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

Chittenden, Alfred K.; Irion, Harry
Introduction,   pp. [5]-9 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 7


THEm TAXATION OF FOREST LANDs iN WISCONSIN.
duction. Practically all of the timber has been removed from the
southern counties, and there remain now only scattering bodies of
timber included in the woodlots of the various farms. The northern
part of the state, however, contains much true forest soil-soil that
is too poor, rocky, or sandy to ever be successfully used for agricul.
ture. In many of the intermediate counties, however, the soil is suit-
able for agriculture and will undoubtedly be so utilized within the
next few decades. But the country is comparatively unsettled as yet,
and while awaiting the coming of farmers and the conversion of the
land into farms, it can and should be used for the production of tim-
ber. This applies to counties such as Price and Rusk, where practically
the entire county contains excellent farming soil, but where settle-
ment is naturally slow, owing to the difficulty of clearing the land for
agriculture. In these counties the standing timber will soon be ex-
hausted, and the timberland owners are now offering much of their
land for sale to settlers. There are extensive areas in these counties,
however, where the soil is too rocky and poor for farming, and such
areas should be kept in timber growth.   In the extreme northern
counties where the soil is sandy it has no value except for forest
growth.
  The general conclusions which may be drawn from this investiga-
tion are:
  1. The actual tax burdens imposed on forest lands of the same value
are not uniform or proportionate, as the constitution and laws of the
state require, either as between the different counties and towns or
between the different taxpayers in the same town.
  2. The burden of taxation upon cut-over land is relatively much
higher than upon timbered land, although the latter is better able to
bear the heavier burden of taxation.
  3. The burden of taxation upon farm land is also relatively less
than that upon cut-over land in the same towns, although its actual
value is far greater. The ratio of the assessed to the true value of
farm lands is practically the same as for timbered lands.
  4. In general, the laws regarding taxation have not been strictly
enforced. That no strong objections have been raised to the taxes on
forest land by timberland owners is due to the fact that timberlands
have in the past been greatly underassessed, and while the tax rates
have been extremely high in many cases, the burden of taxation upon
the timberland is just beginning to be felt.
  5. In the search for revenue to meet the financial necessities of the
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