“Where the Money Goes,” from the Hickory Daily Record, Oct. 31, 1916.
The burden for taxation for state support in North Carolina in 1915 averaged $1.76 per inhabitant. The average was less in only one state and greater in 46.
The figures range from $1.64 in South Carolina to $10.36 in Nevada, the average for the country-at-large being $3.85.
So reads census bureau Bulletin, The Financial Statistics of States, given to the public two weeks or so ago. It is a mine of information about the finances of North Carolina and every other state in the union.
What is covered by this $1.76 and what went with it in detail was a follows:
1. Highways and Public Recreations, less than 1 cent.
2. Public health and sanitation, 5 cents.
3. Protection of person and property, 10 cents.
4. Conservation and development of resources, 11 cents.
5. General government—legislative, executive, judicial, 14 cents.
6. General expenses—interest, outlays, etc., 25 cents.
7. Charities, hospitals and corrections, 39 cents.
8. Public education and libraries, 71 cents.
The figures are illuminating. The common notion is that tax money goes mainly to support office holders and their families, to keep fodder in the rack of the ringsters. It is an inveterate, and in places an incurable notion—or apparently.
As a matter of fact for every dollar or state revenue that goes to oil the machinery of state government in North Carolina, nine dollars come straight back to taxpayers for the education of our soldiers, our blind and deaf, the victims of tuberculosis, the insane and feeble minded, for the protection of our properties from fire, our persons from disease, and our farmers from fraud; for the regulation of financial institutions and other corporations in the interest of public security; for the development and conservation of our natural resources, the protection and development of agriculture and the general public welfare.
For all these purposes of state the tax burden in North Carolina is $1.37 per inhabitant—the price, say, of two or three circus tickets.