Georgist Registry Annual Report
Common Ground - USA
COMMON GROUND-USA. INC was incorporated in Maryland in 1989. Officers are: Pres. Nadine W. Stoner, Beloit, WI; V.P. Alfred Katzenberger, Jr. St. Louis, MO; Secy. Dr. Herbert Barry III, Pittsburgh, PA, and Treas. Gilbert Halverson, Madison, WI.
A 501(c)(4) organization, the Purpose of Common Ground-USA is:
Common Ground-USA is dedicated to the principle that all persons have equal and common rights in the earth and its resources and each individual has an exclusive right to the income from his or her own labor and capital investment. We are also dedicated to support and improve the free market, including purchase, ownership, and sale of real estate. Therefore, we are committed to reducing and replacing taxes on labor and capital. We propose to pay for essential government services by adequate taxation of the value of land and other natural resources. We also propose fees for pollution, resource extraction, and use of the public commons. We believe these changes will increase total wealth and equality of opportunity, thereby improving the quality of life for all individuals and the functioning of government.
Membership dues to Common Ground-USA are $36 annually and include the bi-monthly GroundSwell newsletter, Letter Lobby kits, chapter membership if available, the right to vote for at-large directors, and receiving the minutes of the annual Board of Directors meeting. GroundSwell only may be subscribed to for $15 a year.
The Board of Directors meets the day prior at the same location as the Council of Georgist Organizations annual conference. The Board is composed of 12 directors elected at large and the chairman or designee of each of the seven chapters. Common Ground-USA's sevent chapters are St. Louis, BCCI (metro Chicago), Pittsburgh, Metro NYC, the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), OR/Wash., and Ontario/Montreal. Of the 141 active entries in the CGUSA database, 57 members are affiliated with chapters, of which 4 are special members. Each chapter is allowed to grant two free national memberships for a year. Persons not affiliated with chapters are members-at-large.
Besides the popular "Insights" regular feature and the "Write On" reprints of letters to the editor, GroundSwell also publishes presentations made at conferences, reports of other conferences attended, legislative activity, articles of special relevance, book reviews, and obituaries of prominent Georgists.
Common Ground-USA has a Facebook page. We have worked to attract new members through our web site and through placement of ads in magazines, including the Utne Reader, The Progressive, Liberty and UUWorld.
Our members receive Letter Lobby legislative action kits on items of current focus such as the Tax Carbon Dioxide Emissions legislation, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments, the Act to Move the US toward Greater Energy Independence, and the Clean Air Amendments.
Local activity is carried out in Common Ground-USA's seven chapters. The Pittsburgh, PA chapter, chaired by Dr. Herbert Barry III, activities include membership recruitment, giving books to local officials, and letters to the editor. The Metro New York City chapter, chaired by Scott Baker, maintains a web page, published a Tax & the City comic book, produced a video, "Walking the Ground of New York City," and does letter writing campaigns. The St. Louis chapter, chaired by Al Katzenberger, works with their sibling organization, Public Revenue Education Council. They annually host an education booth at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Better Cities Committee of Illinois (Metro Chicago Chapter) is chaired by Sue Walton. They attend conferences and government meetings and forums and have a web page. The Oregon/Washington chapter, chaired by Jeff Smith has worked on legislation in Oregon. The Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) formed in 2011 has a newsletter. The Ontario/Quebec chapter, chaired by John Fisher, works through the Green Party of Ontario which has adopted Georgist property tax shift principles, works on Tax Shift studies, and works with First Nations.