Page images







Washington, D.C. The joint subcommittee met at 10:15 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in the Senate District Committee room, Capitol, Washington, D. C., Representatives George J. Bates (cochairman of the joint subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Senators Cain (chairman of the joint subcommittee), Flanders; Representatives Bates (cochairman of the joint subcommittee), Smith, Klein, O'Hara and Talle.

Present also: Parker L. Jackson, special advisor to the House Committee on the District of Columbia.

Mr. BATEs. The meeting will kindly come to order.

Some of the members, because they are members of other committees in the House, and the same thing applies to the Senate members of the fiscal subcommittee of the Senate, will be a little bit delayed coming over here, and I think we had better get under way.

Mr. Dent, you are the first witness this morning.
Mr. DENT. Yes, sir.

Mr. Bates. We would be very glad to hear any testimony that you wish to offer at this hearing. STATEMENT OF EDWARD A. DENT, TAX ASSESSOR, DISTRICT OF

COLUMBIA, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. DENT. My name is Edward A. Dent, and I am the Tax Assessor for the District of Columbia.

Mr. Bates. How long have you been Assessor here in the District, and what are your duties?

Mr. DENT. I have been Assessor since 1939. Previous to that time I was District Surveyor. I have been in the District for 35 years.

My department is responsible for raising the revenues from real estate, income taxes, personal property taxes, inheritance and estate taxes, and special assessments, that is, assessments for sewer, sidewalks and water, alley paving.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to give you a little statement as to the progress of the District's revenues under present law.

Mr. Bates. For the purpose of the record, Mr. Dent, will you state just what the composition is of the Assessing Department. You are the director, or what is your title, and where does the authority lie? Mr. DENT. I am the Tax Assessor of the District of Columbia. I have a deputy assessor, and then I have eight assistant assessors, five of whom handle the assessment of real estate, and three of whom are on the Board of Personal Property Tax Appraisers, who handle the assessment of personal property.

In addition to that, I have division heads. I have an administrator of the income tax division, an administrator of the inheritance and estate tax division, and an administrator in charge of the special assessment division.

Mr. BATEs. The responsibility for the determination of property values lies with that group that you mention or with you alone?

Mr. DENT. It lies with the Board of Assistant Assessors for Real Estate. It was a permanent board that was appointed by Congress some years ago.

Mr. BATES. And those are the five members of the eight that you mentioned ?

Mr. Dent. Yes, sir; and the three members of the Personal Tax Board were appointed and set up at the same time. Originally there were only three, and as the city became larger, and business became greater, it increased. Now, there are eight, five on real estate, and three on personal property.

I have administrative control over those gentlemen, but I personally do not make the assessments.

Mr. BATES. Who makes the appointment of those five men ? Mr. DENT. They are made by the Commissioners. Mr. BATEs. For terms of what length of time? Mr. DENT. Indefinite time. Mr. BATES. Subject to removal at any time? Mr. DENT. Yes, sir. Mr. BATEs. They are not of civil-service status, are they? Mr. DENT. Well, they have civil-service status; yes, sir. Mr. BATES. I see. They alone are responsibleMr. DENT. They are designated as a permanent board by law. Mr. BATES. What is that? Mr. Dent. They were designated as a permanent board by law, the idea being that they should retain those positions as long as they operate efficiently because it was thought that~ I imagine by Congressby long experience they would become more efficient and have a greater knowledge of values in the District.

Mr. BATES. That board, as such, real property board, what is the title of that board ?

Mr. DENT. It is the Board of Assistant Assessors for Real Estate.

Mr. BATES. Now, they have full authority then to determine values for purpose of assessment?

Mr. DENT. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATES. Does their judgment have to meet with your approval?

Mr. DENT. No, sir. In addition to that Board, we have what is known as a Board of Equalization and Review.

Mr. Bates. I am speaking about the original determination.

Mr. Dent. The original determination is made by the Board of Assistant Assessors for Real Estate.

Mr. Bates. And that judgment stands until an appeal is made to the Board of Equalization and Review?

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »