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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Land Tax

Land Tax,

and very few of them, according to my experience, recognise what they are committing themselves to by such advocacy. In the first place a land tax pure and simple for revenue purposes is a class tax, and therefore objectionable. But such a tax is objectionable on other grounds also. I presume it will not be denied that the fund for our maintenance comes from the land, and that it is to the farmer and the miner that we have to look to keep the rest of us going. As we are not in a position to manufacture to any extent articles for export, it is obvious that the inhabitants of the towns could not exist but for the settlers and the miners, who are the real wealth producers in this country, We all know the widespread depression that follows a fall in value or shrinkage in quantity of the natural products of the country, the price of which is not governed by the local, but by the foreign markets. The prosperity of this colony may be said to depend almost entirely on the profitable occupation of the land and the development of the Mineral resources of the country. Such being so, it appears to me that, so far from singling out the farmer for special taxation, we should make matters as easy as possible for him, so as to make country life attractive, and offer the greatest inducement to people to settle upon the lands of the colony, and not, by specially taxing the farmers, to make it still harder for them to supply the rest of the community with the means of subsistence. Just imagine for a moment that, by reason of the burdens placed upon those who occupy the lands, they were unable to make both ends meet, and consequently were forced to abandon their farms. We should awake to the fact that we had been ignorantly administering slow poison to the goose that laid the eggs necessary to our existence. In my opinion, therefore, a land tax, pure and simple, and imposed for revenue purposes, would not only be manifestly unfair to the struggling farmer, but would be disastrous to the whole community. This brings me to the question of the