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

By Mabel Newcomer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
SEPARATION IN DELAWARE

COMPLETE separation of revenues exists in Delaware, not as the outcome of slow, planless development in the struggle to increase revenues, or as the result of a conscious effort to equalize burdens, but as a survival of the widespread system existing in this country in the early nineteenth century, before the general property tax had grown to its present supremacy.

License taxes and revenues from investments have supplied the state with considerable income,--although decreasing in importance,--and for a time before 1800 the general income tax was used, and later a poll tax.1 The general property tax was employed only occasionally, and for brief periods,--first from 1798 to 1804, again from 1814 to 1819, then in 1833, and finally from 1869 to 1877.2 The failure to establish the general property tax is due to the control of the legislature by agricultural interests and to the relatively small need of revenues. While per capita wealth is comparatively small ($1,493 in 1913 as compared to $1,965, the average for the United States) so also is per capita state expenditure ($3.15 in 1913 as compared with $3.95, the average for the United States).3 Moreover the state has profited by revenues from the corporations which it has encouraged to incorporate there. A large debt has never

____________________
1
Ely, op. cit., p. 122.
2
Report of the State Revenue and Taxation Commission ( Delaware, 1909), p. 45.
3
Wealth, Debt and Taxation, 1913, vol. i, p. 26; vol. ii, p. 40.

-31-

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