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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

Who Pays the School Taxes?

page 22

Who Pays the School Taxes?

Thus the poor Catholic, who may, perchance, have a little common sense, hears, in the midst of loud talk about rights of man and rights of conscience, that his conscience is not his own, and the freedom offered him is somebody else's freedom; that his school taxes take on a special Protestant blessing as they drop into the common treasury, and may not come out without the odor of Evangelicalism perfuming them. In downright derision he is asked, what taxes he pays? is he not a poor la-borer without a home he can call his own? a mere tenant-at-will? are not the taxes paid by the rich landlord? Simple and guileless the son of toil may be, and untutored in political economy, the laws of demand and supply, the intricacies of direct and indirect taxation, but his memory reminds him, that when last the landlord called, he was told that as taxes and assessments had been so much increased, a trifle would have to be added to the rent. The same unpleasant remark met him in the grocery, the meat-shop, the shoe-store, wherever, indeed, he went to purchase the simplest necessaries of life. Anxious to learn how it was that the taxes had been augmented, he talked with his neighbors, and after many inquiries discovered that new and costly schoolhouses had been built, salaries of teachers and officials had been added to, and the sum of incidentals grown out of all proportion. A further study of the subject revealed the fact that one-fourth of all moneys raised by taxes in his town was needed for public schools. He then learnt why his rent was raised. He was not so dull that he could not comprehend, after the practical experience thus obtained, that the consumer and producer pay the taxes. The landlord, the manufacturer, the seller, draws the check in payment of the tax bill; but the consumer and producer page 23 furnish a large part of the money with which to make good the check.