The Private-Investment Community
A Better Way to Revitalize
by Dan Sullivan
(Paragraph index at left)
The essential concept
The private-investment community land trust is an alternative
system for private land-holding, for generating community revenues, and
for encouraging better land use. Essentially, land users lease the
land, rather than purchase it, from a land trust. The trust then uses
lease revenues to pay investors, to provide community services, to
rebate taxes levied against occupants of trust land by larger taxing
bodies, and to acquire additional land. It has many advantages over our
traditional land tenure system, and particularly over urban-renewal
projects, to the occupants, the investors, and the communities in which
they are located.
Current Occupants Can
People often complain that urban redevelopment projects create
"gentrification," by which they mean pushing poorer people out in order
to entice richer people to move in. The land trust approach attracts
richer people and more dynamic businesses with little or no
displacement of those already living or doing business in the
community. Studies show that when a community gradually improves, it
actually loses fewer
residents than similar communities that stagnate
or continue to decline. The real cause of displacement is the urban
renewal project that is undertaken to trigger gentrification. Indeed,
the original term for "urban renewal" was
"slum clearance." The 1937 painting at left was of Ruch's Hill in
Pittsburgh's Hill District. No economic development followed, and the
land was eventually used for the Elmore Square housing projects, which
have also been torn down. Ironically, Elmore Square was to house people
displaced by other Urban Renewal projects.
The land trust model does not push
people out. To the contrary, it
invites landholders to sell their land to the trust and become
trust members on
the same terms that attract others to the neighborhood. They
also have the option of keeping their conventional land titles and
enjoying trust leaseholders as neighbors.
No Risky, Expensive Projects
track record of conventional urban renewal projects is
spotty, at best. Billions of dollars of public money have been spent on
failed projects. In Pittsburgh, the only major multi-building,
multi-owner projects that
could be called clear financial successes over the long term are Gateway
Center and Station
(pictured at right) was successful for about two decades, but had been
built on a landfill and failed both structurally and economically. The
wasted a fortune in public money, not only on the mall itself, but on
interstate exit specially built to service the mall.
was an economic disaster almost immediately. The retail shops that were
supposed to serve surrounding residential developments quickly closed
and the spaces were eventually used as offices.
which was supposed to revitalize East Liberty, saw one project disaster
after another, and quite literally became a textbook example of how not
to revitalize a community. It is only now beginning to succeed after
century of failure.
Perhaps the biggest disaster, both
economically and socially, was the
clearance of the Lower Hill District beginning in the late 1950s that
forced thousands of people into housing projects and left much of the
land in limbo until the mid 1990s. The main project,
the Civic Arena, was torn down owing more money than what had been owed
when that hockey arena first opened. Three Rivers Stadium on the North
Side also had a much larger outstanding debt when it was torn down than
when it had first opened.
The land trust approach does not involve
projects. It changes the economic dynamic by creating incentives that encourage ordinary people to take up land in the trust
and put it to better use.
Even the most successful renewal
projects destroy other
Pittsburgh businesses. They create new businesses that steal customers
from existing businesses, often without doing anything to increase the
overall market for these businesses. When the Grand Concourse opened at
Square, it was ballyhooed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, elected
officials and newspapers as the
place for seafood. As a result,
nationally famous Klein's
Seafood quietly went out of business. It had been such a Pittsburgh
landmark that its sign now hangs in the Heinz History Museum.
Businesses already pay higher tax rates in
the City of Pittsburgh than
in the suburbs. Part of their taxes go to subsidizing
their own competitors.
When the tax-subsidized East Liberty Home Depot opened in 2000, there
were eleven hardware stores within a 2.5 mile radius. By 2010, there
were none. Carpet stores, paint stores, plumbing and electrical
suppliers and other competitors also closed or moved out of the city.
The owners of these stores were driven out of business by the same city
to which they had paid the taxes that were used against them.
Worse still, after Giant Eagle Supermarkets
got subsidies to build
large stores with parking in prime neighborhoods, they closed smaller
neighborhood stores in poorer neighborhoods. People do not buy more
groceries because we subsidize new grocers. Instead, we subsidized the
closing of small grocers and even of neighborhood Giant Eagles. This is
economic cannibalism - subsidizing new businesses to eat up the profits
The land trust does not take money from some
subsidize others. All tax advantages to businesses in the trust are
funded from land rents paid to the trust. Established businesses who
want these advantages can also sell their land to the trust and
enjoy the same incentives as other trust lessees.
