Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/552

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534

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

with an approach to fair and equal treatment. The valuation of the "main stem" of the New Jersey roads was made by civil engineers, and it is believed to have met the constitutional provision as to "true value." In the valuation of a vast quantity of other property no such expert knowledge could be applied, and especially is this true as to "personal property." Real estate might be approximately valued and a cadastre or record prepared, but after twelve months the most carefully compiled valuation would be out of date. Before personal property the assessor would still stand powerless. No multiplication of officers or no system of control over the many local assessors can solve this question in a manner satisfactory to justice to both State and taxpayer.

It would seem, then, as if an abandonment of what has been regarded as almost essential features of the State tax systems alone offers relief. No such abandonment can be effected unless an adequate revenue from other sources be provided. The "general property tax," with its futile and laughable incompetency to reach the most profitable sources of revenue, should be modified, and even eliminated as far as is possible. The general principle underlying it, of taxing every form of property, was suited only to a time when the bulk of a man's estate consisted in visible and tangible objects—lands, houses, live stock, and furniture. With every creation of a credit instrument, with the immense development of corporations, the principle has become weaker, until it now stands confessedly inapplicable to at least four fifths of the personal property in existence, and this proportion grows larger each year.

PHASES OF PRACTICAL PHILANTHROPY.
By HARRIET A. TOWNSEND.

THE annual reports of the "Conference of Charities and Corrections" indicate a growing interest in the study of scientific philanthropy. That there has been marvelous progress in methods of charitable work during the past decade no one will deny, but, gratifying as this is (or appears to be on the surface), we find a somewhat discouraging feature in the tendency of the present to multiply institutions, to inaugurate new and extravagant enterprises where theories may be proved, and which threaten to become burdensome to a generous public and to absorb energy in the financial struggle to maintain them which is sorely needed for the more vital issues of the work. The purpose of this article is to give information about simple and practical efforts which have met