Press enter after choosing selection

It Is Law

It Is Law image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Yesterday afternoon the Atkinson bilí became a law by receiving the Governor's signature. By vote of both houses it was given immediate effect and is now the law of the State. It is practically the first and only important piece of legislation hizzexcellency has set down to his credit. At last he may be said to have accomplished something tangible as a result of all the clamor for reform which he has raised during the past two years. No doubt there are imperfections in the measure, and it has yet to run the gauntlet of the supreme court, but the principies of the measure are right, and in the direction of equalization of taxation. If it is sustained by the supreme court, its application will relieve the people of a heavy burden which the powerful corporations have heretofore been influential enough in tlie legislature to prevent being placed where it properly belongs. The railroads of this State have never borne their just share of the burden of taxation. These corporations in various other States pay vastly more into the State treasury, that is to say, the per cent. of taxaiion is much highev, but the railroads has not been ruined thereby. The people need borrow no trouble on that score. The rail roads . and other corporations brought under the provisions of the Atkinson law, are abundantly able to care for their own interests. No good citizen desires to see them crippled, but they should be compelled to pay their share of tax the same as are individuals, and they should be taxed upon the same basis. The governor has appointed the State Board of assessors under the provisisions of the Atkinson bill. They are members of his immediate political family as is the case with all his appointments. They are tnen of good standing, but it is doubtful if they have any special qualifications for their places outside of the governor's O. K. Robert Oakman has had experience as a member of the Detroit rd of assessors, and this will be of value -to the state should he be confirmed It is probable, however, that his confirmation by the senate, on account of his uncompromising Pingreeism, may meet with opposition. General Irish is an admirable soldier. George B. Horton is a wellknown and prominent farmer, the head of the state grange. Not one word canpbe said against either of them, and they will perform their duties with thorough conscientiousness. So far as is known to the public, however, no one of the board has special, expert fitness for their positions. Their appointments were due chiefly to their unquestioned fealty to the governor's political fortunes. Senator (iraham, of Kent county , has introduced into the senate an inheritance tax bill. It is similar to laws in force in several eastern states and from which large revenues have been derived. It is right in principal and should become law. The tax is only on net legacis after all debts have been paid. It excludes from taxation beneficiarles having direct relationship unless the personal property exceeds $5000, in which case the 'tax is one per cent. Outside of such relationships, the tax is 5 per cent. It is right that the government which protects property and provides safe transfer from one person who is through with it to another should have an heirship in the estate. In this day of expansión and exexploration of the consitution for the purpose of finding a warrant for anything which it is desired to do, why not expand the good old document so as to cover the taxation of surpluses? There need be na fear that the people would be divided on such an interpretaron. They are for it with a greater degr'ee of unanimity than for the other kinds of expansión proposed. Why not remove the war stamp taxes which the great corporations refuse to pay their share of, shouldering it off onto to the struggling poor, and lay the taxes upon surplus incomes? Unconstitutional? Expand it a little. It would not test its power to resist a tearing forcé nearly so rauch as some of the tests it has undergone in the past. But if there is too much danger in this,why not increase the membership oï the supreme court, as has been done in the past, and thereby overeóme that majority of one by which an incorae tax was declared unconstitional? But if this is impracticable, why not amend the constitution so as to bring an income tax within the purvieu of the constitution? Why should not the surplus hoards of the enormously wealthy be taxed? Would not such a tax be more equitable than bond issues and stamp taxes? A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is supposed to return value received for its exactions. The citizen is protected by government in person and property. It costs man to protect a George M. Pullman than it does the ordinary citizen. The possessors of vast hoards of surplus wealth should be taxed, therefore, upon that surplus directly. The indirect method of taxation does not reach it all. It can only be reached by an income tax. Such a tax is the most equitable of all taxes.