No Eminent Domain
is almost impossible to assemble
land for large-scale
development projects without resorting to eminent domain. Even Gateway
Center used eminent domain against more than 100 property owners. The
pattern is that small property owners who do not fight the takings in
court are poorly compensated, while those who conduct high-profile
campaigns are often given many times what the properties are worth.
Pittsburgh Wool won such a fight and was awarded $7.5 million for the
factory pictured at right, that had an estimated value of only $1.5
million. The settlement was heralded as a victory for property owners
everywhere, but other taxpayers had to cover a $6 million overcharge.
Was this overcharge not taken from their earnings? Their property?
Unwarranted eminent domain is theft no matter whether it steals from
the property owner or from the public purse for the property owner.
Although the land trust has more synergy if
it owns all the properties
in an area, it is not so necessary as to require the use of eminent
domain. Small property owners can join the trust or not, as they see
No Corporate Welfare
Development projects usually
involve massive subsidies to large corporate interests - from
construction firms to commercial occupants. Much of this is
unavoidable. Small independent business owners are usually too busy
tending to their own operations to even pay attention to
development-project opportunities. Large corporations, on the other
hand, have agents who specialize in negotiating deals with development
The land trust approach involves no
subsidies. All tax advantages come
from rent revenues. People are encouraged to take individual properties
and put them to good use, which means ordinary businesses and residents
are on equal footing with large corporations.
No Insider Deals
like to keep their projects secret from those who
might buy land out from under them, from competing developers,
and even from community members who might organize against the project.
this secrecy compounds problems when public money is involved. Even
politicians who give lip-service to openness and transparency find that
the very nature of development projects prevents them putting together
deals in a transparent fashion. Local community organizations, who had
been promised that they would be part of the project planning process,
often find project plans handed to them as a fait accompli. The most
progressive developers will listen to community leaders, but will not
reveal tentative plans and negotiate along the way. This is not the
fault of particular developers or particular politicians, but is in the
very nature of large-scale developments.
The land trust, on the other hand, is open
from beginning to end. The
land trust proposal, the charter, the process for selling shares, the
lease agreements, the internal governance of the trust and all documents are open to the public.
Idle Land Speculation Ended
current tax system punishes good behavior with high taxes and rewards
idle speculation with low taxes. Wage taxes, sales taxes, income taxes,
business taxes and the building portion of the property tax all fall on
those who putting their land to good use and making the community more
dynamic.Each land speculator minimizes his taxes an maximizes
his profits by getting others to improve and operate their properties
while he sits back and watches the value go up. That is, he becomes an
enemy of the very revitalization he from which hopes to profit. If too
many speculators do this, the community deteriorates and everyone's
land loses value. That is, the idle speculator is even the enemy of
other idle speculators. Still, the last one to develop gains the most.
Urban renewal projects actually encourage idle speculators to hold on in hope that the
redevelopment authority will buy them out for a project.
The land trust reduces this. Every
leaseholder pays a fair
rent on the value of his land, and a large portion of the lease revenue
is used to rebate taxes on his improvements and on desirable
activities. Although one can speculate on shares of land trust itself,
the shareholders have no control over land use. Their only powers are
to demand that the terms of the trust be upheld and to bring additional
land into the trust.
All control of land-use decisions rests
with the Leaseholders
Association, the Occupants Association, and individual leaseholders.
The trust is designed so it is in everyone's interest to make the
community as dynamic as possible.
Healing communities, not replacing them.
Urban redevelopment projects are
like tissue transplants. They
cut out rotted parts of a community, along with the people who live in
them, and replace the rotted parts with entirely new neighborhoods. One of
the reasons these "property grafts" fail so often is that they do not
deal with the underlying problems, or with the bad incentive structure
that caused the communities to decline in the first place.
The land trust changes those incentives so the
trust community can heal
naturally. As with any healing, improvement is first seen at the edges
and the blight shrinks away.
Retaining successful local residents and business
In traditional land tenure systems, successful members
communities are lured away into richer communities. Taxes on their
higher wages, their purchases, their business activities and even on
their superior buildings are at least as high in the poor communities
the rich ones - even higher if the entire municipality they are leaving
is poor and the entire municipality they are joining is affluent. The
successful person who stays in the poor community he came from pays
more for poorer services and to be surrounded by poverty, blight, and
the social problems that blight creates. This is why urban renewal
projects have to chase poorer people away in order to attract richer
Localized and Specialized Control
The trust divides power into three sets of
Shareholders Association represents those who have put up the
make the trust possible, the Leaseholders Association represents people
who have taken up leases, and the Occupants Association represents the
people who actually live and work on trust land. The Leaseholders and
Occupants Associations are further divided by neighborhood and by
residential occupancy and employee occupancy. (On-site business owners
and managers are included in the employee occupancy criteria.)
