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The cashier or secretary of each corporation whose stock is liable to taxation, and not otherwise taxed under the provisions of the laws for the taxation of corporations, is required to deliver annually to the State controller a sworn list of its stockholders residing without the State, and the number and market value of the shares of stock therein belonging to each, and to pay to the State 14 per cent of such value, under penalty of forfeiture of $100 in addition to said 14 per cent for neglect to comply with these provisions. The yield from this tax, mostly from banks, trust companies, and insurance companies, in 1899 was $167,537.27.


The secretary or treasurer of every mutual fire or life insurance company chartered by the State is required annually to render to the controller a sworn statement showing the total amount of its assets and market value thereof, the amount of premium notes held by it, with certain deductions for unpaid losses, and real estate liable to taxation in this State and other exempt property; and every such mutual fire-insurance company is required to pay as a tax upon its corporate franchise three-fourths of 1 per cent of such valuation remaining, and every such mutual life-insurance company is required to pay to the State annually as a tax upon its corporate franchise a sum equal to one-fourth of 1 per cent on the total amount of its premium notes, and on the market value of all its other assets, deducting its unpaid losses and the market value of its real estate taxed locally, and other property that may be exempt from taxation.

These sums so required to be paid by fire and life insurance companies annually are in lieu of all other taxes upon their assets, except upon real estate held over and above what may be necessarily used in transacting their appropriate business, and in case of a life-insurance company except its taxable stock.

The yield of these taxes in 1899 was:
Tax on mutual fire-insurance companies...

$11, 036.38 Tax on mutual life-insurance companies

283, 817.12


294, 853.50


Every insurance company organized under the laws of another State, and doing business in Connecticut, and each agent of every such insurance company, is required to pay to the insurance commissioner of this state reciprocal taxes, or the same fees and taxes as are imposed by such other State upon any similar Connecticut insurance company transacting business in such other State, and every agent of any insurance company organized under the laws of any foreign government, licensed to do business in Connecticut, is required to pay to the insurance commissioner an annual tax of 2 per cent upon the amount of premiums collected or received during the year. The receipts of the insurance commissioner for 1899 were $77,946.98.


The treasurer of each savings bank is required annually to make to the State controller a sworn statement of all its deposits, exclusive of surplus, and each bank to pay to the State an annual tax on its corporate franchise equal to onefourth of 1 per cent on the amount of its deposits, exclusive of surplus, deducting, however, from said deposits the sum of $50,000 and certain classes of bonds exempt, said tax being in lieu of all other taxes upon such bank, its deposits and surplus, except upon real estate owned by it not required and used in its appropriate busi

The amount of this tax in 1899 was $392,782.98.



The cashier of each National bank in the State is annually required to give to the treasurer of the town where such bank is located a sworn list of all its stockholders residing outside of the State, and the number of shares belonging to each and the market value thereof, and to pay to the treasurer a tax of 14 per cent of such value; and upon failure to comply with this provision forfeits to such towr $100, together with such 14 per cent required to be paid.

TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES. A tax is imposed upon telegraph companies of 25 cents per mile of wire, and on telephone companies of 70 cents for each transmitter, based upon sworn reports. The amount of this tax in 1899 was $14,026.65.


Every express company doing an express business in Connecticut is required to deliver to the State controller annually a sworn statement of the gross amount of express charges paid at each of its offices in the State during the preceding year, and pay to the State 5 per cent of the gross amount of all express charges paid to it in the State during the preceding year, which sum is in lieu of all other taxes upon the estate of such company used exclusively in the express business; but when any such express company fails to make such return the treasurer may

.cept $100 in lieu of the sum then due. The amount of such tax in 1899, paid by the Adams and American express 'npanies, was $9,958.36.


The law provides for charter fees on capital stock of new corporations organized under the general law, at 50 cents per $1,000, but on corporations organized to do business exclusively within the State, 10 cents per $1,000. There is a tax of $1 per $1,000, or not less than $50 for any one company, for special charters for incorporation.

The amount of this tax in 1899 was $28,846.

INVESTMENT TAX. A special tax is imposed upon investment companies and investment brokers at 1 per cent on the aggregate amount of all choses in action secured by mortgages on real estate in any other State or Territory. Such company or broker is required to secure from the State treasurer a certificate of authority to act in such capacity and to make annual reports of the amounts of such securities sold during the preceding year, and pay to the State a sum equal to 1 per cent on the aggregate of all such securities.

This is regarded rather in the nature of a penalty for nonpayment of the 4-mill tax in the following statutory provision, most of such foreign securities paying such 4-mill tax before negotiation.

