But it was proposed that these extensions should be accompanied by an educational franchise, and a franchise conferred on persons who had paid twenty shillings in assessed taxes or income tax; the tax-payers who had gained a vote in this way being given a second vote in respect of the property which they occupied.
Along with this view has arisen the question whether the burden of taxation should not be progressive - the proportion of the sum taken by the state from the tax-payers increasing with the wealth of the individual; because ability to pay taxes is assumed to be not in proportion to, but to increase with the size of, the income.
These, it is said, can be distributed among different classes of tax-payers, because the income tax falls on the owners of incomes of all kinds of property subject to the duty, if their incomes are above a certain limit, while the incidence of customs and excise duties can be ascertained by inquiries as to the consumption of dutiable articles by different classes.
The payers of income tax, unfortunately, are not one class but many, and although the rate of duty is the same, the definition of income seems imperfect, so that many pay on a much larger assessment of income than seems fair in comparison with other incomes of nominally the same amount, but really of much greater value when all deductions from the gross sum are fairly reckoned.
The moment rates are brought into question it is seen at once how impossible it would be to establish equality among tax-payers, when.