Monday, February 4, 2019

How Tax Money Was and Is Spent

Recently, I discovered this item in the Columbia Republican for February 4, 1919.

I thought it might be interesting to compare how our tax dollars are divided today, a hundred years later. The comparison cannot be perfect, because today the school district has its own tax levy, which for most property owners in Hudson is about the same as the taxes collected for the city and the county. Of the amount paid in city and county taxes, 35 percent goes to the county. The remaining 65 percent is divided up in this way:

I subtracted the county tax and the money for schools from the $100 in the 1919 figures and calculated what percentage of the remainder each budget item represented and then compared those percentages with those for comparable items on the pie chart above. Here's the result:

In 1919, the writer observed, "The police call for nearly four times as much as the fire department." Today, the disparity is even greater. Another significant change is "Benefits," which probably didn't exist in 1919. An interesting difference is that today the city spends far less for bonds and debt service than it did a hundred years ago.


  1. Our police bill seems disproportionately high.

  2. If cutting one job in the department of youth causes this city a case of vapors, imagine the blowback when city leaders (finally) make the obvious cuts necessary.

    Hudson has become a city of fewer users and higher cost but eventually payroll has be proportional to population.

    And where is the feast we were promised?