« PreviousContinue »
ating the State Board of Examiners, which the Supreme Court has sustained.-See Ross vs. Whitman, supra.
It has been said that “a Board of Equalization is simply a Board of Assessors. The Supervisors or County Boards are elected, * and hence there is no question about their powers." This certainly must be regarded as a very loose and unsupported statement. The power of our Boards of Supervisors cannot be upheld by such an argument. The provision of Section 13, Article XI of the Constitution is as follows: “But Assessors and Collectors of town, county, and State taxes shall be elected by the qualified electors of the district, county, or town in which the property taxed for State, county, or town purposes is situated."
Supervisors are elected by districts comprising but a small portion of the county. Will it be contended that the Supervisors of Districts Nos. 1, 2, and 3 can perform the duties of an Assessor in relation to property situate in Districts Nos. 4 and 5? They are not elected by the qualified electors of Districts 4 and 5, where the property the valuation of which is under consideration is situated. If, as it is said, they are in fact Assessors, and Assessors alone can determine the final valuation of property subject to no revision or alteration, then certainly Supervisors elected for one district cannot determine the value of property in another. The People vs. Hastings, 29 Cal., p. 449, is directly against such a proposition. In that case the
"The constitutional requirements are not satisfied merely by an assessment made in the manner directed by law, but it is also provided that the Assessors of town, county, or State taxes should be elected by the qualified electors of the district, county, or town in which the property to be taxed is situated; that is to say that the assessment must be made by a person elected as an Assessor by the qualified electors of such district, county, or town.
In this chosen authority for those who say that the State Board of Equalization is unconstitutional—the case of The People vs. Hastings—the Assessor who made the assessment was elected by the qualified electors of the City and County of Sacramento, which is a different district from that of the City of Sacramento. It was not made by an Assessor elected by the qualified electors of the district where the property was situatedthe City and County of Sacramento not being the same district as that of the City of Sacramento. Certainly,
if the Assessor elected by the electors of a county cannot make an assessment for a city lying wholly therein, then a Supervisor (even if he be an Assessor) could not assess property situated in a district which had no voice in his election. The proposition seems too absurd to need further argument. The decisions of the Courts sustaining County Boards of Equalization rest on some more secure foundation than the one selected. "In the exposition of Constitutions, as of inferior laws, the solemn, deliberate, and long-settled precedents of Courts, and the practice and acquiescence of Governments and people, possess controlling weight.”—Ferris vs. Coover, 11 Cal., p. 175. More than twenty years of practice and acquiescence, and a long line of precedents, affirm the constitutionality of the powers exercised by County Boards of Equalization. No objection can be urged against the power of the Legislature to create a State Board that does not apply with like force to the exercise of the power to create County Boards. Both rest upon the same foundation; both must stand or fall together. That both will stand is no longer a question, for not only does the Constitution permit, but in order to carry out its provisions, imperatively demands their creation and existence. We conclude, therefore, that neither a State nor County Board of Equalization wouļd be unconstitutional if appointed in any manner authorized by the Legislature. The argument that a State Board of Equalization is dangerous to the interests of the people, because it is not elective, would apply as well to the Supreme Court of the Federal Government and the Courts of many of our sister States, for a Board of Equalization is, for all practical purposes, a Court, where the action is between the people and an individual. Its responsibility is 'undoubtedly gient, and it may be dangerous; but would it be any more safe if elected by the people of the State at large?
It was necessary to review these various questions at length, since they have been much discussed, and the provisions of the Code system of revenue have been, to a certain extent, the subject of criticism.
Equaliza- 3694. If the County Auditor fails to forward to tion, how made when the State Board of Equalization the statement proCounty Auditor vided for in Section 3728, the Board must make the fails to Statement equalization from any information it can obtain.
3695. When the equalization among the several counties is completed, the Clerk of the Board must
transmit to each County Auditor a statement of the Clerk to per centum to be added to or deducted from the val- statemen uation of the property of his county.
to each County
3696. At the same time the Board must deter- Board to
notify mine and transmit to the Board of Supervisors of each Supervisors county the rate of the State tax to be levied and col- of tax to be lected, which, after allowing for delinquency in the collection of taxes, must be sufficient to raise the specific amount of revenue directed to be raised by the Legislature for State purposes.
3697. Every person served with a subpæna who Penalty for fails or neglects, without just excuse, to obey it, and obey rules every officer who refuses to obey the rules and regula- lations of tions prescribed by the Board, or to perform the duties prescribed therein, forfeits to the State five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action in the name of the Board, which action may be commenced and tried in any county of the State.
3698. Whenever the State Board of Equalization District is satisfied that the Assessor or a Deputy Assessor of prosecuto any county has knowingly, fraudulently, or corruptly fently assessed any property below its actual cash value, it assessing must immediately inform the District Attorney of such county in writing of the facts that may have come to its, knowledge, with a request that such Assessor or Deputy Assessor be prosecuted, and the District Attorney must at once comply with such request.
Clerk and 3699. The Clerk or any member of the Board members of may administer and certify oaths.
3700. The annual salary of each member of the Salary of
members. Board appointed by the Governor is thirty-six hundred dollars, and the annual salary of the ex officio member is twelve hundred dollars.
3701. The annual salary of the Clerk is twentyfour hundred dollars.
3702. Each member of the Board and the Secretary thereof is entitled to repayment of all expenses incurred by him in traveling in the discharge of his duties, not to exceed annually one thousand dollars each, the amount thereof to be audited and allowed by the Board of Examiners, and paid out of the State Treasury.
Official bonds of
3703. Each member of the State Board of Equalmembers of ization appointed by the Governor must execute an
official bond in the sum of ten thousand dollars.
Duty of Board upon failure of county Boards to appoint Assessors, ote,
3704. If the Board of Supervisors of any county fails or refuses either:
1. To allow the Assessor to appoint a sufficient number of deputies to make the assessment; or,
2. To furnish the proper books or blanks for his use; or,
3. To furnish the Assessor necessary office room; -Then the State Board of Equalization may, upon the application of the Assessor, make the allowance, or furnish the proper books, blanks, or office room; and all the expense incurred in carrying into effect the provisions of this section must, by the Secretary of the Board, be certified 'to the Controller, who must, in his next settlement with the County Treasurer of any such county, require such Treasurer to pay the amount out of any funds belonging to such county.
Note.-This section was added by Act of April 1, 1872, cited in note to Sec. 18, ante.
State Board may extend time.
3705. The State Board of Equalization may, by an order entered upon its minutes, and certified to the County Auditor of any county, extend, for not exceed
ing thirty days, the time fixed in this Title for the performance of any act.
NOTE.-This section was added by Act of April 1, 1872, cited in note to Sec. 18, ante.
LEVY OF TAXES.
SECTION 3713. Rate of taxation. Amounts required for the several
for the several
3713. The State Board of Equalization must, for Rate of State purposes, for the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth fiscal years, fix such an, ad valorem rate of taxation upon each one hundred dollars value of taxable property of this state as will raise for each of said years: 1. For the General Fund, one million one hundred Amounts
required and ninety thousand dollars;
2. For the School Fund, two hundred and forty Funds. thousand dollars;
3. For the Interest and Sinking Fund of eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, one hundred and forty thousand dollars;
4. For the Interest and Sinking Fund of eighteen hundred and sixty, nine thousand dollars;
5. For the State Capitol Fund, two hundred thousand dollars;
6. For the Military Fund, sixty thousand dollars;
7. For the Soldiers' Bounty Interest and Sinking Fund, forty-three thousand dollars;
8. For the Soldiers' Relief Interest and Sinking Fund, twenty-five thousand dollars;