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Duffus, William M. / Report on agricultural settlement and farm ownership. Part I: state loans to farmers
(1912)

Chapter VII. Farm tenancy in Wisconsin and the need of a system of long-time loans for the tenant farmer,   pp. 130-143 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 140


140     WISCONSIN STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC AFAJFIRS.
tocracy for no such aristocracy could exist. This method of
attack is being tried out in New Zealand and Australia as part
of a comprehensive land policy involving other methods as well,
and time will show its efficiency and expediency. One great
difficulty with state landlordism under the "leasehold" system
as developed in New Zealand and Australia is that a large pro-
portion of the tenants of the state are likely to become opposed
to the system and demand that their leaseholds be converted into
freeholds. It is a serious question, as urged by Dr. Richard T.
Ely, whether or not a state could maintain a system of state
landlordism in the face of the united opposition of the majority
of its tenants. But the question of state ownership of all farm
lands will not be a practical problem for the people of Wisconsin
for many years to come, if ever. and it may be dismissed with-
out further discussion.
  The third method of attack is also in the experimental stage.
New Zealand and Australia have been trying for several decades
to promote landownership by the actual cultivators of the
soil and to prevent the growth of large estates, through the
operation of systems of taxation which exempt improvements on
land from taxes and impose extra burdens on owners of large
areas of land and on nonresident landowners. These systems
of taxation have been the result of much political controversy
and compromise. and are still in process of amendment. Econ-
omists and other observers of the operation of the various land
taxes in use in New Zealand and Australia differ widely in their
views as to the practical results of the application of these taxes
and it is impossible to form an impartial judgment in the mat-
ter without a more detailed and thorough investigation than the
State Board of Public Affairs has felt that the present import-
ance of the subject and the time at their disposal warranted
them in making. The methods' of land taxation in use in the
countries to which reference has been made should, however, be
carefully investigated for the information of the legislature and
the people of the state in deciding questions of taxation which
will certainly arise in the future not only with reference to
proposals to discourage land speculation by means of taxation,
but also with reference to proposals to secure through taxation
part of the socially created value of land for the use of the com-
munity generally.
I


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