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much that to be paid by B and C, and so of the others. In the case of specific taxes, as well as duties and imposts, though the amount paid by one is not affected by that paid by another, yet there is a known and fixed relation of one to the other, a uniform rate by which it is imposed upon the whole species or class of property or persons to which the specific tax applies; and this is so of duties and imposts, whether specific or ad valorem. To compel individuals to contribute money or property to the use of the public, without reference to any common ratio, and without requiring the sum * paid by one piece or kind of [* 502] property, or by one person, to bear any relation whatever

to that paid by another, is, it seems to me, to lay a forced contribution, not a tax, duty, or impost, within the sense of these terms, as applied to the exercise of powers by any enlightened or responsible government."

In the case of Knowlton v. Supervisors of Rock County,1 an important and interesting question arose, involving the very point now under discussion. The Constitution of Wisconsin provides that the rule of taxation shall be uniform," which, if we are correct in what we have already stated, is no more than an affirmance of a settled principle of constitutional law. The city of Janesville included within its territorial limits, not only the land embraced within the recorded plat of the village of Janesville and its additions, but also a large quantity of the adjacent farming or agricultural lands. Conceiving the owners of these lands to be greatly and unequally burdened by taxation for the support of the city government, the legislature passed an act declaring that "in no case shall the real and personal property within the territorial limits of said city, and not included within the territorial limits of the recorded plat of the village of Janesville, or of any additions to said village, which may be used, occupied, or reserved for agricultural or horticultural purposes, be subject to an annual tax to defray the current expenses of said city, exceeding one-half of one per cent, nor for the repair and building of roads and bridges, and the support of the poor, more than one-half as much on each dollar's valuation shall be levied for such purposes as on the property within such recorded plats, nor shall the same. be subject to any tax for any of the purposes mentioned in § 3 of

19 Wis. 410.

minute operation of laws imposing taxes, or defining the boundaries of local jurisdictions. The extension of the limits of the local authority may in some cases be greater than is necessary to

include the adjacent population, or territory laid out into [* 501] city lots, without a * case being presented in which the courts would be called upon to apply a nice and exact scrutiny as to its practical operation. It must be a case of flagrant injustice and palpable wrong, amounting to the taking of private property without such compensation in return as the taxpayer is at liberty to consider a fair equivalent for the tax." This decision has been subsequently recognized and followed as authority, in the last-named State.1

The second essential is that there should be uniformity in the manner of the assessment, and approximate equality in the amount of exactions within the district; and to this end that all the objects of taxation within the district should be embraced. The correctness of this principle will be conceded, but whether in practice it has been applied or not, it may not always be easy to determine.

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"With the single exception of specific taxes," says Christiancy, J., in Woodbridge v. Detroit,2 "the terms 'tax' and assessment' both, I think, when applied to property, and especially to lands, always include the idea of some ratio or rule of apportionment, so that of the whole sum to be raised, the part paid by one piece of property shall bear some known relation to, or be affected by, that paid by another. Thus, if one hundred dollars are to be raised from tracts A, B, and C, the amount paid by A will reduce by so

1 Langworthy v. Dubuque, 13 Iowa, 86; Fulton v. Davenport, 17 Iowa, 404; Buell v. Ball, 20 Iowa, 282. These cases were cited and followed in Bradshaw v. Omaha, 1 Neb. 16. These cases, however, do not hold the legislative act which enlarges the city limits to be absolutely void, but only hold that they will limit the exercise of the taxing power as nearly as practicable to the line where the extension of the boundaries ceases to be beneficial to the proprietor in a municipal point of view. For this purpose they enter into an inquiry of fact, whether the lands in question,

in view of their relative position to the growing and improved parts of the town, and partaking more or less of the benefits of municipal government, are proper subjects of municipal taxation; and if not, they enjoin the collection of such taxes. It would seem as if there must be great practical difficulties if not some of principle-in making this disposition of such a case. They have nevertheless been followed repeatedly in Iowa.

28 Mich. 301. See also Chicago v. Larned, 34 III. 203; Creote v. Chicago, 56 Ill. 422.

much that to be paid by B and C, and so of the others. In the case of specific taxes, as well as duties and imposts, though the amount paid by one is not affected by that paid by another, yet there is a known and fixed relation of one to the other, a uniform rate by which it is imposed upon the whole species or class of property or persons to which the specific tax applies; and this is so of duties and imposts, whether specific or ad valorem. To compel individuals to contribute money or property to the use of the public, without reference to any common ratio, and without requiring the sum * paid by one piece or kind of [* 502] property, or by one person, to bear any relation whatever

to that paid by another, is, it seems to me, to lay a forced contribution, not a tax, duty, or impost, within the sense of these terms, as applied to the exercise of powers by any enlightened or responsible government."

In the case of Knowlton v. Supervisors of Rock County,1 an important and interesting question arose, involving the very point now under discussion. The Constitution of Wisconsin provides that the rule of taxation shall be uniform," which, if we are correct in what we have already stated, is no more than an affirmance of a settled principle of constitutional law. The city of Janesville included within its territorial limits, not only the land embraced within the recorded plat of the village of Janesville and its additions, but also a large quantity of the adjacent farming or agricultural lands. Conceiving the owners of these lands to be greatly and unequally burdened by taxation for the support of the city government, the legislature passed an act declaring that "in no case shall the real and personal property within the territorial limits of said city, and not included within the territorial limits of the recorded plat of the village of Janesville, or of any additions to said village, which may be used, occupied, or reserved for agricultural or horticultural purposes, be subject to an annual tax to defray the current expenses of said city, exceeding one-half of one per cent, nor for the repair and building of roads and bridges, and the support of the poor, more than one-half as much on each dollar's valuation shall be levied for such purposes as on the property within such recorded plats, nor shall the same be subject to any tax for any of the purposes mentioned in § 3 of

19 Wis. 410.

c. 5 of [the city charter], nor shall the said farming or gardening lands be subject to any tax, other than before mentioned, for any city purpose whatever." Under the charter the property of the city was liable to an annual tax of one per centum to defray the current expenses of the city; and also an additional tax of such sum as the common council might deem necessary for the repair and building of roads and bridges, and for the support of the poor. Thus it will be perceived that the legislature, within the same taxing district, if the whole city is to be considered one district only, undertook to provide that a portion of the property should be taxed at one rate in proportion to value, and another portion at a much lower rate; while from taxation for certain proper local purposes the latter class was exempted altogether.

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"It was contended in argument," say the court, "that as those provisions fixed one uniform rate without. the recorded plats, and another within them, thus taxing all the property without alike, and all within alike, they do not infringe the constitution. In other words, that for the purpose of taxation, the legislature have the right arbitrarily to divide up and classify the property of the citizens, and, having done so, they do not violate the constitutional rule of uniformity, provided all the property within a given class is rated alike.

"The answer to this argument is, that it creates different rules of taxation, to the number of which there is no limit, except that fixed by legislative discretion, while the constitution establishes but one fixed, unbending, uniform rule on the subject. It is believed that if the legislature can, by classification, thus arbitrarily, and without regard to value, discriminate in the same municipal corporation between personal and real property within, and personal and real property without, a recorded plat, they can also by the same means discriminate between lands used for one purpose and those used for another, such as lands used for growing wheat and those used for growing corn, or any other crop; meadowlands and pasture-lands, cultivated and uncultivated lands; or they can classify by the description, such as odd-numbered lots and blocks and even-numbered ones, or odd and even numbered sections. Personal property can be classified by its character, use, or description, or, as in the present case, by its location, and thus the rules of taxation may be multiplied to an extent equal in

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number to the different kinds, uses, descriptions, and locations of real and personal property. We do not see why the system may not be carried further, and the classification be made by the character, trade, profession, or business of the owners. For certainly this rule of uniformity can as well be applied to such a classification as any other, and thus the constitutional provision be saved intact. Such a construction would make the constitution operative only to the extent of prohibiting the legislature from discriminating in favor of particular individuals, and would reduce the people, while considering so grave and important a proposition, to the ridiculous attitude of saying to the legislature, You shall not discriminate between single individuals or corporations; but you may divide the citizens up into different classes, as the followers of different trades, professions, or kinds of business, or as the owners of * different species or descriptions [* 504] of property, and legislate for one class, and against another, as much as you please, provided you serve all of the favored or unfavored classes alike;' thus affording a direct and solemn sanction to a system of taxation so manifestly and grossly unjust that it will not find an apologist anywhere, at least outside of those who are the recipients of its favor. We do not believe the framers of that instrument intended such a construction, and therefore cannot adopt it." 1

The principle to be deduced from the Iowa and Wisconsin cases, assuming that they do not in any degree conflict, seems to be this: The legislature cannot arbitrarily include within the

1 Per Dixon, Ch. J., 9 Wis. 421. Besides the other cases referred to, see, on this same general subject, Lin Sing v. Washburn, 20 Cal. 534; State v. Merchants' Ins. Co., 12 La. Ann. 802; Adams v. Somerville, 2 Head, 363; McComb v. Bell, 2 Minn. 295; Attorney-General v. Winnebago Lake and Fox River P. R. Co., 11 Wis. 35; Weeks v. Milwaukee, 10 Wis. 242; O'Kane v. Treat, 25 Ill. 557; Philadelphia Association, &c. v. Wood, 39 Penn. 73; Sacramento v. Crocker, 16 Cal. 119. There was a provision in the charter of Covington that a street might be

paved with the Nicholson pavement at the expense of the adjoining owners, when the owners of the larger part of the frontage should petition therefor. An amendatory act authorized it as to a portion of a certain street without such a petition; thus permitting a special improvement on that street, at the expense of the owners of adjoining lots, on a different principle from that adopted for the city generally. In Howell v. Bristol, 8 Bush, 493, this amendment was held inconsistent with the fundamental principles of taxation, and consequently void.

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