Valentine Democrat. (Valentine, Neb.) 1900-1930, November 03, 1904, Image 11

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Supplement to The Democrat , Valentine , Neb. , Nov. 3 , 1904.
* "vf - . - - , If you are opposed , to the present revenue law that has . o greatly incre ea your
taxes vote either the straight Democratic ticket or the straight People's Independent
ticket. Both parties are pledged to the repeal of this niquitous and unjust law.
It's operation fully explained by Hon.
W. H. Thompson , in a speech at
South Omaha. Burdens far =
rners , favors railroads.
In discussing the present revenue
law TYO should not forget to inquire
how and for what purpose it was en
acted , remembering that in the cam
paign two years ago the issue was not
as to the enactment of a new law , but
the failure to honesty enforce the old.
It must further be remembered that
neither platform advocated iU enact
ment , but that both recognized that
ihe valuation placed upon the railroads
yean ? ago was not the fair valuation
thereof for the last four or five years.
The populists in their platform in-
* lsted that the assessed valuation
should be raised at least $50,000,000 be
fore other property was touched iu
that regard. The democratic platform
demanded a material increase in this
I valuation , and the republican platform
( recognizing this same situation , de
manded a raise in the valuation there
of , but not aiiito so definitely. And
thus the campaign was fought out ,
t ach party denying that it intended to
enact a new law on the subject , while
'the candidate of the democrats and
populists for governor insisted that if
he was elected he should onforce the
old law as it stood , but warned the
people , if it permitted the republican
party to become successful at the polls ,
that in order that they might be blind-
< > d and misled as to the real raise in
the value of the railroad property , a
new law would be enacted , and by rea
son thereof all of the taxes of the peo
ple of the state would be raised ; and
while the railroad assessment would
necessarily be increased , that the rela
tive position of the assessed valuation
of the property of the state would not
be changed to the advantage of the
people , but by reason of the law , the
lenublican party would be permitted to
go before the people at the next bi-
nnial election and proclaim that they
had raised the assessment of the rail
roads , as they do in this campaign , to
some $27,000,000. and therefore , thai
they had answered the demand of the
people. When in truth and in fact , tho
railroad valuation is farther out of
comparison to the real value of the
property assessed now than it was be
fore the enactment of the law. Hence ,
I fearlessly charge that this law was
enacted , not in compliance with the
demand on the part or the people , but
as a direct attempt on the part of those
who had previously been shirking their
duties to blind the peopie to the actual
During Jiat campaign the candidate
ot" the democrats and populists insisteo
that tho floating debt of near $2,000,000
unconstitutionally created , was the di
rect fruit of the failure on the part ot
the state board o < equalization to
fairly value the railroad property ol
the state , and that this property should
be compelled to bear that burden , and
that the same should not bo trans
ferred to the shoulders of the general
tax payers of the state , and that if he
was elected he should attempt to GO
have the property of the stale valued
as to gradually wipe out this blot on
its fair name. The republican candi
date insisted that he was equally con
scientious , equally desirous of protect
ing tho people as against the encroach
ments of the railroads , and that he
too was equally anxious for the wiping
out of this floating debt , let , not
withstanding this insistence on his
part , we find that the floating debt un
der the first biennium of his adminis
tration will be increased nearly one
half million.
It must be remembered to start with
that the railroad property of the state
is not assessed , and has not been , as
other property , but that a separate and
distinct tribunal has been created for
thia purpose , consisting of the fjov-
ernor and other state officials. That
the complaint for the last five years
or more has been as against this ex
traordinary tribunal , owing to its fail
ure to do its duty as to the property
that came under its special and ex
clusive jurisdiction. That the campaign
was waged as against this board's dere
liction , and not as against the dere
liction of the numerous local assessors.
The people had complained as against
this special tribunal and against this
favoritism and exclusiveness as to
taxation that this state board had been
I State taxes this year are approximately 60 per cent
I higher than in the years 1897-8-9.
