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ber and December, 1871, and January, March, June and July, 1872. Washington: Government Printing Office.

Fleurange; by Madame Augustus Craven. Translated. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

Spicy, a Novel ; by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb. With illustrations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. For sale by Porter & Coates.

The Atlantic Almanac. 1873. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. For sale by Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger.

Physics and Politics; by Walter Bagehot. New York: D. Appleton & Co. For sale by Porter & Coates.

Heavenly Blessedness; What is it and how attained, In a series of discourses on the Beatitudes ; By the Rev. Chauncey Giles. London: James Speirs, 36 Bloomsbury street, 1872. For sale by E. H. Swinney, New York, and Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, Philadelphia.

New Church Tracts : Jesus, the Root, the Offspring, and the Bright and Morning Star; By Dr. Bayley, of London. Popular Series, No. 4.

The Atonement; Whereon was the Law Written which Man Broke ; By the Rev. George Rush, Late Professor of Hebrew, New York University. Popular Series, No. 6.

The River of Life; By the Rev. E. A. Beaman. Popular Series, No. 7.

The Death of the Body, a Step in the Life of Man ; a Sermon by Rev. Chauncey Giles, of New York. Popular Series, No. 8.

The Resurrection of Man ; by the Rev. Chauncey Giles, of New York. Popular Series, No. 9.

All published by E. H. Swinney, New York. 1872–73.

The Servant Girl of the Period the Greatest Plague of Life: What Mr. and Mrs. Honeydew learned of Housekeeping ; by Charles Chamberlain, Jr. New York: J. S. Redfield. 1873. Price, 75 cents.

A Practical Guide to Administrators, Guardians and Assignees, Containing full and complete instructions for the settlement of estates ; together with all necessary forms, explanations and directions ; By John I. Pinkerton. West Chester: Moore & Company.

Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. X. The Penn and Logan Correspondence, Vol. II., 1700-50; from the original letters in possession of the Logan family, with notes by the late Mrs. Deborah Logan ; Edited with additional notes by Edward Armstrong, M. A. Philadelphia: Printed by J. B. Lippincott & Co., for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and sold by John Penington & Son. 1872.

Catalogue of the paintings and other objects of interest belonging to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Collins, Printer. 1872.

THE

PENN MONTHLY.

FEBRUARY, 1873.

THE TAX SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA.

T HE title of this paper has been objected to on the ground

1 that there is no system of taxation in Pennsylvania. This is intelligent and comprehensive criticism. Instead of a system we have a mass of laws of greater or less generality, and a jumble of conflicting judicial decisions.

Taxes are levied without regard to any principle, and collected by means of machinery which is cumbrous, costly and wasteful. That natural reluctance to pay taxes which may be variously interpreted as significant of man's Edenic or Darwinian origin is intensified by the consciousness of their flagrant inequality. They abound in trilling wrongs, which outrage and anger humble citizens, and in gigantic confiscations which warn enterprise and industry away from the commonwealth.

These evils are largely the result of a natural error on the part of the founders of the State, who had so earnestly protested against taxation without representation that they could not apprehend any danger in taxation by represertatives. In no other way can I account for the fact that the Constitution of Pennsylvania, like the original Constitutions of other of the old States, fixes no principle of taxation, and leaves the power to the legislature, to be exercised without rule or limitation. Owing to this it is of no avail to invoke principles of equity for the construction of even doubtful tax laws, and in ruling a question in favor of the State and against a citizen, one of our courts has said: “In Pennsylvania there is no constitutional restriction upon the power of taxation. To provide for the wants of the government under our Constitution the power of the legislature is arbitrary and unrestricted. They have the same power to tax the property of the citizen twice or thrice as they have to tax it once. Against the taxing power, or the statutes providing for the manner in which the taxes shall be levied and collected, it is no argument to say that the taxes are onerous, unequal, inequitable or unjust, and to all such arguments, when attempted to be used, it is a sufficient answer to say, thus saith the law."'*

As the absence of any constitutional limitation upon the taxing power has frequently been referred to by our courts, it would be worth while to inquire if in other States it is otherwise, and if so whether the consequences have been beneficial. It is difficult to get at the facts, and such compilation of them as I have been able to make may aid in their further and thorough investigation.