Amending the trust charter or changing
future leases requires that all
three associations concur. Other decisions may be made by one or two
The Shareholders Association and each
member thereof has standing to
demand that the trust be administered as prescribed in the charter.
This is very important, as similar trusts have violated their charters
by collecting as little rent as possible. Because nobody had standing
to demand that the charter be administered as prescribed, these trusts
failed to offer the promised rebates or to acquire new land, even when
excellent opportunities presented themselves. The Shareholders
Association also controls the fund for additional land purchases, and
can make such purchases on behalf of the trust.
Each community's Leaseholders Association and
have joint jurisdiction over how their portion of the rent fund in
their community is allocated between capital improvements, operations
and tax-rebate incentives, except that the trust-wide associations
set minimum-rebate policies in order to advertise those policies, and
the Shareholders association might grant additional funds to particular
Until there are enough leaseholders and
occupants, representatives of
community groups and Community Development Corporations can perform
these functions. This puts initial control at the neighborhood level.
Customizable Incentives Promote
The land trust does not rely on planning
and projects, but on
built-in, rent-funded incentives that attract the kinds of development
that the local communities want. Community groups and Community
Development Corporations can set up the incentives. Once the land is
leased, the lessees and occupants control the incentives and other
trust aspects themselves.
the local trust village chooses to rebate taxes on employers and
employees, the best deal goes to the leaseholder with
the biggest payroll for the land he occupies. That means not only the
most employees, but the best-paid employees. Rebating mercantile and
sales taxes attracts the store owners who expect to have the highest
sales volumes. If
the community wants to attract the working poor, it can rebate a
portion of wage taxes on residents up to a particular income level,
such as rebating taxes on the first $20,000 of earned income tax. In
Pittsburgh, it might want to rebate the most regressive tax of all, the
$52 per capita tax on every employee at the job site.
If the trust wants to attract families
with children, it can
offer child care vouchers and education vouchers. These vouchers can be
cumulative so those who attend public schools can save them for
vocational schools or higher education. For every desired outcome,
there can be an
incentive system that promotes an outcome without resorting to hard
and vast rules that mandate that outcome.
Rational Community Improvements
Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz has
developed the theorem that every rational community improvement
increases land values by more than its cost. He named this the Henry
George Theorem after the progressive 1880s economist who advocated
taxing the value of land. However, traditional municipalities rely on a
variety of taxes, breaking the link between who pays and who benefits.
As a result, some community projects are favored by those who will not
pay the costs, and might be undertaken whether or not they are actually
worth the cost.
Because the land trust funds everything
from the land rents, and shares unspent rents as tax rebates to the
residents, people pay in proportion to how much they benefit. It is in
everybody's interest to advocate improvements that will create more
value than the cost of providing them.
Flexible land use
the best-planned communities have run into problems as conditions
For example, Columbia, Maryland has been heralded as a quintessential
example of a well planned community. Yet as times changed, they found
that they had relied too much on physical planning and hadn't addressed
underlying economic dynamics. Serpentine roads that were all the
rage when the towns were planned in the 1960s have become problematic
as reliance on mass transit has become more important. Embedding houses
wooded lots, which was appropriate to the surrounding areas at the
time, has left Columbia more vulnerable to criminals from poorer
neighborhoods that have grown up around Columbia. Most of all,
these planned communities have not avoided the bad economic incentives
that have lead to blight generally. For example, The West Lake Village
Center, one of Columbia's planned shopping districts, (shown at right)
is now dependent on urban renewal projects for rehabilitation.
By using economic incentives instead of
relying on hard planning alone,
the trust avoids the pitfalls of planned communities. The incentives
lead naturally to good urban land use, reducing the need for even
Small Businesses Attracted
Small businesses employ more people on
less land than big
businesses. Therefore, rebates to wage taxes, or to employers' contributions to
payroll taxes, are a better deal for small businesses than for big
businesses. New small businesses are also more concerned about startup
costs, and are happy to lease land rather than purchase land. In the
same way, small home builders and struggling home buyers are drawn to
the trust because it avoids land acquisition costs. It has the opposite
of of redevelopment projects, which push out small struggling
businesses to attract corporate chain stores.
Rent Increase Protections
trust follows standard real estate assessment practices to reassesses
the land rent of improved properties, and
accepts bids on vacant lots. Lessees can be protected from
large increases, but only up to the rental value of their buildings.
example, say that the protected rent is a limited to a fixed increase
plus the general inflation rate. But as the
land trust is likely to be very successful, land might go up by far
more than that. In the graph at right, the yellow area is the market
rent, the blue area is the protected rent, and the orange area shows
the protected rent when improvements do not warrant complete protection.
A vacant lot gets no protection unless it is
joined to an improved lot.
If the leaseholder makes significant improvements are in the future,
the rent returns to what is shown on the blue line.
An improved lot, or set of lots, is
protected as long as the value of
the improvements is greater than the value of the protection. Suppose,
for example, that the leaseholder parks a mobile home on one of the
lots. As long as the rental value of the mobile home exceeds the
difference between the protected rent and the market rent, he gets the
full protection. However, if rent protection exceeds the value of the
mobile home, he begins to pay higher rents (orange area). To remedy
this, he can build a more valuable structure, or even (zoning
permitting) put a second mobile home on the lot.Because the rent
would continue to climb, we recommend a that people erect high-value
permanent structures that take full advantage of the rebate incentives.
However, mobile homes and other temporary structures are good interim
uses of the land while people learn what is likely to become the best
long-term use of the land.
How Rent Funds are divided.
Many commercial properties are built
on leased land.
the leaseholder is entirely responsible for taxes, for attracting
tenants, for providing amenities, and so on, while the landlord pockets the
entire rent as a profit or dividend. This works well enough for
prime land, where there is no difficulty attracting tenants.
However, the land trust model is
designed to create a synergistic
effect by attracting better tenants to poor neighborhoods where those
tenants would not commit to a conventional lease.
First of all, the land trust continues to pay
all taxes on the land
itself. Should the city or borough increase real estate tax rates, the
trust bears the entire increase on the value of land.
the trust sets aside a significant portion of the rent to rebate taxes
that fall on the leaseholder or his occupants. This is not merely a
rent discount, but an incentive to get the leaseholder and his
occupants to more fully use the land.
Third, the commitment to continually buy more
land and bring it into
the trust protects those who build today from being pushed out by those
who would build even more tomorrow and would bid up the rent to do so.
(Additional rent protections follow.)
This can only work for shareholders if the
result is not a zero-sum
game. That is, the stockholders hope to come out ahead with a smaller
share of a much larger pie. If it works well for occupants and
leaseholders, and if they make the most of the incentives by doing more
with less land, it will also work well for the shareholders.
ordinary circumstances, dedicating 30% of the rent to rebating taxes
should be enough to attract
people to the trust. In blighted areas, larger rebates would
probably be necessary to get things started.
The trust could specify a high-growth
incentive system for a specified
period of years, or until a specified goal is attained, and shift to a
good-growth system after that. However, such a change would have to be
written into the original charter. Once the charter is in place the
shareholders cannot unilaterally decrease the rent share that goes to
amenities and rebates.
A taxing jurisdiction might also give the
trust a better deal on vacant
properties held by that jurisdiction, contingent on the shareholders
taking smaller dividends and increasing the fund for amenities and
rebates. That way the taxing jurisdiction gets the development it
desires more quickly, and also gets most or all of the rebate revenue.
However, there is a point at which the trust ceases to be an
investment, and the shareholders are essentially purchasing stock for
charitable reasons. It is wise to set the divisions to maximize growth,
but also to guarantee adequate initial investments.
Better Internal Political Systems
The concept of a democratic republic
is that the people
deliberate and choose their leaders. However, modern democracy, which
is based on elections and majority rule, has become dominated more by
power struggles and propaganda bombardments than by deliberation.
The ancient Greeks didn't have elections.
Local decisions were made by
whoever showed up to vote on those decisions, and Senates of Greek
city-states were chosen by lottery. While this approach eliminated the
power struggles of political campaigns, they had other problems.
The meddlesome tended to show up most often to town councils, and
the Senates were made up of people who often just average or even below
average in their ability to govern.
A third form of democracy, somewhat similar to
the way Greeks choose
their Senators, is the jury system. We trust juries to decide who goes
to prison and who goes free, and sometimes who lives and who dies.
Ideally, juries are also chosen by lottery, although this has been
modified to eliminate jurors who have conflicts of interest.
We propose juries, not to run trust
operations directly, but to chose
the most talented,most dedicated, and most ethical leaders, to
oversee those leaders, and to propose and adopt changes to governing
documents. Juries select representatives for routine decision-making,
are only called to deliberate on policy measures. Juries are far more
resistant to special-interest
campaigning, and the meddlesome have no greater chance to serve on
juries than anyone else. Of course, those who are concerned or
knowledgeable can testify to the juries.
Jury service would be entirely voluntary, and
jurors should be paid
enough that at least 50% of those invited volunteer to serve.
Small Investors Favored
In an normal corporation, board
members are elected on the
one share, one vote. A single shareholder or a small number of
shareholders who have over 50% of the shares have absolute power over
the corporation. In contrast, the land trust uses a jury system to
select board members. The trust invites shareholders to serve on
Shareholders Association juries
by lottery. While each shareholder's chances of serving on such a jury
is proportionate to his number of shares, even the largest shareholder
can only have one seat on a jury. This creates a balance between large
and small shareholders that prevents large shareholders from dominating
Also, while institutions (particularly
non-profits) are welcome to buy
shares, only real persons who own shares in their own names are invited
serve on shareholder juries.
Small Leaseholders Also Favored
Each leaseholder's chances of being
invited on to a jury is
also proportion to the rent paid for his leasehold or leaseholds.
Family owned corporations may designate a family member to be eligible
for jury service, but extended and publicly traded corporations are not
Occupant Juries and representatives
Matters that affect
all occupants are composed of both residential and employment-based
occupants. Matters that pertain to residential or employment-based
occupants alone can be decided by their representatives alone.
Innovated from Successful Precedents
We developed this model from other successful land trusts,
distressed municipalities that turned themselves around by taxing land
values, and even from shopping malls. In each case, we looked at the
shortcomings as well as the advantages and improved upon the models we
examined. We also have different goals from most trusts. Many trusts
wanted to create isolated enclaves of people with particular social
norms, to insulate life in the trust from life in the outside world,
and to benefit the residents of the trust without necessarily serving a
larger social purpose.
Other Land Trusts
started with the most successful land trust communities.
Each trust succeeded in some ways and failed in others, and we have
incorporated the successful attributes and addressed the causes of
failure. Specifically, we added measures to minimize the extent to
which the desirability of
the trust would drive poor people out, including measures to
continually acquire more land
so rich and poor alike could live within the trust.
village was built between the Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights
neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in 1931 by the Buhl Foundation, which was
founded by department-store owner Henry Buhl. It was based on the
economic principles of the famous American progressive Henry George, and the Garden Cities planning concepts of England's Ebeneezer Howard.
Chatham Village was "the first planned garden-homes urban community
built in America to be retained in a single ownership and managed as an
investment." It's intent was to show that high-quality affordable
housing could be made available to working-class citizens. Residents
did not purchase individual units, but memberships in the community,
which were fixed at a fairly modest (but not nominal) rate. They paid a
monthly fee that included their contribution to the "master mortgage,"
property taxes, school taxes, maintenance, property insurance, and
security. In the beginning, the Buhl Foundation owned and managed the community;
in 1960, these functions were assumed by a cooperative association,
Chatham Village Homes, Incorporated. It has been enormously successful
from the standpoint of the residents.`
Unfortunately, low rents didn't keep Chatham affordable.
Instead, it led residents to think of themselves as owners rather than
renters, and to demand payment for turning their living spaces over to
others. Today, it is run more like a conventional condominium complex,
with each resident owning the home within which he resides and getting
a windfall by selling it. Thus Chatham Village abandoned the economic
principles upon which it was founded. This has made it unaffordable to
the working-class residents for whom it had been intended, creating
what urban planning author Kenneth Kolson calls a "professional-class ghetto" in a working-class neighborhood. In 2005, units sold for $80,000 to over $200,000, on top of monthly fees of $350 - $700.
Our solution is to charge market rents and then use a portion of the
rents to rebate the most regressive taxes - taxes that would be more
burdensome to lower-income residents.
problem with Chatham Village is that it's design is insular, with
houses facing into courtyards and the backs of the houses facing the
rest of the neighborhood. This design brought residents within the
village into very close contact with one another, while isolating them
the rest of the neighborhood, much as gated
communities do today. Planning commentator Jane Jacobs argued that this
required that "the residents be similar to one another in
their standards, interests and backgrounds," and that they "set themselves apart
from the different people in the surrounding city." She noted in 1961
that one of the internal housing courts contained "four lawyers, two
doctors, two engineers, a dentist, a salesman, a banker, a railroad
executive [and] a planning executive." These professional-class
standards have created a beautiful environment,
with restrictive rules, but but too sterile for the intended working-class inhabitants.