I The county assessor and his deputies have made a
I most thorough , painstaking search for every scrap of
| property owned by the people , so that this big increase
in taxation may be placed upon it.
But why should state taxes be ao much heavier this
year ? The question is easily answered. It is because
Republicans Redeemed Nebraska.
Let us compare notes. In 1897 a Fusion legislature
appropriated $2,335,843,40 to be expended by Fusion
officials in maintaining state government for the two j
years ending March 31 , 1899. Fusion state officers I
carried on state government with efficiency those two
years at a total cost of $2,161,587,17 , an < * paid off
$364,589,46 of the floating debt.
The republican legislature of 1903 appropriated
$3,740,280,70 to be expended by republican officers in
maintaining state government for the two years ending
March 31 , 1905.
Fusion state officers in four years cut down the {
state debt $677,093,10 , In the threo years of republif f
can "redemption' ' the debt has been increased $535-
729.49. And why ?
Because the "redeemers" are sjending the people's
money with a lavish hand. Let uput > the figures in
handy form.
The State Debt.
\ \ Fusion reduction , 4 years $677,093.10
Republican increase , 3 years 535729.49
By Fusion in 1897 2,335,843.40
By Republicans in 1903 3,740,280.70
Republican Increase 1,404,437.80
Do you wonder why your taxes are so much heavier ?
Study the figures and know the reason why. Increased
state taxes are absolutely necessary to pay for the lux
ury of
used as a tool of the corporations , as
a political machine , and that they had
failed to represent the best interests
of the state , and that a deaf ear had
been turned to the ordinary taxpayer ,
and in every complaint , and in every
appeal that had been made to them ,
as shown by the true history written
in the records of these different of
fices , as well as in the reports of the
supreme court. Hence , Instead of the
people desiring to give this state board
of equalization more power , they de
sired that they first fulfill their duties
had. But in
as to the power they ,
stead of carrying out this desire on
the part of the people after election ,
a new scheme was evolved , and that
was , that a new revenue law should
oe enacted , and that in it all of tho
power of the people as to local taxa
tion , as to their right to select by their
ballot their own local assessors , should
be wiped out and the little protection
ind power that the people had should
oe taken from them and lodged in
his same state board of equalization ,
r hich was made by this law the ab
solute and unqualified czar of the tax
ing power of the state , the sole tri
bunal as to questions of taxation. It
lays down the rules and regulations ,
and transmits them to the county as
sessor , and the county assessor , at the
peril of losing his office , is bound to
follow them.
That this new revenue law was en
acted as hereinbefore indicated , and
inspired as hereinbefore suggested , by
the corporations seeking to farther ad
vance their interests in the premises ,
let me call your attention to its dif
ferent provisions.
It is provided that the lands of the
people of ihe state shall be assessed
but once in four years. Section 121 ,
2d paragraph.
That the property of the railroads of
the state cna.l be assessed every year.
Section 84. And thus this high valua
tion that has been placed upon the
lands of the state at the last assess
ment shall stand as against them ,
without power to in any manner
change it , for four long years , and the
people are left to trust this state board
of equalization that has heretofore
failed to do its duty to keep the rail
road assessment as it is , or at least not
to reduce it.
This local assessor is a county of
ficer , elected for four years. Section
His salary ranges from $250 to ? 2-
400 per year , section 22 ; besides $3 *
day for each of his deputies , section 22.
You are not permitted to elect your
own local assessors in your respective
townshipfe , but the county board and
the assessor appoint these deputies , de
termine the number , and they are not
necessarily taken from the respective
wards or precincts in which they live.
The county assessor being authorized
to discharge the local assessors , and
to re-appoint who he may see fit , with
out any consultation with the county
board. Section 20.
