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Governor Sylvester Pennoyer's Administration

Biennial Message, 1893

Source: Journal of House of the Legislative Assembly, 1893, Governor's Biennial Message, Salem, Oregon, Frank C. Baker, State Printer, 1893.

BIENNIAL MESSAGE OF GOV. SYLVESTER PENNOYER
TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY SEVENTEENTH BIENNIAL SESSION 1893

Gentlemen of the Oregon Legislative Assembly:

Pursuant to the requirement of the Constitution, the following information touching the condition of the Sate, and recommendations, are submitted for your consideration. For more detailed information your are referred to the report of the carious State officers:

STATE EXPENDITURES

 

 

1887-88

1889-90

1891-92

Governor's Office

$6,800.00

$6,800.00

$8,588.90

Secretary's Office

9,651.11

10,450.00

13,364.75

Treasurer's Office

5,220.00

6,187.50

7,800.00

Superintendent of Public Instruction's Office

6,541.25

6,600.00

8,095.45

State printing, including blinding and paper

31,072.99

36,660.85

50,374.62

Library, code and reports

17,203.23

10.644.59

15,443.62

State land office

8,423.48

8,209.13

9,201.88

Legislature

41,089.63

41,990.63

46,681.87

Judiciary

77,203.23

86,462.44

89,093.97

Penitentiary

69,786.37

73,347.85

82,409.82

Asylum

148,137.42

176,168.91

216,489.65

Penitentiary improvement

10,992.81

4,630.21

16,942.80

Asylum improvement

62,791.54

109,803.23

83,258.08

Capitol improvement

36,343.75

14,087.58

11,643.31

Mute school

15,458.76

17,848.99

15,316.42

Blind school

10,121.67

8,742.76

11,355.00

Orphans' home

8,000.00

11,000.00

15,000.00

Agricultural boards

10,000

19,000.00

19,000.00

Health officers

3,545.54

3,993.53

4,090.00

Pilot commissioners and schooner

5,089.87

5,349.98

5,380.55

Dairy and food commissioner

2,112.50

3,356.99

3,204.95

Fish commissioners

12,192.82

6,538.93

6,205.35

Railroad Commissioners

12,575.56

19,000.00

19,888.69

Agricultural college

21,125.11

64,475.14

46,338.50

University

26,921.00

34,471.47

44,289.15

Conveying convicts

13,182.95

14,128.51

22,961.93

Conveying Insane

17,706.57

20,287.00

24,961.93

Incidental

24,990.88

25,150.00

27,995.96

Fugitive

3,000.00

5,139.21

6,338.04

Indigent

2,338.46

10,000.00

7,626.73

Wagon roads

-------------

116,000.00

--------------

Private claims

2,149.75

2,088.00

11,031.16

Oregon National Guard

16,805.49

33,823.56

65,566.18

Reform School

-------------

46,000.00

40,671.21

Horticultural board

-------------

7,000.00

7,000.00

Domestic animal commission

-------------

4,888.00

8,093.60

Weather bureau

-------------

1,800.00

1,954.72

Miscellaneous

-------------

---------------

22,201.81

Boatman at Astoria

-------------

---------------

1,000.00

Resources of Oregon

-------------

----------------

5,659.89

Charities and correction

-------------

---------------

6,866.98

Portage railroad

-------------

---------------

60,000.00

Capitol Building

-------------

---------------

73,520.00

 

__________

____________

____________

Totals------------------------------

$738,405.04

$1,071,128.36

$1,242,227.43


EDUCATIONAL FUNDS
The total amounts of the Common School Fund on January 1 of the years mentioned are as follows:
1889______________________________________________ $1,756,700.90
1891______________________________________________ $2,203,554.86
1893______________________________________________ $2,418,636.71

The interest arising from such funds during the past three years has been distributed in the following amounts:
year Per Capita Total
1890--------------------------------------------------- $1.45 $144,372.75
1891--------------------------------------------------- 1.45 153,151.90
1892--------------------------------------------------- 1.45 162,066.50

The following is the total amounts on January 1 of this year in the other trust funds:
Agricultural College___________________________________ $133,905.94
State University_______________________________________ 102,229.67
Interest has been paid during the past two years on such fund:
Agricultural College___________________________________ $22,778.38
State University_______________________________________ 16,258.37

LAND DEPARTMENT
Swamp lands patented in the State in 1891 and 1892____________ 20,967.47 acres
Swamp lands certified to the State in 1891 and 1892____________ 22,393.18 “
Whole amount patented___________________________________ 154,874.83 “
Whole amount certified and not patented______________________ 89,990.72 “
Whole amount examined and not certified____________________ 40,607.00

The difficulties pertaining to swamp land matter are approaching a final if not a satisfactory conclusion. Although the State may be a slight gainer from the gift of swamp lands from the Federal Government, so far as money is concerned, yet it is an open question whether it would not have been much better, all things considered, if it had never received the gift.

