|A tax takes from a person's pocket money that bears no real relationship to the benefits he receives from the community. Against that, the rental value of land calls on a person to pay to the community the full rental equivalent of the special economic advantage he derives from holding exclusive possession of a piece of land. Under our present unfair system of taxation, farmers pay the same indirect taxation as multi-millionaires like Peter Abeles, Rupert Murdoch, Alan Bond and Kerry Packer. Indeed, they pay a higher proportion of their earnings in income tax than is paid by high flying corporate companies which are often allowed to avoid income tax altogether by basing their head offices in off-shore tax havens. "Why is it that while real wages are falling, the incomes of senior executives, land speculators, and gamblers on the Stock Exchanges are continually rising to record levels?" -- Clyde Cameron, A.O., Australian Federal Minister 1972-75|
MR. S.G. (GRAHAM) HART, FIPA.
Hon. Secretary, Georgist Education Association
THE HON. CLYDE R. CAMERON, A.O.
Australian Minister for Labour (1972-1975)
MR MORRIS WILLIAMS
Victorian Liberal MLA 1973-1988, President Henry George Foundation (Australia)
MR GRAEME MAJOR B.Sc.(Hons.), Dip. Ed., M.App. Sc., A.Mus.A
President, Georgist Education Association
Deputy Mayor City of Wanneroo
ISBN 1 875283 02 1; Date of Printing: July 1989
"REVENUE THAT IS NOT A TAX"
by The Hon. Clyde R. Cameron, A.O.
This event gives me the distinction of being the only person who has had the unique honour of being chosen to officiate at the Opening Ceremonies of Georgist premises in three States.
On 22 September 1972, I opened the new Victorian Headquarters of the Henry George League at 31 Hardware Street in Melbourne. I opened the South Australian Headquarters of the Henry George League at 9 Rosemont Street, Norwood, on 13 May 1984; that day being the 100th Anniversary of the first meeting ever held by Single Taxers in the State of South Australia.
And, this evening, which is in the year of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry George in Philadelphia on 2 September 1839, I have been chosen to officially open the new premises of the Georgist Education Association of Western Australia.
Whether the year chosen for this historic event has been by coincidence or design, it nonetheless serves to remind us of the birth date of one of the greatest political scientists the world have ever known.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the followers of George's philosophy from all around the world will this year assemble in the city of Philadelphia to take part in a ceremony to honour the memory of that great man.
Henry George's "Progress & Poverty" was the Labor reformer's Bible for more than sixty years. It became the world's best seller in the field of political science and economic reform.
But before proceeding any further, I pay tribute to the energy and drive of our Executive Officer, Mr. Ian Armstrong, whose enthusiasm has so quickened interest in the teachings of Henry George.
However, the inspiration and fuel behind Mr. Armstrong's quite remarkable achievement is Mr. S.G. (Graham) Hart, the Hon. Secretary of our Association. Graham Hart has now held the fort for more years than I can remember. He has made enormous personal and financial sacrifices for a cause he has the intelligence to recognise as the only remedy for a world that is slowly dying from the disease of greed, social injustice, bribery and corruption.
I first learned of Graham Hart's commitment to Georgist principles when I read his excellent 1971 treatise, Land Rent Revenue in Lieu of Taxes. I regard this booklet as required reading for those who wish to halt our present lurch towards the status of a Banana Republic.
Speaking of the "majority", brings me to making the observation that it is pleasing to note that Georgists accept as a political reality that the big battalions on election day are those who have always voted Labor. They are the "natural" allies of Georgists because they have most to gain from a return to Labor's former commitment to collect the rental value of land.
Many of the traditional Labor supporters are disillusioned with the policies of the Hawke Government. They are worried by the "rich mates" syndrome that appears to have won more from Labor than it ever got from the Liberals.
In all the years the Liberals were in office they never dared to introduce Labor's dividend imputation scheme under which income received from fully franked dividends are made free of income tax and company tax is reduced to an all-time low of only 39 cents in the dollar. A Liberal Government will certainly continue this aspect of Labor's "reform" to allow John Elliot and his rich mates to receive dividends that could reach as much as $2,000 a day free of taxation.
The Liberals will be quite happy to live with Labor's decisions to have a deregulated banking system, a floating dollar manipulated by foreign currency speculators and a near-record rate of interest.
The Liberals will still allow take-overs to be financed by foreign borrowings with interest payments eating into our balance of payments and pushing up our foreign debt.
How can any fair-minded person justify a system of taxation which currently compels a working man with say, three dependants, and a taxable income of only $118 a week to pay income tax at the rate of 24 cents in every dollar he earns above that miserable $118 a week; and, up to 49 cents in the dollar as his income reaches higher levels?The ordinary taxpayer who sells his mental or manual labour is made to pay his tax at his employer's pay office. He has no way of avoiding his tax obligations. But the Millionaire is always able to employ slick lawyers and accountants to tell him how to avoid his proper share of taxation.
How is it that the Bond Corporation, which has just reported a half-yearly profit of $133.million will pay no taxation at all for that period?
Why is it that while real wages are falling, the incomes of senior executives, land speculators, and gamblers on the Stock Exchanges are continually rising to record levels?
Why is it that in one of the world's richest countries per head of population, Australia now has more than 600,000 of its able-bodied men and women out of work?
Why is it that 2.3 million of our entire population are now living below the poverty level while a handful of our millionaires ride around the country in gold-plated Rolls Royce motor cars, can afford to pay up to $80.million for a single painting and purchase multi-million dollar mansions on the other side of the planet?
Why, indeed, is it that the rich are getting richer while the poor are growing in number and getting poorer?
The answer to all these and other questions of concern, lies in the fact that we have rejected the only remedy that will cure a disease that is causing progress and poverty to be accepted as natural partners.
Regrettably, leaders of the A.L.P. seem to have forgotten that right from the foundation of their Party in 1891, and up
o the year 1961, a fundamental plank of Labor's Platform called for a tax on the unimproved value of land.
There was only one flaw in that 70-year old plank of Labor's policy: That was the Party's action in following Henry George's penchant for describing rent as a "tax" But rent is not a tax!
The difference between the two terms lies in the fact that a tax takes from a person's pocket money that bears no real relationship to the benefits he receives from the community. Against that, the rental value of land calls on a person to pay to the community the full rental equivalent of the special economic advantage he derives from holding exclusive possession of a particular piece of land.
Rent, I repeat, is not a tax. It is merely giving to the community a rental equivalent of the special advantage of being allowed to hold the exclusive possession of a piece of land which due to its location or productivity, gives its possessor an advantage others don't enjoy. So, by definition, a piece of commercial land in the heart of the busiest part of a big city is always worth more to the possessor than the same area in the suburbs or in the centre of a small country town.
By the same rule, a very fertile area of land in a high rainfall area, and close to transport and a ready market, must give its possessor a decided advantage over his competitor farming poorer land in a drought afflicted area far removed from the market place.
|OBJECTIVES: Social Justice, Land Rights for All, Collection of Site Revenue and Resource Rentals, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development, Decentralisation, Opposition to Anti-Enterprise Taxes and Monopolies, Proportional Representation, Freedom from unfair sex and other unfair discrimination, Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Responsible Government Expenditure, Exclusive Land Occupation, Collection of Misappropriated "Economic Rent," Natural Public Revenue, Abolition of Involuntary Unemployment, Wealth Producers to keep Full Value of their Production and Enterprise, Reducing Speculation.|
The rental value of a 500 acre farming property in the best part of the State would, in fact, have less than one per cent of the rental value of even 500 square metres of land in the busiest part of the Central Business District of our Capital Cities.
Under the Georgist method of raising revenue, that same farmer would pay no rent on the value of his house, his fencing, machinery or other improvements. In fact, in every case, a person's rent would never apply to the value of buildings or other forms of improvements on his piece of land.
In the case of farmers on very large holdings in the poorer areas of the State, the unimproved value of their land would be even less than that paid by their counterparts on say, 500 acres of rich land in a good rainfall area.
Georgists don't advocate or support the confiscation of property held in fee simple, a term which translated from its ancient derivation means land being held as a "tenant of the Crown". Land is never completely alienated from the Crown under British constitutional law. It carries the right of inheritance and transfer. That aspect of the Common Law is not affected by collecting its rental value for community purposes. Land values rental would be a welcome relief from the present crippling effects of direct and indirect taxation.
In a radio broadcast from Station 5KA on 7 February 1958, i.e., 31 years ago, I explained what is meant by the term "unimproved value". I said:
'The value of buildings and other improvements on a piece of land are rightfully the property of the person who provides them. But the value of the land itself, that is the land exclusive of improvements is not created by its owner. It is created by the community through its demand for a particular piece of land. That demand may spring from the fact that the land is more fertile than elsewhere, or that it enjoys a better rainfall. On the other hand, its value may be due to locality.
That is to say, a business site in a busy city street is worth more than one situated in the outer suburbs because its locality brings it in contact with more people and that means more business. But whatever its value, it is a value that is created by the general public and not by the individual who holds its title.'
A.L.P. SECRETLY BURIED PLANK
We have to thank the Graham Harts of this world for having preserved the truths taught by Henry George long after the A.L.P had secretly buried the most fundamental revenue plank of its Platform.
Without the dedication and determination of men and women who hold the views so dear to Mr. Hart, the basically correct principle of collecting the community-created rent of land for meeting the cost of government would have been dead and buried years ago.
The principle would have been buried because the rich minority which controls the media has always used its monopoly to stifle the Georgists case for social and economic justice.
Even though the chief beneficiaries of having a government that will collect the rental value of land in lieu of indirect taxation and heavy income taxes don't understand its advantages, the useless non-producing land speculators and their like, on the other hand, do understand what they will lose when such a system is introduced.
This phenomenon is due to the fact that most of those whose pockets have been ravished by sales tax, excise duties and excessive income tax are too brainwashed by the monopoly-controlled media to see the difference between government theft called "taxation", and the collection of community-created land values called "rent".
Georgists have to explain to the seven million men and women who make up our workforce that if they forced their politicians to collect the rental value of land now being misappropriated by private individuals, income tax could be cut by billions of dollars. And, with the arrest of those silent and unseen thieves who operate under the aliases of "excise duty" and "sales tax", the whole population would save many more billions of dollars in that area.
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