So much lor its centralizing effect ,
as well as its-cost , and its deprivation
of the people of their right to local
That this law was inspired by tho
railroads themselves , and that you can
hear the ring of the bell and the toot
of the whistle in every section , let me
call your attention to some further pro
visions thereof , and prove by the law
itself that wherever it lays its hand
upon the individual it lays upon him
the strong arm of the criminal law of
the state , smirching his reputation and
stealing his good name ; but where the
arm of the law touches at all the rail
road corporation , or the telegraph , or
others heretofore assessed by this same
state board of equalization , there the
frown and the disgrace of the criminal
law is removed , and the smiles and
beauties of the civil law take its
place. That while the criminal law is
to grasp the county assessor , the local
assessor , there is no Inw enacted that
touches , or in any manner interferes
with the goou name of this same state
board of equalization against whose
acts the entire state stands in revolt.
If any assessor , or deputy , refuse or
neglect their duty , they are guilty of
a misdemeanor , and upon conviction
shall be finod not less than $20 nor
more than $100. Section 27.
If any individual fails to list his
prooertv , or to answer inquiries when
made , then he isguilty of a crime and
subject to a fine of not less than $50
nor more than $2.000. Section 53.
And if he knowingly swears falsely
he is guilty of perjury and punished by
imprisonment in the state penitentiarv.
Section 53. The same as to corporate
Mncers : being the onlv section where
the criminal law is to such officers ap
If the individual fails to report or
list his property with the county as
sessor , then his property is to be listed
> y tho assessor , and as a penalty , the
valuation thereof is to be raised 50
? er cent. Section 55.
Tho farmer , the mechanic , or other
: itizen. can not even move or tear down
i building , old or new , on any land
vhere any delinquent taxes are un-
) aid. and if he does he is guilty of a
uisdemeanor. and upon conviction
, (
hereof shall be fined in a sum not ex-
seeding $100 and costs ; and moreover ,
> e liable to the county in a civil ac-
ion for the amount of all delinquent
axes on said real estate. Section 160.
Further , any county officer ( not state
ifficer ) , who shall fail and neglect or
efuse duties imposed , shall be deemed
jnilty of a misdemeanor , and upon
onviction fined not less than $30 nor
aore than $500. . r
This state board is given by this
aw the power to even take from the
eople their own county assessor when
11 their supreme judgment it mteht be
tecessary to remove such assessor ,
lection 115. Thus , even your I oral
ounty assessor holds his office at the
lercr of this same centralized powor.
Now let us see how this law deals
nth theArailroad corporations , and its n
The officers of the said corporation
are to make statement. S'ection 87.
And if they fail to make the state
ment , as asked by this state board of
equalization , are they to be guilty OL
a misdemeanor ? Their names blasted
and robbed of their honor ? Oh , no. If
they , or either of them , fail to comply
then they shall forfeit by such failure
not less than § 1.000 nor more than
$5,000 , which may be recovered in a
civil suit.
Thus it will be seen they are not
only shielded by having to deal alone
with the civil law , but the forfeiture
is but a mere bagatelle , compared with
that which is placed upon the indi
vidual by way of fine , when you take
into consideration that the individual
might not be worth to exceed $25 , and
that he is to be fined not less than
$50 ; he has no resort to the civil
courts but must appear before the
criminal court to answer as to his neg
lect. He may not be worth more than
25 , all the property that he has , and
yet he must forfeit to the state $50
or stand imprisoned until it is paid ;
while these corporations , that are
worth their millions , can defy the
state officers and yet simply forfeit the
sum of not less than $1,000 nor more
than $5,000 , and this amount to be re
covered in a civil suit ; not against the
officer who has failed to do his duty ,
no smirch even of a civil suit is to
touch his name , but the corporation
.hat he represents will appear on the
title page of the action. They can go
down into the merchant's business ,
demand his books , his invoice , his in
surance , his accounts , and every min
utiae of his own private business can
these officers demand , and if he fails
to comply with any of their insinuat
ing requests , he is guilts' of a misde
meanor and fined as hereinbefore
stated. Yet , if the officers of one ot
these corporations fail to respond to
the process of the said board , or who
refuse to answer any proper question
put to him by said board , he simply
forfeits the tnim of $500. to be recov
ered in a civil action. Section 91.
And all of this for what purpose ?
