Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 22 of 61
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the State, through her established channels of government,
paid $24,747,714 for public education; $2,151,305 in support of the
charitable institutions maintained by the State; $1,472,970 for the
operating expenses of the State courts; the remainder of this twentyeight
million and more dollars being accounted for as part of .the cost
of administration of the executive departments of the State government.
TAXATION SHALL BE EQUAL AND UNIFORM.
The Constitution of Texas declares that, "taxation shall be 'equal
and uniform." Under our system or lack of system, our taxes are
neither equal nor uniform. We really have no tax laws in Texas
worthy of consideration. Our laws make the payment of taxes so
unfair and unequal that it is repulsive to every sense of right. There
can be no such thing as equality of taxation except based on uniformity
of assessed valuations. To accomplish this, it is not essential
that property he assessed at full value. It is necessary, however, to
have a definite and uniform standard based on uniform percentages of
value operating for purposes of State taxation alike in all sections of
our commonwealth. It requires no expert mathematician to calculate
that taxable property in one county assessed at 45 per cent of its true
value pays annually into the State Treasury just three times the
amount of taxes as is paid by taxable property, though actually of the
same true value, yet located in another county and assessed at but
15 per cent. Yet this condition prevails throughout the State; it is
the rule and not the exception. This, too, although our Constitution
declares, "taxation shall be equal and uniform."
To meet similar situations, the majority of States have created State
Tax Commissions clothed with power to equalize values throughout
their respective jurisdictions. In many instances these commissions
supervise the administration of all the State tax laws. In none of
such States do there exist inequalities remotely comparable to Texas.
A large number of counties in Texas receive more money from the
State than they pay to the State, while other counties of equal property
values pay to the State far more than is ever received back. There
can be selected ten counties which, taken collectively, received back
from the State during the three years preceding 1922, all the' net
taxes from all sources by them paid to the State, and in addition
thereto, the sum of $2,836,385. On the other hand, a similar number
of counties can be named equal in property value, that pay into
the State Treasury more than is ever received back.
Injustice in the payment of taxes, whether school or any other
character' of taxes, does not essentially arise from the relative amount
a county may pay to the State and then receive in return. And it is
equally true that no county suffers injury thereby because another
county having a greater number of scholastics receives a greater sum
from the State for support of its public free schools. Wealth is unevenly
distributed. Wherever it assembles it should be required to
assist in the education of our children living in less fortunate communities.
And, too, this is the direct result of the application of
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/22/: accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .