Samuel J. (Samuel Jones) Tilden.

The writings and speeches (Volume 1) online

. (page 14 of 52)
Online LibrarySamuel J. (Samuel Jones) TildenThe writings and speeches (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

00 00

1 I I-H

a 2



Net Decrease ....



In order to make an effectual and useful reduction of taxes
it is necessary that a corresponding reduction in appropriations
and expenditures should be accomplished, and the creation of
a deficiency at the end of the year, to be provided for by future
taxation, should be prevented.

The appropriation for ordinary expenses and ordinary re-
pairs of the canals for the fiscal year beginning

Charges on the

canal revenues. tne ^ st O f October will be -$1,109,150, with a con-
tingent provision of $150,000 for the Upper and Lower Mohawk
aqueducts and the sixteen locks ; the aggregate is $1,259,150.
It is probable that the revenues of the canals over and above
this amount will not be quite sufficient to pay all the interest
on the canal debt, exclusive of contributions to the sinking
fund to redeem the principal of that debt which the Constitu-
tion enjoins.

The necessity of keeping down charges on the canal revenues
to the lowest practicable amount is quite apparent. There ought
to be no difficulty under an improved administration in mak-
ing the canals self-sustaining, both for ordinary expenses and
repairs and for any necessary work hitherto classed as extraor-
dinary repairs. Beyond that not much can be expected.

The reduction of appropriations for ordinary expenses and
repairs, counting the contingent provision of the present year
and the provision of last year for deficiencies, is $415,360.
The provision for new work and extraordinary repairs upon
the canals, which last year involved an appropriation of about
$2,000,000 and a tax of about $1,900,000, has this year been
totally discarded.

The reappropriations of the proceeds of former taxes have
fallen from $917,000 last year to $340,000 this year, being a
reduction of $577,000. This, however, does not affect the
income of the present year or the result of its expenditures,
except in the amount of $67,765 raised by former taxation,
which is now reclaimed into the treasury.

iS75-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 171

The failure of sundry items and bills to receive the Executive
sanction will reduce the appropriations as follows :

Extraordinary repairs $365,946

Appropriation on certificates of claims against the

United States made in behalf of soldiers of the war

of 1812 100,000 -

Appropriation for improving navigation of the Hudson

Kiver 60,000

Items objected to in the Supply Bill, exclusive of $75,000

for Western House of Refuge 172,169

Sums reclaimed into the treasury by striking out items

of re-appropriations for extraordinary canal repairs . 67,765

Total $765,880

There is no reason to doubt that, with the reductions made
in the legislative bodies and by the refusal of the Executive
sanction to items and to bills passed by the Legislature, the
expenditures and appropriations ought not to exceed the taxes
levied, and the reduction of taxes will be a clear saving to the

In the Special Message of March 18, 1875, encouragement
was held out that the success of the measures therein proposed
" will enable the State to remit for the present year, as com-
pared with last, to the boatmen and transporters from five to
six hundred thousand dollars of tolls, and at the same time to
give relief to our overburdened taxpayers in the reduction of
taxes to the extent of more than one and three quarter million
of dollars."

It is a subject of just congratulation that the results indi-
cated will be much more than realized. The remission of tolls
to the extent of five or six hundred thousand dollars is equiva-
lent to a reduction of taxes to the same amount. The direct
reduction of taxes will be nearly two and three quarter millions,
instead of one and three quarter millions, as anticipated.

The annexed table will show the growth of taxation in the
fifteen years from 1860 to 1874 inclusive.





Aggregate Equalized

Rate of State Tax in
Mills on each Dollar of

State Tax levied, including
School Tax.





























































The taxation for the present year is six mills. There will
Future reduction ^e no difficulty in reducing the taxation for 1876
to five and a half mills by several easy retrench-
ments, and abstaining from any fresh outlays for new construc-
tion of insane asylums and reformatories during the year, even

/ /

if we continue the usual appropriation toward the completion
of the capitol.

The year 1877 will be exempted from the instalment for the
payment of the bounty debt, which is two mills, producing
14,348,000, and the taxation can be reduced to three and a
half mills.

