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My Presentation to the New York Trilevel Task Force on Jobs

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Rights to the Products of Earth for All, and Rights to the Products of Labor for Each.

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Tax what you Burn, not what you Earn.

Presentation to the Trilevel Joint Legislative Task Force

Greetings, members of the distinguished Trilevel Task Force. As president of the local chapter of the north American Geoist organization, Common Ground-NYC, I would like to speak to you today about the job-stimulating effects of the Land Value Tax (LVT).

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The LVT would shift taxes from wages, sales, and capital, onto natural resources (referred to as Land in classical economics). While taxes on wages, sales, and capital (real capital, like factories, buildings and cars etc.) discourages the production of all of these, taxes on Land actually encourages the use of new Land because they force landowners to either develop the land or to sell it to someone who can, in order to pay the LVT. According to Common Ground's research, there are over 22 square miles of vacant land citywide. This land isn't being used for affordable housing or for new businesses that can boost the city's revenues. By simplifying the tax system to the LVT, you also reduce company overhead and remove the incentive for lobbyists to inundate politicians looking for tax breaks and subsidies. More production and less corruption: a winning combination anywhere.

238 peer-reviewed studies [1] show the efficacy of the LVT. They are proof that the LVT always works if proper assessments are made and the LVT is applied uniformly to all land, regardless of what is built upon it. The opportunities for job creation this simple but profound change in the tax code would make are time-tested and dramatic. Many of our existing buildings, like the Empire State Building, were built at a time when we had something much closer to a Land Value Tax than we have today. We can return to that productive time.

I would also like to talk about the possibility of creating a State Bank, like North Dakota has had since 1919.

From the Bank of North Dakota's (BND) website: " All state funds and funds of state institutions are deposited with Bank of North Dakota, as required by law ." [2] These monies are loaned through a network of community banks in a harmonious relationship that benefits both the banks and the citizens of North Dakota. The BND sailed through the crisis of the last couple of years with a profit, unlike so many other larger banks, which had to be bailed out. [3]

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New York State could also establish a bank that would extend loans to small businesses and individuals
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to create new opportunities and recreate a competitive credit environment. New York has ample "seed" money to fund a State Bank from abundant reserves in State and municipal agencies, variously estimated to total nearly half a trillion dollars. The introduction to the state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 2009
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cites a budget deficit of $8 billion. However, in the same report, there are net Fiduciary assets, worth $111 billion (pg. 42)
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. Alarmingly, the loss from equity and bond investments, and management fees, totals $40 Billion, (pg 84), a figure over 4 times greater than our budget gap! For the privilege of mismanaging the people's investments, the state paid a whopping $773 million administration cost - none of which went to our citizens (pg. 43).

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The state has thousands of various government CAFRs with investments like this. What the citizens of New York need is a comprehensive and independent accounting - and analysis - of how to maximize these funds for the public benefit.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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