Rating again

The principle behind council rating is not understood within local government.  If it were understood, municipalities couldn’t possibly allow the construction of improvements to be penalised by taxation as in some Australian states and many overseas countries.

This is because the salutary wide-ranging effects of (even low level) land-based revenues is greatly underestimated, and therefore ignored.

My blog overflows with mention of the many social problems stemming from the failure to capture publicly-generated land values.  It’s riddled with examples.

The Land Values Research Group has done a number studies showing the many benefits of public capture of land rent as an alternative to taxes penalising labour and capital.

All the studies on local government rating in Australia, and the Henry Tax Review point to the efficacy of land value taxation–a misnomer, BTW: it’s a rent–but governments of all persuasions are usually too scared to implement it these days because the property lobby doesn’t like land as a revenue base.

And the property lobby is powerful. That’s why we have the rotten tax system we have.

We seem to accept taxes being stolen from our earnings, but not foregoing some of the uplift in value that public works and government provide.

Politicians, such as Janine Haines, have been misrepresented and vilified when they’ve advocated land tax ought to be used to replace other taxes.  It’s very easy to scare the horses with the cry: “They’re after your home!” After all, a man’s home is his castle, isn’t it?

In Canberra, this scenario is now repeating.

For a change, one party has had the gumption to propose greater emphasis on LVT in order to reduce other damaging taxes.  An election is swinging on it.

The other party is involved in the usual tactics of scare.

In these circumstances, Jack Waterford, editor of the Canberra Times has come out with a strong editorial.

Thank goodness there remain some newspaper editors who’ve not sold out to the property lobby.

Well said, Jack!