By Dr. Marty Rowland
Henry George was the United Labor Party candidate for NYC Mayor 135 years ago, but his electoral platform is still relevant today. Considered a social progressive, he believed that socially-created wealth should be equitably distributed.
In the table below, six policy statements that we believe George would support, were he alive today, are matched to the campaign positions of each of seven of the candidates for the June 22 Democratic Party mayoral primary, as revealed in the media and various candidate fora.
George was for ending all taxes except that on the unimproved value of land and other unearned economic rent such as monopolies. One policy statement with a 5-point weighting is particularly important, because it uniquely captures the essence of George’s program. It is the statement calling for an end to the developer tax abatements (best example is the 421a law) that shifts the tax burden on you and me for the minimal number of affordable units thus created (usually with separate entrances so that the lower income tenants are not seen by the wealthier tenants).
There are so many better ways to create affordable housing, including Community Land Trusts and low-cost city land leasing of currently vacant lots and buildings found throughout the city.
|HENRY GEORGE POLICY||Scott Stringer||Eric Adams||Dianne Morales||Andrew Yang||Shaun Donovan||Kathryn Garcia||Maya Wiley|
|Supports affordable housing (1 point)||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Opposes developer tax breaks for affordable housing (specifically 421a) (5 points)||5||5||5||5||0||0||5|
|Supports getting vacant lots/buildings into commerce (1 point)||1||1||1||1||1||1||0|
|Endorses use of land value/eonomic rent to fund all public services (1 point)||0||0||1 – only candidate to specify use of LVT||0||0||0||0|
|Endorses use of land value/eonomic rent to fund SOME public services (e.g., community land trusts) (1 point)||1||1||1||1||1||0||1|
|Endorses the elimination of taxes on labor, capital, entrepreneurship, and productivity (1 point)||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|