Simply to evade the demand of the
people made two years ago , which was
but the culmination of a growing
storm raised solely and alone by the
actions of these corporations , and this
same state board of equalization to
raise the valuation of railroad property
in harmony with other property of tho
state that the floating debt and the
necessary expenses of the state's opera
tion might be paid , and the onward
march of our progress not retarded.
And what excuse is given by the gov
ernor , honored by our state , for the
placing of his signature to such an en
actment. Simply that "the people
wanted it. " Yet the people knew noth
ing about it. It had never been sub
mitted to them , either by vote or dis
cussion. And what excuse , when
asked if the favors that he had re
ceived irorn the railroads might not
have had some influence on his ac-
ions in this regard , his answer is , "I
admit that I have received these fa
vors from the railroads ; there is no
law preventing me from receiving
these favors from the railroads. " "It
the people desire that I should not re
ceive them , let them enact some law
preventing me. and I will sign it. " "If
governor , I will sign it ! " Certainly
he would not give his approval to an
act that he deemed had no merit and
was not for the best interests of the
state. If for the best interests of state
along moral and economic lines , there
must be a sentiment at least abroad in
the state that these favors accepted
and held by him as a public officer are
not conducive to independent and un
biased action. Thus if the governor
would approve an anti-pass bill , then
he knows that in morals he should not
now receive them as governor. Fur
ther , if he knows there are some of
the people of the state who believe
these favors influence him in the per
formance of his duties , then he owes
it to himself , as well as to his con
stituents , to refuse all favors. As he
acts for all. he should strive to have
the confidence of all. Even those who
do not seriously oppose the receiving
of these favors , or the use thereof ,
will most seriously dissent from his
excuse for receiving them. The flimsy
excuse he gives is far worse than the
act itself. As well say , I know it is
not right in morals that I , as governor ,
should receive these favors , but as
there is no law prohibiting it , I will
continue to do so until the people in
their might demand and obtain a leg
islative enactment prohibiting the re
ceiving of favors from those asking
special leniency. "If the people desire
that I should not receive them , let
them enact a law preventing me ! " This
kind of logic might fill the governor's
cellar with standard oil. It might stock
his farm with blooded stock by those
who desire to ship into the state dis
eased cattle and horses. It might fill
his larder with the purest of foods by
those who desire to palm off impure
products upon the state. It might en
compass him with all of the beauties ,
: he. grandeurs , and the pleasures of a
Our friend , Governor Mickey , might
jbtain valuable instruction along these
ines by examining the records of his
lome county of Polk , which show that
In 1902. Polk county paid Nebraska
n taxes. $9.000.
In 1903. Polk county paid Nebraska
n'taxes , $13,120.
In 1904 , Polk county will pay the
itate of Nebraska in taxes , $20,470.
In 1903 the railroads had their taxes
educed in Polk county , by the state 4
loard , about $75.
And this year they have been placed
tack to about what they were before
icing reduced , co that in 1904 the rail-
oads will pay no more taxes in Polk
ounty than they paid under the old
evenue law , and not as much as they
id pay ten to twenty years ago. And
urther , that tho assessment under the
iew law cost Polk county some $1,200
aore than miner the old. J
It is to be hoped that the day may
speedily arrive in this state when its
officers may feel that a public office
is a public trust , and that that trust
should be kept so sacred as to let no
act of him who holds it cast any sus
picion thereon. At least that he who
holds these high and sacred positions
may so guard and protect them both
by act and expression as not to poison
the fountain of patriotism in the minds
of the rising generations.
Sta.te Wa.rra.nts
One thing that unfailingly indicates
the general condition of state finances
is the standing that claims against the
state have in the open market. If the
public eagerly seeks these claims for
investment , it indicates a general con
fidence in the financial condition and
management of the state government.
When the public eagerly seeks these
warrants they go to a premium. They
will command in the open market a
price above par , since they ar a se
cure investment and bear good inter
est. When the reverse is the case and
the public does not seek investment in
these warrants they will not only not
command a premium , but may fall far
below jar ) and be at a discount.
