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Chittenden, Alfred K. (Alfred Knight), 1879-1930 / The taxation of forest lands in Wisconsin
(1911)

Methods of assessing timberlands,   pp. 42-44 PDF (803.2 KB)


Views of lumbermen on taxation,   pp. 44-49 PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 44


44        THE TAXATION Op FOREST LIANDs IN WIscoNsIN.
located. Generally, if not always, the assessor will accept such report
as correct and make no investigation to determine whether or not
the description has been entirely or only partly cut, with the result
that, if only partly cut, it is undervalued year after year. No doubt
in many instances descriptions are assessed without taking into ac-
count the standing timber thereon. At least a comparison of the
assessed and estimated true value of many of the examples given here-
in would indicate that this is the case. So far as could be learned
none of the assessors give any consideration to young growth in fixing
values.
  While the practice of undervaluation prevails throughout most of
that part of the state now being considered, it should not be under-
stood that this condition is universal.  In many localities a con-
scientious and fairly systematic effort is being made by assessing
officers to conform to the law. In a large measure the importuni-
ties of the county supervisor of assessment have influenced the as-
sessor in raising the valuation of this class of property; and in many
cases, independent of such solicitations from supervisors of assessment,
the assessor has endeavored to faithfully comply with the tax laws
regarding valuation.
               XIEWS OF LUMBERMEN ON TAXATION.
  In carrying on the investigation of timber taxation in northern Wis-
consin it was manifestly of primary importance to obtain, as com-
pletely as possible, the views of lumbermen on this subject. A large
part of the work, therefore was devoted to interviews with large
operators, and in many instances where personal conferences were
impossible, a great deal was brought out by correspondence with
them.
  The views expressed by these representative timber holders were
by no means uniform. There was, however, very little difference of
opinion on the question whether the present system of taxing forest
lands is or is not satisfactory; and the one pointed criticism directed
against this system that stands out clearly above all others, was that
taxes at present absolutely forestall any attempt in northern Wiscon-
sin to hold cut-over land for growing a second timber crop. While
it may be true that occasionally a company plans, even under exist-
ing conditions, to cut over their holdings a second time, there were
only two instances of this sort discovered. In neither case, moreover,
was there any effort being made to provide for reproduction or to


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