A video of a 1999 interview with Milton Friedman includes this: "Land is an ideal basis of taxation because you cannot take it away."
In 1871, a Tennessee businessman, Enoch Ensley, wrote to his governor in much the same vein:In showing or proving what I have above promised to show, I will proceed thus:
THE GOLDEN RULE OF TAXATION.
First, I will present you with a rule or motto which I think it would be well for the state to adopt and have cut into the stone at the capitol (in large letters and have them gilded), in the senate chamber, the hall of the house of representatives and in the governor's office, for I think it entirely harmonizes with the correct principles of taxation in every particular, to wit:
That Would Be of Value to Your State,
That Could and Would Run Away, or
That Could and Would Come to You.
In 1978, Milton Friedman stated, "the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago" ("An Interview with Milton Friedman,” Human Events 38 , November 18, 1978, p. 14.)
In 2004, interviewed by Joe Matthews about California's Proposition 13,
When the subject turned to Prop 13, which he
had strongly supported in 1978, Friedman said he thought the measure
had proven to be "a mixed bag." He did not regret his vote for Prop 13
because it had sent a tax-cutting message that was important for that
* * *
But as a matter of current policy, he said, Prop 13 was problematic. "It's a bad tax measure because the property tax is the least bad tax there is," he said. "Think of the original and indestructible properties of the soil. The least dangerous and harmful tax is a tax on something of which there is an inelastic supply." He argued that protecting Prop 13 was far less important than cutting other taxes, particularly on the income and sales we need more of.
Friedman in an interview published in the San Jose Mercury a few weeks before his death in 2006:
"Yes, there are taxes I like. For example, the gasoline tax, which pays for highways. You have a user tax. The property tax is one of the least bad taxes, because it's levied on something that cannot be produced — that part that is levied on the land. So some taxes are worse than others, but all taxes are bad." — interview, San Jose Mercury News, Nov 5, 2006
So Friedman could see at least two very good reasons for relying on taxes on land value. One wonders why he never devoted himself to promoting LVT.