title: 'The Commoner (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 10, 1901, Page 11, Image 11',
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About The Commoner (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View This Issue
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'TCW wvMWf f
is estimated at $779,717. Estimated
value cf total tangible property is
$6,455,7.04. The full value is five times
that sum, or $32,278,745, leaving ttte
valuation of intangible property sub
ject to capital stock tax, $235,829,567.
"We respectfully request that your
board value and assess the capital
stock of such companies in the manner
provided by law. Respectfully, Cath
erine Goggin, Margaret A. Haley, tax
investigating committee of the Chi
cago teachers' federation. (Seal.)"
The respondents offered no evidence
whatever to overcome that introduced
by the relators as to the value or' to
in any way explain the method, if any
was employed by them, in arriving' at
the result shown by their report of as
sessments of these corporations They
content themselves with the insistence
that they are public officers sworn td
discharge duties which are quasi judi
cial, and the legal presumption that
they have discharged their duty ia to
be their shield The evidence shows
that the following named companies j
were not assessed in any amount what
ever: The West Chicago Street Rail
road company, the North Chicago'
Street Railroad company, the Chicago
Electric Transit company, the Chicago
& Jefferson Urban Transit company,
the Ciscero & Proviso Street Railway
company, the Evanston Electric Rail
way company, the North Chicago
Electric Railway company, the North
SJde Electric Street Railway company,
the Ogden Street Railway company,
the Chicago North Shore Street Rail
way company, the Chicago Passenger
Railway company, the Chicago West
Division Railway company, and the
North Chicago City Railway company.
The evidence further shows, that-the
fair cash value of the capital stock, in
cluding the franchises, of these thir
teen omitted companies was, on April
1, 1900, approximately $85,700,000.00.
TJijder the assessment as made by the
board of equalization each and- all of
these companies would escape taxa
tion. Two of these companies, the
Chicago Street Railroad company and
the North Chicago Street Railroad
company, were assessed in 1899, as
ehown by the report of the board for
that year. The evidence also shows
the fair cash value of the capital stock
including the franchises, of the last
two named companies to have been on
April 1, 1900, approximately $47,860,
000.00. No explanation is offered nor
reason given by the board or any
of its members why they dropped from
their lists the two last named compa
nies. How did they discover, when
making up their schedule of assess
ment of 1900, that these two compa
nies had become extinguished during
the preceding twelve months? They
should have some good reason for talc
ing property out of the lists when
theretofore they had assessed it; and
why was the reason withheld? The
certificate of the state auditor offered
in evidence shows that the statement
TREES SUCCEED 'WHERE
Latest Nursery. OTHERS FAIL.
Fruit Book Free. Result of 70 years' experiences
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Fiction. Folly and Sophistry in politics; or
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Published and sold Ly Fiction aud Folly Pub.
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MEAD OYOLECOm Dept.OOAOkaxo,
( up nE( f (liia
made by the board of assessors of Cook
county under the requirements of sec
tion 32 of the revenue law, and by
themUled in the auditor's office, were
laid before the board of equalization
at its session in 1900, and that twelve
of these omitted companies were in
cluded in the statement made by the
said board of assessors. On what evi
dence that was reasonable and -trustworthy
could this board have acted?
On what kind of information did they
arrive at a. conclusion so contrary to.
the facts? Their silence on a question
which so deeply concerns the public
they are pretending to servo is certain
ly not commendable in public servants.
Is the lia'nest taxpayer, eith'dr indi
vidual or corporation, to bo told, that
an Additional burden cast upon liim or
it by the release of these companies
from taxation through the machina
tions of the representatives of the com
panies and'the members of the board
are to be borne ' as an irremediable
wrong because the inefficiency of the
law renders the courts powerless to
equalize the load? Such a declaration
pronounced by the courts would shake
the -very foundation upon which so
ciety organized for governmental pur
poses rests. It is the result of such
conduct of public officials when deal
ing with the people's business that
creates a spirit of discontent with and
want of confidence in all forms of gov
ernment. It furnishes the food upon
which anarchists grow. It stimulates
the mind of selfish people to devise
schemes whereby to circumvent the
just operation of all our revenue laws.
