The law, however, enabled provinces most heavily burdened by land tax to accelerate their portion of the survey, and to profit by the reassessment of the tax on the new basis.
The emperor protested that only the Greeks were fit to hear him, and rewarded them when he left by the bestowal of immunity from the land tax on the whole province, and by the gift of the Roman franchise; he also planned and actually commenced the cutting of a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth.
As the land tax forms the mainstay of the imperial revenue, so the ryot or cultivator constitutes the unit of the social system.
He abolished the system by which public lands were leased to middlemen, reduced the land tax on small holdings, and granted new facilities for obtaining credit to the peasants.
Unfortunately, the new survey was made largely optional, so that provinces which had reasor to hope for a diminution of land tax under a revised assessment hastened to complete their survey, while others, in which the average of the land tax was below a normal assessment, neglected to comply with the provisions of the scheme.
The Conversion Economies Fund was also placed at the free disposal of the Egyptian government- The General Reserve Fund ceased to exist, but for the better security of the bondholders a reserve fund of Li,8oo,ooo was constituted and left in the hands of the Caisse to be used in the highly improbable event of the land tax being insufficient to meet the debt charges.
Moreover, the development of its coal-mines and agriculture was vigorously prosecuted, and in 1910 it was found possible to abolish both the Income Tax and Land Tax and yet have a surplus in revenue.
The land tax falls upon land not built upon in proportion to its net yearly revenue.
On account of the inequalities still existing in the cadastral survey, in spite of the law of 1886 (see Agriculture, above), great differences are found in the land tax assessments in various parts of Italy.
Besides the realization of the formal programme of the Left, consisting of the repeal of the grist tax, the abolition of the forced currency, the extension of the suffrage and the development of the railway system Depretis laid the foundation for land tax re-assessment by introducing a new cadastral survey.