THE PREMIER’S DEFENCE OF THE PROPERTY TAX.
Sir Harry Atkinson, in the coarse of his effective speech on Tuesday night, said I shall make some comparison between the policies sketched out by the Leader of the Opposition and the policy the Government consider essential to the welfare of the colony, and I venture to say that when this House and the people understand the difference between the two policies they will have no hesitation at all in making a choice. With the approval of the House, and with the approval of the Leader of the Opposition, and accepted by his side and by Government, we agreed to take the general financial debate upon this Bill. Now, whether that was a wise arrangement or not I am not going to inquire, but I venture to say that it necessarily precluded me from making any remarks upon the Property Assessment Bill; because, had I done so, I feared the debate would degenerate—that it would not be a criticism upon the general finance of the Government, but a debate upon THE PROPERTY TAX VERSUS A LAND AND INCOME TAX —if that is the tax the hon. gentleman proposes, for I would like to call the attention of the House to the fact that the hon. gentleman said nothing at all as to what tax he proposed. I am, perhaps, a little wrong there, for he did make one remark, which X shall call attention to directly. But, air, ho is being supported by several gentlemen who usually vote on our side of the House, and he is being supported in this amendment by the hon. member for Parnell, because those hon, gentlemen believe that ho is going to give them a land tax and income tax. Hon. Members : No, no. Sir H. Atkinson: “ No,” says the hon. member. Sir, I say be is going to be supported on that ground, and on that ground only, because those hon. gentlemen would not be prepared to support him on any other terms and conditions. I know that several votes are to be cast with the hon. gentleman on this because hon. members believe, and believe firmly, that the hon. gentleman is going to assist them to get an income and land tax in placo of a property tax. But 1 should like to call the attention of those hon. gentlemen to the fact that the hon. gentleman has not said so, He was particularly guarded, I notice. It is because some of his followers do not want a land and income tax, but others of them do. Did he wish to catch both sides of tho House by such a statement ? Did he hope to catch those members who usually vote on our side of the House who want a land and income tax, and at the same time retain the members on his side of the House who do not want it; to lead one portion of his followers to believe that they would get a land and income tax, and the other portion that they would have the Property Tax rather amended ? But it I) important that the House should understand that the Leader of the Opposition has now departed entirely from the position he has taken np before, and which a large number of his supporters have taken np. It is important they should know that he has now declared for a property tax with certain modifications. An Hon. Member ; No. Sir H. Atkinson: “No.” Did the hon. gentleman hear his speech ? He said most distinctly that he wished to sec the Property Tax with some amendments; that that is the tax that would stand, and he instanced this fact; Ho said take off all agricultural improvements, and you will get something like a reasonable tax. An Hon. Member : That’s a land tax. Sir H. Atkinson : You will not get a land tax at all, because you do not touch the whole property; yon only touch the improvements upon land, and they, as hon. gentlemen know, amount to about L 10,000,000 out of L 43,000,000 personal property. Yes, sir, it is necessary the country should understand. The only difference between the hon. gentleman and the Government ia that he would exempt certain improvements which at present the Government do not see their way to propose to exempt. Now, I submit to hon. gentlemen who are going to vote for this amendment with the idea that they arc assisting a party to get rid of this Property Tax and to substitute an income and land tix for it—l submit to those hon. gentlemen that by following their leader on this occasion they will be entirely deceived; that there is no such intention on the part of the party now supporting this motion ; not for those reasons at all, but for very different and distinct reasons altogether. . . . Now, what docs this resolution mean ? Let us look at it for a moment. I can accept it with just a very small amendment, which I will read in with it, and I venture to say that every member of tho House will agree with mo in it, I ask is such a resolution proper on such an occasion as this. Wo are considering how we are to establish tiie credit of the colony, and how we are to maintain its finances in the position we have succeeded in getting them, and this is the resolution that we have proposed to us ; “ That the Property Tax is unfair in its incidence, harassing in its effect, an obstacle to the progress of the settlement of the colony.” The amendment