The Legislature of Oregon, by Act approved February 21, 1887, directed the sale of all unsold State lands at the uniform price of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. The argument used in favor of that law was the fact that all of the choice State lands has been sold, and that it would be better to dispose of the remaining lands at a low figure and place the proceeds at interest. Congress, however, by and Act approved February 28, 1891, allowed the States to select lieu lands where sections sixteen and thirty-six were mineral lands or where they are embraced in by Indian or other reservation. This Act opened the door to the selection of some of the very best of the remaining unsold land within the State at the low price fixed for State lands. And to add to this privilege, the Land Department at Washington permitted lieu lands to be selected outside of the land districts embracing such tracts. The State land Board, by furnishing public information of the facts pertaining to the selection of such lieu lands, did all that was in its power to prevent a few persons from reaping rich advantages as the result of State legislation and the subsequent unexpected Congressional legislation. Under the circumstances as they now exist, it perhaps would be advisable to fit the price of State lands at two dollars and fifty cents per acre.

STATE, PENAL, AND CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS
The State will be called upon to increase the accommodation in nearly all of its penal and charitable institutions. Additional building will be required on the Insane Asylum and Reform-School farms, and the Penitentiary and Blind-School buildings must be enlarged. The directors of the Deaf-Mute School propose to turn its property and management over to the control of the State, which is proper, as all institutions supported by the State should be controlled by the State. One of the most important questions before the Assembly will be n regard to the future employment of convict labor. The contract heretofore existing for the employment of convicts has now expired. Hereafter the State should work its own convicts, so as to interfere in the least with free labor, and to that end there is probably no better way than to follow the example of California and Washington in the erection of a jute manufactory. As the establishment of such a manufactory would occupy nearly two years, it will be necessary to furnish employment in the meantime to the convicts. This can be done by renewing the present contract for two years, or by the State assuming control of the foundry and making stoves on its own behalf. All the institutions mentioned are most creditably and efficiently managed. Some change in the law relating to convicts when they are released form confinement should be made. As they are now sent forth into the world with only a very cheap suit of clothes and five dollars in their pockets, it is indeed a great wonder that more of them do not soon return. A more just and liberal provision should be made.

STATE UNIVERSITY, AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, AND NORMAL SCHOOL
The State University received in 1891-92 from the one seventh of one mill tax, as now fixed by law, $21,671.45. This law should be repealed. To tax the people for the whole State for the support of any high institution of learning is both unadvisable and unjust. The tax for the support of common schools is cheerfully borne for the reason that the children of the whole State can be benefited by it. A general tax for high institutions of learning is quite a different thing. Only a small portion of the children of the State can avail themselves of its advantages, and its support therefore by a general tax is most unjust. With the liberal aid already received from the State, and with the interest secured from the University Fund, it ought now to be able to keep abreast of the University Fund, it ought now to be able to keep abreast other high institutions of the State, which have been built up by private benevolence, and which are in the possession of no other endowments than those of their merits, It is indeed the most cruel injustice to tax the benefactors of several of the high institutions of the State for the support of rival institutions.
There is a law of the State providing for an annual appropriation of $2,500 for the Agricultural College. This also should be repealed. That institution is now in receipt of $31,000 a year from the Federal Government, which will be increased by the sum of $1,000 annually until it reaches $40,000, where it will remain. This, with the interest on the proceeds of the sale of the Agricultural College lands, should be sufficient for its support without aid from the taxpayers of Oregon. It would be well, however, for the Legislature to memorialize Congress for permission to use the interest accruing from the Agricultural College funds, now restricted, to the maintenance of the school, for betterments to the College property. If congress would so give its permission, as it undoubtedly would upon request, this institution would require no further aid from the State.

By the provisions of a law passed at the last session of the Legislature, the State assumed control of the Normal School at Monmouth. The Board of Regents, created by law, accepted on behalf of the State the College property, and was authorized to appoint and employ teachers. By this law the State became morally and legally bound to extend aid to some extent to that institution. It should at least extend sufficient aid to offset the gift it accepted. Besides, this institution, by education teachers for the public schools, might be considered as a part of the common school system, and thus have a claim upon the State not possessed by the two other high institutions which have received State aid. At all events, the State having received property built up by private benevolence, should in return expend for the support and improvement of that College and amount equal to the value of the property.

