While one of the most important battles for the single tax was staged in Oregon, much activity has been found in other states. Campaigns of more or less intensity have been carried on in some of the other Western states, principally Washington, California, Colorado, and Missouri. Much the same tactics have been used as in the Oregon campaigns, with the same general results. Seattle voted down the proposition on two successive occasions. The city of Everett, on the other hand, voted in favor of its adoption. The State Tax Commission of Washington, however, ruled such a proposition to be unconstitutional, and the ruling has never been questioned.
The propaganda for single tax adoption has been carried on somewhat extensively among cities of Colorado, since they are granted a large measure of home rule. In only one case has a favorable vote been secured. This was in the city of Pueblo, but before the measure had a chance to work itself out it was repealed. The people of California, through an initiative petition, voted upon a single tax amendment in 1916, and definitely refused to adopt it. Somewhat earlier a strenuous campaign was staged in Missouri to secure the adoption of a state single tax amendment. Here, again, an attempt was made to conceal the identity of the propagators. The opposition was not to be deceived, and directed a vigorous anti-single tax campaign. The result was an overwhelming defeat of the proposal.
Situation in Eastern States. - The economic conditions in the Eastern states differ somewhat from the conditions in the Western states, consequently the methods used in propagating the single tax have not always been the same. The state of New York has always been the source of much agitation. Some of the so-called tax reform associations have been active for a number of years in attempting to secure legislation favorable to the single tax creed. The separate assessment of land and buildings has been secured, while repeated attempts have been made to secure a reduction of the assessment on buildings. So far the legislature has turned a deaf ear to such appeals.
The legislature of Pennsylvania has the distinction of first authorizing a reduction of the assessment on buildings. In 1913, it provided for a gradual decrease of building assessments for cities of the second class - Scranton and Pittsburg - until by 1925 the rate was to be 50 per cent of that on land. Two years later the law was repealed, but the repeal was vetoed by the Governor on the ground that there was so much conflict of opinion, and that the law had not been tried a sufficient length of time to prove its merits or defects. The law continues to be in force, and the deductions in assessment are being made as provided for.
Many other examples might be given of the activities of these disciples of the taxation of land values. In some states, especially in New York, preparations are being made for waging still more aggressive campaigns. The failure to have accomplished any material results in the past has but spurred the leaders to greater activity. One other enterprise, somewhat different from the undertakings which have been discussed in the preceding paragraphs, deserves brief consideration. This is the Fair-hope single tax colony, which is often pointed out as the blueprint of the single tax ideal.
The Fairhope Colony. - The holdings of the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation consist of several thousand acres of land located in Alabama. The members in the association attain this privilege by the payment of a fee, and then lease the village site or farm land from the corporation. The lease price is determined by the differential advantage of the site, or land. No other taxes are collected upon the buildings and improvements. In spite of criticisms which have arisen from some of the members, the project seems to have prospered. Perhaps, however, it would have developed under other systems of ownership and taxes. Henry George would attach little importance to any success which it might claim, because he did not believe the single tax could be fairly tried on a small scale in districts where other fiscal systems prevailed.