The people of this State are to be congratulated upon the
final extinction of the burdens which they have borne in the
payment of upward of twenty-seven millions of dollars of pre-
tended bounty debt, which, as the Comptroller states in his last
report, was " created nominally to pay off bounties to volunteer
soldiers who enlisted in the military service of the United


States during the rebellion, but of which only an inconsider-
able part reached the soldiers who were actually engaged in
the contest."

After the payment of that debt and in the levy of 1877 the
State taxes can be reduced to three and a half mills, even if

i875] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 178

an appropriation of half a mill should be continued for the
new capitol. That will be one third of a mill less than the
taxation of 1860.

With a reformation in the State prison systems and expendi-
tures and in other parts of the public service, there will still
be a margin for further reduction ; and on the completion of
the outlay for the new capitol, taxation for State purposes can
exhibit a complete return to the ante-war condition.

Retrenchment and reform will then find little scope for their
exercise except in the vast domain of municipal taxation, em -
bracing the expenditures of counties, towns, and cities, and in
the still vaster field of expenditures by the Federal Govern-
ment raised by various forms of indirect taxation, which col-


lect from the people of this State an aggregate sum larger than
the whole amount of State, county, town, and city taxes.

In dismissing the discussion of this Bill it is proper to say
that it contains one hundred and eighty-two separate items, that
the Reappropriation Bill contains forty-three, and the Extraor-
dinary Repair Bill forty-one, making in all two hundred and
sixty-six distinct items. Many of them were of a nature to re-
quire an investigation of much intricacy, detail, and labor. For
the first time, under the recent amendments to the Constitution.
it became the duty of the Governor to act upon them separately,
with such knowledge as he could gather for the purpose, in-
stead of signing the aggregate bills as a matter of course, which
has been the uniform practice hitherto.

The Legislature at its adjournment left two hundred and fifty
bills, some of them long and complicated, many of them in-
volving vehement controversies, and not a few imperfect in
construction but for good objects, which made it an uncertain
choice of evils whether to sanction or reject them.

Hitherto the residue of the year, usually extending to eight
months, has been allowed for the comparatively small work
imposed on the Executive. This year, for the first time, the
period during which action must be had upon all these bills
and all these items is limited to thirty days after the adjourn-


ment of the Legislature, a period which would have been
more than consumed by the hearings applied for in contro-
verted cases, by interviews, and by the reading of papers

I cannot hope always to have escaped errors of information
or of judgment ; but I have endeavored, in so completely novel
a situation, to set no bad precedent for my successors. Not
unmindful of the equities of individuals, I have done the best I
could for the State.

The items hereinbefore specified are objected to ; the other
portions of this Bill are

Approved, June 21, 1875.

Assembly Bill No. 82. An Act to reappropriate moneys for the
construction of new work upon, and extraordinary repairs of,
the canals of this State, and for payment of awards 0} the
canal appraisers.

Section 1 is a reappropriation of the balance remaining un-
expended on the 16th day of May, 1875, of an appropriation of
8776,855.28 appropriated in 1871 and reappropriated in 1873,
being twenty thousand dollars, or thereabouts, for a swing or
drawbridge in Buffalo Street, in the citv of Rochester.


It appearing that the construction of the said bridge is pro-
vided for by a series of laws, that it is under contract and
approaches completion, this item, irrespective of the question of
its original wisdom or policy, is allowed to pass.

Section 2 is a reappropriation of the unexpended balance of
$984,630.89 appropriated in 1873, such balance being the sum
of 8281,179.62.

This balance is reappropriated by thirty-nine separate items.

Item No. 1. "For repairing bottom and banks of the Erie
Canal along the premises of Stillman A. Fields, in the town of
Canajoharie, so as to prevent leakage upon the premises of said

I875-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 175

Fields, and for constructing a waste ditch along the premises of
Samuel Beekman in said town, so as to carry back waters of the
Erie Canal, the sum of five hundred dollars, or so much thereof as
may be necessary."

I object to this item. The work, as I am informed, has not
been let. If necessary in 1873, it has been strangely neglected.
Work of this character, and so inconsiderable in extent, ought
to be done as ordinary repairs.

