Single Tax

W.S. U'Ren
1915 The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  
The single tax is a proposal to exempt all vocations, all land improvements and personal property from taxation for revenue, and to collect all taxes for public revenue from the assessed value or the yearly ground rental value of land. The word &dquoland&dquo is used in its broad sense as meaning the earth. The single-taxers expect that the people will finally take all the yearly ground rental values of land for public purposes. The system has proved very popular as far as it has been tried,
more » ... has been tried, and the more fully it is tried the more popular it becomes. In nearly all of the American states there are constitutional provisions that prevent state or local application of the single tax, though the officers can apply it in very large measure if they wish to do so, so far as exemptions are concerned. Mr. J. J. Pastoriza, assessor of Houston, Texas, assesses land at about 75 per cent of its market value, and improvements and personal property at so small a percentage that it amounts practically to an exemption. No one has interfered effectively yet, chiefly because he has assured the land owners and speculators that if they try to make trouble for him he will enforce the law rigorously in the assessment of personal property of every kind, as well as improvements. Mr. Reed, the assessor in Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes Portland, assesses land at 75 per cent of its market value; buildings in towns at about 50 per cent of their present value, allowing liberally for depreciation; personal property, notes, accounts, bank stocks, etc., he assesses at 50 per cent or less, and the business men think it is fine; he assesses uncultivated land and land in actual cultivation, of equal fertility and location, at the same rate per acre that he assesses farms, and the farmers think that is fine. Mortgages he does not assess. The board of equalization backs him in this. But every effort to make a law requiring all assessors in Oregon to show as good judgment as Mr. Reed does is bitterly fought on the ground that it is &dquosingle tax,&dquo &dquoconfiscation,&dquo &dquoHenry Georgeism,&dquo and everything else that is bad.
doi:10.1177/000271621505900124 fatcat:bwssz7v4jzc6fn3y453o5oeic4