Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 25 of 61
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assessed valuation so reduced the county rate thus raised will realize
revenue sufficient to meet local needs, yet at the same time yield a
Jminimum of taxes to the State. Whether practiced with intent to
withhold from the State its full measure of revenue, or by mere coin*cidence,
the effect is the same; a proportionate part of the taxes rightfully
due the State must, essentially, be borne by counties assessing
upon relatively higher percentages of value.
As shown by tabulated statements, Smith County, for the fiscal year
ending August 31, 1922, paid net revenue into the State's treasury
amounting to $94,920.34 and, during the same period received from the
State $215,746.60; in other words, all of the State taxes paid in and, in
addition thereto, the sum of $120,826.26.
Lavaca County for the same period paid net revenue into the State
treasury amounting to $129,934, and received in return $95,337; or in
other terms, paid into the State treasury $34,591 more than it received.
Smith County contains 602,753 acres assessed upon an average of
$8.17 per acre. Lavaca County contains 610,484 acres assessed upon
an average of $16.87 per acre.
Floyd County contains 634,971 acres assessed at $13.00 per acre. El
Paso County 657,605 acres assessed at $10.02 per acre. DeWitt County
has 575,233 acres assessed at $19.56. per acre. Atascosa County has
769,425 acres assessed at $10.18 per acre. Lubbock County has 568,815
acres assessed at $10.57 per acre. Even Cottle County, in the Panhandle
section of the State, with a total acreage of 583,705 is assessed
$8.31 per acre while Fayette County with 396,502 acres is assessed at
$16.84 per acre.
To anyone at all familiar with valuations as such actually and reasonably
exist throughout the State, and, too, understanding that upon
just valuations the State is dependent for its needed revenue, it will be
difficult to harmonize such wide discrepancies in the assessment of property
with principles of equality and uniformity to which, by the plain
language of our organic law, we are all firmly committed, and to which
we should patriotically conform.
This is but a part of the story, and a small part at that. I am
giving it to you for what it is worth. Not as an argument that land
should pay more taxes than now, but that the assessed valuations
should be equalized to the end that in all sections of the State both real
and personal property should be taxed in proportion to its value. This
in all candor as among ourselves should be done. Let me here state
that land, taken as a whole, is carrying too much of the State's tax
burden. It should carry its proper share and be so equalized as to valuation
that every county will bear its proportionate part. With new
tax laws reaching into the field of untaxed taxables, tangible and intangible,
and a proper understanding of the value of privilege as well
as property, supported by efficient and enforcible law operating with
justice alike to all, there is no sound reason why, with the bur(ten
equitably distributed, our tax rate, both county and State, should not
be very materially reduced. The State owes it to the taxpayers of the
State to see to it that our tax laws do injustice to no man. Let every
citizen of Texas pay his taxes by a uniform standard.
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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/m1/25/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .