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Finances in Oregon.

the full force of the motive to relieve through low assessments his county from it fair share of the burden of state taxes.

The evils connected with the under-valuation incident to the use of the general property tax for state and local revenues Oregon has had in common with other states. A climax was reached in 1901. Then recourse was had to an expenditure basis of apportionment of state taxes. The dispensing with the valuation basis was followed with most salutary results. Approximation to a full cash value assessment was not attained immediately, nor did some counties do as well as others. After the use of a modified form of the expenditure basis of apportionment some six years its constitutionality was called into question. The language of the constitution was held to forestall the use of it.

But the worst iniquities perpetrated through taxation in Oregon must not be laid at the door of the constitution. A vain effort to avoid double taxation and to shield the debtor was long persisted in. The latter years during which the law for the exemption for indebtedness was in force witnessed most heinous procedures in tax-dodging. The language of the constitution did not impose upon the legislature the enactment of exemption laws and yet avoidance of double taxation and exemption for indebtedness were aims wholly in harmony with the constitutional injunction to tax all property at a uniform and equal rate. Both are impracticable and have led to results essentially vicious.

Because of a lack of legislative initiative the general property tax was retained in its most primitive form. Local assessment of all forms of property of general situs was the exclusive rule until but a few years asfo. In 1906 a gross earnings tax on car, express, telegraph and telephone companies was substituted for a locally assessed property tax. The legislative assembly of 1909 finally provided for a state tax commission to assess other transportation companies.

No attempt has ever been made to classify the different forms of property for the purpose of applying different rates