THE CASCADE PORTAGE ROAD
The last Legislature authorized the construction of a State Portage Railroad at the Cascades of the Columbia, appropriated sixty thousand dollars therefore, and empowered the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, as a Board, to build and operate such road. The road was constructed within the appropriation, and although operated under some disadvantages, its operation has resulted in an excess of $956.67 from November 4, 1891, to December 31, 1892, of receipts over operating expenses. It is the purpose of the Board to adjust the rates so that not only the operating expenses, but a fair interest on the cost, will be paid by the business of the road, as otherwise the sum expended in such work would have been an outlay from the General Fund for local benefit, which would be clearly unjust. Owing to the very high rate assessed to the State for the ground condemned for the railway purposes, a small deficiency exists, which it will be necessary to meet.

THE DALLES PORTAGE
That it is the duty of Congress to overcome the obstructions at The Dalles of the Columbia, thereby opening that great inter-state river to free commerce, no one can deny; and that it would be grievous hardship upon the people of this State to construct that which should be done by the General Government, is equally clear. It was proposed, at a time when it was the general belief that Congress would make no other improvement than locks and canal at that point, that the State should build a portage road until such time as such canal and locks were completed; but since the Board of Engineers appointed for the purpose will recommend the building by Congress of a portage road, the great necessity for action on the part of the State does not now exist. In fact, but for the opposition of our Representative in the Lower House and of our senior Senator, work by the General Government on a portage road would in all probability be now under way. Pursuant to an urgent request from the Oregon Executive office, the Chairman of the River and Harbor Committee, at the last session of Congress, moved that the sum of $431,500 be inserted in the bill for a portage road at The Dalles of the Columbia. Our own Representative opposed the motion, and thereby prevented that most necessary appropriation. Efforts were then made by him and by our senior Senator to secure an appropriation for a boat railway, but without success. A Board of Engineers, however, was appointed by Congress to examine the obstructions at The Dalles and report upon the best method for overcoming the same.

It is reported upon what is deemed reliable authority that such Board will recommend a portage road as a preliminary work of improvement. Thus the assertion that the General Government would never under take the building of such a road, made only in the interest of private railroad corporations which did not desire it, is not only completely refuted by the action of the Chairman of the River and Harbor Committee in the Lower House, but by the action of the ‘board of Engineers appointed to consider the matter. The declaration of Holy Writ that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” has been completely verified to the people of Eastern Oregon by the action of its own Representatives in Congress regarding the portage road; and it therefore devolves upon this Legislative Assembly that it shall instruct its Representatives in Congress to secure the needed appropriation for such road, which, with their aid, can easily be procured. The present being the short session of Congress, no appropriations for rivers and harbors will be made, and therefore the people of Oregon, thanks to its own Representatives, will be compelled to wait another year for such aid. The legislature, can, however, meantime afford the people of this State great relief by the enactment of a maximum railroad freight law, by which the excessive charges on our State products and upon our general commerce will be replaces by rates just alike to the carrier and the producer. This is what the people of the whole State, and especially of Eastern Oregon, imperatively demand, and this is what this Legislature should no fail to do.

THE WILLAMETTE CANAL AND LOCKS
The Legislature of Oregon in 1870 appropriated $200,000 to a private corporation in aid of the construction of a canal and locks at the Falls of the Willamette River, upon the express condition that “at the expiration of twenty years from the time said canal and locks are completed, the State of Oregon shall have the right and privilege to take and appropriate to its own use forever the said canal and locks, upon the payment to the said corporation the actual value thereof at the time of taking and appropriating the same, which shall be ascertained in such manner as the Legislative Assembly may hereafter prescribe.” The twenty years have already passed. The State should now avail itself of its option. A just mode of ascertaining the value of the canal and locks would be to take the tonnage for the last year, and find our that sum which at six per cent interest would bring the amount represented by a reasonable charge on such tonnage, less the cost of operating the locks and less the amount, if any, which would be required to put the canal and locks in ordinarily good and complete working order. There can be no objection to this method of ascertaining their value. It is a fair and just business proposition.

The canal and locks are worth only that sum on which the business through them, subject to reasonable charges, pays a fair interest. Neither will the State, in ascertaining the value of such locks and canal, be required, either in law or morals, to take into consideration any other question than that of their value as the means of transporting freight and passengers. If there be an additional value to them, arising our of a facility which they may have of furnishing water-power, that is an incident which attaches to the property, and not to the ownership, and which having alone been created by the State through its gift of $200,000 to the private corporation building them, really inures to the State, and not to the corporation, limited in time as to its ownership. Such corporation is therefore precluded from asserting any lawful or equitable claim against the State on account of any supposed value other than that of their earning facilities in the transportation of freight and passengers.