Toys must be removed from the lawns by 5 PM, and cooking grills removed
as soon as they cool.
Also, the need for well planned communities is not as great as it was
in 1931. Today, so many new communities are planned that, if anything,
there is a shortage of urban communities where each landholder can
build to his individual tastes. We propose to lease individual lots
within the trust when that is practicable, and to encourage diversity
through a minimum of zoning restrictions. Only multi-building
developers would have to have their plans approved by the trust.
While it is not perfect, our favorite land trust example is
Arden, Delaware. Conceptually, it is the closest to our proposal.
In 1900, sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price started this community in northern Delaware with funding provided by soap magnate Joseph Fels.
All three were advocates of Henry George's proposal that land rents,
rather than taxes, should pay for all public services. The Arden Single
Tax Corporation paid all property taxes and funded all amenities from
lease rents. Because Arden is a municipality as well as a land trust,
it has the flexibility to operate under either municipal law or
landlord-tenant law as the situation warrants.
While Chatham Village was thoroughly planned, with all the housing
built by the trust, Arden planned only the roads and infrastructure,
set aside common lands, and provided some community amenities. Arden
homes are famous for their individuality, and Arden itself is famous
for its lack of regulations and its relaxed, "disheveled" style. While
Chatham Village is known to be closed and inward-looking, Arden's
reputation is one of eagerly interacting with outsiders. Non-residents
get to join various gilds and use facilities on the same terms as
residents. Arden puts no restrictions on who may join, and has few
restrictions on yard maintenance, etc. The Arden School was the first
integrated school in Delaware, and it
started off housing relatively poor people and gradually became more
affluent without pushing earlier residents out. Its motto is "You are
There is also a great tradition of community spirit in Arden, and a
high concentration of artists. This tone was set by Stephens and Price,
who promulgated a high regard for art and culture, particularly
traditional English culture. A modern land trust might promote art and
culture in a more diverse way, but the we agree that an appreciation of
art and culture makes communities more dynamic.
corporate charter requires that it collect the full market rent on
land. However, a Delaware court has ruled that, because there are no
specified recipients of the rent, nobody has legal standing to demand
full collection. As in Chatham Village, the uncollected rent is
capitalized into the price. For several decades, a
lease in Arden has been worth more than a clear deed in the communities
surrounding Arden. While poorer
residents have been able to stay, one now has to be fairly affluent to
there. Arden also
adopted zoning laws to prevent higher-density buildings. As a result,
it attracted richer people rather than more people.
Our trust gives shareholders legal standing to demand that the full
rent be collected, ensuring that more taxes can be rebated for the
working poor, and that more land can be acquired to enable
people to move in without pushing other people out. We would also hope
for more open zoning, to allow for small businesses and for higher
density, which would allow more people to come in without pushing
Endorsements from economists
The trust incentive system has been proven, both by taxing
jurisdictions that taxed land values instead of buildings, wages,
business activities, etc., and by actual trusts, a number of which were
formed at the turn of the last century. The essential concept dates all
the way back to John Locke, who noted that all taxes come out of land
rent anyhow, and that other taxes are so destructive that it is better,
even for the landowners, to pay the taxes directly than to try to make
their tenants pay:
It is in vain, in a country whose great fund is land,
hope to lay
the publick charge of the government on any thing else; there at last
it will terminate. The merchant (do what you can) will not bear it, the
labourer cannot, and therefore the landholder must; and whether he were
best to do it, by laying it directly where it will at last settle, or
by letting it come to him by the sinking of his rents, which when they
are once fallen, every one knows are not easily raised again, let him
- John Locke "Some
Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and
Raising the Value of Money."
economists and economic philosophers have also endorsed raising public
revenue from land values throughout history, from classical liberals
like the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, William Penn, Ben Franklin, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine, to
modern economists including Nobel Laureates James Buchanan, Milton
Friedman, Franco Modigliani, Paul A. Samuelson, Herbert
A. Simon, Robert M. Solow, Joseph Stiglitz, James Tobin and William
Jurisdictions using land value tax
To be completed: