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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/308

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F. G. Young

enues667.70 were received from this source by the state. This was more than three times as large as reported for any other two year period. The "equal protection of the laws" that must not, under the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, be denied by any state put an end to such taxation in Oregon.

Insurance Company Licenses and Stamp and net Premium Taxes. — The business of fire, marine and life and accident insurance were under the primitive conditions of early Oregon, quite exclusively in the hands of companies having their homes in the eastern states and abroad. Even to this day, the departure from such a situation has advanced but a slight degree. The transaction of the business of assuming risks and of paying losses does not demand the use and ownership by these foreign concerns of local property. The profits secured through these different forms of the insurance business would thus, under a state revenue system, made up of a bare general property tax, wholly escape taxation. The problem of securing tribute from these foreign corporations for the people of Oregon was early taken up by the Officials whose duty it was to recommend improvements in financial system of the state. They soon discovered how a system of lucrative fees could be developed in connection with the special taxation of the insurance companies. Their meagre constitutional salaries could be supplemented through license charges exacted of these concerns for the privilege of writing policies in Oregon.

First in 1864, there was a futile effort to obtain revenue from fire and marine companies through local taxes imposed upon a bond deposit required of them as surety for their meeting their losses.[1] In 1870, the bond deposit of fire and marine companies was ordered placed with the state treasurer and a lipense charge was imposed upon the agents of life insurance companies. It was in connection with the re-

  1. Deposits were to be in United States bonds or Oregon state bonds. The U. S. bonds were non-taxable and the state bonds were not available.