FISHING INTERESTS
Salmon fishing has been for years one of the most prominent industries of Oregon, and the Legislature should provide by law against its complete destruction by the greed of those at present engaged in it. When the industry was first established, gill-nets were alone employed, with meshes sufficiently large so that the smaller salmon were allowed to pass undisturbed. Within the last few years, however, traps and fish-wheels have been brought unto quite general use, and salmon of all sized, and by the ton, have been caught by them. This has seriously interfered with gill-net fishing, which formerly gave employment to a large number of brave men, who plied this calling with their gill-nets, manned at the peril of their lives, only to find themselves competing in market with the owners of fish-traps and wheels, who in a favored locality, and without danger, caught hundreds of fish to the poor fisherman’s one Against the monopoly of fish-traps and fish-wheels, and the wholesale destruction of fish, and, as a consequence, the ultimate extinction of this great industry, the attention of the last three Legislatures has been directed in vain.

The protest is again most urgently renewed. To allow any owner of a favored locality the privilege that cannot be exercised by other citizens, of erecting fish-traps or fist-wheels, there by securing salmon by the ton while other citizens cannot, is a monopoly that should no longer be tolerated. We boast of our free government, and of our equal laws, and yet we are permitting a monopoly that no monarchical government on the face of the earth allows. In the Magna Charter granted by King John, A. D. 1215, it is stipulated that “all kydells (weirs) for the future shall be quite removed our of the Thames and the Medway, and throughout all England.” This guarantee was renewed in the first, second, and third charters of King Henry the Third and in that of King Edward the First, and was really a fragment of the old common law which prevented any person from appropriating to themselves a fishway on the rivers, which were deemed common property. Every public river, Lord Coke declared to be the King’s highway, which could not be privately occupied. Kydells were dams having a narrow cut in them, and furnished with wheels or traps fro catching fish. It will thus be seen that this monopoly, which in England was destroyed nearly seven hundred years ago, is flourishing defiantly in the latter part of the nineteenth century in this country, with boasts of its equal laws. Let all fish-traps, fish-wheels, and seines be abolished, confine the fishing to gill-nets alone; and then all citizens have an equal chance, and the wholesale destruction of fish and the speedy extinction of one of our chieftest industries can be avoided.

The Supreme Court Reports of Oregon disclose the fact that a paid lobby in the interests of these monopolies has heretofore swarmed around the purlieus of the Capitol during legislative sessions, and it will undoubtedly reappear here during the present session. The board of Fish Commissioners has maintained in all of its reports a complete and most significant silence in regard to the effect of these most destructive methods of destroying our fishing interests. The grave duty is therefore imposed upon this Legislature of abolishing all these monopolistic instrumentalities – seines, fish-wheels, fish-traps, and Fish Commissioners.

FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR APPROPRIATION
There is now in the State Treasury the sum of $65,355.92, which has been received from the General Government, being the five per centum of the proceeds of the sale of public lands in this State. By the Act of Congress [passed at the last session repaying to the States the direct tax levied by Congress in 1861, Oregon is entitled to the sum of $35,140.67 less 15 per cent, which was refunded under Act of Congress passed at the last session repaying to the States the direct tax levied by Congress in 1861, Oregon is entitled to the sum of 29,869.57. By the Act of Congress making the repayment it is provided, however, that “no money shall be paid to any State or Territory unless the legislature there of shall have accepted by resolution the sum therein appropriated and the trusts imposed in full satisfaction of all claims against the United State on account of the levy and collection of said tax, and shall have authorized the Governor to receive said money for the use and purposes aforesaid.”

AS the direct tax was not paid directly byte State, and as it was collected by the General Government as set-offs against moneys due the State from the sale of public land, there is no private claim upon said funds, which are therefore now available for appropriation so soon as the Legislature shall have accepted them in the manner designated. It is to the extremely regretted that the joint resolution of Congress of February 9, 1897, which allowed the diversion of the 500,000 acres of land to the Common School Fund, which has been five per centum of the sale of the public lands appropriated for the same purpose. These tow amounts, therefore, cannot be poured into the School “Fund without the assent of Congress. If the Legislature desires such use of the money, it should ask Congress for it permission.

If it is to be used for the purposes of internal improvement, the purchase of the Willamette Falls Canal and Locks would furnish a fitting opportunity, as by their purchase at their really value a return to the State to the amount of the interest on the investment could be assured by the collection of sufficient tolls for that purpose, thus rendering a general benefit. If, however, the Legislature should see proper to appropriate the money for the building of roads, there is only one just mode for such appropriation, and that is to distribute the money to the various counties of this State in proportion to their miles of the highway, exclusive of villages and cities.

