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Property taxes are typically set at a flat rate per $ 1,000 of officially assessed value.

Reassessments should be frequent in order to remove distortions that arise when property values change at differential rates. In practice, however, reassessments typically occur when they benefit the government that is, when their effect is to increase total tax revenue. If the statements above are true, which of the following describes a situation in which a reassessment should occur but is unlikely to do so?

(A) Property values have risen sharply and uniformly. (B) Property values have all risen some very sharply, some less so. (C) Property values have for the most part risen sharply yet some have dropped slightly. (D) Property values have for the most part dropped significantly; yet some have risen slightly. (E) Property values have dropped significantly and uniformly.

If most property values have dropped significantly, but some have risen slightly, a reassessment should occur (since values have changed at different rates) but is unlikely (since it will not benefit the government). Thus choice D describes the required situation and is the best answer. According to the passage, choices A and E describe situations in which there is no need for a reassessment, since change has occurred uniformly. Similarly, choices B and C both describe situations in which a reassessment should occur, and is likely to, since the government will benefit.

In countries in which new life-sustaining drugs cannot be patented, such drugs are sold at widely affordable prices; those same drugs, where patented, command premium prices because the patents shield patent-holding manufacturers from competitors. These facts show that future access to new life-sustaining drugs can be improved if the practice of granting patents on newly developed life-sustaining drugs were to be abolished everywhere. Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

(A) In countries in which life-sustaining drugs cannot be patented, their manufacture is nevertheless a profitable enterprise. (B) Countries that do not currently grant patents on life-sustaining drugs are, for the most part, countries with large populations. (C) In some countries specific processes for the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs can be patented even in cases in which the drugs themselves cannot be patented. (D) Pharmaceutical companies can afford the research that goes into the development of new drugs only if patents allow them to earn high profits. (E) Countries that grant patents on life-sustaining drugs almost always ban their importation from countries that do not grant such patents.

The passage argues that access to life-sustaining drugs would be improved if patents on them were abolished, based on information about the lower cost of such drugs in countries where there are no patents. You are asked to identify the answer choice that most weakens the argument. If without patents pharmaceutical companies could not afford to develop new drugs, then abolishing patents would mean that people would have reduced access to new life-sustaining drugs, thereby weakening the argument presented. Therefore, choice D is the correct answer. Choices A and B both present advantages available in countries without patents on the drugs-manufacturing the drugs can be profitable (choice A) and there is a large potential market (choice B). Neither presents a drawback to abolishing the patents. Choice C is incorrect since the possibility of patenting manufacturing processes introduces some limitation to the benefits of abolishing patents on the drugs, but does not mean that there would be no benefits. Choice E present a further way in which patents are linked to restrictions on the availability of new life-sustaining drugs, and therefore it support rather than weakens the argument in favor of abolishing patents.

In the arid land along the Colorado River, use of the rivers water supply is strictly controlled: farms along the river each have a limited allocation that they are allowed to use for irrigation. But the trees that grow in narrow strips along the rivers banks also use its water. Clearly, therefore, if farmers were to remove those trees, more water would be available for crop irrigation. Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

(A) The trees along the rivers banks shelter it from the sun and wind, thereby greatly reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation. (B) Owners of farms along the river will probably not undertake the expense of cutting down trees along the banks unless they are granted a greater allocation of water in return. (C) Many of the tree species currently found along the rivers banks are specifically adapted to growing in places where tree roots remain constantly wet. (D) The strip of land where trees grow along the rivers banks would not be suitable for growing crops if the trees were removed. (E) The distribution of water allocations for irrigation is intended to prevent farms farther upstream from using water needed by farms farther downstream.

The passage argues that cutting down the trees along the banks of the Colorado River would make more water available for crop irrigation, given that the trees use water. You are asked to identify the choice that most weakens this argument. If trees also help conserve water, the argument that cutting them down would make more water available for irrigation is weakened, so choice A is the best answer. Choice B is incorrect because it focuses on the farmers motivations for cutting the trees down, not

on what effects cutting them down would have on the availability of water. The additional information presented in choice C about the trees involved is irrelevant to the question whether removing them would make more water available for irrigation. Although choice D presents a drawback to removing the trees, the drawback does not weaken the argument that removing them would make more water available. Choice E is incorrect because it provides background information that does not address the relationship between the trees and the water that is central to the argument.