The Constitution of Arkansas provides as follows: “All property subject to taxation shall be taxed according to its valuethat value to be ascertained in such manner as the General Assembly may direct, making the same equal and uniform throughout the State. No species of property from which a tax may be collected shall be taxed higher than another species of property of equal value. Provided, the General Assembly shall have the power to tax merchants, bankers, peddlers and privileges in such manner as may be prescribed by law.” The privileges mentioned and excepted have been construed to be such as are created by law, and not such as may be based on the general prohibition of a common law right.

The Constitution of Alabama, adopted in 1865, provides that “ all lands liable to taxation in the State should be taxed in proportion to their value."

The Constitution of California, Article XI. Sec. 13, says: 6 Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State. All property in the State shall be taxed in proportion to its value to be ascertained as directed by law.” Florida, Tit. 4, Chapter 4,

* Judge Maynard, in the case of McKeon v. The County of Northamptonaffirmed by the Supreme Court.

Sec. 1, says: “The General Assembly shall devise and adopt a system of revenue having regard to an equal and uniform mode of taxation to be general throughout the State.” Indiana, Art. X. Sec. I: “The General Assembly shall provide by law for a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation, and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property real and personal,” excepting certain classes. Illinois, Art. IX. Sec. 2: “ The General Assembly shall provide for levying a tax by valuation, so that every person and corporation shall pay a tax in proportion to the value of his or her property,” excepting certain things which are left in the discretion of the legislature. Kansas, Art. XI. Sec. 1: “ The legislature shall provide for an uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation." Louisiana Constitution of 1868, Tit. VI. Art. 118: “Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State. All property shall be taxed in proportion to its value.” Maine, Art. IX. Sec. 8: “All taxes on real estate assessed by authority of this State shall be apportioned and assessed equally, according to the true value thereof." Missouri, Bill of Rights, Art. I. Sec. 30: “That all property subject to taxation ought to be taxed in proportion to the value.” Minnesota, Art. IX. Sec. 1: “ All taxes to be raised in this State shall be as nearly equal as may be, and all property on which taxes are to be levied shall have a cash valuation, and be equalized and uniform throughout the State.” The Constitution of Wisconsin provides that “the rule of taxation shall be uniform and taxes shall be levied on such property as the legislature may prescribe.” West Virginia, Art. VIII. Sec. 1: “ Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as directed by law. No one species of property from which a tax may be collected shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value.” Ohio, Art. XII. Sec. 2: “ Laws shall be passed taxing by a uniform rule moneys, etc., investments in stocks, joint stock companies, etc. And also all real and personal property at its true value in money,” subject to certain exceptions. Art. XIII. Sec. 4: “The property of corporations now existing or hereafter created, shall forever be subject to taxation, the same as the property of individuals." The Constitution of Tennessee has the same ample and careful provisions as that of West Virginia in nearly the same phraseology. The Constitution of Texas provides that “taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State.”

Some of the States constitute equality the universal rule of taxation, while others except from its operations charities and certain occupations and privileges which they leave within the discretion of the legislature.

States not cited above and having no constitutional provisions on the subject of the taxing power, have adopted revenue laws which are general in their operations, and of the most equitable character, to which I shall hereafter refer.

The codes of the States show that constitutional limitations of the taxing power are apparently effective, for the laws are found to be generally in accordance with them, and the courts have pronounced invalid acts of the legislature in conflict with them. Such decisions have been incidentally brought into view in the courts of this State, and an important Californian tax crise has been denied authority by our judges because the Constitution of that State limits the taxing power, which that of Pennsylvania does not.

In the case of Hammett 11. The City of Philadelphia our Supreme Court asserted, with respect to the taxing power, that it was subject to necessary limitations, one of which it attempted to establish, and an Act of the legislature was held to be unconstitutional because it authorized the city to levy a local tax for the general benefit. This decision was rendered by a divided court. One of the judges dissented most vigorously, and after consideration he filed a supplemental opinion expressing further dissent. When the decision was affirmed upon re-argument two of the judges refused their concurrence, and I conclude that there are no definable limits to the taxing power of the legislature, or they are so obscure as to be always disputable.

The exercise by irresponsible agents of arbitrary power over the property and occupat ons of the inhabitants of our busy and wealthy State has had such results as might be anticipated, and it is charitable to attribute to it much of the injury done to the people and a large part of the evil practices which disgrace the legislature. The law-makers have had unlimited freedom in singling out objects to bear such burdens as they might choose to impose,

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