The taxing by the State of private property in the form of taxes is held to be justified and not a taking of property for a public use without compensation, upon the theory that compensation is returned in the form of police protection and of other benefits flowing from the existence of the government. A logical extension of this justification permits the State to levy special taxes upon land embraced within a given district where the proceeds of such taxes are to be spent for improvements which, though of general public utility, are yet for the special and peculiar benefit of that district. For, as the court say in Lock-wood v. St. Louis,4 "While the few ought not to be taxed for the benefit of the whole, the whole ought not to be taxed for the benefit of the few. . . . General taxation for a mere local purpose is unjust; it burdens those who are not benefited and benefits those who are exempt from the burden."
In similarity to this principle that the property peculiarly benefited by a public improvement may be called upon, by a special assessment, to bear the cost thereof, is the principle that, in assessing the damages, when private property is taken for a public purpose under an exercise of the right of eminent domain, the resulting benefits to the owner from the public use to which his appropriated property is part may be subtracted from the value of the property taken. This right thus to set off benefits was denied by the court of appeals of the District of Columbia in several cases, but the Supreme Court of the United States, in Bauman v. Ross5 emphatically repudiated the doctrine saying: "The just compensation required by the Constitution to be made to the owner is to be measured by the loss caused to him by the appropriation [of his property]. He is entitled to receive the value of what he has been deprived of and no more. To award him more would be unjust to the public. Consequently, when part only of a parcel of land is taken for a highway, the value of that part is not the sole measure of the compensation or damages to be paid to the owner; but the incidental injury or benefit to the part not taken is also to be considered."
3 Ward v. Maryland, 12 Wall. 418; 20 L. ed. 449.
4 24 Mo. 20.
5 167 U. S.548; 17 Sup. Ct. 966; 42 L. ed. 270.