By GRAHAM HART, former Honorary Secretary

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1. The unimproved site rental value of land (economic rent) should be the main source of public revenue.
This has the effect of stimulating land use, but non-renewable resources should be conserved to the greatest extent possible. However, the value of deeply-located resources, such as precious metals and stones etc., cannot be known accurately until a survey is made.

2. A more practical method of protecting the people's equity in non-renewable resources is as follows:-
(a) Competitively-assessed royalties should be charged for the limited right of exploitation of non-renewable resources.
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(b) Tenders should be called for the drilling and coring of prescribed areas, with a view to valuing the mineral or other wealth whether deeply located or close to the surface.

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(3. PUBLIC REVENUE article, continued)

(c) Based on this information tenders should be called for the limited right of exploitation, the tenderers being required to state how much per unit they would pay the government.
(d) In the event that the lowest tenderer is not the present owner, it should also be stated what they are prepared to pay for present buildings and equipment.

3. All landholders should have the right to exploit the renewable resources such as timber and vegetation etc. on their holdings.
In the case of non-alienated land, there is considereable potential wealth in timber and in marine life, etc. The conservation and regeneration of this wealth must be protected.
When necessary, public tenders should be called for the limited right of exploitation and licences issued accordingly.

4. The installation of reticulated services for water, gas, electricity and telephone services create land values, and the capital costs are paid with economic rent.
The disposal of sewage and stormwater also create land value, as do postal and telegraphic facilities, etc.
The operational costs should be paid for by consumption or usage charges. This would prevent waste which would occur if the services were entirely free. Such charges should be as low as possible, provided the objective of eliminating waste is achieved.

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5. The cost of raising public revenue by the proposed methods would be infinitesimal, compared with the cost of levying and collecting up to sixty (60) different taxes and charges (as we try to do in Australia at present). In any event, it is not possible to collect the total of these 60 taxes etc., but their imposition encourages practices which are illegal. However, these illegal practices may not really be dishonest, because taxation itself is theft!
Economic rent is easy to assess and collect, and is impossible to evade
There are no problems in charging for non-renewable or renewable resources, or for reticulated services.
The greatest benefit is that people are only charged for the advantages which attach to their holdings, etc., if any, or for what they offer to pay as tendered for services they control the use of.
All such charges are entirely just and practicable, and they encourage the most efficient use of land and other natural resources.

(To be continued)

Other Australian and New Zealand reformers you could contact

Henry George Homepage (Australia), NSW
Universal Basic Income,NZ
Helen's Place homepage,NZ
EarthSharing, Victoria


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Georgists worldwide invite you to work towards a Pattern for a Better World, and read the first part, Georgist Policy.   (If you click the previous underlined words you will return to No 1 in this series.)   You have read (we hope) [ 2. The True Functions of Government ], and this section, 3. Public Revenue.   The following sections are: [ 4. Taxation & Monopoly ], [ 5. Restriction of Government Functions ], [6. A Private Banking System ], [ 7. Democratic Elections ], [ 8. Phasing in Over a Period ].


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This page typed 21 Oct 96, last revised on 20 Sep 05

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