Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Scotland: How to raise money from our wealth of land: "The position is as illogical as it is indefensible yet so thoroughly have we been brainwashed into believing that land must not be taxed that in all the proposed changes in local revenue raising there is never a mention of taxing the land rather than the property erected on it or the individual’s earnings. Yet such a tax is neither without precedent nor difficult to implement.

"Many cities, states and countries base local revenue wholly or partly on land tax. Their systems are based on surveys of value and ownership but in the opinion of professionals Scotland’s land is already so well catalogued that, apart from some uncertainty over a few titles, which sequestration for non- a full survey would not be required and a system using capital values or assessed rentals could be readily developed."

"Surely a system robustly founded on the tangible, physical certainty of land, fairer and more broadly based than the present mess and with the advantages that it encourages utilisation of the land up to at least its taxable level while discouraging disuse and hoarding, must be attractive to politicians? Land value tax has impeccable socialist credentials having been adopted as policy by the Scottish Labour Party in June 1888. So why is it being studiously ignored by the Scottish Executive?"

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