Property Tax Assessors in Egypt Return to Work

December 18, 2007

55,000 Egyptian tax department employees are returning to work after a work stoppage where they demanded higher wages:

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They carried banners reading, "Our salaries do not even allow us to get a pair of shoes" and shouted for the finance minister and prime minister to hear them out and meet their demands. Police surrounded the protesters with metal barricades to prevent them from reaching the Cabinet building.
The protesters were demanding a pay hike or that they be incorporated into the Finance Ministry, where wages are higher, rather than local administrations.

Later Thursday, the state-run news agency MENA, reported that Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali has accepted to move the 55,000 Real Estate Tax employees to his ministry.

"We were asking for our rights, we do most of the taxes' work and we get almost nothing," said Nada. He said a new employee of the real estate tax authority starts out with a salary as low as $45 a month.

Imagine if U.S. property tax assessors were treated that badly! Of course, it's still better treatment than early American tax collectors got:

On January 25, 1774, according to the account in the Massachusetts Gazette, Hewes saw [British Customs Agent John] Malcolm threatening to strike a boy with his cane. When Hewes intervened to stop Malcolm, the two began insulting each other, after which Malcolm struck Hewes hard on the forehead with the cane. After receiving treatment from the well-known Patriot doctor, Joseph Warren, Hewes went to a magistrate’s office to get a warrant for John Malcolm’s arrest.

That night, a mob seized Malcolm in his house and dragged him into King Street, where, over the objections of Hewes, he was covered with tar and feathers [and made to drink hot tea]. They then took him to the Liberty Tree, where they first threatened to hang him and then threatened cut off his ears if he did not apologize for his behavior and renounce his customs commission. Malcolm relented and was sent home. The event was reported in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man"


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