SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Viewed alternately as necessary, intrusive, critical and, well, taxing, the 16th Amendment is one Americans become intimately aware of every April.
Although taxes existed long before 1913, until then they were inconsistent and largely for the benefit of local governments. The 16th Amendment gave the federal government the right to levy taxes based on income rather than a state's population. And we've been paying for it ever since.
"As much as any of us, I think, don't like paying taxes, it's a necessary thing to do,'' says state representative Bob Bryant. "I mean, government cannot run without finances and where does it come from? This is where we as individuals and citizens should be able to pay back to society for the people that cause this to happen, the people who protect us on the job, the people who create jobs, the people who govern our country.''
Throughout history, there have been those who argued that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional because imposing income tax violates prior rights and liberties, but that claim has never been a successful defense for not paying taxes.