BRITAIN Poleaxing the Poll Tax

BRITAIN Poleaxing the Poll Tax

British governments are not exactly unaccustomed to the consequences of despised tax policies. A levy on tea, after all, helped spark the American Revolution. Last week, to save itself from the voters' wrath, the government of Prime Minister John Major unveiled its alternative to the deeply hated poll tax, the flat-fee assessment that Margaret Thatcher instituted last year to replace property taxes as the means of financing local governments.

The poll tax prompted a bloody riot in London, helped bring about Thatcher's resignation and threatened to unseat the ruling Conservative Party in national elections, which must be held by mid-1992. Major's...

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