that I would propose to the House is this : “ That all taxes are unfair in their incidence, harassing in their effects, and an obstacle to the progress of the settlement of the country.” There is the proposition, and if tho hon, gentleman will amend his resolution accordingly I will accept it at once and put an end to this foolish debate, if 1 may be allowed to call it so. If the hon. gentleman will omit the words “property tax,” and insert “all taxes,” I am with him. Yes, sir, because there never yet was a tax which was not unfair in its incidence; there never was one that was not harassing in its effects; and there never was one which was not an obstacle to the progress of the settlement of the country. But what sort of a resolution is this ? The hon, gentleman is responsible for assisting the Government in carrying on the work of the country, and this is the sort of amendment that is proposed for our acceptance. I ask the House to mark this; that the hon. gentleman does not give us one single idea of what ia to be substituted for this tax. He merely condemns it, and there stops. I ask the House to condemn all taxes, and then we shall start fair. Presently I shall show that this is not a time when we should go into the question of taxes at all, but in the meantime I say that the resolution, if it means anything, means that all taxes are of the character which he has described in connection with the Pro* perty Tax, Is there any hon. gentleman here who will tell me that it does not apply to all taxes ? Mr Seddon; Yes. Sir H. Atkinson : Then tell me what tax? Mr Seddon; It is not our place to tell you. Sir H. Atkinson: I would strongly advise hon. members opposite to keep a discreet silence on the subject after the utterances of their leader yesterday; for if they do not the greater will be their fall, and the deeper will they wallow in the mire. However, if the hon. gentleman is prepared to accept that amendment I will sit down ; 1 will accept his motion, and we can go on with this Bill. . . . Now, I want to consider WHAT THE PROPERTY TAX IS EOR, and how those hon. gentlemen who are against the Property Tax can vote against the Act in favor of the amendment. What does this Bill propose ? It proposes to meet certain serious objections that have been raised against the Property Tax. It proposes to march in the lines the hon. member for Wanganui says we must march in. It proposes to amend the tax in the direction he wants. 1 ask those hon. gentlemen who are against the Property Tax and in favor of a land and income tax, when they know the hon. gentleman is not in favor of a land and income tax—when they will get nothing in voting for the amendment except the abstract statement that all taxation is against settlement and harassing to the progress of the country—l say 1 ask them how they can vote against a BUI which will grant very considerable relief under the Property Tax ? What good do they expect to do by voting for this amendment? Supposing it was carried, have they pictured to themselves pvhat will follow ? An Hon. Member: They have, sir. Sir H. A. Atkinson: At least one hon. Sentleman says he has. I do not believe im for one moment, although I say it with all respect. But I am asking those hon. gentlemen what they are going to get by
this vote. They &r« going to discredit the Government. That is the only advantage they can get. They will not ease the Property Tax payers at all. They will be no nearer a land and income tax ; because, supposing we were to be turned out on such a question as this, they are not going to propose an income tax—they are only going to amend the Property Tax in the direction indicated by the hon, gentleman. An Hon. Member: Have a dissolution, and the people of the country will settle the question. Sir H. A. Atkinson; I have no doubt at all they will. But I am asking those who are now joining with the hon. member for Wanganui to discredit the Government: What is the meaning of this amendment ? It is not to get an income tax or a laud tax as against the Property Tax, but solely and simply to discredit the Government. There are reasonable men who are going to vote for the amendment, and I put that to their consideration. I ask them to consider the great work the Government have done. I ask them whether it is reasonable, in the present state of things, to pass an abstract resolution such as this. How is the government to be carried on successfully if such attempts as these are made to discredit it in the eyes of the country? How can we Inpe to curry on the government successfully, and especially such a government as wc have had for the past twenty j months ? How can they hope to do this when, upon an irresponsible member getting up and proposing such an amendment as this, there arc some reasonable members in this House prepared to walk into the lobby with him " I ask them to place themselves in our position, and I ask what they would think of men who treated them as they are treating us, knowing that we have the interest of tire country at heart. I would ask them what they would think of men who were so forgetful of the good service rendered to the country by those in office as to vote against them in favor of an abstract proposition such as this. I would aak them carefully to consider the question, whether it is fair to themselves, or to the Government which they put in office, kept in office—when they consider the work they cause the Government to do, and however imperfectly done, still it has been done, as has been admitted by this House, satisfactorily upon the whole—l ask them whether it is reasonable they should treat the Government in the way they are now asked to treat them, simply to cast discredit upon them, not to obtain what they arc asking for—a land and income tax. And then, sir, I would further ask what it is they mean by a land and income tax ? Sir, I have talked with several members who have proposed this change, and I have not found one who told me what he means. I have not found one lo tell mo within some hundreds of thousands of pounds what a land and income tax would produce. I am speaking with a sense of responsibility. I art- here to make both ends meet; to see that the colony fulfils its engagements. Yet in the face of that I am asked by business men who I know have the interests of the colony at heart to accept a resolution like this; without a single ono of them having the least idea where the money is to bo made good which they propose to abandon on this Property Tax. I ask them again, is it a fair position to put Ministers in—to force them to do anything like that when they after most careful consideration know it cannot be done'? Some hon. gentlemen say “ Go out; let us get some other people.” What hopes have you of doing it ? Who are to take our place? The hon. member for Wanganui must be at the head of them, and I would a>k \ ■ u to look at the doings of the late Government. Is ho a more capable man than Sir J. Vogel, or Sir Robert Stout assisted by himself and Mr Larnach ? And yet those gentlemen came in solemnly pledged to abolish the Property Tax and substitute an income and land tax. Threa years these gentlemen were in office. Docs anyone doubt that they desired to do what they promised ? Docs anyone doubt for a moment that they would have put on a land and income tax if they could have seen their way ? No, sir. But when they were charged with the responsibility of meeting the engagements of the country, they shrank from doing what they had promised to do. Why did they shrink ? My hon. friend opposite knows as well as .1 do that it is absolutely impossible to raise sufficient revenue in any other way to make both ends meet. He knows it is an absolute impossibility. I stand here with responsibility on me, and I know that if the tax is to be abolished, and you arc going for a land and income tax, unless you are prepared to put on a tax of Id upon all freehold land, and in addition to that an incomo tax of Is 3d and even then yon will not get the revenue you get from the Property Tax. An Hon, Member : More, sir. Sir 11. Atkinson : I am not wrong ; I am speaking with a sense of responsibility. Hon. gentlemen speak very glibly on this question who have not studied it. An Hon. Member: What about a progressive tax? Sir H. Atkinson : Is there one of the hon. gentleman who talk so lightly of A PROGRESSIVE LAND TAX who has considered what the effect would be upon the country ? I venture to say no, I have given this matter years of consideration, and I venture to say that it is absolutely impossible to obtain the necessary money unless you charge the land at a penal rate ; and I will ask members in this House, who, like myself, are small farmers—men who have held or hold small quantities of land whether or not there is anything which is so bad an investment as land. Do we not know that, as a rule, the men who have made money are those who have gone into trade ? Then why should the small farmer —tho struggling settler—l ask, bo specially selected for taxation 1 An Hon. Member; Not tho small settler. Sir H. A. Atkinson: The hon. gentleman, I hope, will be able presently to show how to specially tax the land, let the small settler escape, and yet get his revenue. If he can show us that I have no doubt wo shall all bo very much obliged. Mr Kerr : That is what I want to know. Sir H. Atkinson : Yes. Like the hon. member for Waimea, I want to know that. I have looked at the matter in all possible aspects. OBJECTIONS 10 AN INCOME TAX. When it first became my duty to look into this matter, as un Englishman I naturally at once turned my attention to the income tax, It was only reasonable that I should do so. There it was all cut and dried ; the whole scheme was ready to my hand if I could use it. Bub when I looked at it, when I saw what had happened in America, I found that tho thing was absolutely impossible of application to this colony; I found that people there felt as I believe they would feel in New Zealand were it attempted to substitute an income tax for the Property Tax, and that they were ready to rise in rebellion against it. The farmers of New Zealand are a law-abiding people, but I believe their feelings would be too strong for them were they burdened with an income tax. I have gone through the American newspapers, and through the English newspapers, and I venture to say that tho complex system of bookkeeping necessary to determine what a farmer should pay, although the farmer was not charged on income under L 2,000, would be utterly beyond the patience of farmers. If a man killed a sheep and sold half of it, he had to enter it in his books. If ho sold a dozen eggs, he had to enter the transaction. If a day laborer went out into the field to reap for half a day or sow for half a day he was doing work in producing, and the farmer had a right to deduct his wages. But if he was sent out to “betterments,” such as clearing a ditch or cutting a hedge, then that had to be entered on theother side of the account. I ask hon. members, I ask country members, how theysuppose their constituents in farming districts would like to have to keep books in that way in order to comply with the conditions of the income tax ? An Hon. Member : They wonld not have it at all. Sir H. Atkinson : Of course not. And why should they have to do it, I want to know ? Has any argument been adduced to show why ? The idea is—but it is an unrealistic idea—that the land tax will act as a penal tax to break up the big estates. TUB PROPERTY TAX IS A LAND TAX. Now, I will point to hon. members this fact; that in the Property Tax we have at the present moment a tax of Id in the £ on all land in the colony—upon the whole of the
improved laud in the colony. What thsn are we fighting for ? What we are fighting for is whether Improvements are to be taxed; whether incomes are to be taxed. That is all the diffeience. It is not about a land tax that we are fighting, excepting those gentlemen who want a penal tax upon land, a progressive land tax ; and I venture to say that THE COUNTRY WILL NEVER CONSENT •to a progressive laud tax. I venture to say that such a thing would mean ruin to the country. Sir, we all wish the land to be i taken up. But what is it that determines tho value of the produce of the land ? The demand of our fellow-settlers for that produce has nothing whatever to do with tho matter except, at any rate, in a very limited sense. \\ hat determines the value of the produce of the land of the country is the price which our staple produce brings in the London market. Very well, then, f aak why should particular settlers be selected for the purpose of special taxation on their land when the property of their fellow-settlers :is not so selected for special taxation. I ' can quite understand tho whole of the 1 nations of the world saying we will raise all 1 our taxation from the land, and the landholders can distribute the taxation by moans ! of the prices they get for their produce, so • that the burden shall fall equally upon everybody finally. But, sir, if tho taxation is to be put upon the land only in ono par- ' tioular place, Now Zealand, how are we :to compete with tho landholders of 1 ether countries in the markets of tho ' world ? How are we to get on if we place our landholders at such disadvantage? I ask, j What is the one thing that we arc conJ stantly told wc must do—to get the people ’ upon the land, to get the people out of the J towns. • Dr Fitchett; On to small farms. j Sir 11. Atkiuson: On to small farms, i There is not a man in this House who has ! done more lor small farms than I have ■ done ; not a man who has done more to got the land cut up into small farms. I have lived among small farmers all my life—2oo or 300 j acres in my district is considered to be a 1 large farm. I know what small farmers are, j and what the small farmers’ difficulties are, j The sort of men whom you are going to tax i specially | An Don. Member : No. j Sir H. A. Atkinson ; Then it is to be a 1 penal tax. But, sir, we are now considering 1 a revenue tax. A “ BURSTING-Ul’ ” POLICY, | I am prepared, when it is shown that large estates are detrimental to the public interests, when any hon. gentleman can get up in this House and show me that large estates are detrimental to the public interests, and can give good reasons for saying that a remedy ought to lie applied—l say under such circumstances 1 shall be prepared at once to consider that question and to deal with it. As Mr Gladstone said, there is no doubt in my mind that no man has a right to own a largo estate to the detriment of the settlement of the country. Bat it is quite certain that we must deal with that question fairly and honestly. The mistake which a large number of land tax members make ia that they confound a penal tax with a revenue tax ; and if you are going to exempt, as some hon. members propose, all farms under 500 aeres, then I say you will have a tax that will produce nothing from a revenue point of view. And of course if you want to get at the large men, you will have to give them reasonable time to get rid of their estates, and they will do it in such a way that you will get next to nothing from them.
IiEVENUF, V. i’KNAIj TAXATION. But I am Treasurer. I am responsible for the revenue of the colony—for meeting the liabilities of the colony—and looking at the matter from that point of view i can’t for a moment conceive on what ground a man who hos so many sovereigns in the bank, or has bales of drapery in his possession, should not pay on that property as well as the man who has a small parcel of land. What is the use of talking about inducing a man to go out into the country mid live on the land, when the moment he does so you propose to specially tax him ? I do not believe that the country will listen to such a proposition. I ash hon, gentlemen who are in favor of a land tax, do they mean to separate an income from a land tax ? Do they mean to tax all land as land, then tax the income from it by the income tax? I have taken some trouble to inquire from land tax men and from income tax men what they mean, and the majority of them tell me : “ Ves, we do mean that the land shall be taxed, and then you shall have taxation upon what you get from that land.” Well, sir, I ask the small farmers throughout the colony what they think of it. Dr Fitchett: Certainly nothing of the sort was ever intended. Sir H. Atkinson : Then wo have cleared something tip, if the hon. gentleman has any authority to speak. But if that is so then it is my duty to tell the House that it is absolutely impossible to get anything like the required amount of revenue you want under about Is 7d in the pound income tax. Hon. Members: Oh ! Sir H. Atkinson: I am speaking with knowledge. I have carefully gone into the matter, I have gone into the matter often before now, and I say this : that there is no doubt at all that it is a fact, nor is there any doubt that all the wealthy men would bo greatly benefited by the imposition of a laud and income tax. An Hon, Member: Why do they object then so strongly ? Sir H. Atkinson : Many of them do not object, but many of them who sco what the effect would be are sufficiently patriotic to abstain from opposing the tax. VISAIN' SPEAK INC. But, on the other hand, many ignorant men go to the lobbies and vote, not knowing the clfect of their vote. I do not wish to say this in any disagreeable way, but I am so impressed with the fact that many men have formed opinions on this subject without over really facing it that I cannot help patting it that way. These hon. gentlemen have never gone into the figures. They have never tried to estimate how the large men are affected by it. I have taken out large returns, and as I have told the House on former occasions, there is no doubt at all that the large men would pay about onehalf what they pay now if a land and income tax were substituted for this Property Tax. Hon. gentlemen may easily, if they are so inclined, trace the figures out for themselves. I am not interested in this matter one way or the other except to see justice done to the small farmers, of whom I am and have been one, I have not given my attention to making money in other matters. I am not one of the rich men, and never shall be ; but I say that the rich men must escape if I give up the Property Tux for the land and income tax. Mr Fish : It is a strange thing that they are all against it in this House. Sir H. A. Atkinson: They are not all against it. We know that the hon, member for Napier has always been prepared, on reasonable terms—on the terms that the proceeds should be localised—to have a land and income tax, and other bon. gentlemen are in a similar frame of mind. Now, the hon. member for Dunedin South can understand these things, if he will only take the trouble to go into them. Hon. members laugh, but I Wes never more serious. I am talking to hon. members who believe me when I say I am in earnest. To those who do not choose to believe, I have nothing to say, and I do not wish them to have anything to say to me. But I ask the hon. member for Dunedin South to go into this matter carefully and look at it in the light of actual facts, and I venture to say that if he does he will not retain his present opinion. I shall be very glad to assist him, as I am, and have always been, ready to assist any hon. member. Yes, hon, members laugh ; but I do not want to see the matter treated in a spirit of levity and laughing nonsense. The subject is one of great importance, and I ask hon. gentlemen to give me their attention, and to treat the matter with the seriousness that it deserves. Now, if wo are to get rid of this Property Tax, it is his duty to state definitely what it is proposed to substitute for it. I myself, speaking with the authority of my office, and with a full sense of the responsibility that rests upon me, say unhesitatingly that it is impossible to obtain from an income tax, except that it were to be fixed at such high rates that no one would pay, anything like the amount of money that is derived from the Property Tax, I venture to ask the
House whether the burden of proof in that respect does not lie on those who are on the other side, I say that hon. gentlemen who are now supporting the resolution did not when they were memberaof theGovernmentseefitto make this change. For three years they sat on the benches, and they were not men without resource and without the pride to fulfil the pledges they gave to tho country. I say that they completely failed to make any change in that direction. That, I maintain, shows clearly that in so far as this is a practical question those hon, gentlemen found the difficulty of doing anything in this matter too great. I venture to say that is the case with a large number of bon. members. An Hon. Member: It is all in the way of bona fide settlement. Sir H, Atkinson ; I say that there is no doubt, and I repeat the words of my hon. friends opposite, that it does go in the direction of encouraging bona fide settlers. But will a land tax or income tax do that ? It will bo perfectly futile for doing anything of tho sort. Do not let us bo misled by words merely. Wo want bona fide settlers in this country, and no Government have done more for bona fide settlers and economy generally than the present one. Then, sir, we come to this question of THE PROPERTY TAX. Now, I would just ask the House to suppose that we admit, merely for the sake of argument, that tho Property Tax is an undesirable tax, I myself—and no man more—regretted the amount that tax had to go up to. But I, sir, as Treasurer, and also tho members of Sir Julius Vogel’s Government, knew that without the Property Tax tho finances of this country would have got into a state of inextricable confusion. REDUCTION OP TAXATION DESIRABLE, No man, I repeat, regrets more than myself that that tax has had to go up to the amount it has. I say it is too high ; but if you have to raise a certain amount by taxation, I maintain that you must got it off those who have, and the essence of the tax is that it taxes no man except those who have got money. I say that it taxes no man upon anything, except what if he dies tomorrow he iwill leave behind him. It is a matter for grave consideration that when members of tho last Government pledged themselves to do away with this tax—and the present Government believed that with certain improvements it might be made a fairer tax—and I myself was of that opinion, that in all these instances it was found difficult to make any change. I say that that should weigh with the House and with the country. I am sure, in fact, that it does weigh greatly with bon, gentlemen. I ask you is the time suitable for raising the question ? Are not the Government doing tho work the House has set them to do? Arc not the House satisfied with-tho work they arc doing? Are they not satisfied with tho work the Government have done hitherto ? lam glad to say that they are. An Hon. Member : No. Sir H. A, Atkinson : I am glad that there are certain hon. members who are not satisfied. I do not want to be satisfied on that point, for if they were I should at onco think that we had done something wrong. But I say that the majority of this House are thoroughly satisfied, and I go farther, and declare that tho large majority of THE COUNTRY ARE .SATISFIED. Notwithstanding the wretched work that Government have had to do, tho country has recognised tho necessity of tho work, and the country is satisfied. I ask, how is it that at such a time as this, when we were just as it were trembling in the balance, just emerging from a state of chaos—when our finances have just sufficiently recovered their elasticity to afford us some small margin—when our credit has just commenced to go up in the London money market, in consequence of the recognition of the fact that our ability to bear our burdens is the result of bringing our affairs into a reasonable compass—how cau we think at such a time of undoing tho work that lias been ae;omplished with so much difficulty? What will the world think of men charged with such a heavy responsibility as devolves upon us, when they find tbatat sneh a time as this we are discussing a question of such a kind—whether the Governmentthathasdonc this work for the colony ought to be turned out of office—l say what will the world think of it ? Tho late President of tho United States talked of the folly of “ swapping” horses in the middle of a stream ; but if it were possible to make things worse, surely it would ho the “swapping” of horses, not merely in tho middle of tho stream, but positively when that stream was in full flood. Are you seriously going to propose at such a time to get off the good horse that has taken you so far out of your difficulties, and when it has almost brought the country safely to the other side—l say arc you seriously proposing to get off at such a time—and for what? What sorry beast do you propose to substitute for the staunch and trusty animal that has taken you so far, so safely across, An Hon. Member ; It is a horse of quite another color. Sir H. Atkinson: Yes, it is a horse of another color —and a very sorry color, indeed. INOPPORTUNE FOR TAXATION REFORM. But, as I say, what can tho world think of us when wo propose to select such a time as this to remodel our taxation ? Is there any man in New Zealand capable of doing it properly at the present time? I know something of the finances of tho country, and I venture to say it is impossible for anyone to set to work at this time, or even next year either, to consider the remodelling of our taxation. At tho present time we must bear all the ills we have until we really know what the country will produce—until the country has settled down to the changed conditions ; and then when we have a fair margin at our disposal we can consider calmly how wo can alter the taxation if it is found to be unfair, and to subject it to more equal conditions. REASONABLE AMENDMENTS ENCOURAGED. I am perfectly open to consider any form of taxation. All my leanings were in favor of an income tax until I entered into the matter, and found how impossible it was to suit our requirements. lam ready now to hoar and consider every proposal that can be made in the direction of amending the Property Tax. I hope the House will help us to make the Property Tax bear as fairly as possible on everyone. But, sir, while I am willing to meet the House in this way, I am not willing, nor are the Government willing, to receive such a resolution as this. If the House carry such a resolution the responsibility rests upon the House, and upon those two members particularly who, I think, with rather a light heart, go to work upon a matter which they have not at all seriously considered. Now, if that tax is to be done away with, I want to know what you are to substitute for it. Hon, Members : Wo have not to consider that yet. Sir H. A. Atkinson: You have not considered that yet! Just so. We are to remodel our Constitution upon a pattern that has yet to be discovered. And yet we are charged with the responsibility of heavy liabilities. I know how I have struggled to make both ends meet, and I venture to say that if we change the incidence of taxation with no well-considered means at our disposal, and with uncertain conditions to determine the result, the House will run a very largo risk of encountering an enormous deficit, which will have the effect of throwing it back for years, and of delaying onr progress out of that state of depression which none of ns may wish to see occur again.
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THE PREMIER’S DEFENCE OF THE PROPERTY TAX., Evening Star, Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
THE PREMIER’S DEFENCE OF THE PROPERTY TAX. Evening Star, Issue 7987, 16 August 1889
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