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07/18/2009

Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama, is one of two single tax colonies remaining in the United States (the other is in Arden, Delaware). The community was established in 1894 by a group from Des Moines, Iowa, headed by Ernest B. Gaston, who wanted to establish a colony based on the single tax theories of economist, journalist and social reformer Henry George.

The rent paid to the Single Tax Corporation by lessees includes an amount due for state, county and local taxes, plus an administration fee to operate the Single Tax Corporation office, plus a “demonstration fee”, intended to demonstrate the usefulness of the single tax concept. Funds from the demonstration fee are used to enhance the community by supporting such things as the public parks, the public library, the historical museum, etc.

Fairhope is located on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay...About 4,500 acres of land in and around Fairhope is owned by the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation. This includes the downtown area and a little less than half of the remainder of the city.

The link is here. Here is Wikipedia on Fairhope.  Fairhope never succeeded in being a formal single tax "colony," but here is a short history and they are arguably the "purest" remaining example of the Georgist idea.  One public choice lesson in this history is that later economic pressures will overwhelm virtually any initial constitution.  It is a pretty city to visit and they still have a plaque in honor of the single tax concept.

Via Kevin Vallier, here is a guidebook for Fairhope.


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