To: California State Legislators

End local corrupt land use practices

Petition Text

Tax the "unearned increment." Local governments approve development on outlying agricultural land, and the land speculators get 50 - 100 times what they pay for the land when they get the development rights. This leads to excessive edge city development, longer commutes and infill languishes, undeveloped. Currently the Sacramento region has 20 years worth of infill, and is still considering outlying development.

Why is this important?

Not only does this consume valuable agricultural land, and increase commute times, it encourages the very worst kind of development and provides an enormous payday to economic elites. It doesn't matter if that ag land is 20' underwater floodplain surrounded by weak levees. As long as 5,000% - 10,000% (tax free!) profits are available, even the cockroaches will try to do land speculation.

Investigative reporter David Cay Johnston reports 75% of George W. Bush's net worth came from a stadium / land deal in Anaheim Texas. This practice is the foundation of several large fortunes.

One alternative: In Germany, the developers have to sell the land to local government at the ag land price, then re-purchase it at the development land price. The public retains all the profit called the "unearned increment."

Germany has excellent infrastructure, good schools, and many other public benefits (single payer health care!). The arts budget for just the City of Berlin exceeds the National Endowment for the Arts for the U.S. of A.

The alternative would make for a more attractive public realm instead of what we have now: Private opulence and public squalor.