Taxes have been around forever. California taxed my ancestor, David Lewis Drew for the wagon that he used to haul ore and freight between Copperopolis and Stockton California..
The 1864 tax list shows that his wagon was assessed at $1600! It must have been a great wagon to have that much value back in that day. It didn’t cost a lot more for a VW Bug 100 years later.
According to my inflation calculator, the $1600 1864 freight wagon would cost $23,530 today and the tax would be $588. Great grandpa paid $40.00 taxes for the wagon with its 2.5% tax rate.
It’s a good thing he wasn’t being taxed on vinegar. Its tax rate was 5%, the same as wine. Bricks were taxed at 3%, while repair on wagons was taxed at 5% for some reason.
Maybe the politicians in California at that time considered maintenance and repairs as value-added enhancements to the basic functionality of a wagon. I suppose having the wheels stay attached and go round and round was a desired ‘addition’.