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ized in this year and another fifty-million issue in 1912. The outstanding State-highway debt has remained at $80,000,000 since

1917.

TABLE 18.

FUNDED STATE DEBT OUTSTANDING FOR HIGHWAYS AND OTHER PURPOSES IN NEW YORK.

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This represents more than one-third of the total State debt, and more than one-half of the total of all State debts for highway purposes in the United States. The expenditures of the State Highway Department in New York for the ten years ending in 1920 were between sixty-three and sixty-four million dollars. These include State aid to towns and counties, but are exclusive of other local expenditure for roads, and do not include the State outlays for highways construction, which exceeded in amount the expenditures of the State Highway Department during the same decade.

The towns followed the State in appropriating funds for the improvement of highways, and the amounts spent locally soon exceeded State expenditures for this purpose. In 1920 town highway expenditure in New York was about fourteen million dollars, as compared with twelve million spent by the State Highway Department. Some of the money spent locally is derived from the motor-vehicle revenue and from State aid, but about three-fourths of it is from town and county appropriations.

* U. S. Bureau of the Census, Financial Statistics of States, 1919.

↑ Comptroller's Reports.

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The State has improved about three-fourths of the proposed State highway system of about thirteen thousand miles. The towns in 1918 had improved about thirteen thousand miles of their seventy-one thousand miles of public highways. With so much highway still unimproved there will doubtless be large expenditures for highway construction for some years to come, and as the mileage improved increases, the cost of maintenance, repair and reconstruction grows.

* Figures from Annual Reports of Department of State Highways, supplemented by the Annual Reports of the State Comptroller.

1912-1916 inclusive estimates based on preceding year's revenues from motor vehicles. 19171920 from Reports of Department of State Highways.

The taxes in New York.- Motor vehicles were taxed as personalty under the general-property tax in New York until 1911, when a special state license tax, graded according to horse-power, was substituted. This law has been subject to frequent revision. The most important changes were made in 1917 and 1919. In 1917 trucks and trailers were withdrawn from the tax based on horse-power, and subjected to a tax based on gross weight instead; and omnibuses were rated according to seating capacity. In 1919 the basis of the tax on passenger cars was changed so as to inelude cost as well as horse-power.

Under the present law the measure of the tax for pleasure cars is both horse-power and cost- the rate being twenty-five cents per horse-power plus forty cents per $100 list price for cars three years old or less, twenty cents per $100 list price for cars from four to five years old, and ten cents for cars over five years. The minimum fee for four-cylinder cars is five dollars; for six-cylinders or more, ten dollars.*

Omnibuses are subject to an initial charge of ten dollars for number plates plus a tax based on seating capacity ranging from $15.00 for a seating capacity of five to $67.50 for a seating capacity of thirty, with an additional charge of two dollars per person over thirty.t

The measure of the tax for motor trucks is gross weight-the rate being five dollars per ton gross weight up to fourteen tons, with a minimum fee of ten dollars, and ten dollars per ton gross weight over fourteen tons. The minimum fee for trailers is five dollars, increasing up to thirty dollars for fourteen tons, with a charge of five dollars a ton for every ten in excess of fourteen. Motor cycles are taxed at a flat rate of $2.50. Dealers pay a license of fifteen dollars, plus five dollars for each duplicate set of licenses. §

These taxes are in lieu of all other taxes on motor vehicles, except that motor vehicles in the hands of dealers and manufac turers are taxed as personal property. The initial license fee for chauffeurs is five dollars, with a renewal fee of two dollars. Owners are charged two dollars for initial license and one dollar

Highway Law, Sec. 282.

tHighway Law, Sec. 282, Subdiv. 6a.

The maximum gross weight of motor trucks has been limited to twelve and one-half tons since 1918. There are no apparent exceptions to this rule (Highway Law, Sec. 282a).

{ Highway Law, Sec. 282, 284, 302.

for renewal. The law is now administered by the State Tax Commission, and the proceeds, which are shared with the localities are used entirely for highway purposes.

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Motor-vehicle taxes of other states. The growth in the number of motor vehicles and in the cost of roads has been accompanied by an interesting evolution in the character of motorvehicle taxes. From small flat fees, in which the revenue motive played a subsidiary part, these taxes have developed in most states into elaborate and heavy charges designed to yield a large revenue and to bear a relationship to road costs occasioned by the vehicles taxed.

Thus, at the present time, in only three states is there a flat rate on passenger cars, and in only two is there a flat rate on trucks.

TABLE 20.

BASES OF MOTOR-VEHICLE FEES IN THE UNITED STATES.+

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1

21 2 2

Weight plus horse-power, cost and capacity.

*Since 1919 three-fourths of the proceeds of the tax have been kept by the State. From 1916 to 1919 one-half went to the local districts. Cities, other than New York City, are not included among local districts to which motor vehicle revenues are distributed. Cf infra, p. 152 et seq. † R. K. Tomlin, "Trend of Motor Vehicle Legislation," Engineering News Record.

Table 20 shows that the usual measure for possenger cars is horse-power, and for trucks carrying capacity. Other measures are gross weight, weight of the vehicle alone, weight of the chassis, cost of vehicle, tire width, and piston displacement, and various combinations of these.

No other state employs the same basis as New York for the taxation of passenger cars. Not only are there wide variations in the basis of the license tax, but the rate varies so greatly in the different states using the same base that there is an utter lack of uniformity in the taxation of motor vehicles. In the attempts to tax such vehicles in proportion to their use of the roads, there would seem to be no agreement as to what constitutes a measure of such use.

Revenue from New York motor-vehicle tax.- The State is now collecting slightly more than nine million dollars annually from the tax on motor vehicles. The annual figures for a period are given in Table 21.

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Adequacy of the New York taxes. The question of the adequacy of the taxes on motor vehicles can, we believe, be precisely answered only by an extended statistical analysis along the lines suggested on page 134. This analysis, although an elaborate and difficult undertaking, must sometime be made. Until the results *The figures for 1911-1920 are for the automobile years. The 1921 figure is for the fiscal ear ending July 1st.

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