The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent (full text pdf)

Published January 1, 2006

This analysis explains why land value taxation is, as Milton Friedman once put it, the “least bad” tax. An ideal tax system respects a person’s right to privacy, does not discourage work or savings, and does not induce dishonesty. While income, sales, and value-added taxes fall woefully short of this ideal, land value taxation meets each requirement. The supply of land is fixed, immobile, and inherently visible. If land value is taxed, the land will not flee, shrink, or hide. Once citizens, taxpayers, consumers, and voters understand the option of obtaining public revenue from land value or rent, then the logic of getting both greater efficiency and greater justice may prevail.