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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

EDITORIAL: "Taxation without Representation" From 1765 - Present

EDITORIAL: On October 7, 1765, The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in a meeting in which nine colonies to declare the English Crown had no right to tax Americans who lacked representation in British Parliament.

Within ten years of that meeting the British Crown and Americans would be at war over the idea which 27 delegates sent three documents was sent to England.

The issue festered when Britian approved the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765. The British Parliament passed a measure that required all colonists to pay taxes on every page of printed paper they used.

This tax also included fees for paying cards and dice.

The proceeds from the Act would be used to protect the colonies from attack and help the colony pay the costs of the British troops who were on the Continent.

The tax itself was a sales tax.

Protests began on a legal principle that only the colonial representatives had the power to tax residents through representatives their legislatures.

Some of those colonies had agents to the Parliament, which included Benjamin Franklin. The colonies themselves did not have any representative sitting on the Parliament.

Patrick Henry in May 1765 laid out " taxation without representation" argument to the Virginia Resolves. The protests to the Stamp Act were just as active in Massachusetts who called for a meeting of all of the colonies.

A Stamp Act Congress was to be held in New York in October 1765 with a Committee of Correspondence were formed in each of the colonies to oppose the Stamp Act.

On October 9, 1765, representatives from nine of the eighteen colonies showed up. The Legislatures in Virgina and Georgia did not allow their representatives to go to the meeting, feeling that this was against the British Constitution.

These same 27 delegates would later sign the " Declaration of Independence" or United States Constitution or play a role in fighting for the American Independence, or against the American Independence.

Even back then, not everyone could agree on some matters, in fact it was quite contentious.

A strong conflict between two representatives from Massachusetts James Otis who polarized the idea of " taxation without representation is tyranny".

But, Timothy Ruggles, moderate formerly from Massachusetts was the Congress President; perceived by a few delegates as a way to undermine the Congress.

Otis wrote that " the very act of taxing, exercised over those who are not represented, appears to me depriving them of one of their most essential rights, as freeman, and if continued, seems to be in effect an entire disfranchisement of every civil right,"

The Stamp Act Congress ended however on a controversial note with three petitions which included with Ruggles opposition to the petitions and left the Congress without signing them.

The petitions were ignored by Britain, however protests exerted by the colonists led to Repeal to the Stamp Act.

Wheel taxes, fuel taxes and other tax measures keeps roads and bridges maintained, however how much do our local counties, cities and towns are deprived from the State of Indiana?

In the 21st Century taxation continues on many levels and many ways.

Taxation is needed to provide many services to the public, with many essential services the government provides to its citizens.

Federal taxes are used for many purposes, in 2022 the United States Federal government collected $4.4 Trillion compared to $3.59 Trillion in 2021 which was an increase of $882 billion.

Lawrence County Local Income Tax largely funds the Lawrence County Jail - Many Lawrence County residents opposed the LIT and Wheel Tax

The United States is racking up debt which is at a total of $31 Trillion dollars and is climbing as you read this news story.

In Indiana, the State of Indiana is poised to collect $61 Billion in reserve accounts in data released by the State Budget Agency. The income tax rate for Indiana is 3.23 percent and a sales tax of 7 percent.

The debt for Indiana is $ 25.02 Billion as of August of 2022.

In Lawrence County, county government collected a total of $36 Million in property taxes, with a total just about $2 Million dollars owed to the county at the beginning of 2022.

Residents in the City of Bedford pay the highest tax rate of 3.70886 which is the highest among the government entities in Lawrence County. The City of Mitchell has a tax rate of 3.6556, and Town of Oolitic with a tax rate of 2.4682.

Indiana residential property owners pay 1% percent of value of their property, 2 % for the farmers and other residential properties, and 3 percent is assessed for all other property owners.

When the Indiana legislature have enacted on property tax caps, the implementation of Local Income Taxes has been a popular way to generate more income, and in the year 2000 non-school units of government raised less than $2 for every $10 of by property taxes.

Indiana Representative Republican District 65 Chris May

But, by 2020 that ratio now has grown to nearly $8 in Local Income Taxes per $10 in every property tax collection supporting local schools. In 2022, all 92 of Indiana Counties collect Local Income Taxes with an average rate of 1.6 percent.

In 2020, over the State of Indiana has held over $ Billion in reserves, which means much of the taxes the State of Indiana collects do not reach the local level form of government.

Indiana State Senator District 44 Eric Koch

Indiana residents pay state and local income taxes together, but local revenues are distributed to back to counties based on past collections. This created a two-year delay between incomes being earned, taxes, and finally sent to local governments.

The State of Indiana manages the process through the county Local Income Tax accounts, with 92 checking accounts with tax collections as deposits, certified distributions as withdrawals, and balances kept in each account to avoid overdrafts revenues or revenue shortfalls.

The question would be do you feel our local tax representatives are doing a good job in getting tax revenues to the taxpayers of our local communities?

Please place your comments on the Lawrence County Zephyr page or in the comment section of this editorial.

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