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

Summary of assessed values compared with actual values,   pp. 27-41 PDF (2.9 MB)

Page 27

sessed value is $1,710, making the ratio of assessed to the true value a
Fraction over 32 per cent.
  It is believed that for this entire county the average ratio of assessed
to true value, in the case of farm lands, will not exceed 30 per cent.
The 72 transfers of real estate, made during the year of 1909, show
the ratio of assessed to market value (purchase price) to be 25.6 per
cent or more than 4 per cent lower than the figure given above.
Assessments of Timberland.
  On pages 21 to 27 attention has been called to only a few specific
cases, illustrating the inequality and arbitrariness in assessing timber-
land under the present method of taxation. In the course of the study
the assessed and estimated true values were obtained for many other
timbered descriptions, but it is not believed any useful end will be
served by a separate discussion of each tract. However, they have been
grouped by counties and are given in the following tables.
  These tables clearly show the pronounced and unwarranted variance
in the ratio of the assessed to the true value which now obtains. As
will be observed, this variation in the ratio ranges from 16 to 62 per
cent in County A, 12 to 60 per cent in County B, 22 to 83 per cent
in County C, 42.1 to 88 per cent in County D, 12 to 81 per cent in
County E, and 1.7 to 183.7 per cent in County F. It would seem that
the assessor did not even attempt to base his assessed values upon a
given percentage or fraction of the true values. Although there are a
few instances of overvaluation, as well as a few instances where the
assessed is not far short of the true value, yet in the general run of
cases there has been gross undervaluation. An examination- of these
tables will also show that almost uniformly the ratio of the assessed to
true value is highest on the tracts of least value, and that as the value
of the tracts increases the ratio decreases. The figures given are for
the year 1909.

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