Here’s an interesting post about the feasibility of a Land Value Tax in the UK. It’s a pretty obvious idea, though not one I’d happened upon before. This snippet gets to the heart of it, I think:
10. The cost of local services should be paid for by user charges, i.e. a Poll Tax.
Wrong. It is more important to look at the value of what the landowner gets (as reflected in land values) than the cost of local services. Having more policeman on the beat reduces crime, cuts a household’s home and car insurance bills and makes an area more attractive, thus boosting selling prices. Having lots of five-a-day advisors and environmental-awareness-officers costs just as much but adds no value whatsoever.
The argument is that any benefit you derive from local services will be reflected in the value of your land; if you get free massages from the local authority, and that’s something that people want, then the value of your land will rise (as will the land tax, thereby paying for those massages). The counter-argument is also in there; ‘five-a-day advisors’ (I assume the author is referring to healthy eating campaigns) may be the single best thing a local authority could do for its residents, but if it’s not seen to be a desirable benefit then there will be no corresponding increase in land values to help pay for it.