tithe zimbabwe vacant plots connecticut

Connecticut bill takes aim at vacant lots
land-value tax land rent miami

City of Harare to tax land, not buildings

Some leaders have seen the light without even first feeling the heat. We trim, blend, and append one 2004 and four 2011 articles from: (1) Religion & Liberty, V. 14, N. 4, 2004 July and August (of Acton Institute) on tithes by John Kelly; (2) The Herald (published by the government of Zimbabwe), Mar 1, on Harare by Takunda Maodza; (3) CTMirror.org, Mar 9, on Connecticut by Keith M. Phaneuf; (4) AdelaideNow Advertiser, Mar 16, on common ground by Russell Emmerson; and (5) New York Times, Mar 16, on upping taxes by Lizette Alvarez.

by J. Kelly, by T. Maodza, by K. Phaneuf, by R. Emmerson, and by L. Alvarez

Land will not be sold absolutely, For the land belongs to Me, And you are only strangers and guests of mine. —Leviticus 25:23

All tithes on land, levied on the produce of the soil or on the fruit of trees, belong to Yahweh. —Leviticus 27:30

Typically, we view the tithe as an income tax. Nevertheless, that is not how the scripture describes it. In the Old Testament sense, in the sense of the Land Law, in the sense of the Pentateuch, that ten percent refers only to the land's agricultural productivity. God's land was not given to the Israelites outright; he allowed them to use it. Their “user fee” was this ten percent-- the tithe.

Since religious needs were covered with the first tenth of the tithe, the residual covered those needs we would call civil or governmental today. God did not differentiate between religious and secular. In the kingdom of God, all community needs were sacred.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Whether godly or not, one city is switching to collecting that tithe.

Harare plot owners in each suburb now pay the same rates regardless of whether they have a house on the stand or if it is vacant. Council has switched its residential rating system from one of charging separate rates for land and improvements, to one of rates on the land only.

HCC revenue collection manager Mr Regis Makwembere said, "We no longer consider improvements on the property. We only now go by land value and the zone in which the property exists."

The council has set the new land rate in a way that most ordinary people, those who own a typical house on an ordinary stand for their type of suburb, will pay the same or a little less under the new system.

Owners of vacant plots will pay a lot more than they are at the moment.

In fact, council expects to collect around US$12 million a month now, up from the present US$8 million in residential rates. And almost all that extra will come from owners of vacant land and from land speculators.

No one with a single stand will pay more than US$30 a month, and most in the low-density areas will pay U$16 to US$26 a month for each stand, depending on the suburb.

Residents of high-density suburbs, who have always in effect been taxed on land rather than improvements, see their rates remain at US$4 or US$5 a month.

Flats will remain on the present valuation system and flat owners will continue paying what they pay now. The new rating system will not affect commercial and industrial properties.

Some residents were no longer informing council of improvements made on their properties to evade paying high rates.

Mr Makwembere said taxing land only was designed to encourage people to develop land fully or sell it to those who will.

Harare needs to boost its densities as the Master Plan in the 1980s for the city and its satellites recommended so strongly.

He warned council would take action against residents who fail to pay rates under the new system. "We are going to follow up and auction the land if they do not pay.”

The migration from land and improvements valuations to land only rates, with valuations done by zoning, was done in terms of the Urban Councils Act chapter 252.

To see the whole article, click here

JJS: While an African city does what works, an American state at least moves toward catching up.

Three Connecticut communities would have new leverage to press owners of blighted commercial sites to redevelop or sell their property under legislation.

The land valuation measure would allow participating communities to modify how municipal taxes are levied on commercial properties in targeted zones.

In particular, communities could levy a higher rate on a parcel of land to reflect its potential commercial value. If the parcel contains buildings, the bill allows local officials to affix a higher tax rate on the land than on the structures.

The goal, Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said is to stem what he fears is a growing problem of property owners allowing valuable commercial parcels to remain vacant.

The legislature enacted a pilot program two years ago that would have allowed New London to set a land-value tax rate starting in 2010. But the southeastern Connecticut community opted not to implement it after a local study committee concluded that "the city has too many unique parcels and businesses" and that existing private, vacant commercial parcels that were considered "buildable" were "too small and too few in numbers for the committee to... justify changing the tax structure."

Sen. Stephen T. Cassano, D-Manchester and co-chairman of the Planning and Development Committee, said he expects a land value pilot measure to be approved by his panel later this month, though he said its final form still is being negotiated.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Whether taxing private land or leasing public land, it’s pretty similar.

Homebuyers struggling to get into the market could get a "soft entry" of buying their first home. Adelaide-based credit union Community CPS wants to copy a Canberra scheme that could save borrowers more than $550 on monthly loan repayments and cut their upfront deposit.

The Canberra land rent scheme lets borrowers take out a loan for a house while the ACT government holds on to the land, charging annual rent of up to 4 per cent of the land value.

The scheme would offer an innovative solution to problems of housing affordability by saving up-front costs and deposits.

Playford Council was inundated with calls in 2007 after it offered a shared equity scheme for 11 homes.

Such programs raised questions about who should receive land values under the scheme.

To see the whole article, click here

JJS: The community could collect the annual rental values for all land then use the funds to pay residents a dividend. No matter how high the value of a location would rise, a resident getting a “rent” dividend would be able to afford it. And it’s fair, since society generates the value of land, anyway.

And government would not anger residents o much they’d oppose the tax or rent or land dues.

Mayor Carlos Alvarez of Miami-Dade County was removed in a recall election as voters punished him for raising property taxes and increasing the salaries of his closest aides.

Last year, he pushed through a budget that raised property taxes for 40% of homeowners. At the height of the recession most county workers are getting raises.

Voters favored removing the mayor by 885 to 12%. The county commission has 30 days from the election's certification to appoint a new mayor or call a special election that would have to be held within 45 days.

To see the whole article, click here


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Also see:

Resource Rights and Human Rights

Most young do not know neighbors

In New Zealand, Australia, and Canada …

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