What to fill up treasury with? A salt tax
Taxes - guarantee of successful existence of any power. When it lacks means, the most improbable sources of receipts sometimes are invented. One of examples was provided by Gianni Rodari in the fairy tale “ Chipollino “ - tax on a rain. And you will not get to anywhere, the rain went - it is necessary to pay.
It is unknown whether any master guessed to follow advice of the writer, but the principle “ will not get to " anywhere; many applied quite successfully. Among inventors and the Roman emperor Vespasian.
Striking example successful “ reversing of hands “ loyal - a tax on salt. The population of various countries among which there are China and Mexico, Italy and Germany, France and Russia had to get acquainted with it.
Chinese acted as pioneers. Their successful experience was introduced by the authorities of other countries. In Russia introduction of a salt tax in 1646 led to rise in price of a product of prime necessity four times, from five kopeks to two hryvnias for pood.
Consequences of the unreasoned decision were much more serious, than can seem. The matter is that salt at that time was the main preservative. The reduction of its consumption caused by rise in price led to reduction of periods of storage and drop in sales of salty food, as a result - to considerable deterioration in living conditions of the population.
Of course, the salt tax was not the only cause of discontent of the people. But bloody revolt of 1648 became history as salt. Salt was the brightest embodiment and a symbol of neglect of the authorities own citizens.
Salt acted as the same symbol in France of 1789. Only revolution was capable to stop the excesses of the authorities connected with the salt taxation, lasting more than four hundred years.
First it was the emergency tax imposed in 1341 when Centenary war raged. War, eventually, ended, but appetites of the authorities everything did not decrease in any way.
That nobody escaped a payment, norms on salt consumption which all inhabitants were obliged to carry out were entered. To start up the salt bought within norm on salting of products was considered as a crime, for this purpose it was necessary to buy salt much. Even the shepherds allowing animals to drink saltish water from ponds were accused of evasion from payment of a tax.
To stimulate consumption of salt all imaginable and inconceivable measures were used. For example, it was forbidden to stop legal proceedings for a cause of death of the suspect. The corpse should be salted and presented on court session in the determined day. In 1784 in the city of Kornuay without having waited for court a certain Maurice Le Corr died. For any reason date of court session was not appointed, and the salted corpse of the poor creature lay in prison more than seven years.
The biggest size of a tax on salt was entered by the colonial authorities in India. In the thirties the last century its rate made the whole 4000%! At the same time there was enough salt, but only the authorities disposed of it. In structure of the income of treasury the salt tax provided receipt of 5% of means.
And again salt played a revolution banner role. At the call of Gandhi - the leader of the Indian National Congress Hindus stopped salt purchase, many of them went to the ocean independently to evaporate salt from sea water. Attempt of undermining the state monopoly caused the repressions from the authorities which provoked in turn revolts of local population Chittagong, Peshawar and Maharashtra.
As we see, usual white salt, so habitual for us, played an important role in the history of the different countries. But a salt tax - not the only smart invention of masters. About other unusual taxes - a bit later.