The Assessment of Taxes in Chicago

Robert H. Whitten
1897 Journal of Political Economy  
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid--seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non--commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal
more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. THE ASSESSMENT OF TAXES IN CHICAGO. THE practical statesman, in formulating a system of taxation, holds two things constantly in mind: (i) an adequacy of revenue, and (2) justice as between taxpayers. His first aim is to secure an adequate supply of revenue for the government, but in so doing he strives, or ought to strive, to apportion the burden in accordance with the prevailing ideas of justice. A system of assessment should naturally work in harmony with these aims. It should neither prevent the government from obtaining an adequate revenue, nor should it produce unnecessary inequality. But that is just what the present system of assessment in the city of Chicago does,-(i) on account of its defective system of assessment, the city cannot obtain sufficient revenue to provide for even the most primary necessities of municipal existence; (2) the present system results in gross inequalities. I. Inadequate revenue.-The city is limited by law to a tax levy of 2 per cent upon the assessed valuation of its real and personal property ;" and it is restricted by the constitution in the amount of debt that it may incur to an amount not exceeding 5 per cent. of this assessed valuation.2 Were property assessed at its fair cash value these limitations would not be too narrow: but the undervaluation of property is so great, that the city has not been in position to increase its debt since I87I,3 and its tax "Revised Statutes of Illinois, p. 277 (Hurd's edition, I 895) . This limitation does not include taxes for interest and sinking-fund purposes, nor the school or library tax. A public-library tax of one-tenth of i per cent., and a school tax of 5 per cent. (3 per cent. for buildings and grounds and 2 per cent. for ordinary expenses) may be levied. Previous to the present year a tax of one-fifth of I per cent. for the public library was permitted. The total city levy for I896 was $5.04 on $ioo assessed valuation, of which $o.i8 was for the public library, $2.41 for schools, and $2.45 for interest and sinking-fund charges and all other corporate purposes. 2 Constitution, Article IX, ? I2. 3 Five million dollars of World's Fair bonds issued by special constitutional amendment of I 890. Constitution, Article IX, ? I 3. I75
fatcat:nah4hg7m5zam7h52so7ll4rzzi