Another point worthy of considera
tion regarding the value to the people
in having state warrants command a
premium in the open market , lies in
the purchase of the state of its im
mense supplies. For instance : If a
firm bids on furnishing any supplies to
the state , it is very likely to accept
state warrants in pavment for them.
Therefore , if a firm realizes that state
warrants are at a discount/say 6 per
cent , then the linn figures that in fur
nishing goods in the yum of $100 , it is
to receive only $94. It will therefore
figure the cost of the goods accord
ingly , ana will furnish only $94 wortn
of goods in place of $100 worth. On
the other hand if these warrants to
bo used in payment , command a pre
mium , then the state will receive as
much over $100 worth of goods in the
purchase as the premium amounts to
in the open market. When it is con
sidered that the purchase of supplies
for the state amounts to hundreds of
thousands of dollars , then the consid
eration to the state in this matter of
warrants becomes stupendous.
A bit of history upon state warrants
may be of some interest now. In 1896 ,
when the "redeemers" of old had sway
in the state of Nebraska , state war- ,
rants were drawing interest at 5 per
cent. At the same time they could not
command a market even at par , but
sold for 94 to 96 cents on the dollar
a discount of from 4 to G per cent.
Soon after the fusionists took control
these warrants not only began to sell
at par , but went to a premium of i
per cent. In July , 1899. the rate oC
interest on state warrants was reduced
to 4 per cent. Nevertheless , these war
rants continued at a premium of from
one fourth to three fourths per cent ,
and remained so until the infamous
"redemption" of 1900. Since the re
deemers" secured control , and during
the entire period of their "incum-
brance , " these warrants have not been
at a premium once. They are now
selling at par.
Did Not Dare to Follow the Intent of the Leg
islature and make Provision for
Paying the State Debt.
? During the last session of the legislature and during
< L the time the new revenue law was under consideration
f the principal arguments made in support of its passage
p were upon the theory that some provision musfc be
made for playing the state's debt. It was upon that
theory that many of the members were induced to give
the law their support. The law resulted in greatly in
creasing the grand assessment roll to $294,779,244,65
When the board met to make the levy , to fix the num
ber of mills of taxation , it refused to make the rate high
enough to raise even as much money as the last
- legislature had appropriated. It totally ignored the
L intent of the legislature and made no provision what- I ;
- ever for paying any part of the state debt. The
board of assessment of which John H. Mickey is
chairman were too cowardly to perform their full
duty as intended by the legislature. They knew that
the present administration had recklessly squandered
the people's money , that taxation must be much
higher on that account , and feared the wrath of the
voters if they should also make provision for paying a
part of the state debt. Intelligent voters will see to it
that such cowardice , duplicity and hypociisy is prop
erly rebuked at the polls on election day.
Here are the figures for proof that the levy is insuffi
cient and that the state must necessarily go deeper in
debt instead of having it reduced as the legislature in
The grand assessment roll of property 1
in the state is $294,779,244,65
The state board made levies as follows :
For general fund 44 mills which would
raise in 1 year 1,326,506,60
For schools mill , which would raise
in 1 year. 147,389.62 ,
For University 1 mill , which would
raise in 1 year 294,779.24
Total for 1 year if all taxes levied and
assessed are paid $ | ,768,675,46
The same levy in 2 years , the period
covered by the legislative appropria
c tions would raise $3,537,350,92 ,
The total appropriations made by the last republican
< legislature for the two year period were $3,740,280.70
or $202,929.78 greater than the total amount of taxe8
assessed for state purposes. This means that if every
dollar of the greatly increased taxes is paid it will still
lack $202,929.78 of meeting all appropriations made
by the last republican legislature.
That is what The Independent calls an unequalled
record for extravagance. That is why every farmer and c
every small property owner and tax payer in Nebraska f
S should vote for George W. Berge for Governor , and the S
straight Democratic or Populist ticket , including mem- i !
bers of the legislature. >
The Independent- ln , . Teb. N