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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 5 — Civil Government

Section 11: Taxation

Every person has a right to be secure in the enjoyment of his life, liberty and property and there­fore is bound to pay taxes for that protection. All taxes shall be either in a flat amount or at a fixed rate. No tax shall be laid except by the consent of the people's legislative representatives.

This section is built on the law of service/debt —"The laborer is worthy of his hire." Civil employees are entitled to compensation for their services. Their services are the security of the people's inalienable rights. The people are in a sense their employer and taxes levied upon themselves by their lawful legislative represen­tatives constitute compensation for that protection.

This section is rightly founded on the idea that as no employee sets his own compensation, so too the magistrate or civil employee does not set their compensation. If taxes be insufficient to compensate, it is no business of civil government to make unilateral adjustments. If the people are not willing to tax themselves for adequate security of their rights, then they must suffer the consequences. Their failure, however, creates no jurisdiction in the civil government to govern the people better than the people desire and therefore bars the civil employee from compensating themselves except and according to the law established by the legisla­ture for that object.

There is some discussion over what objects may be taxed. One view holds that income and commercial transactions may be taxed. If they are taxed, however, then the rule is that they must be taxed according to a flat amount or at a fixed rate relative to a given article or transaction. In addition, duties which are synony­mous with impost and customs are permissible taxes as follows: Imposts are taxes on goods brought into a country from abroad and are distinguished from customs which pertain to taxes on exports. Excises are bar­red because they by definition are not tied to a public object, are based on no rule of equality, and are many times tied to special occupations or licensing.

As the object of taxation is to raise revenue, a tax may never be levied upon a pretext of raising revenue, but in actuality with a different object, such as regulating commerce.

No gift or possession is taxable and this is noted in Article 3, Sections 5 and 7.

The other view holds that income and commercial transactions are not the proper objects of taxation, but that a head tax may be levied according to a flat amount.

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