THE study of the gradual growth of the separation of sources of state and local revenues in the United States during the past fifty years leads to the conclusion that this growth has been primarily an incidental result of the effort to supplement the general property tax. When poor administration has made this system inadequate, special taxes have been placed on definite classes of property--taxes which the state can administer successfully. Separation has been only secondarily a conscious "reform" offered as a definite remedy for unequal assessments and other administrative ills. Of still less importance has been the argument that that government whose people are the cause of the creation of a value has the best right to tax it.
Although separation was definitely advocated even before 1880, the movement during these early years was small and but little discussed, no state accepting it as a definite goal toward which to strive. Agitation has increased in the last twenty years, but interest after all has centered around individual taxes rather than around tax systems. Every conceivable form of corporation tax has been experimented with, and the possibilities of inheritance taxation and of special taxes on intangibles have been rapidly developed. The result has been steady progress toward separation in many states and the advantages of separaition have often been advanced in these as an additional reason for change. But California is the only state achieving separation without a preceding period of slow