Economic and Social History of Chowan County, North Carolina, 1880-1915

By Mabel Newcomer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

I. FAILURE OF THE GENERAL PROPERTY TAX

IN the United States at the present time there exists a growing dissatisfaction with the state and local revenue systems. Such dissatisfaction is not new nor is it peculiar to this country, but a number of causes have contributed in making the problem unusually serious here in recent years.

Revenue systems are rarely kept abreast of needs. By the time a need has become sufficiently acute to be felt, analyzed, and met with proper legislation, conditions have often so changed that such legislation is inadequate, if not positively injurious. Hence the satisfaction lags behind the manifestation of the need, and discontent arises in approximate proportion to the lag. If, as seems to be the case, the need is not met as quickly in the United States as in other progressive countries, the fact may be attributed in part to more rapid development, and in part to less effective governmental machinery,--although greater unwillingness to submit to unsatisfactory conditions may be held accountable for much complaint. And if, as is undoubtedly the case, dissatisfaction has increased in the past few decades, this may be at- tributed on the one hand to the rapid growth of expenditures resulting from increasing governmental activities, and on the other to the development of such varied forms of wealth and such complex industrial conditions that the locally admin- istered general property tax, which is so widely employed in

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