We are the Minnesota chapter of Common Ground USA, a 501 c(4) non-governmental organization with the following mission:

 

“Common Ground-U.S.A. is dedicated to the principle that all persons have equal and common rights in the earth and its resources and each individual has an exclusive right to the income from his or her own labor and capital investment.

 

Therefore, we are committed to reducing and replacing taxes on labor and capital. We propose to pay for essential government services by adequate taxation of the value of land and other natural resources.

 

We believe these changes will increase total wealth and equality of opportunity, thereby improving the quality of life for all individuals and the functioning of government.”

 

Progress of Common Ground USA

 

Common Ground has supported many Land Value Tax policies, most notably those of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. 

 

 

 

About Us

Connecticut passed a bill on June 20, 2013 to allow a split rate tax in up to three municipalities in which the rate that the land is taxed at is split from and higher than the rate at which the buildings on top of the land are taxed. The results of these pilot projects will help the state government to decide if it wants to expand the tax system. More information on the Connecticut law can be found at http://onthecommons.org/magazine/connecticut-passes-commons-based-approach-taxing-urban-land.

 

Pennsylvania has passed legislation which allows cities and school districts to tax property with a split rate tax.  Fifteen cities in Pennsylvania have taken advantage of this and have seen more compact development, a higher resistance to economic crashes, an increase in the value of building permits, and a host of other advantages.  A more in-depth analysis of the experiments in tax policy in Pennsylvania can be found at http://www.earthrights.net/docs/success.html.

 

Progress of Minnesota Chapter

 

Our Chapter of Common Ground has worked to advocate for land value tax bills in Minnesota.  Our current strategy focuses on local governments in the Twin Cities area. By helping to pass land value tax bills in local governments we can provide empirical examples of the benefits of a land value tax that could potentially blossom into a statewide tax. In 2001, a bill was voted on in the legislature to transition the state commercial/industrial section of taxes from a tax on property value to one exclusively on land value.  The shift in the bill was gradual; taking place over the course of ten years.  This bill, however, was defeated due, in part, to a lack of data on land value taxation in Minnesota.

Pittsburgh has been under the split rate approach since 1914 and has thus had a very compact development pattern.  In the 1970s, during the heyday of the suburban dream, Pittsburgh's downtown development outpaced its suburbs.