ASSESSMENTS AND TAXATION
The urgent necessity for a change in our laws relative to assessment and taxation has existed for years, and such change should be effected at this session. The law as it now stands is a penalty on honesty and a reward for rascality, by affording an immunity from taxation to those who will trump up a fictitious indebtedness. No deductions whatever for indebtedness should be allowed; and in order that personal property may not longer shirk its share of public burden, it should be provided that if judgment is procured upon any note which has not regularly been handed in to the Assessor, as proven by his required stamp, one half the amount recovered upon such note shall be forfeited to the Common School Fund, and shall be paid thereto by the Sheriff, as a penalty against the holder for evasion of law.

It is claimed that without deduction for indebtedness there will be in some cases double taxation; but it is equally true that with such deduction there is double taxation, as the honest man is now compelled not only to pay taxes for himself, but for the rogue who escapes by hiding behind spurious claims of debt. If a State revenue could be secured independently of any county levy, there would be no incentive whatever for undervaluation, and hence there would be no obstacle in the Way of a fair valuation at full values. This could be procured by a tax upon the gross receipts of railroad, express, telegraphic, telephone, and insurance companies, and by a poll-tax of $2 on every male person over twenty-one years of age, the receipt for which latter tax should be demanded at he polls as proof that the holder thereof who claimed the privilege of citizenship had fulfilled one of its required obligations. Fixed charges, such as those for school, university, and military purposes should be abolished, and provision should be made for collecting all taxes at one time and place.

THE RAILROAD COMMISSION
The Board of Railroad Commissioners for the State of Oregon, in its Third Annual Report, has given an account of its transactions during the past biennial term. The last Legislature gave such Commission the power to adjust and regulate the freight rates of railroads, and, as it will be seen, it approached its task with the greatest timidity, and quit it with the most unsatisfactory results. Pursuant to a request from the Executive Office a comparative statement of rates of Oregon, Iowa, and Illinois roads were made. From the tables furnished are taken the following rates in cents per 100 pounds for 200 miles:---

 

 

 

Southern Pacific

 

 

Union Pacific

 

 

Illinois

 

 

Iowa

 

 

Merchandise (a)

$ 83

$1.10

$48.86

$40

Merchandise --- car loads (a)

43

72

15.98

15.9

Wheat --- 100 pounds

26

22

11.58

10.8

Cattle --- Per Car

59.00

51.00

25.20

29.50

 

 

 

 

 

  The Commission has furnished a table of the deductions made by it from its former rates of the Union Pacific and the Southern Pacific: ---

 

Southern Pacific Former Rates

Southern Pacific Commissioners Rates

Union Pacific Former Rates

Union Pacific Commissioners Rates

Wheat --- 100 pounds

$ 26

$ 23.4

$ 25.5

$ 22

Lumber --- 100 Pounds

16

14

20

----------------

Cattle --- Per Car

59.00

53.00

60.00

51.00

 

 

 

 

 

  From the above figures it will be seen that on wheat, the great staple commodity of Oregon, the Commission has succeeded in securing a reduction of ten per cent from the former rates, leaving the rate as established by it over 100 per cent greater than is charged on the Iowa roads. The Board in its report asserts that it “had all the rates of the different companies before it for consideration, together with all the facts bearing upon the subject, and after weeks of diligent study and calculation proposed such r reduction as it deemed would be reasonable and just.” The Commission may be satisfied that its rates are just, but will the farmers of Oregon be satisfied that it is just for them to pay more than twice as much for the transportation of wheat as the farmers of Iowa pay?

JUST RATES
It is to be extremely regretted that the Railroad Commission did not see proper to prepare, as requested, a maximum rate law based upon the Iowa law, with perhaps a reasonable additional percentage. With its experience it could have formulated a bill that would have been both just to the railroads and to the people. The Commission cannot reasonably expect that either the Legislature or the people will be satisfied with its slight changes, which appear too much like mere love strokes. Instead of its trifling reductions, which afford no material relief, if the Board had adopted the Iowa rates, even with fifty pre cent additional on distances in excess of 150 miles, it would have been of great benefit to the people and no harm to the railroads, for the reason that such rates would have stimulated increased production and a marked development of our resources, thereby furnishing by the great growth of their business a very material enlargement of their revenues. This Legislative Assembly ought not to adjourn without affording the needed relief to the agricultural and commercial interests of Oregon by a marked reduction of railroad freight rates.

By reducing the passenger rates on the railroads within this State form four to two and one half cents per mile, and by the absolute prohibition or all passes except to railroad employees, a great act of justice would be performed, and no hardship would be imposed upon the railroads. As it is now, men of wealth and influence are allowed to ride free, and then in order to give the railroads sufficient compensation, the poor are unduly charged. This is an act of great inequality and injustice. No common carrier should be permitted by law to exercise any such unjust discrimination.

