Some Property Assessors
Ignore Rising Land Values
[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks
on Taxation, published by the author]
... That's quite a fine building
across the street there. Medical Center?
... Yes, it's a great addition to
a city, a building like that.
betcher. It's a great addition to the tax roll, too! It's worth
ten times the ones was there before.
... Yes, buildings like
that make a city. We ought to have more of them.
betcher! I'd like to be appraising a dozen more.
... Oh - you're an appraiser?
... In real estate?
... Well, I think you'll be
appraising - not a dozen, maybe, but a couple at least.
Land's too high. What they're asking for the land now, a man
couldn't get his money back in fifty years.
... Then how about the Medical
Center there? Was the land cheaper when they bought?
It belonged to old man McCurdy. He paid thirteen grand for it,
sixteen years ago. When the Medics offered him Two hundred grand
for it, he let them have it Figured it would make his other
pieces go for more.
... I s'pose, with that increase
in value, you were advancing his taxes rather heavily, too?
... How was
... I suppose that, as the
property advanced from Thirteen thousand to Two hundred thousand
grand, McCurdy's taxes went up in proportion.
no! His buildings were old - out-of-date, so we assessed them
... And the land?
appraised it at Sixty per cent of his Thirteen. That's our
... Will you tax the
Medical land at the same rate?
no! With that fine building on it, we'll hitch it up good! We'll
assess, with the building, for forty times what it brought us
when it belonged to McCurdy.
... Will you raise the tax on all
the land in the neighborhood?
O'ny when they's a new building goes up.
... But hasn't all the land gone
up in value?
asking more for it, but what in hell has the Assessor to do with
... McCurdy was certainly lucky -
pret-near a Hundred and Forty thousand after Capital Gains tax.
Does the city get any of that?
would the city get any of his money?
... I was just wondering. If the
city nursed him and his old buildings 'til they got to Two
hundred grand, it's a shame the city doesn't get a cut put of
... Oh, the
city'll get it all right. Taxing the Medics.
... But - Gee! The Medical people
already paid McCurdy for what the city should a' got! Then when
they improve the city, they get socked for doing a good thing!
you aint a Commie, are you?
... A Commie! Why? What makes you
you don't seem to like die -way we do business.
... Does that make me a Commie?
... No. I'm no Commie. If I was,
I'd be putting the Medical people out of business, and take
their building. I'd be for treating them worse than you're
talking of doing.
You can't get away with telling me I talk like a Commie!
... Aw, I was o'ny kiddin'. But it
will take a lot of taxing before the city gets as much as
McCurdy got for nothing. The city'll never really get it back.
... Get it
... Well The city made it.
hell. McCurdy made it.
... Sure. Mac got it but we all
created it When I said "made," I meant - let's say "constructed
... Who's "we"?
... You and me and the rest of us.
... What in
hell did you and me have to do with it?
... Well, like everyone else in
town, we're here.
that got to do with it?
... If nobody was here, how much
would the Medical lot be worth?
nobody was here it wouldn't be worth nothin'. Any fool'd know
... But there are plenty of fools
who don't know what belongs to them and what doesn't.
... Did you ever hear of Abou Ben
In school. "Abou Ben Adhem's name led all the rest."
... And did you know that in the
list of fools that don't know what belong to who, the average
Assessor's name leads all the rest?
I'm tired of your talk and your wise cracks. I've wasted my time
long enough. We assessors know our business and we don't need
any advice. You ought to get yourself a soap box. I'm going.
... Goodbye, Mr. Deputy Assessor.
(Soliloquy) If I thought you really knew your business, I'd
promote you from ignoramus to criminal! But you don't.