Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/314

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F. G. Young

the expenditure basis should be used, but manifestly reports for only four years of county expenditures would be available for an average, by that time, so the legislature of 1903 set 1910 as the date for beginning the use of the expenditure basis, continuing in the meantime the set of arbitrary ratios. In 1907 there was another postponement, this time to 19 12, before expenditure ratios were to be used. In each case the state officials were to be spared the trouble of making a computation of the averages oftener than once in five years.

Under this departure from the valuation basis of apportionment there was a salutary reaction throughout the state from the low assessments of previous years. In some counties there was soon an approximation to a cash value assessment. The law elicited most favorable comment far and wide.[1] It is probable that if the principle had been actually applied and if there had been a readjustment of ratios from year to year no county would have contested the validity of the plan. As it was one of the counties of the state felt that it was getting the worst of it under the arbitrary set of ratios that had been continued down from 1901, and its official was enjoined from paying over to the state the amount that its percentage in the list called for. By the decision rendered in 1909, it was held that the expenditure plan was unconstitutional. The valuation basis is again enacted. Were it not for the fact that a tax commission was provided for with some supervising authority over assessments, and the further fact that constitutional amendments of the taxation clauses were submitted, a repetition of the same mad scramble for under assessment might be, would almost certainly be, repeated.

The constitutional amendments, affecting the power of taxation, now pending would empower the legislature to make reasonable and equitable rules governing the matter of apportionment; they would also authorize it to separate the sources of state and local revenues. If these amendments are ratified, the legislature will have a choice of methods for

  1. State and Local Taxation, First National Conference, pp. 58, 501-2, 528-9.