Collis Potter Huntington - Vol. 1

By Cerinda W. Evans | Go to book overview

Chapter XLI
TAXATION AND THE
RAILROADS

ONE OF THE MOST controversial subjects connected with the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads was that of taxation. The counties through which the railroads passed insisted upon the assessment of the roads at their full value, or what the assessors considered their full value, which the railroad companies opposed and resisted. This resulted in innumerable cases of litigation, first one side appealing to the courts and then the other. A case in point is that of Placer County as early as 1864. The District Attorney for that county, not satisfied with the assessment of the Central Pacific Railroad at $6,000 a mile, demanded that the value be raised to $20,000 per mile. This was taken to the courts and the assessment fluctuated from year to year, $12,000, $6,000) $15,000, finally being fixed at $6,000 per mile.1

The early annual reports of the Central Pacific Company show that in 1868, before the completion of the road, the company paid a total tax of $122,301.87, which by 1872, three years after connection with the Union Pacific, had increased to $414,507.31, of which $278,252.53 was paid in California.2

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