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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/312

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F. G. Young
  1. begins among the township assessors. Oregon, not having the township organization, and using the county assessing district, has not had both township and county agencies pulling for lower assessments.

    The valuations reported by the different county assessors constituted the basis for the apportionment of the state taxes among the counties from the beginning of statehood down to 1901.[1] Complaint against under-assessment and the consequent unequal taxation resulting therefrom was expressed by almost every governor the state has had. Nevertheless, during more than three decades, from the beginning of statehood down to 1892, there was no supervising authority whatever for equalizing the valuations reported from the different counties.[2] It was a sort of honor systemi among the counties; or, more likely, they severally were so keenly sensitive about vesting power in any outside body to add to the state taxes for which they would be liable, each county preferred to take its chances in a state of anarchy. A state board of equalization was provided for by an act of the legislature of 1891, the first members of the board being elected by popular vote in June, 1892.[3] The board was made up of one member from each judicial district and exercised what authority it had until 1898. It was during just this period that under-valuations were carried to their limit in Oregon. In 1893, when the board began its work the total valuations of the state amounted to $168,000,000. In 1901, they had sunk to $118,000,000. The board had come to an ignominious end in 1898 when the act of abolishing it provided that "inasmuch as there will be a great saving to the state by the immediate passage of this act, an emergency is declared to exist, and the act shall be

  1. A decision of the Supreme Court of the state in 1909 pronounced unconstitutional the law of 1901 making county expenditures the basis of apportionment. This compels a return to the valuation basis.
  2. An act providing for a state board of equalization was passed in 1872. A board was appointed, but as its work was affected by a judicial decision, its acts were not enforced. The law was repealed in 1874.
  3. General Laws, 1891, pp. 182-4.