Item No. 2. " For constructing iron bridge superstructures on
the Eastern Division, made necessary in consequence of change of
plan, the sum of $10,727.93."

I object to this item. If changes in the structure of bridges
are to be made, they should be done upon a systematic plan,
duly considered by the Canal Board, with the approval of the
State engineer, and an examination of the particular case
should be had to decide whether the proposed change is clearly
necessary for public purposes.

The tendency to change the innumerable bridges over the
canal at the instance of private persons and local influences,
to conform to a prevailing fashion, the contagion of which
passes from one bridge to another in the absence of any
resisting power in behalf of the State, which finally pays
the cost of the change is a serious and growing evil. The
applications for swing-bridges - - tearing down the existing
bridges are becoming frequent. They are demanded by
some individual, corporate, or local advantage, real or imagi-
nary. They are usually in places which have been already
largely benefited by the construction of the canal. They
impose on the State a large extra cost, and charge it with an
annual expense for operating each one equal to the interest on
about twenty-five thousand dollars. There are 1,318 bridges
over the canals, and the erection and operation on this plan of
one sixth of this number would probably cost the State as much
as the original outlay for the Erie Canal. The fashion is full
of danger.


Item No. 3. " For raising the Eocky Eift Feeder Dam, the
sum of $1,359."

The item of 81,359 remaining unexpended will about com-
plete the existing work and the payment for it.

Item No. 4. " For the construction of a farm bridge over the
Eocky Eift Feeder, on the lands of John H. Keyser, in the
County of Montgomery, the sum of $250, or so much thereof as
may be necessary."

I object to this item. As the work has not been let and no
steps taken toward it, the necessity cannot be pressing, and the
money had better be covered into the treasury.

Item No. 5. " For constructing and maintaining a highway
bridge over the Erie Canal in the town of Water vliet in the
County of Albany, from the Ireland Corners Eoad on the west of
said canal, to Island Park on the east of said canal, the sum of


The unexpended balance was reduced on May 28, 1875, to
$600, but the account not closed.

Item No. 6. " For raising iron bridge superstructure on Gene-
see Street, Utica, to the height required, and adapting approaches
to the same, the sum of $2,221.40."

I object to this item. The work has been finished and paid
for, and the balance (82,221.40) should be covered back into
the treasury.

Items Nos. 7 and 8. " For removing wall-benches and con-
structing slope-walls on the towing-path side of the Erie Canal,
between the east line of the city of Utica and lock No. 45 at
Frankfort, and between lock No. 46 and Whitesboro Street Bridge
in the city of Utica, the sum of $29,545 ; and between lock No.
33 and section No. 75 the sum of $340."

The unexpended balance, I am informed, will be consumed
by existing contracts.

Item No. 9. "For removing wall-benches and constructing
slope-walls elsewhere on the eastern division of the Erie Canal,
under direction of the Canal Board, the sum of $5,734."

1875.] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 177

I object to this item. On Oct. 15, 1873, the Canal Board
set apart from the sum appropriated by the original appropri-
ation 81,650 for three hundred feet of vertical wall at the loco-
motive works in Schenectady, of which had been expended up
to Jan. 8, 1875, 81,224, leaving a balance of 8426; and on
Dec. 11, 1873, the Canal Board set apart from the same ap-
propriation, for the work extending from the junction of the
Chenango Canal to the east line of the city of Utica, the sum
of 810,000, of which had been expended up to Jan. 8, 1875,
the sum of 84,692, leaving a balance of 85,308. The sum re-
appropriated by this item is made up of these two balances.
These acts of the Canal Board were illegal, as the sums set
apart were diverted from the purpose for which they were

Item No. 10. "For constructing blind drains on section
No. Ill, west of lock No. 46, the sum of $1,800."

I object to this item. This work has been done and paid for
under another contract.

Item No. 11. " For rebuilding wooden lock of stone on the
Glen's Fall Feeder, the sum of $17,114."

This sum will be absorbed by existing contracts.

Item No. 12. " For completing bridge over Fort Edward Feeder,
the sum of $500 or so much thereof as may be necessary."

