Saturday, March 9, 2019

State Passes Bill to Tax Unearned Incomes of 'Predatory Rich,' 1919

From the editorial page of the Brevard News, March 7, 1919; M.L. Shipman, Editor; C.B. Osborne, Managing Editor and Publisher; and Gertrude R. Zachary, City Editor.

The Tax Amendment Goes Through

The State Senate and House of Representatives have passed the bill providing for the submission to the people of the proposed tax amendment to the Constitution which will make possible the taxing of unearned incomes of the predatory rich. The bill passed the House by practically unanimous vote, but certain special interests made a desperate attempt to defeat it in the Senate. That they failed is due to the splendid leadership of Senator James A. Gray of Forsyth. He laid his plans well and had the backing of Governor Bickett to the limit of his ability. The vote of three-fifths of those present, and voting was necessary, under constitutional requirements, to put the proposed amendment through. On a roll call 35 voted in the affirmative and only 9 in the negative. This means that the people will have an opportunity to say at the next session whether unearned incomes shall bear their proportional part of government expenses. The provision of the Constitution to be amended is as follows:

“The General Assembly may also tax trades, professions, and incomes provided that no income shall be taxed when the property from which the income is derived is taxed.”

This is rank discrimination in favor of the citizen whose personal income from ownership of property is derived without effort on his part, in that he is not taxed a single cent, while the user of property is required to pay to the limit. As we have said before, if this amendment is ratified, as it surely will be if the people can be brought to the point of understanding it, a very moderate rate of tax on income from property as well as from wages and salaries and fees would yield sufficient revenue to take the place of property tax now levied by the State for the support of the State and its institutions. The General Assembly has done well in submitting this amendment. It will be ratified by 100,000 majority.

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