The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit. THURSDAY, MAY 19, 1881. The Colonial Revenue.
TOWN EDITION. [Jssnccf at 4.30 p.m.'J
Anything which tends to indicate an improvement in our colonial revenue is at all times encouraging to those who have the interestof New Zealand at heart. The present Ministry are rejoiced at finding the Customs duties for the quarter ending 31st March last increased by about L 51,471, as against those of the corresponding quarter of 1880. Comparing the items of the various duties which make the increase with those of last quarter we find that spirits produce more by 1.8,632; tobacco, 1.8,282 ; wine, ale, etc., 1.2,445 j tea ) coffee, etc., 1.7,900; sugar, i. 3,379; opium, L 616; goods by weight, L 6.630; ad valorem duties, 1.1,224; and other goods, Lt,345- From these figures it will be seen that thp increased taxation has been principally upon articles of general consumption, there-
fore adding greatly to the burdens of the working classes. It is of no use contending that the Customs duties are not class taxation, because everyone pays according to the articles consumed, and in consequence the wealthiest, presumably using the most, contribute the most to the revenue. This is a fallacy. Increased duties on the articles of consumption cause increased expenditure to the poor and the rich —the former feeling it to the greatest extent. The result is that less is consumed, because many little purchases of comforts every family are generally accustomed to indulge in are laid aside. We contend that, although a great increase is manifest in the revenue from the Customs duties during the past quarter, the scheme for obtaining it is one of the worst that could devised for the ultimate good of the working people, and the io per cent, reduced Civil Servants and those of smaller means. The members of our Government should be impressed with the necessity that exists for making our principal articles of household consumption as lightly taxed as possible. Of course, a more hopeful view of the colony is given, when we see a large increase in its revenue; but this fact has not been brought about by increased taxation in certain articles. The colony has passed through a serious stage of depression, and a return to prosperity is evident; but according to* many it is also evident that the Treasury is some worse off than if the duties had not been increased. Comparing the revenue with 1878-79, a deficiency of about is still shown ; and, taking the growth of the population into consideration since that period, some additional would probably have resulted, even had the duties been the same as they were during the years named. While admitting, however, that the revenue of the colony is satisfactory in one way, we must urge upon our representatives in Parliament to support a reduction policy, feeling assured that a way can be found to increase Customs duties without increasing the burdens of our working population. __________