THE PROPERTY TAX.
The Government haying carried the recent division, as we predicted would be the case, by a narrow majority, the question now remaining to be decided is ! m what way the Bill now before the House can be amended, so as to remove the inequalities and objectionable features complained of m regard to the Tax as at present levied. Sir G. Grey has taken the field with proposals to eliminate all property except land, so as to convert the present tax into a land tax pure and simple, and to add thereto an income tax. Mr Harkness, the recalcitrant member for Nelson, has given notice to move m the same direction*-* his motion being to limit the operation of the Property Assessment Acts to the present financial year, and to instruct the Government to present next session a bill to impose an Inoome and Land Tax m lieu of the Property Tax. Mr Blake is to move for an allowance of twenty per cent — 4hat is to say a reduction to that e*tent-«-from the valuation for property tax purposes of all lands rated at over £40 per acre. Mr B. Thompson will propose that all improvements on agriculture holdings not* exceeding three hundred acres ghall be exempt from taxation ; while Mr O'Oonor announces his intention of endeavoring to secure that holders of large blocks of unimproved land shall be induced either to improve their lands themselves or to part with them to others who will do bo by enacting that "all areas of land m the colony exceeding five hundred acres held by one person or jointly shall for the purpose of the Property Tax be assossed at the avorage value of improved land of the same quality m the land district where such land is situated." As might safely have been predated, Mr beddon is go^ng to try to exempt mining property 5 and lastly, we have the proposal of Mr Ballance, as the loader of the Opposition, which is that all agricultural improvements, otc, to the value of £2000 shall Jae exempt .from taxation. The definition of the term, <' agricultural improvements" <*for the purposos of this Act shall be deemed to mean and include the ereotion of one or more dwellinghouses and farm buildings, the fonoing of land, draining, the foiling of ! bush and clearing of land, all respectively for farming or pastoral purposes exclusively, to any amount not ex/jeed,ing collectively a total amount of 4>200Q, of wb^oh not more than five hundred pounds shall m any case be estimated fte the value of any single dwellinghouse." This last proposition (saving that £200Q is substituted for #3,000} is idontical with the proposal of the fitoutYogel Government m 1885, and if it be carried, as we hear is likely to be the case, then the last item of the policy of that administration will ha^vo been carried into effect, every other point having been taken up m its turn by the 1 present Government. It will thus be seen that though the crisis as regards the Ministry is over, the most interesting iteu^vi-^*?«fionon the Bill ie to come
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