MAXIMUM RATE LAWS
The enactment of a maximum railroad freight law is urged again, for the fourth time, upon the Legislative Assembly of Oregon. The unwarranted interference of the Federal Courts with the rates established by Railroad Commissioners renders such a law an absolute necessity. During the last summer a Federal Court has nullified the action of the Railroad Commission in Texas, following the example of such Courts in other States and of the United States (143, U.S. 517) has recently reaffirmed the doctrine laid down in the Granger cases (94, U.S. 113) that “it is within the power of the Legislature to declare what should be a reasonable compensation for the services of persons exercising a public employment, and to fix a maximum beyond which any charge would be unreasonable;” and that “for protection against abuses by the Legislature the people must resort to the polls, and not the Courts,” while at the same time it adheres to the doctrine laid down in the Minnesota case (134, U.S. 418) that the reasonableness of the rates fixed by a Railroad Commission can be inquired into by the Courts.

The inconsistency of these decisions is in part remedied when they are tested by that sound doctrine of law that a delegated authority cannot be redelegated which has not yet been stumbled upon by the Supreme Court. The power to fix maximum rates is an authority delegated by the people under the Constitution to the Legislature, and, therefore, cannot be delegated by it to others. The right to declare what are just and reasonable maximum rates is an undoubted and an exclusive legislative prorogation, which cannot validly be delegated to commissions, nor can it be exercised by the Courts without a wanton usurpation of legislative power.

Maximum telegraphic rates should also be established. While the postal facilities have been greatly cheapened by the Government, the telegraph companies, which, to the disgrace of a professed free and just government, are allowed to exercise a purely governmental function, are taxing our people that most unconscionable rates for the transmission of intelligence. With their cheap poles and wires strung over the country, their gross revenues are nearly one third as large as those of the entire Postoffice Department, with its most expensive and complicated machinery. The postmaster-General of the United States gives it as his opinion that “a telegraph company could make a great deal of money on a uniform twenty-five-cent twenty-word message to all parts of the country.” It is recommended that a maximum rate for telegraph messages within the State be established. If congress will not do its duty to the people by giving them governmental telegraphic facilities, it is incumbent upon the States to protect their citizens from unjust charges, by fixing lawful rates controlling that powerful monopoly.
All municipal governments, by general law, should be given the power to regulate the rates of all monopolies, such as gas, water, telephone, electric lights, and street-car companies.

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
One hundred and forty-two offices have been created in this State, exclusive of those pertaining to newly-created counties, by the Legislature at its last three sessions. The multiplication of offices, and the distribution of the functions of government among various boards and commissions, is one of the vicious tendencies of modern legislation. It appears to be contagious evil, and has become epidemic. The Governor of New York, one year ago, called the attention of the Legislature to the growing abuse, and furnished a table of the permanent commissions and bureaus established since 1879, numbering twenty-one. The cost to the State in 1880 of the few then created was about #3,500, while the cost of them all in 1891 exceeded $842,000, making a total cost for the eleven years of $4,640,125.

This mania for the creation of commissions, and for the distribution among them of some of the powers belonging to one of the regularly constituted departments of the State Government, has become wide-spread, and has at last infected the Legislatures of even our own conservative State. The are an excrescence on the body politic, and are entirely alien to the spirit as well as the letter of our State Constitution, which declares, article 3, that “the powers of the government shall be divided into three respective departments --- the Legislative, the Executive, including the administrative and judicial” --- thus precluding the bestowment elsewhere of any power pertaining to the management of State affairs.

If a commission is entrusted with the enforcement of the law, that is a function belonging to the Executive Department, and should be exercised by the Governor, or hose under his entire control; if it is entrusted with the regulation of the rates of common carriers, that is a prerogative of the Legislature from time immemorial; and if it is entrusted with the power to adjust matters between common- carriers and persons having dealings with them, or between any other parties, that is a duty confined to the Judiciary. Under our constitutional form of government, there is neither place for need for either commissions, boards or bureaus. The departments of government are entirely adequate for its complete management, either by themselves, or by and through their directly appointed officers.

While it is indeed true that the Judicial Department has sanctioned the legality of commissions armed with power stolen from the Executive and Legislative Departments, there is no case on record where such sanction has been given to any commission filching its own department of its own prerogatives. The fine discriminating sense of American judiciary can readily perceive the flagrant unconstitutionality of such a procedure when its own ox is to be gored.

