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More About Tax Titles

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Chief Jnstire Marston'a dissenting opinión in the ÖilaVweÖtnckel c:we, in which he concurs with wbat Jnstice Cuoley ays regarding exce sive penalties, and goes hi.n one better liy deolatiug tl. at tbc state has nu power to iuipose interest as a penalty, and cannot extM more than 10 [r cent intereBt on tx tities. wsb n dincher in itelf; bat. ui the jaMioe ud a teun which to sume mmd seeinei alhtly ambigiunB, he han nince riled au add.tmnai opinión in the case, more olearly setting fo-th hin views and at greater length. Hi position is now beyonl doubt or dinpute, and a he cUep Justice CodIbv as an autüorily, it i certain tiiat a majoriiy of the nmireme conrt are with uiin. The opinión ís of uuoonimon interBt, peoially a it m itrftraely nnatnal for a (adge to rei dei two ,)inii na ín the name cav. I can be fonnd in N. i. K. 3C3. Juntioe Mai'ston reitcriteo tbat he conours with his judicial brethren in referenc to the qnetion of interest, and aftcr reviewiüg the legialation reardiag the imposini; of interest. Tira CHIBF JUSTICR SAÏS: Without attempting to follow np thia legiela'ion it i well nettled that a penalty in thus imposed under tbe gaine of interest. It han been said that thifi question i one altogether wi.liin the power of the legislatura, limited in amount only by the wied m and diacretion of th t ilf partmen. If tbis is hm there is no legal limit to the amouut of tha penalty tbat may be imponed, and in the light of aectiona 1K.9 and 1' 60 it can hardly be Kaid the diacretion ia one not likely ti be abnsed. I3at let ns sce wliether tl e matter ia one so c.carly within the power and nnlimited discretiun of the legislatura. The riffn1: of tbe legislatnre to establish a general and uniform rate of interet will not be queationed, but nnder no circumstancps can this he reoognized aa such. It fl acuates; the rate nxid at a cortain per oenti je ia. at a future day certain, increased, and snch increae mide to refer back ovar print timp, And alio to be computed to cover a perii d, of which but the men at fraclioa may havo arrived. What good reanon there can bu for tl in last provisión is aomewhat difficnlt to diBCover. It i certainly no enco..rt-rner]t to a prompt payment; the defamt of a day is puuUhed as severely aa the one of months. Interest is usually Bnp pone i to cease running os cay ment of a past aur-debt, bat this provisión is based upon no suoh maxim It ia thereforc hut a penalty pure and simple. Penaltie are usnalry imposed as puninbrnaut, nnd are Rupposed to bar mme rmtloD to the wrongful act rione or omitted, nnd the cirenmstancen &'te;ding the sarao. Here there is no Ruch dincrimination; ibo peualty is not impoRcd t. discour ge fraud, or designed to operate as a check ihereon. The man who wilfnlly refnses to pay his taxe'. althongh abundantly abl, is pnaiahed no more ftrvert'ly th n 'he who has failerl tbrough inadvertence or inability, how ver causcd ; and the same is trae aa to minora and otheio wh are cntitlrd to and usn ■■■Ir reorire lemity and protectinn during thir diaabiiity, Thi-i penalty ia arhitrarily impoad, largelv for tbe benent of private individuals, and the person Rgainst whom it ia imu sed bas no opp ir uoity given hm to appeir in nny way aod contcj.t it. Tbere 19 no udioal d( tormination tbat a penalty has been iticurred, nid where a palé bas been bad, tben ia not eim the semijlauco ot notioe, or aüy act except computation of tha amount by a miniarcriai 1 fficer. Nor is there even a pretence that tbe átate thereafter has tbe aligbtent interest in the 3 mistión ot payment or non-payment by re■mptioD or otherwiBe, as the risks after a Hale and pinchase by a third party are pnrely private in tbeir nature and of no concern to ihe state. Tno certainty of a rcasonat.le interest to the purchaser, with a probabüity, if not redeemed, of acquiring title to the lanas, nhould be to him Buñicietencouratement and protection. Nor oan this penalty be considered as a part of tbe taz. If it oould be so considered it would Btill be upen to fatal oh jectiun. The essential requisito of all taxation reqaires it to be for public purposes, and whether we consider this penalty as payable to the átate or to individual it is lacking in this respect.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat