Financial Needs In Excess Of Funds

(02/09/2003)

Dear Editor, Calhoun County, like most central West Virginia counties, has financial needs which are in excess of funds available to pay for these needs. Meanwhile there is a source of funds which could easily pay for public improvements, but which under present property tax law can not be touched. The laws have been written either by or for the benefit of the land owning, land speculator class. This class has done nothing to create or enhance the site rent of land. All public improvements create site rent, which currently benefit the private owners. The people need various public services and so our labor and capital are taxed instead of rent to fund these necessary services.

Currently our Calhoun County Commission would like to construct a new emergency building, and has permission to do so , and one of two sites is being considered upon which to build, but no funds are available.

The total Calhoun County site rent (ground rent, economic rent, or just plain rent which is the payment for the use of land ) is about $5 ½ million dollars per year, but only about $½ million is collected for our public use. This is a moral and economic travesty, to allow land owners to reap where they have not sewn.

The benefit of land taxation is that owners will use their land to better advantage if the rent is taxed, so taxation not only provides revenue, it drives to economy. The more rent we collect, the more land owners will be encouraged to make better use of the site, because of self-interest. Making use of a site means hiring labor and capital to produce wealth, goods, and services.

The tax code of WV must be changed. WV is about 4th in resources, and we are in an advantageous location, but 49th in per capita income. Our tax structure permits landowners to sit on valuable under-used and unused land and resources, which denies labor a place to work.

Tell your Legislator to enact a 2-Rate tax law so as to get us back on an economic path to progress.

Carl Shaw