THE STATE MILITIA
The expenditures on account of the State Militia for the last biennial term were $65,566.18. It is claimed, in order to maintain such organization in a condition of proper efficiency that the tax of one fifth of a mill now levied will have to be doubled. The legislature, therefore, will be called upon to determine whether to double the taxation, leave it as it is, or abolish it. About half a century ago, as some of us can well remember, militia training fell both into contempt and complete desuetude. The country was prosperous, its laws were equal, every man seeking employment could find it, taxation was not burdensome, because the people were not then taxed for private gains as well as public need, the partnership heretofore existing between a private banking corporation and the Government had been annulled, and neither banking, railroad, telegraph, manufacturing, or other monopolies then enjoyed any special privileges by which the people were allowed to be unduly taxed and the Federal Government unduly controlled.

Under such an administration of affairs there was no discontent among the masses, for the reason that there were no governmental abuses, and hence there was no need of military organizations. Militia musters became obsolete, and all classes looked hopefully for the time when wars should cease, and all difficulties, either internecine or international, should be settled by arbitration, in consonance with the progress of civilization, and in accordance with the humane dictates of an exalted patriotism. It is now maintained, however, that there is need all over the country of a well-trained military force to quell the spirit of riot and unrest that now exists. Does it not, however, comport with good statesmanship to examine into the causes of such disquietude, and if found real, to remove them?

Will it not be found upon examination that these disturbances, to quell which military power is evoked, are the direct consequences of need of employment, the unjust exactions of corporations, and the lack of sufficient money, consequent upon the changed policy of the Government, by which silver is no longer a full legal tender, resulting in the stagnation of business, the prostration of industries, and the decline in all values except gold, and obligations payable in gold? If so, it devolves upon the Legislatures of the several States, and upon Congress, to determine the lines of policy to be pursued. Shall these corporate exactions continue; shall private banks be allowed to issue the money which the Government should; shall refusal still be made to restoring silver to its former place, thus perpetuation the giant crime of the nineteenth century, and thus unclosing the people in still multiplied difficulties, and our national industries in still further depression? And then, when our of employment, our of money, and in despair the laborer, prompted by the contemplation of his starving wife and children, rebels against these grievances, shall imprisonment be given him instead of employment, and bullets and bayonets be put into his stomach instead of bread, thus bolstering up wrong by force? Or rather, shall not these great abuses be abolished, equal laws again prevail, sufficient money be furnished by the Government whereby industries may again revive, labor find employment, and the Government be supported, not by the strong arm of military power, but by the affectionate devotion of prosperous, industrious, and contented citizenry?

LEGISLATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
At this time, as every member of the Legislature is well aware, a person of business depression has befallen our industries. The prices of the great staple products of Oregon are quite low; business of all kinds is stagnated, except that along of loaning money; and labor finds fitful employment, with declining rewards. This, in our comparatively young State, with manifold undeveloped resources, and capable of the most wonderful and gratifying progress and development, is a condition of affairs which demands your graves consideration. There can be no difficulty whatever in ascertaining the real reason for this most untoward condition, so adversely affection the welfare of our people. There can be no reasonable doubt whatever that the denial of the free use of silver reasonable doubt whatever that the denial of the free use of silver as money by Congress, and the permission given by it to the money-loaners to demand gold coin in payment of loans, thus really dwarfing the business of the country to a narrow gold basis, is the great overshadowing cause of our present monetary stringency and business depression.

Unfortunately, you have no direct control over this matter. Under the Constitution, the State were restricted to the use of gold and silver alone as a legal tender, and to Congress was give the sole power to coin money. If the framers of the Constitution had ever contemplated the possibility that Congress, after having been empowered with this most important prerogative, would refuse to fulfill its full duty (for bestowment of the right imposed the performance of the duty), the States would most certainly have refused to delegate such power. But the grave fact now confronts us that Congress has probed recreant to the great trust imposed upon it to freely coin both gold and silver on equal terms, and that a depression of the industries, a general business stagnation, and a steady decline in values, follows as a direct legitimate result.
The Legislature, however, can and ought to use its influence to remedy this great wrong, both by a memorial to Congress demanding that it should perform the great duty imposed upon it by the Constitution, and by positive instruction to the Representatives of Oregon in both Houses that they should labor to secure the full and equal coinage of both gold and silver. The right of a State to instruct its Representatives or agents in Congress is unquestioned, and after having been exercised by it in regard to a matter of so serious import to our people as the one under consideration, any honorable Representative would either obey instructions or resign.
The legislature, however, can directly aid somewhat in relieving the people of the State by repealing the specific contract law, and by the passing of an Act declaring that any stipulation in any contract discriminating against any lawful money of the United States shall be considered as detrimental to sound public policy and shall be void.

