Maine’s Newest Land Baron

From a recent article at The Progress Report:

A Colorado billionaire who has had a major hand in the way Americans have watched, and paid for, television in recent decades, now, thanks to his purchase of about 1 million acres of Maine forestland, is vying for a new title: the nation’s largest individual landowner.

A company set up by John Malone, BBC Land LLC, closed on the sale of about 1 million acres of commercial timberland in Maine and an additional 23,000 acres in neighboring New Hampshire.

As Progress Report editor Jeffery J. Smith notes:

“Owning land turns a profit for the owner not just by ranching cattle or logging timber.  There’s also the tax breaks for both extractions and for conservation.  Ironically, instead of paying landowners, government should be charging them rent, since nobody made land and everybody makes land value.  At the same time, government should not be taxing anyone’s earnings, since that is a value one does generate by exerting labor or investing capital.”

[The DFC’s Principles state that, “since no person made the land, property in land needs to be treated somewhat differently from other types of property, to prevent over-concentrated ownership of land and natural resources.” The article above from The Progress Report suggests one way to address the problem, and there can also be alternative approaches.]

Read the entire article here.

To read even more as to why this is a problem, check out this statement by Mason Gaffney.

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