If you have been putting off filing your federal tax return for a month now, Saturday is not a day you will enjoy. It was 99 years ago on Feb. 25 that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The 16th Amendment allows Congress to levy a federal income tax.
If you have been putting off filing your federal tax return for a month now, Saturday is not a day you will enjoy.
It was 99 years ago on Feb. 25 that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The 16th Amendment allows Congress to levy a federal income tax.
The income tax had been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it was not a direct tax based on census results.
In the early 1900s, President Teddy Roosevelt was pushing for more progressive tax structures because there was a concern that rich Americans had gathered to much economic power for themselves.
The 1 percent is apparently more than 99 years old.
Once the amendment was ratified, the federal income tax of 2 percent was instituted.
Obviously, future Congresses have had fewer problems raising that tax rate once the tax’s legality was established.
So when you get ready to e-file your 1040 EZ you can thank 42 states who made those taxes possible 99 years ago.
Arkansas and New Hampshire ratified the 16th Amendment after initially defeating it.
Connecticut, Utah, Rhode Island and Virginia voted against ratification.
Florida and Pennsylvania never considered the amendment.
The rest of the states gave the centralized federal government a funding mechanism that has allowed Congress to raise unthinkable amounts of money over the last century.
Of course, we have outspent that income by about $15 trillion dollars.
I can’t wait to see what the next 99 years holds.
But income taxes aren’t the only creative way to raise funds for government. On the same day 93 years ago, Oregon became the first state to begin taxing gasoline purchases.
The tax was 1 cent per gallon.
The first gasoline-powered car was only around about 50 years before the first tax on gasoline was passed.
That’s a pretty quick turnaround.
Now we have taxes on property, income, gasoline, retail sales and various other types and forms.
It’s hard to believe that our grandparents’ grandparents never got to give a percentage of their income to Uncle Sam once a year and each time they filled up their gas tank.
They would envy our patriotism.
I envy how little national debt they had to help finance.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.