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Introduction of the Excise Tax in the Towns of Brandenburg (April 15, 1667)

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4. The magistrates of each town shall, with the help of committees of the burghers, make proper arrangements to ensure that no evasion is practiced when livestock is slaughtered in the public slaughterhouses or domestically or by the bakers in the towns and suburbs or in connection with any other specified articles, and the brewers, retailers of liquor, slaughterers, and bakers shall obey these regulations exactly.

5. For which purpose the collection and administration shall everywhere be entrusted and assigned by the magistrates and burghers’ committees to established, respectable, and diligent persons who are already under attestation and acting as collectors of the contributio, thus avoiding expense and the creation of new salaried posts.

6. For the rest, no person whatsoever, whether resident in noble manors, Colleges, Episcopal liberties, on the Werder or in other liberties, in suburbs or outlying districts, whether he be cleric or noble, employee of the Court or army, higher or lower official, or of any other quality, shall under any pretext whatever, be exempt from this tax, nor shall any exemption or liberty be given contrary to this rule, either by Us or by any other person, and anything of the sort that shall inadvertently occur shall be regarded as null and void and no regard whatever paid to it; the magistrate shall, however, not pretend to any other jurisdiction over any houses or localities which are exempt or otherwise not dependent on him.

7. Immediate inspection shall be made of all places retailing wine and beer, and the owners shall be required to pay the excise in full on their stocks.

8. And the magistrates of each locality shall pay due heed and attention that the innkeepers, slaughterers, bakers, and handworkers do not make this small excise a pretext to raise their prices excessively, and shall fix equitable prices and see that they are observed.

9. All towns are to render to Us quarterly a true account of what this excise has yielded, in order that we may issue further instructions how and in what way the yield from it is to be applied to the welfare and best interests of the town, for which purpose alone it is to be used, and not touched in any other way or employed for any other purpose.

10. This excise is to remain in force for three years from the above date. After the expiration thereof and after it has been ascertained whether the towns have been improved thereby and whether much reclamation has been carried through, further instructions will be issued to promote the welfare and best interest of the country. This interim introduction of the excise is, indeed, itself not disadvantageous to the liberties and privileges of the towns, and they shall be free to cancel and annul this operation as they think fit, immediately or even before the expiration of three years.

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