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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/56

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Tickets of all descriptions—railroad, theater, etc.—must have a stamp, as must each page of the reports of meetings, each leaf of a merchant's ledger, day or cash book, and every cigar sold singly, which must be delivered to the buyer in a stamped wrapper. Sales of imported spirits pay eight per cent on the duties levied on their importation, and a half of one per cent in addition when retailed. Domestic spirits pay three per cent when sold by producers or dealers at wholesale, and a half of one per cent additional when sold at retail. Gross receipts of city railroads pay four per cent; public amusements, two per cent upon the amount paid for entrance; playing cards, fifty per cent—paid in stamps—on the retail price; and manufactured tobacco a variety of taxes, proportioned to quality and value. Mercantile drafts are taxed at a dollar on every hundred.

Farms, haciendas, and town estates are required to be taxed at the rate of three dollars per each thousand dollars of the valuation, but such is the influence of the landowners that the valuation is almost nominal. In Vera Cruz the rate is reported at about two mills on the dollar for the most productive portions of country estates; while in the Pacific State of Colima the rate is said to be one and a half per cent. Land and buildings not actually producing income are exempt from taxation, notwithstanding they may be continually enhancing in value. This system of exempting unoccupied realty from taxation also prevails in Portugal; and the Mexican usage was probably derived from that country, where the theory in justification of the practice is, that the use of a thing defines its measure of value, and that to tax unused property is confiscation.

A recent Mexican statute for the taxation of land contains forty-seven different sections, each providing the ways and means of enforcing the tax and prescribing penalties for its infraction. In the towns and cities of Mexico this system of infinitesimal taxation is indefinitely repeated, the towns acting as collectors of revenue for the Federal and State governments, as well as for their own municipal requirements. All industries pay a monthly fee: As tanneries, fifty cents; soap factories, one dollar. So also all shops for the sale of goods pay according to their class, from a few dollars down to a few cents per month. Each beef animal, on leaving a town, pays fifty cents; each fat pig, twenty-five cents; each sheep, twelve cents; each load of corn, fruit, vegetables, or charcoal, six cents (as a supposed road tax), and so on; and, on entering another town, all these exactions are repeated. A miller, in Mexico, it is said, is obliged to pay thirty-two separate taxes on his wheat before he can get it from the field and offer it, in the form of flour, on the market for consumption. As a matter of necessity, furthermore, every center of popu-