This expenditure has been incurred.

Item No. 13. " For taking down dry vertical walls and relay-
ing the same in cement, in order to avert claims against the State,
in consequence of leakage from the Erie Canal into the cellars of
adjoining property-owners in the city of Syracuse, and for remov-
ing bench-walls and constructing vertical walls, when necessary, on
the Syracuse level of the Erie Canal, the sum of $4,877.36."

I object to this item. The sum of 810,000 was originally
appropriated for this purpose, with the provision that the
commissioner in charge should, before expending any of the

VOL. II. 12


money, procure a release of all damages on account of such
leakage, free of charge to the State. From this sum three
amounts, being in the aggregate 85,122.64, have been set
apart with the approval of the Canal Board, and expended.
This balance is not now subject to draft for work under any
existing contract.

Item No. 14. " For removing bench-walls and substituting
slope-walls upon the towing-path, Jordan level, and long level
of the Erie Canal, and for constructing two hundred lineal feet of
vertical wall opposite the marble works of McCarty & Paul, and
the malt-house of Adam & Cp., in the village of Weedsport, the
sum of $24,389.18."

This is the unexpended balance, Jan. 8, 1875, of an appro-
priation made in 1873 of 840,000 for the purposes named.
The vertical wall is completed and paid for. The other work
is progressing under contract. The Division Engineer on the
2d of October, 1874, estimated that the cost of completing
the work would be 8225,370. The sum of 8113,000 was set
apart from an appropriation of 8360,000 made in 1874 for
the purpose of continuing the work. The existing contracts
will evidently absorb all of this item, after making allowance
for all deductions.

Item No. 15. " For extending abutments, raising and widen-
ing approaches to highway bridges at East Frankfort, the sum
of $225."

I object to this item. The work is completed and paid for,
and the balance should be covered into the treasury.

Item No. 16. " For constructing iron bridge superstructures
on the middle division of the Erie Canal, made necessary in con-
sequence of the change of plan, the sum of $15,000."

I object to this item for the reason stated with respect to
item No. 2 of this section.

Item No. 17. " For a wrought-iron foot-bridge over the Erie
Canal at Franklin Street, in the city of Syracuse, the sum
of $1,922."

iS75-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 179

I object to this item. I am informed that the final account
for this work was rendered March 2, 1875, leaving a balance
of 8573.16, which may properly be covered into the treasury.

Item No. 18. " For building 150 feet of vertical wall on Erie
Canal, in the village of Port Byron, in front of the property on
the Thompson Patent Paper Manufacturing Company, the sum
of $750, or so much thereof as may be necessary."

This work is probably completed, and the appropriation is
absorbed, or will be in the final settlement.

Item No. 19. " For rebuilding broken culverts at Oswego and
repairing docking and improving side-cuts at Salina ; building
vertical wall at necessary points on the Liverpool level ; and such
other improvements of the Oswego Canal as shall be directed by
the canal commissioners, the sum of $9,813."

The amount of this item seems to be in excess of the sum
required to complete the work ; but I am not informed whether
a final account has been rendered and the completed work
paid for.

Item No. 20. " For repairing the State piers in the harbor
at Geneva, the sum of $1,448."

This balance of 81,448 was, by payments made since the
item was originally drawn, reduced upon a final settlement
to 84 cents. As a reappropriation is not necessary, I object
to this item.

Item No. 21. " For constructing vertical wall on the her me
side of the Cayuga and Seneca Canal, near the junction with the
Erie Canal, in the village of Montezurna, the sum of $194."

This amount seems to have been wholly expended.

Item No. 22. " For the completion of the Oneida Lake Canal,
the sum of $25,000."

The history of this work is very interesting, as illustrating
the manner in which work has been done on the canals, and
in which illegalities and irregularities have been attempted
to be cured by the action of the Canal Board and the Legisla-


ture. The auditing officer will doubtless see that the legal
rights of the State are preserved.

