The annual produce of the land and labour of the society, the real wealth and revenue of the great body of the people, might be the same after such a tax as before. Ground-rents and the ordinary rent of land are, therefore, perhaps, the species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them.
Adam Smith – Wealth of Nations (1776), Book V, Chap. 2, Art.1
Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working, risking or economizing. The increase in the value of land, arising as it does from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to the community and not to the individual who might hold title.
John Stuart Mill – Political Economy (1848), Book V, Chap. 2, Sec. 5
The tax upon land values is, therefore, the most just and equal of all taxes. It is the taking by the community, for the use of the community, of that value which is the creation of the community.
Henry George – Progress and Poverty (1879)
Roads are made, streets are made, railway services are improved, …water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains – and all the while the landlord sits still… To not one of these improvements does the land monopolist as a land monopolist contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is sensibly enhanced.
Winston Churchill – Speaking in 1909 for the People’s budget
Search out every problem, look into these questions thoroughly, and the more thoroughly you look into them you will find that the land is at the root of most of them. Housing, wages, food, health ….
David Lloyd George – Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking at Aberdeen, 29th November 1912
If a tax were imposed equal to the annual use value of real property ex its improvement, so that it would now have no net earnings and hence no capital value of its own — progress would be orderly and its fruits would be equitably shared.
John Kenneth Galbraith 1908 – 2006 – The Affluent Society (1958)
So the question is, which are the least bad taxes? In my opinion the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago.
Milton Friedman – Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, speaking in 1978
Land value taxation is a “no-brainer”… It is both fair and efficient. It should be adopted.
Martin Wolf – Chief economics commentator at the Financial Times
The taxation of future growth in land values “to eliminate the fever of land speculation” that has “ended up destabilising the entire global economy”… is what Labour should have done and should commit to in future.
Polly Toynbee – Columnist, writing in The Guardian, 13th July 2010
The wealth produced over the centuries by the efforts of the community is reflected in land values and is therefore a proper target for taxation.
Vince Cable – In foreword to ‘The Case For A New People’s Budget’
The underlying intellectual argument for seeking to tax economic rents retains its force.
Mervyn King, in the standard textbook on the British tax system: Kay & King, 1990 p.179