Taxation in American States and Cities

By Richard T. Ely | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.
EXPERIENCE OF NEW YORK.

LET us turn to New York state, where full returns are easily accessible. For many years attention has been called, by commissions and administrative officers, to the defective assessment of personal property in that commonwealth; but what have been the results of their admonitions? While no one doubts that personal property in that state has been increasing steadily, and with great rapidity, there has been a constant decline in the proportion of public burdens borne by personality. "In 1869 real estate contributed seventy-eight per cent. of the public revenue, and personal property paid twenty-two per cent.; while in 1879 real estate was made to pay eighty-seven and eight-tenths per cent., and personal property only twelve and two-tenths per cent. of the whole tax. It would be difficult to show that the value of personal property has not increased so a larger extent in the past ten years than real estate."1

This decrease in the assessed valuation of personalty has continued from 1878 to 1880; the decrease in round numbers was thirty millions of dollars; from 1880 to 1881, there was an increase of twenty-nine millions, which was, however, more than counterbalanced by a decreased valuation of nearly thirty-six millions in 1882.

The New York assessors say in their report for 1881, that

____________________
1
Governor's Message, 1881.

-176-

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