The ownership of property in a civilized community is subject to the right of the State to levy taxes upon it for the purpose of obtaining funds to defray the expense of government. As the expense is recurring the tax levy is made at regular periods. It is apportioned on the basis of the valuations of the property taxed and it is made a lien on it which may be enforced by the sale of the property or some interest in it.
In large cities there is usually one annual tax levy which provides funds for all purposes for which the city raises money. In other localities there are various tax levies and these may be all or some of the following:
The expenses of the State government are met to a large extent by special taxes such as income taxes, inheritance taxes, corporation taxes, stock transfer tax, and automobile tax. If these taxes do not provide the State with sufficient funds, a direct tax is levied by counties based upon the value of the taxable property in each county.
Each county of the State raises money by taxation for the expenses of the county government, and its courts, penal institutions, hospitals, care of the poor, roads, and bridges.
Local town government provides for its needs by taxation. Frequently State, county and town taxes are levied and collected at the same time.
The school tax is often a separate levy by school districts for the purpose of maintaining the public schools. The appropriation for which the tax is levied is usually voted by the tax-paying residents of the district.
The highway tax is usually made by highway commissioners for the upkeep and repair of the roads within the district.
Incorporated cities and villages within a county provide for their recurring expenses by a separate and independent tax levy.