Taxation in American States and Cities

By Richard T. Ely | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
EXPERIENCE OF GEORGIA.

SO much attention has been given to Ohio because the principles embodied in our system of taxation seem to be as thoroughly and vigorously carried out there as elsewhere. It is well, however, to examine the experience of other states where similar systems of taxation obtain, in order that we may the better be able to determine whether the failure of the system in Ohio and Maryland is due, on the one hand, to certain local peculiarities or to imperfections in the details of the law, or in the administration of the law; or whether, on the other hand, the failure of the system is due to the nature of the system itself. I accordingly decided to visit Georgia, a typical and progressive Southern state, and to examine the practical workings of our system in that commonwealth.

The main feature of the tax system in Georgia is the one uniform tax on all property, real and personal, and the revenue from this tax defrays a greater part of all state and local expenses than all other sources of revenue put together. There are stringent provisions for the enforcement of the law which need not be described at length. All property is assessed yearly by tax-payers, and the returns are given to the tax-receivers of the various counties. These tax-receivers must examine the returns, and receive them only when apparently satisfactory; alt returns are made by filling out blanks containing minute specifications designed, on the one hand, to aid the tax-payer in making a full return of all his prop-

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