71. Several Factors May Be Considered in Classifying Revenues

It has been noted that taxes are the compulsory levies which are made without special reference to the assignment of individual benefits. It is conceivable, of course, that other sorts of payments may be made. Some may be made with no compulsion, while with some only a small degree of compulsion may be used. There may be much difference in the kind and amount of public interest in the benefit which the state gives. Many payments, moreover, give a very direct benefit to the individuals making the contribution. Several of these elements may be involved in any single payment. A contribution may not be compulsory, yet if the service is to be enjoyed by the individual a payment must be made. On the other hand, an individual may not wish to pay, yet, because of particular benefits which accrue to him from the action of the state, he is compelled to share in the cost of the benefits. Frequently, also, the state supplies a service which the individual may or may not use, as he chooses. Other avenues may be open to him to get the same service. If he accepts it from the state, however, payment must be made. The forms of revenue suggested by these aspects will form the basis of most of the discussion of this chapter. The three important forms are fees, special assessments, and public prices. Other minor forms of revenue will also receive brief consideration.