Land tax would be fair

IF THE main tax was on land, the tax-dodging multi-millionaires in your front-page report (14/6) would not have been able to avoid paying their share.

  Land tax should rise steeply on the principle that the landowner enjoys the privilege of peaceful possession on which to earn a living or reside and gains all the advantages that nature and the community provides.

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN FRIDAY JUNE 16 2000     17
letters@wanews.com.au
"Land tax would be fair"
Letter to editor, from John Massam, Greenwood

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  Other taxes ought to be greatly reduced on the principle that anyone who uses his brains or muscles to produce goods and services ought to keep as much of the worth of that work as society can arrange.

  Instead of following these simple rules, the compliant politicians have been going in the opposite direction -- lowering land tax and imposing the most intrusive tax of all, the GST [Goods and Services Tax].

  Politicians preach the virtues of the level playing field, while all around them seeing that the tax-free incomes give the super-rich and the multinationals the ability to compete unfairly and crush the small professionals and traders.

JOHN MASSAM, Greenwood.

-- The West Australian, Friday June 16, 2000, p 17


THE WEST AUSTRALIAN FRIDAY JUNE 23 2000       19

  I
DISAGREE
Letter to editor, from Raymond Love, Lake Clifton
Rural people could not afford exhorbitant taxes

JOHN MASSAM (Land tax would be fair, Letters, 16/6), your idea of a land tax could not be more unfair. You say: "Other taxes ought to be greatly reduced on the principle that anyone who uses his brains or muscles to produce goods or services ought to keep as much of the worth of that work as society can arrange."

  I take it you think farmers don't use their brains or muscles.  Farming and mining are the backbone of this State and whether you believe it or not, there aren't many multi-millionaire farmers.

  They, like many others, work hard to make a living.  They manage to keep faith in their land and survive on little when drought and severe frosts (which can destroy big portions of their crops) hit.

  If Australia was to charge a land tax, we'd no doubt end up with a higher unemplyment rate after people living in rural areas moved to the city trying to find a job, realising they could not afford to pay those exhorbitant land taxes.

RAYMOND LOVE, Lake Clifton.

-- The West Australian, Friday June 23, 2000, p 19


  This letter was answered promptly, and the reply, published on June 28 under the heading "A land tax would catch the super-rich," commenced with these lines:

ABOLISHING all taxes except land tax would not chase farmers off the land, as Raymond Love implied (Letters, 23/6).
  The heaviest burden under a land-charging system would fall on St Georges Terrace, Peppermint Grove and similar high-priced land.
  These owners (who include super-rich people using every lawyer's trick to avoid tax) could not shift their land overseas in the way they shift profits.  [Please click to read all of John Massam's reply.]

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