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Are state taxes illegal?

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agiustina posted on Sat, Mar 24 2012 2:09 PM

The 14th Amendment says: "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." So a state can't arbitrarily take away a person's property. The 9th amendment says, "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." This says that no matter what rights congress, states, the government, or other people have, they cannot deny the rights of people. Nothing can take away the rights of the people. So if state's can't take away your property without due process of law, and the rights of people cannot be denied, aren't state taxes illegal? Regardless of the rights the Constitution grants to states, they do not supersede the rights of the people.

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I think you're confused. We typically call governmental statutes (including the Constitution) "law". This is a bit of a misnomer since statutes are not really law so much as policy pronouncements: "If you drive faster than the posted speed limit, then we (the government) intend to punish you by fining you $X." We call it "law" but it really isn't law-rightly-understood. Taxation is certainly unlawful (theft/robbery) according to the law-rightly-understood.

But there is no doubt that the government's policy pronouncements consistently and logically support the government's tax policy (including State taxation). State taxes are most certainly not illegal, even on the most uncharitable interpretation of the Constitution and subsequent statutes.

The passing of laws through legislation is considered a "due process of law." States taxed at the time the Constitution was ratified (the Federal government, in fact, had very little taxing power by comparison).

Clayton -
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Fair point. I guess the word "right" specifically refers to the power of the people. So I may have misinterpreted that. Although I do not thing "due process of law" qualifies as making laws. That amendment refers to "persons" which is individualistic. So to me, that sounds like each person is a unique circumstance.  Where as the 2nd amendment refers to "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" which is much more general. People refers to a group, persons refers to individuals. Or at least that's how I see it.

How about the 5th amendment: "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

So this again says no one can take away your property without just compensation. So if the government takes away $10 from me for building a road, and they take $0 from another person. How can my ability to use a road be just compensation? 

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