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Milwaukeee and LVT (Was Re: What next?)

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  • Joshua Vincent
    Re: What next?I ve been CC ed on this, so I assume my input is desired. The foundation I direct has been getting cities to adopt LVT where it is appropriate to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2006
      Re: What next?
      I've been CC'ed on this, so I assume my input is desired.
      The foundation I direct has been getting cities to adopt LVT where it is appropriate to do so. Milwaukee is a natural for LVT from the evidence: population loss, land vacancy, absentee landlordism, etc.
      There is a checklist I've discovered for going from education to acceptance to implementation. It is not a long one:
      1. Meetings (already started by Mr. Smith and Mr. Wetzel) to introduce a few people to the idea.  they will then open doors to the greater Milwaukee community.
      2. Exploration of the legal possibilities of LVT.  We're told that Wisconsin is not constitutionally friendly to the concept because of the strict tax provisions.  To that, I'd say that the Pennsylvania Constitution seems unfriendly as well, and yet we have 21 jurisdictions using it.  If the zeitgeist wants LVT, it shall have LVT.  So, a friendly legislator can:
      a. Ask the Attorney-General for an opinion (we are doing this now in Ohio, and did so in Virginia and Maryland)
      b. Submit legislation asking for a legislative study of LVT.
      3.  Do the research on LVT for each property in Milwaukee, so that we may see the impact.  I'd suggest that the study be a traditional policy study for the wonks, but there be a parallel track such as www.MarylandLandTax.org which exists so that citizens can see how their house, their block or their neighborhood will fare under LVT.  It has helped vault us into the tax and urban policy debate quickly and rather inexpensively.
      4. Ask the citizens/activists to speak to their elected leaders.  A good-government website. www.hallwatch.org here in Philadelphia has been useful in this regard.  There is a section on LVT, and it has helped us get (at one point) thousands of people to City Hall.  We didn't win, but I believe we forced the idea of good valuations/assessments (happening now) and several candidates for Mayor now support LVT.
      5. Pass the annual budget ordinance with two rates on land and buildings instead of one!
      I volunteer the services of CSE in this effort.
      Joshua Vincent, Director
      Center for the Study of Economics
      1518 Walnut Street, Suite 604
      Philadelphia, Pa 19102 USA
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 7:57 PM
      Subject: Re: What next?


      THE Henry George flame is already licking the heels of the Milwaukee establishment!

      A fantastic programme Tom!

      Anyone care to help with funds, materials and experience?
      Best Wishes,

      Dave Wetzel
      Vice-Chair TfL
      Tel: 020 7126 4200
      Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

      -----Original Message-----
      From: email@... <email@...>
      To: William Sell <county@...>
      CC: jjs@... <jjs@...>; Wetzel Dave <Davewetzel@...>
      Sent: Tue Jul 25 23:27:00 2006
      Subject: What next?


      Here's an idea to follow-up the visit of Dave and Jeff.  It's just one of many steps that can be taken, but it's one I have the most interest in at the moment.

      I want to help generate correspondence between those of us who are interested in considering the land value tax further and those qualified academics at local universities who would be willing to talk about it.  The goal of the discussion would be to learn more about the arguments for and against the LVT from the perspective of several academic disciplines, using a principled method of discussion in order to maintain a level playing field and standards of fair argument, but hopefully this should be pretty easy if we do it in a leisurely, friendly spirit.  Here's one little book that contains such a method:    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0324275005/sr=8-1/qid=1153865228/ref=sr_1_1/104-4968049-5693502?ie=UTF8  (or similarly, http://wwwamazon.com/gp/product/0534584292/sr=1-2/qid=1153865298/ref=sr_1_2/104-4968049-5693502?ie=UTF8&s=books)

      I want to do a careful job of summarizing the major and minor arguments for and against LVT and take as much time and as many exchanges as necessary to get all the thoughts on paper in a summarized form.  In addition, I want to follow-up on facts, theories, and elements of each argument, to point out flaws and then ask for the originator's help to "repair" the arguments to make them as strong as possible. In the end, a reader of the summary can make up their own mind based on the most exhaustive locally-generated discussion of the issue.

      At the same time this discussion is going on, I also recommend a similar discussion with local residents, to tease out the questions and objections they have and to record what they find agreeable and attractive about LVT.

      These discussions could provide the basis for a Milwaukee-focused website to summarize the two sets of discussions.  Further discussions with other "stakeholders" could be held and posted, so eventually there is a full record of what different parts of the community think on the issue.

      Finally, as a way of publicizing the website and to quantify the community support for LVT we could create a petition with two or three levels of agreement, so an individual could register whether they think LVT at least merits serious consideration, whether they basically agree with it, or whether they fully agree with it and want it NOW.  As you probably know, we only need to acquire the signatures of 15% of the number of people who voted in the last local election, in order to force the Common Council to take up the issue.

      Again, this is just one of several approaches to take.  By having these arguments catalogued at an early stage, we can provide them to the public later, when the issue becomes even more publicized.  That level of publicity usually is attended by incomplete, unfair, emotional, or irrational accusations, misrepresentations, and arguments.  We can anticipate and deal with most of them beforehand.

      I think using a wiki page lends itself well to listing and editing the arguments.

      What do you think?


      > -------- Original Message --------
      > Subject: join us to welcome our guests
      > From: William Sell <county@...>
      > Date: Sat, July 22, 2006 8:00 pm
      > To: landvaluetaxation@...
      >  Dear Neighbors

      >  Our two guests arrive tomorrow.   I will give them a quick tour of some pertinent sites, and bring them to Trocadero for a bite to eat.

      >  Please Welcome, Jeffery Smith and Dave Wetzel. Please meet our guests for some Milwaukee gemuetlichheit
      >  Trocadero's, Sunday July 23, about 7 pm.
      >  Troc is saving us space, but PLEASE RSVP at 272-3787 (yes, no, maybe) to help them count

      >  (dutch treat; treat the guests)  RSVP 272-3787 (yes, no, maybe) we're winging it and need a count. 


      >  Radical Tax Reform for Fairness and Sustainable Development
      >  London and Portland Trailblazers to Speak
      >  _______________________________________________________
      >  Main Event
      >  Monday, July 24th at 6 pm in the Bay View Library, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

      >  Update

      >  Today, I was reading Mason Gaffney's piece "How To Revive A Dying City"

      >  This essay speaks about Milwaukee and the transition from Mayor Zeidler to Mayor Maier. I am so totally excited about these two advocates coming to our town, on their dime. What they are thinking has everything to do with Milwaukee--today, and how the retro style property tax we use is dragging us down. If you're bored, I will buy the beer.

      >  Please make them welcome.
      >  Bill

      >  PS Shepherd Express has an email interview with Dave Wetzel.

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