enues will be first reviewed and then the history of the general property tax in Oregon will be sketched.
A Poll Tax for Commonwealth Purposes was traditional in Oregon at the time of the admission of the state into the Union. During the period of the provisional government, a poll tax of fifty cents had been collected. The territorial legislature revived this poll tax for territorial purposes in 1854. The state legislature, in 1862, again had recourse to it for revenue, "to defray current expenses of the state." The amount was fixed at one dollar. The receipts from the poll tax from September 9, 1862, to September 4, 1864, were only $7,093.25. A census of the voting population gave the number 14,755. Thus not more than one-third of those from whom the tax was due had paid during the biennial period. The secretary of state, on the basis of this showing argued that if the tax could not be generally enforced, it should be abolished. However, by requiring its collection by the assessor at the time of assessing it; first, of all persons whose real and personal property did not aggregate $500, and later, of all persons liable to it, the difficulty with it was remedied. The receipts for the second period were $24,057.16, and there was a regular increase until the last period of its use for state expenditures.
The exemption of firemen began in 1870. Militiamen were also later relieved. In 1876 it was enacted that this poll tax should be retained by the counties.' It was still levied under state law and continued to be until 1907. County authorities that decided upon a money tax for road purposes were in 1893, required to levy a $2 poll tax in addition to the old $1
- Oregon Spectator, Feb. 19, 1846, vol. i, No. 3.
- Session Laws, 1854, p. 43.
- General Laws, 1862, p. 89.
- Report of Secretary of State, 1864, Appendix House Journal, p. 82.
- General Laws, 1862; General Laws, 1866, p. 37.
- General Laws, 1870, p. 20.
- General Laws, 1876, p. 69.