It is specially provided that any person may take or send to the State treasurer any bond, note, or other chose in action, or description of the same, and may pay to the State a tax of 2 per cent (formerly 1 per cent) on the face amount thereof for 5 years, or at the option of such person for a greater or less number of years at the saine rate, and the treasurer thereupon certifies that the same is exempt for such period, and all bonds, notes, and other choses in action so certified are exempt from all taxation in the State during the period for which said tax is paid.

The law for such investment tax was enacted in 1890, and the taxes paid under it are shown by the following table:

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This 4-mill annual tax applies to bonds and notes held in the State not otherwise taxed, and is quite generally taken advantage of by the holders.

It will be observed that the largest amounts of such securities returned and taxes paid were in the first years of the law, 1890 to 1893.

The foregoing special taxes, with some other minor receipts, constitute all the sources of revenue for State purposes, and the total revenues therefrom in recent years have exceeded the State expenditures for current purposes, leaving a considerable amount for the payment of the State debt.

The State tax commissioners, in their report made in 1887, at a time when a portion of the State revenues was raised by direct tax on property in the several local taxing districts, stated that they did not believe it would be either practicable or desirable to dispense with the direct State tax. They gave as a reason for such belief that the weight of this tax came home to every taxpayer in an increase of his town rate, which he could not fail to feel, and made the whole community watchful of any unnecessary appropriation from the public treasury; and if all the revenue of the State were derived from corporations or other sources not directly affecting the individual taxpayer, it would be apt to be expended with less thought and care.

For some years last past all the revenues of the State have been derived from corporations and other sources not directly affecting the individual taxpayer, with the effect as to amount of revenues already stated. We were informed by a State official in conversation that the State taxes so raised were expended liberally and without strict regard for economy, and the separation of State taxes from local was apparently conducive to liberality in public expenditures.


An annual tax of $2 in commutation of military duty is imposed upon every male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 not exempt therefrom by law, which is paid in the manner provided for town taxes, and remitted to thě State treasurer for the use of the State. While special laws have been enacted looking to the enforcement of this tax, it does not appear to be generally enforced and collected, especially in the cities.

In 1899 $150,598.84 was paid by 83,644 persons.


An inheritance tax, so called, is imposed upon all estates of deceased persons in excess of $10,000. Where the estate passes to direct heirs the tax is $5 on each $1,000 of the excess above $10,000, and where it passes to collateral heirs the rate is $30 on each $1,000 of such excess.

The amount of this tax in 1899 was $115,195.30.


The controller of New York, in his report for 1898, commenting upon “tho confused, illogical, and conflicting.” condition of the taxation laws of the State, says: “Investigation shows that they have been largely adopted, from time to time, simply to meet the increasing expenditures of the State, with little regard to economic or any just and equitable principle. They were framed rather in accord with the witty Frenchman's definition of taxation, the plucking of the goose in such manner as to get the most feathers with the least squawking. In a word, it must be confessed that nearly all our tax laws are legislative makeshifts and many of them blunders.”

It may be said, however, that the officers of the State who have to do with the system of taxation, from the governor down, have of late years kept up such persistent “ squawking” over the inefficiency and inequality of the present sys tem of taxation that public thought is fully aroused upon the subject of revision and reform of the taxation laws, and in obedience to the public will important legislation in that direction has already resulted, and the subject is now a live issue in that State.


The system of a uniform tax upon the assessed valuation of all kinds of property prevails. The methods of assessment employed are conducive to defective assessment and valuation, especially in respect to personal property. The assessment of real and personal property, including corporate property not specially exempt, is made by local, township, or ward assessors for State, county, and local purposes, and in a measure“ the lower the assessment, the lower the tax.” This method creates a rivalry among local assessing officers for advantage to their respective districts by low assessments of property, resulting in gross inequalities and discriminations. There are also elements of personal advantage to assessors and political influences contributing to unfair and mjust assessments.

The amount of State tax required from property assessment, based on previous valuation of real and personal property, is fixed by annual bills in the legislature and apportioned among counties according to their assessed valuation, the county taxes apportioned among the townships and smaller taxing districts, so that ail taxes, State, county, and local, with the exceptions referred to, are raised upon the basis of local assessments paid to local collectors, who retain the local tax and remit the county and State taxes to the county treasurer, who in turn remits the State tax to the State treasury. About one-half of the State revenues is thus raised by local assessment and the other half by special methods hereafter referred to.

