Monday, July 03, 2006

Problems Identified, No Solutions Given.

For many of our problems in society we are able to identify them, sometimes easily sometimes not so much so. Sprawl is one of these which we have identified as a problem area for society.

Today, I was looking around in Google News for things to put up on the site and found this article on sprawl in Wisconsin. I’ve actually lived in one of the areas they talk about (between Chicago and Milwaukee) and they are right, sprawl is worse there then perhaps anywhere else I’ve been, except possibly the DC area.

Part of what the article says is the same things you have heard me say before:

But my point isn't to pick on Madison's multifamily housing: Let's look to some big tracts of open land between Dane and Milwaukee counties where sprawl is simply exploding and the developers' wording is sugarcoating the facts.

It is not only the land, but the water under the ground, which is rarely talked about but is more important to land capacity in many areas

Waukesha's underground water supply has dropped by 500 feet due to overdevelopment, and some of the remaining deep well water is naturally contaminated with radium. Developers play fast and loose with language when they pitch projects and name them.

However, the problem I have with the article is the only solution it gives is to “stop sprawl”.

Development marketing that spins inaccurately or insincerely often foretells that farm acreage and parkland vistas are about to be converted to malls and McMansions. Insults to the language and the landscape go hand-in-hand: Both need to end.

I won’t get into their local naming conventions of naming things after mythical castles, but, as far as the sprawl issue goes, simply saying “no!” is not good enough.

To really put an end to the sprawl, to save the family farm lifestyle, to save the pristine nature of the land, we need to change how we think about the land and how we tax the land. What is needed is the Land Value Tax. Today, I will look up the Wisconsin constitution to see what the state position is on the Land Value Tax (LVT) and add it to the list.

The LVT is a tax on land and not on buildings or improvements on the land. For more information on the LVT, if this is your first time hearing about it, simply go to my blog and click on any of the links in the “links” section or read some of my past entries.

You can write a letter to the editor in response to the above article HERE