Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 55 of 263
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have become delinquent and to secure full renditions; and at
any time that such local authorities should not discharge the responsibilities
incumbent upon them in this regard, the Tax Commissioner
should be authorized to certify that fact to the Comptroller of Public
Accounts, who will from that date suspend all payments to such county
officials who have been negligent or willful in the failure to discharge
their responsibilities. I make this proposal, not because of lack of
confidence in local officials. but in the realization that it is necessary
to remove in part the source of actual responsibility from the county
to the State in order to insure the certainty of tax collections.
Under such a system, if a tax is thought to be unfair, such unfairness
can best be realized by strict enforcement. It is no excuse for refusal
or failure to collect taxes to say that the levy is unfair or unjust. If
such inequity does exist, it should be specifically attended to by the
Legislature, but actual collection and certainty of enforcement of existing
tax measures should be placed beyond the realm of doubt by this Legislature.
In connection with this, I also recommend that the State Tax Commissioner
be given a staff of six employees, qualified as experts in
evaluation and taxation matters, to assist the commissioners courts of
various counties, sitting as boards of equalization, in arriving at the
value of oil, gas, sulphur and other mineral interests of the State, as
well as the properties of public utilities and similarly organized private
corporations. The major oil companies, the sulphur companies, and
all private utilities maintain continuous tax departments manned with
experts who are constantly gathering material to attack the judgment
of boards of equalization, composed usually of farmers, ranchers and
small merchants who are at the mercy of the better qualified tax experts.
I do not mean that the State should send an expert into every county;
I do mean that certain counties within this State where mineral interests
are located, and where large utility concerns have huge holdings, should
be given the advice and aid of experts who are capable of coping with
those employed by private concerns. Such assistance would not be
unduly costly, and would result in a tremendous increase in mineral
and utility property valuations, substantially increasing revenue, State
Other problems dealing with tax assessments should receive attention
by this Legislature. I shall from time to time direct your attention
specifically to these problems within the next few days.
Any survery of the financial situation of the State of Texas would be
incomplete without surveying the mechanical arrangements set up by
existing statutes for collecting and disbursing the State's tax money. In
this connection let me respectfully call to your attention a statement appearing
in the report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Organization
and Economy, made to the Forty-third Legislature in 1933, which said:
"There has probably been less progress in financial administration than in
the administration of any other function of the government."
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Allred, James V. Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939, book, 1939; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3899/m1/55/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .