Monday, April 11, 2016

Revaluation Act and Taxes for Local Government, 1919

“A Square Deal for N.C. Cities and Towns….Revaluation Act Will Benefit Local Government Next Year,” from the Elizabeth City Independent, April 11, 1919

More information on the tax question and the new revaluation act are contained in a statement given this newspaper this week by A.J. Maxwell, Insurance Commissioner. Mr. Maxwell says:--
“The State tax rate has been reduced this year to 11 2/3 cents. The average tax rate in the counties, including special taxes for various local purposes, was 1.08 per cent in 1918. In most of the larger cities in the State the total rate is around 3 per cent. So that about 10 per cent of the taxes collected in the counties from property will be for the use of the State, and less than 5 per cent of the taxes collected in the counties from property in the cities is for the use of the State. The State is pursuing a policy of receding from the property tax, and looks now definitely to a complete abandonment of the property tax for its revenue, except for the public school tax, which will be distributed back to the counties. So that the chief purpose of the revaluation act is to furnish a more accurate, efficient and equitable means of revenue to meet the local needs of the counties and cities of the State. They will be the chief beneficiaries of its success.

A Square Deal for Cities
The tax burden bears especially heavy in municipalities where so many modern improvements have been provided at public expense. It is in the cities especially that we hear the complaint that high tax rates are confiscating income from property, and a very great reduction in city tax rates is essential to the successful administration of the full value property tax system. The revaluation should leave the total combined tax rate in the highest taxed city in the State right close to one per cent.

There are three provisions that will become effective under the revaluation that will be interesting particularly to the municipalities, and that will tend to lower their rates.

Shares of stocks in banks have theretofore been distributed to the residence of the shareholder, wherever he lived. Now all the shares of stock in every bank will be taxed where the bank is located, against the bank, and therefore all the stock will be liable for municipal tax, and in the municipality where the bank is located.

Real estate and fixtures of telephone companies have been distributed on wire mileage. All such property now located within a municipality will be subject to the municipal tax.

Railroad depots, yards and terminal facilities have heretofore been assessed as a part of the total property disturbed on main line track mileage, so that with a few slight exceptions they have paid town and city taxes only upon the basis of the length of main line mileage within the corporate limits. Under the revaluation next year the value of all railroad properties within the corporate limits of city or two will be subject to municipal taxes.

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