Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas Page: 34 of 48
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34 MESSAGE OF GOVERNOR HOGG.
It is a fundamental axiom in political science, and a constitutional
demand as well, that taxation shall be equal and uniform. This can be
done only by levying taxes upon property in proportion to its value,
which the Constitution declares shall be ascertained by the Legislature.
The census of the United States for 1890 shows that tile taxable values
of real and personal property in Texas aggregated $2,105,576,766; that
the real estate, with the improvements thereon, amounted to $1,220,417,771.
For tie same year the aggregate taxable values of the State,
according to the assessors' rolls filed in the Comptroller's office, amounted
to $782,111,883; showing that, for taxation, the property in this State for
that year lacked $1,323,464,883 of reaching its fair value. Four years
later, that is, for last year, the assessed valuation of all property in the
State, according to the Comptroller's records, amounted to $865,120,989,
or to $1,240,455,777 less than the true valuation of the same property,
according to the United States census of 1890. There is a radical wrong
somewhere presented in its crude form by reference to this disparity in
values. Legislative research may expose and correct it.
As a remedy, tending to correct the evil, it is hereby respectfully suggested
that property assessments slhould be levelled un to something like
fair valuations. To this end you are respectfully advised to pass a law
that will have a tendency to control the assessor in fixing tihe valuation
1. By providing that for assessment purposes it shall be prima facie
evidence that all land is worth at least two dollars per acre.
2. That it shall be prima facie evidence to the assessor that all property
is worth at least the amount for which it is mortgaged or for which
it is insured.
3. That the county assessor shall adopt the city assessment, or at least
not accept urhap property at a less valuation than that for which it has
been assessed fo
By making it prima facie evidence to the assessor that property is
worth the amount indicated by these suggestions. the burden of proof
will be thrown upon the owner, if any wrong thereby is done him, to
show that the assessment is excessive. He can appear before the Board
of Equalizers and prove that the land is worth less than $2 per acre; or
that he has mortgaged or insured his property for more than it is worth.
If you will investigate the question, you will find that property in this
State is assessed on an average at much less than the amount for which
it has been mortgaged or insured. The adoption of the rules herein
suggested will raise the standard of values at least to the mortgage or
insurance price, and this will tend to level up the value of other property
of a like character contiguous to or in the vicinity of it.
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas, book, 1895; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5862/m1/34/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .