The US Articles of Confederation
The federal government was originally funded by a
land tax, under the Articles of Confederation (see quote
It was only changed when big land barons in the south and others pressured to shift over to taxes on labor and production, when the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation. Here's the quote:
The United States' Articles of Confederation:
ARTICLE VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states, in proportion to the value of all land within each state,
granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.
The federal government could still largely be funded by a land tax, and that would still be allowed under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. If we stopped corporate welfare and other favoritism to special interests, and introduced incentives to public services to improve quality and cost-efficiency (as in the book Reinventing Government, by Osborne & Gaebler), a land tax/green tax shift would be enough to fund the federal government.