Item No. 23. "For deepening and improving the Erie Canal,
between Slip No. 3 and York Street, in the city of Buffalo,
as authorized by the Canal Board, Aug. 6, 1872, and completing
division bank and other work connected therewith in Black Kock
Harbor, so as to separate the canal from and make it independent
of said harbor, the sum of $37,427.42."

This appropriation, as I am informed, is nearly all expended
under existing contracts.

Item No. 24. "For completing the removal of bench-walls
and constructing slope-walls and removing about one hundred
and fifty feet of slope-wall and substituting vertical wall therefor,
in front of the premises of Nelson McCormack, about one mile
east of the canal collectors' office in the village of Medina, in the
Erie Canal, if in the judgment of the canal commissioner in
charge it shall be deemed necessary for commercial purposes, and
for other works under contract on the Western Division not suffi-
ciently provided for, the sum of $9,056.48."

I am informed that the sum reappropriated by this item will
be nearly or quite expended before this Bill can become a law.

Item No. 25. "For cleaning out, improving, and deepening
the canal an average of six inches below established grade, between
Thomas Creek Culvert and Macedon locks, the sum of ten
thousand dollars."

The contract for this work has, I am informed, been let for
less than the sum appropriated, and is nearly or quite fulfilled,
but there has been no final settlement with respect to it.

Item No. 26. " For constructing and maintaining a road-
bridge over the Erie Canal, connecting Averill and Hunger streets,
in the city of Rochester (subject to the provisions of Chapter 399
of the Laws of 1874), the sum of ten thousand dollars."

This work is let under the same contract with that mentioned
in Section 1 of this Bill, and the observations made in regard
to that section apply equally to this item.

1875.] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1S75. 181

Item No. 27. " For aiding in constructing a bridge over the
Tonawanda Creek, according to provisions made in Chapter 863
of the Laws of 1867, the sum of eight thousand dollars."

I object to this item. This sum was originally appropriated
in 1867 for the purpose of building a bridge, under the direction
of commissioners, upon condition that the towns interested
should raise a sufficient sum to complete it. Nothing has ever
been done under the Act, and in my opinion the offer of the
State ought, after having been open for acceptance for eight
years, to be withdrawn.

Items Nos. 28, 29, and 30. " For constructing one hundred
and twenty-five feet of vertical wall on the berme side of the
Erie Canal in front of the premises of J. W. Paster and others in
the village of Port Gibson, Ontario County, the sum of $625."

" For deepening Erie Basin, Buffalo Harbor, the sum of twelve
hundred dollars."

" For dredging and excavating in Black Eock Harbor, the sum
of $2,220."

The work mentioned in these items, I am informed, has
consumed what remains in the treasury awaiting a final

Item No. 31. "For building one hundred and fifty feet of
vertical wall on the bernie bank of the Erie Canal at Macedon,
east of the bridge, commencing at the easterly end of the present
wall, provided that parties interested in said wall, without expense
to the State, make all necessary excavations and place the banks
of the canal in a suitable condition for said wall, as the canal
commissioner in charge shall direct, the sum of $450, or so much
thereof as may be necessary."

I object to this item. Nothing has been done under the
appropriation, because the parties interested have not complied
with the condition. They should not only make the excavation,
but pay for the wall, if they wish it for their own convenience.

Item No. 32. "For constructing iron bridge superstructures

on the western division of the Erie Canal, made necessary in

consequence of change of plan, the sum of fifteen thousand


I object to this item for the same reasons for which I
objected to item No. 2.

Item No. 33. " For the construction, by the Sodus Point and
Southern Kailroad Company, of three hundred and fifty feet of
vertical wall on the berme bank of the Erie Canal, in the village
of Newark, Wayne County, about two hundred feet westerly from
the point where the iron bridge of said road crosses the canal, the
sum of fifteen hundred dollars."

I object to this item. If this work is for the interest of the
State, it should be done by the State ; if it is for the interest
of private persons or corporations, they should pay a part or
the whole of the expense.

Item No. 34. " For removing the remains of State dam on
Scajaquady's Creek, and the bars in said creek adjacent thereto,
the sum of $740."

Online LibrarySamuel J. (Samuel Jones) TildenThe writings and speeches (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 52)