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THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA
Published Weekly by the
University of North Caro
lina for the University Ex
JUNE 22, 1927
CHAPEL HILL, N. C.
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS
VOL. XIII, No. 32
Editorial Uoard: E. C. Branson, S. H. Hobbs, Jr.. L. F. Wilson, E. W. Knight, D. D. Carroll. J. B. Bullitt, H. W. Odum.
Entered as second-class matter November 14, 1914, at the Postoffice at Chapel Hilt. N. C., under the act of August 24, 1912,
TAXABLE WEALTH IN N. C.
Elsewhere in this issue will be found
a table in which the counties are ranked
according to the aggregate of wealth
•listed for taxation on a per inhabitant
basis for the year 192S. The parallel
column shows the county-wide tax
rates for that year. The special
district levies for roads or schools are
not considered here. In many counties
these local levies are considerable, and
thus the county-wide tax rate does not
reflect the full tax burden. In fact, in
only a few counties does the county-
wide school levy provide for more than
the six-months’ constitutional term. In
the few counties where there is a
county-wide levy for an eight or nine
months’ school the higher county tax
rate may be offset Dy a minimum of
It will be noted that the ten richest
counties, measured in per capita
wealth, are the counties with large
urban populations. Thus wealth seems
to concentrate as people concentrate.
Forsyth and Mecklenburg are the two
most populous counties in the state,
and they are the richest in per capita
wealth. Durham, Guilford and Bun
combe follow closely. Each of the
next five counties, Gaston, New Han
over, Rowan, Iredell and Wake, con
tains a city or large town. Among
the twenty-one counties which have as
much as $1,000 of taxed wealth per
inhabitant nearly all have flourishing
towns. The presence of Richmond,
Montgomery, and Moore in this higher
bracket is no doubt due in large
measure to the peach orchards. The
high ranking of McDowell is rather
surprising; its large railroad valuations
must be the explanation.
The Counties That Lag
The twenty counties at the bottom
of the list are scattered from the
coast to the Tennessee line. They are
the counties with little or no railroad
mileage, with little or no manufactur
ing, and with no large towns. In
these counties nearly the whole burden
of taxation must be borne by the
farmers, and with little else to tax the
rate on farm property is necessarily
high. The average county rate in the
twenty richest counties is $1.09 and in
the twenty poorest counties $1.60.
County taxes thus tend to be regres
sive, the higher rates falling on those
least able to pay.
Taxed and True Wealth
It should be pointed out that taxed
wealth does not represent the same
ratio to true wealth in every county.
Some counties have their property
assessed relatively higher than others.
It may be that some of the counties
which seem to have little per capita
wealth have their property assessed at
low valuations. On the other hand the
city counties, which rank high, contain
relatively more intangible property
which escapes the tax books. It would
not be justifiable, therefore, to assume
that there is any more uniformity in
true wealth than in taxed wealth.
The inequalities which exist are partly
due to differences in natural resources,
partly due to industrialization, and
partly due to the position of the county
boundaries. There is perhaps little
significance in the fact that twenty-
four counties have a per capita wealth
in excess of the state average and
seventy-six counties below that figure.
It would be more significant if we
could know what percent of the popu
lation of the state have $989 per per
son, or $4,916 for a family of five.
Perhaps little can done to equalize
wealth but something can be done
to equalize taxes. There is no just
reason why some particular ssrvice
should cost the taxpayers of one county
two or three times what the same
service costs in another county. The
great inequalities which have existed in
school costs are now about to be
removed, or at least greatly alleviated,
by virtue of the larger equalizing fund.
The expansion of the state highway
system provides some relief to the
poorer counties in road taxes. There
are still other steps that may be taken.
j There is a possibility that district
I homes for the indigent,’ district jails,
and district hospitals may in large
measure replace county institutions,
the larger number of inmates reducing
the per unit cost.
Unit Now Too Small
There are certain overhead expenses
of county government, however, which
can not be eliminated. Every county
must provide itself with a courthouse
and a full set of county officers. It
costs as much to support an officer who
is busy two-thirds of the time as one
who is busy all of the time. If the
automobile and good roads could have
been anticipated it is not likely that
one hundred counties would have been
created. It is possibje that .consolida
tions may be effected some time in the
future. Such would probably be de
sirable, though it is not easy to abolish
any institution after its loyalties and
traditions have been established. It
will generally be impossible for coun
ties with from five to ten million dollars
of wealth to enjoy as li-w tax rates as
counties with from fifty to a hundred
Although the property tax in North
Carolina is much lower than in many
other states it is unquestionably bur
densome. Thirty-three counties found
it necessary in 1926 to levy a tax of at
least $1.60 on a hundred dollars of
property. Only twelve counties levied
$1.00 or less, and in some of these coun
ties the levy was too small to take care
of current expenses. There is a need
for efficient administration and rigid
economy in every county in. the state.
—Paul W. Wager.
DAIRY COW AND COTTON
A group of bankers visiting the
Georgia State College of Agriculture
were shown a Holstein cow whose milk
during the course of a year actually
sold for more than 19 bales of cotton
would bring at twelve cents per pound.
During the past year that cow produced
16,461.8 pounds of milk, weighed and
recorded daily; or the equivalent of
1,914.16 gallons. The milk was retailed
through the Agricultural College cream
ery at sixty cents per gallon for a total
The market price of nineteen bales of
cotton at twelve cents per pound, the
price at which a considerable part of
the last crop changed hands, is $1,140,
or $S.>49 less than the milk from the
single cow. That cow’s record fur
nishes the starting point for some cal
culations that should prove interesting
for®every cotton planter. How does the
cash productivity of/ a good Holstein
cow compare with th'e cash productivity
of cotton? Let every cotton farmer fill
in the following /questions according to
his own land and local conditions, and
draw his own conclusions.
1. How many acres are required to
produce nineteen bales of cotton?
2. What is the value of the land?
3. What is the cost of making the
4. At tfie best price reasonable to
expect, what is the profit?
6. How many Holstein cows could
be supported on this land, sup
posing all possible feed for them
to be grown at home?
6. What profit could reasonably be
expected from such a herd?
7. If the market for whole milk is
not good, what other stock could
be raised on the skim milk after
selling the cream?
8. What profit could be expected in
9. In view of the foregoing figures,
does it seem advisable to begin
withdrawing land from cotton in
order to start building up a dairy
herd as rapidly as money can be
found for the investment?
The Augusta Chronicle, discussing
this comparison, said:
‘The lesson to be drawn is,of course,
obvious. For us of Georgia helplessly
to talk about agriculture being pros
trated when we have.the^cow, the hog
and the hen, to say nftthing of fruits,
vegetables, grains etc. to supplement
cotton, is a confession of impotency
and cowardice that should make us
ashamed of ourselves. We need to
wake up. Manufrcturers Record.
KNOW NORTH CAROLINA
3. Furniture Industry
North Carolina has one hundred
and nine corporations manufacturing
furniture reporting as active, ac
cording to the recent report of the
State Department of Labor and
Printing. The federal Department
of Commerce reports that there are
one hundred and twenty-seven fur
niture establishments in the state.
The manufacture of furniture has
long been a chief activity in North
Carolina. The industry was hard hit
by the post-war depression, for dur
ing periods of depression furniture
is about the first commodity to suffer
sales decline. However, during the
last two years there has been an in
crease in the number of factories,
and a substantial gain in the value
of yearly output.
The value of output for last year
is reported at nearly fifty-six million
The capital stock of our furniture
factories totals more than nineteen
million dollars, including estimate
for twenty factories that failed to
report on this item. The value of
the plants is slightly less than the
capital stock, or approximately
eighteen million dollars.
There are approximately thirteen
thousand employees working in the
furniture factories. All pf the em
ployees are adult males except three
hundred and seventeen adult fe
males and forty-five children. The
annual wages paid wage earners
total nearly eleven million dollars.
The average number of hours con
stituting a day’s work is ten and a
week’s work is fifty-five. /
In 1925 North Carolina ranked
seventh among the states in the
value of furniture manufactured, two
of the six states ahead of us barely
outranking us. Nortii Carolina ranks
first in the manufacture of wooden
bedroom furniture; fourth in the
manufacture of wooden dining-room
furniture; and third in the manu
facture of kitchen furniture. We
manufacture about one-third of the
furniture manufactured in the South.
out in California, physicist, astronomer
and chemist have brigaded their efforts
in an attack upon the forces of the
atom. A similar coordination of effort
was made by scientists in search for
poisonous gas during the war.
Research service in conservation of
the health of the nation should not be
. left entirely to private interest, how
ever generous, zealous and intelligent.
Particularly is it desirable that chemis
try should be brought back, in its
highest development as a science, toJhe
aid of the physician in the prevention of
disease and the alleviation of suffering.
It has turned its attention in recent
decades mainly to the production of
wealth in the industries. It bas a
higher ministry before it if it can be
brought to cope with disease in time of
peace, as its aid was invoked by the
government for destruction during the
war. We have gone further in our
federal dep'artmeftts in concern for the
health of the lower animals, and even
of trees and plants, than we have for
that of human beings.—The New York
RADIOS ON FARMS
There are now 1,252,126 farms in the
United States equipped with radio re
ceiving sets, the Radio Service of the
Department of Agriculture announced
in the report of its past season’s work
This estimate was based on returns
made by county agricultural agents
throughout the country and showed a
126 percent increase over the 553,000
sets estimated to be on farms July,
Iowa led the states with 99,990 farm
radio sets, or an increase of 160 percent
since 1926. Indiana was second with
81,144, but this figure represented an
increase of 377 percent as compared
with the 1926 figure.
Other leading states included Mis
souri with 77,610 sets; Nebraska with
69,784; Illinois with 66,832; Ohio with
63,448; Kansas with 62,066.
The large percentage of increase,
however, was shown in Utah, where
the number of sets was estimated at
6,061 as compared with 899 estimated
How farm radio sets are being used,
the program preferences of the farm
ers, and their own ideas for improving
present service were also set forth in
an analysis of replies to a question
naire sent to 10,000 farm radio owners,
and included in the report.
These replies show that American
farmers prefer radio talk to music
nearly two to one. Voluntary com
ments accompanying the formal an
swers indicate a strong dislike for jazz.
In music they want old-time tunes and
Aside from educational farm pro
grams, weather and market reports,
political talks are evidently popular and
more current news programs are in
TAXABLE WEALTH PER INHABITANT
And Aggregate County Tax Rate for 1925
In the following table the counties are ranked according to the amoqnt of
property listed for taxation per inhabitant for the year 1925. The accompany
ing column shows the aggregate county tax rates in each county. The tax
rates are not strictly conparable, for in a few counties there is a county-wide
school tax sufficient to maintaiy an eight or nine months’ term. In most coun
ties the county-wide rate is only sufficient to provide for a six mouths’term
and schools maintained for a longer term are supported by local taxes.
Forsyth is the richest county in aggregate taxable wealth, $178,279,218, the
richest in per capita wealth, $1,831, and has the lowest tax rate, 65 cents.
Dare has the least aggregate wealth, $2,116,203, and the least per capita wealth,
$399. Clay, the second poorest county in wealth, has the highest aggregate
county tax rate, $2.91.
The state total of property listed for taxation is $2,746,916,916 or $983
The table is based on information as reported by the State Commissioner
of Revenue. In making the computations the estimated population for July 1,
1926, is used.
Paul W. Wager
Department of Rural Social-Economics, University of North Carolina.
CHEMISTRY AND DISEASE
Dr. Charles H. Herty recently point-
ed out that we spent annually $1,016,-
000,000 to keep our 115,000,000 bodies
in repair, as follows:
Drugs, including patent
61 Cumberland .
Doctors’ services (estimat-
ed on basis of average
income per doctor per
6 Buncombe ....
year of $1,600) 220,000,000
6 percent on the $624,000-
7 New Hanover.. 1.30
000 of hospital invest-
68 Washington .
ments in lands, build-
ings and furnishings.... 31,000,000
Hospital maintenance.... 264,000,000
11 McDowell ....
.. 1.48 ....
12 Richmond ....
In commenting on this, Senator
. 1.56 ....
Ransdeii, of Louisiana, in a speech sup-
. .82 ....
... 1,071 .
porting a bill providing for the appro-
priation of $20,000,000 for the study of
the cause, prevention and cure of dis-
ease, asked whether it wo.uld not be
worth vvhile to spend a few millions a
. 1.82 ....
year in order to determine whether
this vast bill' of a billion could not be
reduced. Much has been done''private-
ly notably by the Rockefeller Institute
for Medical Research, the Carnegie In-
stitution of Washington and other in-
26 Alamance ....
stitutes and laboratories. But in most
of these institutions comparatively little
time is allowed for concentrated work
on problems of major importance, or
opportunity given for cooperative ef-
fort of the chemist, the biologist, the
pharmacologist, th'e therapeutist and
the physiologist. ^
Senator Ransdell’s bill, which he
“hopes will be favorably acted upon at
the next session of Congress, ’’ contem-
plates the enlargement of the Hygienic
Laboratory of the Public Health Ser-
vice into a chemo-raedical research lab-
oratory. Specifically, it provides for
an appropriation of ?2,000,000 a year
for five years for this enlargement,
and in addition $10,000,000 to establish
an academy of health in the District of
Columbia or its vicinity. In such an
institution a joint attack may be made
on fundamental problems of medicine
by leaders in chemistry, physics, biology.
pharmacology and medicine, just as,