It palsies the arm of the government
by depriving it of the nourishing sup
port of public revenue, without which
it .cannot be raised to protect either
the person or the property of those
who have the right to demand its
protecting power. "When the power of
the government is wasted and gone,
corporations and natural persons alike
are left without security in any of the
rights which the law is expected and
required to give. A just and equitable
government must at all times be ready
and able to assert itself with the full
power of absolute sovereignty in pro
tection of the person, liberty and prop
erty of its citizens. The government
with this great power must respond to
the call of its humblest citizen as well
as to that of its most powerful when
his rights are wrongfully invaded. To
satisfy these demands upon it, the
government, of necessity, must pro
vide means by which it can obtain
revenues for its maintenance and sup
port. The valuation and assessment
of property for general taxation is one
of the most important duties per
formed by public officers. In all well
organized governments some provi
sion is made by which taxes are levied
and collected to supply the require
ments of the government in the ad
ministration o,its affairs. Taxation
is a necessary and, inherent power to
every government. .Tax gathering is
of vital necessity to:overnment. One
of the highest obligations of good citi
zenship is to discharge the debt which
the revenue law imposes. It Is an
obligation that rests upon social, moral
and legal considerations. To withhold
what is justly due is, in effect, rebell
ing against organized society. Every
owner of property should be willing to
contribute his fair and just propor
tion of the taxes required to maintain
the government under which the en
joyment of the property is secured.
The evidence in this case shows that
to stockholders of thirteen companies
named are drawing dividends ranging
from G per cent to 35 per cent per an-f
nura solely from the leasing to other
companies, of their franchise privil
eges; they own no tangible property,
but the intangible property or fran
chise or privilege of using public
streets is so valuable that it produces
a rich income to its owners with no
outlay for repairs, insurance, labor or
other current expenses. There ia no
reason why the owners of this class
of property should rely upon the law to
uphold -and enforce its franchise con
tract with the city, under which these
great profits are realized, and bo ex
cused from contributing toward the
expense of maintaining the govern
ment that protects their interests.
The deliberate intention of this
board not to observe the law clearly
appears from the evidence in this case.
They have extended favors to these
companies which were not -theirs to
give. A very substantial injury will
result therefrom unless the law can
furnish some compulsory relief by
which the board can bo made to per
form its duty and prevent these com
panies from avoiding their just taxes.
"YVhere a duty is enjoined by law
upon the board, and neither the dic
tates of conscience, nor the restrain
ing power of popular disapproval are
sufficient to prevent its members from
yielding to the vicious influences of
favoritism, or prejudice, and the acts
done, or omitted, under such influ
ences, result in a material Injury to a
property owner, or to the public, it
would exhibit a monstrous failure of
government if, in the administration
of the law, there could bo found no
remedy for the wrong.
It has not been thought necessary t6
take up and consider separately each
point made by counsel for respondents.
The views here presented are believed
to answer subsbtantially every mater
ial objection urged against the Issuing
of the writ.
A great many supposed obstacles
have been pointed out as being com
plete hindrances to the relief, sought.
But the courts' must not 'refuse aid
in a meritorious cause on account of
some trivial obstructions along the
way. The objective point is justice,
and the underbrush and tangled vines
cannot be permitted to change the
course or check the progress of those
who travel in that direction.
It is only necessary to apply the
rules of law, as they are known to
exist, to the facts developed by the
evidence in this case to reach the con
clusion that relief should be granted.
The respondents are public officers.
As such their legal duty was to assess
the twenty companies above referred
to. They did not make even a pre
tense of assessing thirteen of them,
and the assessment of the other seven
cannot be held to be anything but a
mere pretense, the method and manner
of doing which amounts in law to a
refusal to assess.
The act of assessing still remains un
performed. It can, under the statute,
be assessed as omitted property. Man
damus is the only remedy known to
the law by which performance of such
duty can be compelled. The exigencies
of the case demand the application of
this extraordinary remedy. Such offi
cers must be made to understand that
both the spirit and letter of the law
must be observed. That assessments
must be made honestly and in abso
lute good faith. That no neglect or
evasion will be tojerated. That duty
fully performed under the law will he
the only answer that can be accepted
from them when they attempt to ac
count for the manner in which they
have discharged their obligations to
THE PEREMPTORY WRIT
MANDAMUS IS AWARDED.
PURVIS & CO.,
L. A. RUSSELL-LAWYER, CLEVELAND, O.
TRENHAM tho PRINTER. Aloxoudrla.Minn. ''
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The Little Hotel Wilmot
1406, 1408 and 1410 South Penn
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The one thousand roaders of tho
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Grill rooms nnd its thousands
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room at ono dollar per day.
Read, $8,00 Set Dishes Free,.
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