The board of supervisors is charged with the equalization of assessments and valuations of the several districts in the county. The entire assessment system is under the supervision of a State board of tax commissioners, two or more of whom are by law required to officially visit every county in the State at least once in 2 years and inquire into the methods of assessment and taxation, and see whether the assessors faithfully discharge their duties. In addition to this, there is a State board of equalization composed of the State tax commissioners and commissioner of the land office, who meet each year for the purpose of examining and revising the valuations of real and personal property of the several counties in the State. The rate of taxation is governed in each taxing district by the requirements for State, county, and local purposes.


For our purpose, little need be said as to the taxation of real estate generally. The law provides that all real estate not expressly exempt shall be assessed and taxed by local assessors where located at its full cash value.

Practically all real estate not exempt is assessed, but by no means at full or uniform value. Although the law requiring assessment of real estate at its full market value applies to all counties alike, yet the report of State tax commissioners for 1898 shows that in their judgment real estate was assessed at varying proportions of its full value in the several counties, ranging from 50 per cent in one county to 90 per cent in another. The 60 counties of the State had 25 different percentages of full value at which real estate was assessed. There is a like disparity among the towns of the same county.

The assessed valuation of real estate in 1899 was $4,413,848,496, or about 7 times the valuation of the personal property of the State. This significant discrepancy is further emphasized when followed through the collection of taxes for State, county, and town purposes. The latest returns for that purpose at hand are those of 1897. For that year the total amount of taxes for the purposes named was $80,865,704. Of this amount, real estate paid $72,359,268 and personalty $8,507,436, or a little more than one-tenth of the total. These figures are taken from the report of the controller for 1900, who says that, after giving careful attention to the condition of real property in this respect, he is satisfied that “unless relief of some kind is afforded, real estate in a short time will not be worth the owning for investment purposes.' He says further, in the same report, that “under the present statutes real estate has to bear nearly the entire burden of tax, while personal property, which is so much better able to contribute, pays very little at the best, while vast amounts escape tax altogether.”

Encumbered real estate is assessed to the owner at full value, without deduction for mortgages, the mortgages being assessable to the holders by local assessors at local tax rates.

PERSONAL PROPERTY. While the reports of State officials emphasize the inefficiency of the present tax laws of New York in regard to real estate, still greater disparity and injustice is shown in the taxation of personal property under the prevailing system. It appears that such property is in small part only assessed, and that very unequally and capriciously. In this connection it may be stated that New York is an exceedingly wealthy State, especially in the manifold forms of personal property.

The report of State tax commissioners for 1900 contains a table showing the percentage of State tax paid by real and personal property in each year from 1867 to 1899, inclusive. În 1867 the percentage paid by personal property was 25.30; it was reduced to 9.94 in 1884, and varied somewhat to 1898, when it reacbed 11.20; in 1899 it was 13.05, there being a considerable increase in the assessment valuation over previous years. A schedule of assessed valuations of real estate and personal property in the same report shows that in 1867 the valuation of real estate was $1,327,403,886 and of personal property $138,685,254. In 1890 the valuation of real estate had gradually increased to $3,397,234,679, while that of personalty had decreased to $382,159,067, having in some previous years been considerably lower. From 1890 a steady increase in valuation in both real and personal property is shown, and in 1899 that of real property was $4,813,779,260 and personalty $748,424,938.

In 1897 an investigation by the grand jury of Westchester County disclosed the fact that in that wealthy county bordering on New York the ratio of taxable valuation of personal to real property in five towns was only 1 per cent, and in four other towns the ratio was less than 2 per cent. In another town in which the assessor tried to enforce the law the ratio of personal to real was 37 per cent; but for the whole county it was only 3.3 per cent. In the neighboring county of Richmond, in New York Harbor, the rate was only six-tenths of 1 per cent; in Kings County, containing the city of Brooklyn, the ratio was only 44 per cent; in Monroe County, including the city of Rochester, it was 5.6 per cent; in Erie County, including the city of Buffalo, it was 6.4 per cent, and in the county of Onondaga, including the city of Syracuse, it was 6.7 per cent; while in the almost exclusively agricultural counties of Genesee and Jefferson it was 13 per cent; in Livingston, 14 per cent; in Washington and Warren counties, nearly 20 per cent, and in New York County, 224 per cent; the ratio in the whole State being 12.6

The controller in his report for 1898 gives another striking illustration of the escape of personalty from taxation, found in the figures of 107 estates taken indiscriminately from the inheritance-tax rolls from several of the large and populous counties, the tax actually having been paid, so that the figures are accurate and reliable. The assessed taxable value of these estates was $3,471,413, while the appraised value at the death of decedents was $215,891,568, the former being only 1.6 per cent of the latter.

This interesting and instructive examination showed not only gross evasion of taxation, but ridiculous discrimination in the assessment of even the 1.6 per cent;


per cent.

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