Monday, March 18, 2013

When the Henry George club ran Pittsburgh - redux

OK...  so the WSJ today has this huge shout out to the Henrgy George vision of land tax: It's a Lonely Quest for Land-Tax Fans, But, by George, They Press On.  I'm sure the Georgists are happy, even if the actual facts in the article are a bit warped.

So the obligatory shout out to Pittsburgh in the WSJ article today:  
Mr. Hayllar was also once finance director in Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary of having a George-centered system that applies a higher tax rate to the land.
Kind of lost in translation is that the City of Pittsburgh's tiered tax went away with the mass reassessment back in 2001. What's a decade when you are talking about a century I guess? So no celebrating except from those who oppose the whole concept. Of note also Hayllar was the city's finance guy for years before moving east. 

How big a deal was Henry George here?  Mentioned here in the past is that some described the Henry George club as having once run Pittsburgh.

Neogeorgism is neither really as dead as people think, nor as the WSJ article implied. A lot of new ideas in public finance are Georgist in disguise. Out in Philadelphia many have attributed the revivial of city living to the city's broad tax abatement. At the end of the day it captures a lot of how a single tax would work. I know some think we have the same tax abatement here, but it just isn't the same thing. I once argued we should really emulate Philadelphia's tax abatement.  Probably didn't come up at the mayoral debate over the weekend did it?  Point if anyone really gets Henry George mentioned at any future mayoral debate.

But some earned pseudo-media.  It turns out Pittsburgh is going to host the 2013 Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations in Pittsburgh between August 6-10, 2013.  Save the date! Tell them you heard it here first.


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