The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 83
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Local Government in, the Spanish Colonies
and the alcalde ordinario, or the governor if he were a resident
of the city.20
The higher officials were forbidden to interfere in this financial
administration except as provided by law in the matter of accounts
and audits.21 Where the city income was not sufficient, a special
decree from the crown was sometimes secured giving the city the
privilege of retaining for its own use the fines collected for the
For the building of roads, special assessments were levied by the
governors upon the various cities and towns.23 A regidor could be
appointed superintendent of public works since some municipalities
did not have any income with which to hire a special official for
that purpose.24 No excise tax or contribution could be levied by
any person or community except where it was specifically provided
for by law.25 Also the cities were forbidden to levy taxes on either
Spaniards or Indians for the maintenance of police.26 The audi-
encia was instructed to prohibit assessments except where such
were absolutely necessary.27 The alcalde ordinario had authority
to allow assessments up to twenty-five dollars. For larger sums
up to two hundred dollars a special license from the audiencia, was
necessary, and for still larger sums the permission of the Council
of the Indies was required.28 The law further provided that the
audiencia was to grant this license to levy taxes only for a limited
amount, for a specified use, and in case the city had not sufficient
money already for the purpose.20 A special exception was made of
taxes for the purpose of destroying the locusts. In this case both
assessments and personal services might be demanded of ecclesias-
tics and oficiales reales, as well as of civilians, since the danger of
locusts affected all alike.80
Ordinarily Indians were exempt from excise and direct taxes,
but in case of necessity the minimum assessment might be levied
upon them in the form of personal service, produce, and money."1
In the case of an excise tax levied in the City of Panama for
the repair of the road to Porto Bello the treasury officials were
2"4:13:5, 1572. 214:13:5, 1572; 4:9:21, 1596; 4:13:6, 1573.
224:13:9, 1597. "4:16:1, 1563; 4:15:2, 1531, 1558.
"4:16:3, 1538. 2"4:15:1, 1563, 1610. "23:3:53, 1614, 1628.
t"4:15:3, 1530 to Carlos II. "4:15:3, 1530 to Carlos II.
2'4:15:4, 1563, 1596. 804:15:5, 1619. 814:15:6, 1582; 4:15:7, 1560.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/92/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.