Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/211

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000,000 to $1,679,000,000 of real estate, or in the ratio of thirty-three and a third per cent. That is, the personalty of the State in twenty-nine years increased only $247,000,000, while the real estate increased $1,127,000,000, or nearly five times as much in the same time. "This simply means that more and more personal property, under the rigid tax system of Massachusetts, escapes taxation. The real estate can not have increased in value without an increase in personal wealth with which to increase the demand for it. Real estate does not make a demand for itself." In 1870 the personal property of the entire State of Massachusetts returned for taxation represented an average of $345 per capita.

It will be noted that the above exhibits represent the lengthened experience of the two States which adhere most closely to the infinitesimal theory of taxation; have a system of most comprehensive and explicit laws, framed by officials and enacted by legislators who believe in their theory, and a system of arbitrary administration that finds no parallel, except in thoroughly despotic countries, and is wholly antagonistic to the principles of a free government.

The experience of other States, where, under substantially the same provision for the taxation of personal property, the administration is less rigorous, is also most instructive.

In Jersey City, N. J., the tax valuation in 1892 of realty was $78,176,000, and of personalty $6,539,750. In 1870 the valuation of realty in the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., was $183,689,000, and of personalty $17,559,980. In 1893 the corresponding valuations were $486,497,000 realty, $17,559,000 personalty; and of the latter only $7,078,000 was assessed against individuals, the remainder being property of banks and corporations. Of the entire property of Brooklyn taken cognizance of by its tax officials in 1893, only 1.35 per cent of the whole was personalty proper.

In 1870 the entire value of the personalty of the city of New York, including bonds, jewels, pictures, furniture, bric-a-brac, etc., was put down by its assessors for taxation at $281,142,696; in 1893 the corresponding valuation was $370,936,000, of which less than half was personal estate proper, the remainder being various forms of corporate property, although it is reasonably certain that less than twenty men, residents of the city, held personal property in excess of this amount.

In 1870 the personal property of the entire State of New York returned for taxation represented an average of $99.13 per capita. In 1893 this average had fallen to $68.75 per capita. In Connecticut, in 1855, as before shown, State stocks, railroad, city, and other bonds, and money at interest constituted about ten per cent of the aggregate assessed valuation of property of the State. In 1885 the