Flint Mayor for the Property Tax Shift
Ron Paul Wins Big in Maine and Nevada
The one candidate for president of the US who’d really shake up taxes and subsidies gets treated unfairly while one mayor who’d do the same locally gets her voice heard. We trim, blend, and append two 2012 articles from (1) Christian Science Monitor, May 7, on Paul by Peter Grier, and (2) Bridge (Michigan), May 8, on local policy by D. Walling (Flint mayor).
by Peter Grier and by Dayne Walling
Why Ron Paul's big wins in Maine and Nevada matter
Ron Paul scored big victories at the Maine and Nevada Republican Party conventions on Sunday. In both states his forces won the majority of delegates to this summer's national GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.
Romney narrowly won Maine’s caucus straw poll earlier this year. But that was a nonbinding beauty contest. Sunday’s vote was what really counted.
Mr. Paul’s strategy of organizing the grass roots and working arcane delegate selection rules is paying off. And that could mean big trouble for Mitt Romney and his plans to smoothly pivot to a campaign aimed solely at incumbent President Obama.
It’s highly unlikely Paul will be able to deny Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the prize he’s sought for so long. But Paul’s forces aren’t lining up and saluting a Romney victory. When they show up in Tampa in August they may be strong enough, and prepared enough, to throw the convention floor into embarrassing disarray.
“All of this means the GOP can no longer ignore its libertarian ‘fringe.’ On the contrary, it will have to reach out to a new generation of activists who don’t regard religious piety or continual warfare as sacred tenets of conservatism,” wrote Oxford University historian Timothy Stanley.
In Sparks, Nev., the result was even more one-sided. Paul supporters won 22 of 25 delegates up for selection. Nevada’s caucuses were binding on delegates. Some delegates were also awarded on an at-large basis.
Paul’s forces are not bound to make it easy for Romney to coast to victory, as delegate selection expert Josh Putnam, a Davidson College political scientist, writes on his Frontloading HQ blog.
Paul’s highly organized campaign continues to amass what Mr. Putnam labels “stealth delegates” –- delegates pledged to Romney, or one of the withdrawn GOP candidates -– who are personally in favor of the libertarian congressman from Texas. It’s hard to determine how many such folks Paul has, or what they’ll do in Tampa.
For instance, what if Paul supporters who are bound to vote for Romney in the first round by state rules simply abstain from casting their ballots? That might keep Romney under the 1,144 votes he needs to win the nomination –- even if he actually (sort of) has those votes in hand!
Again, this would be unlikely to prevent Romney from actually winning the nomination eventually. But it would prompt an embarrassing floor fight and expose rifts in the party at the very moment the Romney forces would most want to show a united front to the world.
Another unknown here is whether Paul wants to push things this far. Does he just want a good convention speaking slot, or influence on the party platform? Or does he want to win?
To read more
JJS: From the federal leader who'd reform spending to the local leader who'd reform taxing.
Change Tax Code to Feed Starving Cities
In Michigan cities, the resources are simply not sufficient to sustain basic services in an environment with rising costs of everything from health care to fuel.
New contracts imposed by the state-appointed emergency manager will make public safety officers some of the lower-compensated in Michigan, despite the extraordinary workload of crime, arson and violence (e.g. 10 times more violent crimes per officer than Ann Arbor) in Flint. Even so, 10 percent of the already minimally staffed Police Department will be laid off and more than 30 percent of the firefighters will be out of a job with the new budget this summer -- unless new grant funds are identified soon.
This fuels a cycle of central city decline, in which prospective city dwellers in the regional housing market can chose to locate outside the city limits and thereby avoid paying the legacy costs embedded in city operations and the higher resident income tax, but still conveniently access core amenities such as universities and museums.
There are alternatives.
What all governments need are fair and stable revenue sources that allow for the expected provision of services. Just as the tax code needs to encourage business growth and expansion, it also needs to offer adequate returns for government services rendered.
There are innovative property tax systems such as land value taxation that separates the value of the land itself from the buildings and equipment on it. Set at the optimal rate, this discourages speculation and encourages private investment -- the twin objectives of city real estate market improvement. Pittsburgh PA had a similar approach and was one of the models for Midwest urban redevelopment.
It is past time to adopt a balanced and healthy fiscal diet for cities. It is a false choice to set good local government and taxes against business growth and development. The table needs to be cleared and set again with equitable and sustainable policies if the goal is to truly grow prosperous cities.
To read more
JJS: Like many politicians, this mayor would tax many things but at least he would de-tax buildings, which would help. It would help even more if he could forget about taxation and see the value of land as part of the commons. Not only is such an arrangement more just but practically, there is plenty of money spent for land, enough to fund government with some leftover.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
A rise of progressive libertarians in the US?
Just a two days later …
Land Dues Keep Many Up Yet Make One Happy
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