RETRENCHMENT AND REFORM
The largely increasing expenditures of the State, as well as the unnecessary increased army of office-holders, should admonish the Legislative Assembly that no service could be rendered more acceptable to the people than to apply the pruning knife of reform wherever necessary. By the passage of a maximum rate law the Railroad Commission could be abolished and the law effectively enforced by granting to the Governor the power to employ, in the event of any infraction of the law, a prosecuting witness who could be abolished and the law effectively enforced by granting to the Governor the power to employ, in the event of an infraction of the law, a prosecuting witness, who could collect the necessary evidence and bring suits in the courts for the enforcement of said law. With such an officer, to be paid only when employed, the various other commissions created to enforce the law in regard to particular matters would be superfluous. Thus the Fish Commission, the Board of Horticulture, the Domestic Animal Commission, and the Food Commission could be well dispensed with, saving quite and expense to the State.

The Fish Commission was never of any practical benefit; the Board of Horticulture is working in the same field in which the Experiment Station of the Agricultural College is doing much better and more scientific work, and is therefore unnecessary; the province of the Domestic Animal Commission is simply to endorse the action of the Veterinary Surgeon, as his judgment, and not theirs, is exercised, and therefore there is no need for the Commission; while the Food Commissioner is really the fifth wheel to the coach, inasmuch as the Federal Government has control of the sale of oleomargarine throughout the State, while the city of Portland, where nearly all his efforts are spent, has now a Food Commissioner of its own. The Board of Charities and Correction, by calling attention to abuses in public institutions in this State, where all such institutions of all kinds are open to the public, can do only what each citizen and the public press can well perform, and its services are therefore not required.

Laws should also be passed making all offices within the State salaried, and compelling such as receive fees to pay into thye4 Treasury all in excess of said salaries. It would afford a very great saving to the State if it possessed its own plant for public printing, as in California, and paid to the State Printer a fixed salary. The expensive printed pamphlets, what the weather was in May, a is really more ornamental than useful, and should be dispensed with. The State Board of Equalization, which has really proven to be a Board of Inequitable Assessment, has been of more harm than benefit, even under our present assessment law, while under a good law there will be no necessity for its continued existence.

The time has now arrived when a State Audition Board would be advantageous. The Secretary of State is, under the Constitution, the State Auditor, while be at the same time, to quite a great extent, is the state purchasing agent, thus be3coming the auditor of his own accounts. While it is never to be presumed that any thing but the strictest course of honesty would be pursued, yet the affairs of the State should be conducted on the same business principles that men conduct their own private affairs. An auditing Board, to consist of the three principal State Officers, should be created, and it should be provided by law that any claim on sanctioned by all the Board should remain unpaid until acted upon by the Legislature, to which it should be referred.
A change in the law relative to the conveyance of the insane and convicts should be made, by which an officer should be detailed from the Insane Asylum and Penitentiary to convey all persons to be committed to such institutions, thus said a very great expense to the State.
Another urgent reform is demanded in regard to the benefactions of the State in regard to agricultural fairs. It is really not the province of any State government to tax one man for the benefit of his neighbor, who possesses a faster horse, a fatter steer, or bigger vegetables; yet if such taxations is had, every citizen should have an equal show of winning premiums. Nine thousand five hundred dollars is now paid yearly by the State to agricultural societies, $5,000 to the State Fair Society and $1,5000 each to the two eastern and one Southern Oregon district societies. Even with this distribution, a large portion of our people cannot avail themselves of their advantages. If money is to be paid by the state for the support of such societies, justice demands that it should be so distributed that all citizens may have equal advantages, and to that end the law should be changed, apportioning the money now given to the four societies mentioned equally among the several counties of the State in support of county fairs.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. A change in the assessment law.
2. The abolition of useless commissions.
3. A law fixing maximum rates for railroad and telegraph companies.
4. A law empowering municipalities to fix maximum rates on al monopolies.
5. A law authorizing the Governor to employ a prosecuting witness.
6. A law giving to all State and county officers a fixed salary.
7. A general municipal incorporation law.
8. A change in the road laws so as to secure good roads.
9. Providing for the arrest and punishment of armed men in private employ.
10. The passage of an inheritance tax law.
11. The enactment of a law similar to that of Washington, exempting homesteads from execution and attachment.
12. Authority to the School Land Commissioners to withhold from any County its School fu8nd until all the State taxes from said County have been received.
13. The creation of a State Auditing Board.
14. No further illegal appropriation of money by joint resolution.
15. Appropriation for a fish ladder at Oregon City.
16. A change in the law relating to the conveyance of criminals and insane persons.
17. Instructions to our Representatives in Congress to procure appropriation for a portage road at The Dalles of the Columbia; to secure the passage of a joint resolution allowing Oregon to use the interest on the Agricultural College Funds for betterments on the college property; to secure and extension of time in which payment may be made by settlers for lanes within the forfeited limits; to vote for the free coinage of silver; the issuance of the paper money of the country by the Government alone, and the enactment of an income tax law.

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722

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