This section is from the "Elementary Principles of Economics" book, by Richard T. Ely and George Ray Wicker. Also available from Amazon: Elementary Principles Of Economics: Together With A Short Sketch Of Economic History
Local areas of administration in the United States have usually relied in the main upon the same taxes which are levied by the state governments. Thus, as has been explained above, the general property tax is levied at a rate which represents the contribution of the taxed property to town, county, and state governments. Similarly, the local governments are usually allowed a share of the revenue from liquor-license taxation. Municipalities also at times have their independent license system for hucksters, etc., though this system usually has for its main purpose the regulation of such business.
Revenue from Franchises. One form of revenue which American cities have been too prone to neglect is now receiving increasing attention. Private municipal service corporations enjoy very valuable privileges under their municipal franchises, and they should be made to pay for these franchises all that they are worth; that is, the capitalization of their earning power, less the actual capital invested and an extra allowance for the regular risks of the business. Some cities have been able to manage such municipal enterprises for themselves with great profit, and it is not improbable that this method will be adopted more generally as American municipalities become more honest and businesslike.
For the sake of completeness, the following table of New York City's revenues for the year 1902 is presented, that the student may compare it with earlier tables showing the revenues of a state and the nation. The figures as given in the annual report of the City Comptroller have been rearranged to bring them within the classification of sources of revenue given on pages 335-336.
Revenues from Public Property:........$3,940,633.05
Docks and slips . . $2,676,040.45
Market stands . . . 280,596.79
City buildings . . . 137,630.70
Articles made in public institutions . . 77,311.27
Privileges (including " trimming Public Industries, publicly managed:...... 8,890,476.77