Baltimore Eyes LVT Reform

by Josh Vincent

This is Year Three of our effort to get LVT-enabling legislation in Maryland. The torch of “legislative point man” will pass this year to Delegate Clarence Davis. Delegate Mike Gordon remains a Champion of LVT, but has been unable to devote as much time to pushing legislation as he would like. The burden rests on Delegate Davis, and our small CSE/HGF team here at HQ and in our Maryland office.

Delegate Davis learned about Land Value Taxation through Dr. Cripps of Morgan State University. He studied Georgist economics in the 1960s by correspondence with the Henry George School. Three years ago, Walter Rybeck and I met with Delegate Davis trying to get co-sponsors for Delegate Gordon’s LVT bills. Walt and I both nearly fainted when Delegate Davis said our proposal sounded like “…Henry George, and I’ve been waiting 40 years to do something about it.”

This session, we are concentrating on a bill for Baltimore City. In February, John Kromwkowski and I met again with Delegate Davis. We will start this campaign with a March 10 educational session before the City of Baltimore Delegation (at the request of Delegation Chair Del. Salima Siler Marriott).

LVT has been given 10-15 minutes, so it will just be Messrs. Davis and Kromkowski. Mr. Davis will highlight the social justice issue, and John the economic benefits issue. Mr. Davis passionately describes the young men on the street corner in his East Baltimore district, standing around with no job, no light, no hope. We will try to make people see how bad tax policy, bad social policy and misplaced priorities work together to create these scenes of despair.

On March 23, 2006 at 1PM, the bill will get its first hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. If we get the support of the Baltimore City delegation as a body, along with the timely and unexpected revival of Mayor Martin O’Malley’s interest, we may have a real chance for success.

As always, any publicity, suggestions or ideas are welcome. LVT supporters are a plucky few, and we need to help one another find angles and avenues to success.

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