Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Today -100: February 2, 1910: Of unexpected senators, unconstitutional taxes, retaliatory car licenses, and how to end war

Names of the Day -100: Senator Fountain Land Thompson of North Dakota has resigned after less than two months in office following the death of the previous senator. This was news in D.C., which only found out about the doings in ND when his successor showed up, vouched for by the other ND senator, a Porter J. McCumber. Senators were still elected by state legislatures, but here’s something I didn’t know: the dates of those elections weren’t uniform. ND, for example, became a state in 1899, so McCumber, chosen then, was re-elected by the Legislature in 1905 and 1911.

Some corporations will refuse to file returns required by the corporation tax law, believing the law to be unconstitutional (the Supreme Court will be hearing a challenge in March). They fear that the real purpose of the law is not collecting the 1% tax, but collecting the information about the corporations from their returns.

Car license wars: New Jersey does not recognize car licenses from other states, so people whose cars are registered elsewhere have to pay additional fees before they can drive them in Joisey. Since other states don’t do this, there is an incentive for car owners in nearby states to register in NJ and only have to pay one fee. So nearly half the 34,000 cars registered in NJ belong to New Yorkers. The New York Legislature is about to consider a retaliatory measure, requiring licenses for people from states that do not recognize non-resident licenses. Penn. & Delaware already have such laws.

A Suffrage Settlement House opens in Harlem, financed by Mrs. Belmont. One of the speakers was Fanny Villard, who the NYT fails to mention was the daughter of William Lloyd Garrison. She said that she was the 2nd largest taxpayer in Dobbs Ferry, NY, but had no power to regulate or shut down its 26 saloons. And if women had the vote there would be no need of an army or navy, because the influence of women would make war unnecessary.

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