Message of Governor T.M. Campbell to the thirtieth legislature of Texas, to which is appended the State Democratic Platform adopted at Dallas, Texas, August 13, 1906. Page: 18 of 27
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the tax official who by design, incompetency or negligence, aids or
permits a fraudulent rendition and assessment should be removed-from
office. The property of corporations and individuals rarely appear upon
the tax rolls at its true value. The Constitution and laws require taxable
property to be rendered and assessed for taxes at its value, but
under the subterfuge known as "value for taxes" which has been invented
to cheat the State, we find the property of railroad companies upon the
tax rolls at not exceeding 25 per cent of its value, and other corporations
are escaping taxes in like proportion. In some counties the tax officials
will adopt 75 per cent valuation as the "value for taxes," others 50 per
cent, and it is understood that many do not exceed an average "valuation
for taxes" of more than 25 per cent. Under the tax methods of
the present system of rendition and assessment millions of money on
hand, notes, accounts and credits reaching into the millions, and other
personal property of great value, are escaping all taxation through false
renditions and cfficial dereliction. The snmall property owners of our
State have just grounds for complaint. The tax burdens laid upon them
are out of proportion, and common justice demands rigid laws and a
more equitable distribution of the tax exactions among those receiving
the protection of our laws and enjoying the blessings of our free government.
The people through their State Constitution have declared that "taxation
shall be equal and uniform" and that "all property in this State,
whether owned by natural persons or corporations, other than municipal,
shall be taxed in proportion to its value, which shall be ascertained as
may be provided by law." They further declared at the last State convention
through the party platform "that the owners of all property
which is not exempt from taxation by the Constitution of the State
should be compelled to contribute their just proportion toward defraying
the expenses of the governmenf; and to accomplish this result we pledge
the Democracy of Texas to the enactment of such further laws as will
secure the just rendition of such property for taxation and compel the
payment of taxes properly assessed against it, and to the enactment of
such laws as will secure the taxation of all property, tangible and intangible,
including franchises or intangible assets or property of those corporations
which, by reason of the nature or character of their assets or
property, under the present laws escape their just proportion of taxation."
Here is presented the mandates of the Constitution which every
officeholder in Texas has sworn to support, and the express command of
our party to which we should all in obedience bow.
The standard of value prescribed by the Constitution is the only basis
for "equality and uniformity." Assessment of all property at its real
value is the only method by which equitable distribution of tax burdens
can be expected, any departure from that standard breeds confusion,
discontent, higher tax rates, sectional divisions, fiscal difficulties, favoritism
to some and oppression to others.
Existing inequalities in matters of taxc[tion, the unfavorable financial
condition of the State, the loss of revenue by the removal of occupation
taxes on useful occupations demanded by the platform and here recommended,
and the defiant attitude of the railroad corporations toward all
recent tax legislation affecting them, all suggest to your honorable bodies
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Campbell, Thomas Mitchell. Message of Governor T.M. Campbell to the thirtieth legislature of Texas, to which is appended the State Democratic Platform adopted at Dallas, Texas, August 13, 1906., book, January 16, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5859/m1/18/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .