other taxes can be systematically reduced or eliminated
  • Banks will rely less on security and more on business
  • The accumulation of debt will be stopped
  • The reduction in unfairness will help to bring peace and happiness to all

So, it would seem to bring enough benefits to be worth trying, don’t you think?

 Note. All these are explained more fully in the topic papers themselves.

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SA44. Answering questions to UN Habitat 3 Financing Urban Development‏ by Alanna Hartzog

1.     What challenges are local urban authorities facing to mobilize financial resources for urban development in developing countries? What are some solutions to these challenges?

Local urban authorities are searching for a sustainable and equitable source of public finance, one that can fund infrastructure, education and other public goods while also addressing poverty, wealth inequality and the need for affordable housing for all. Continue reading

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SA43. TIME TO CALL THE LANDOWNERS’ BLUFF by Duncan Pickard

On Wednesday, 3rd February, The Daily Telegraph provided Scottish landowners with a public platform under the headline ‘Eminent lairds warn SNP land reforms may stop farm lets’, in which estates owned by major landowners like the Duke of Buccleuch and the Earl of Seafield led warnings that allowing tenant farmers with no successors to sell on their secure tenancies would backfire and lead to challenges in the courts. Continue reading

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SA42. NO DEBT, HIGH GROWTH, LOW TAX By Andrew Purves

Reviewed by Brian Hodgkinson
Shepheard-Walwyn Books, 2015
ISBN: 9780856835070
This book by Andrew Purves is a remarkably concise, yet wellresearched, study of the Hong Kong economy. The author spent his childhood there and makes good use of his acquaintance both with the place itself and with people in strategic positions within the ex-British colony. His stated aim is to answer the question that the students whom he has taught in the School of Economic Science in London most frequently ask, namely ‘Is there somewhere where Land Value Taxation is actually put into practice?’ Yet the book is in no way an attempt to paint Hong Kong as an economy of milk and honey based upon a perfect tax system. Purves is only too well aware of deficiencies such as serious inequality. Continue reading

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SA40. High Land Prices and Rural Unemployment, by Duncan Pickard

There is an almost universal belief by farmers that high land prices are beneficial to farming. I contend that high land prices are a curse on farming. I do not deny that some landowning farmers become very rich from high prices, but only when they sell, most of them making more money from selling their farms than they did throughout the time they were farming. There is a clear distinction between what is beneficial to a few farmers and what might be beneficial to farming in general and especially to those who want to farm but have no land.

In Scotland the average price of farmland is more than £4000 per acre and has increased by 17% in the last year. The average price of arable land is £8000 per acre. The market price of land is much more than can be justified by its productive capacity. Taking as an example land for growing wheat which is capable of yielding 3 tonnes per acre:- the current price of wheat ex farm is less than £120 per tonne which gives a gross income of under £360 per acre, the current cost of growing wheat is about £115 per tonne or £345 per acre, leaving a surplus of £15 per acre. Continue reading

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