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Pingreee's Ruinous Rule

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If the pcoplo of Michigan had known :he facts cqncerning the result of Pingree's rule in the city of Detroit they vonld never have iuvited a similar career of reokless extravagance in state affairs by electing him governor, rhey believed hiin to be honest and ncorruptible, a friend of the people and an enemy of extortion and frand. They are beginning to realize that the wastefulness and inisappropriation of funds whlch characterizes the Pingree administration means a large increase of taxation, and threatens the prosperty of the entire state. Under the circumstances the following facts f rom the official record of the city of Detroit will be of importance to the voters of the entire state. DOUBDING UP TAXATION. When Hazen S. Pingree began hls career in Detroit in 1890 the tax levy for the previous year was $2,236,463.54. When he laid down tlie scepter in 1897 t was $3,640,S7S.19, an increase of $1,404,414.65, nearly doublé the previous amount. See controller's report, 1S9798, page 711. (The figures here given in comparisons are from the corrtroller's report for 18S3-9 and the controller's report for 1897-8. Mr. Pingree was first elected in 1889, and hung onto the mayoralty until March 1'.)7, when the Supreme Court decided that one man could not hold the two chief offices of the state.) People have sometimes wondered ow Mr. Pingre? has been able to keep lip political campaign work year in and year out, when it was nnderstood that the corporations have not been backing him. The exposures in the State House, showing that the postage on bis campaign documents and the raoney for hls political teelgrams was taken from the public treasury, have partly answered this question, and an xaminatlon of the salary lists during his admiuistration in both city and state will shed further light upon it. [nstead of employing clerks athis own expense to run his campaign bureau, and paying his "pluggers" out of his own pocket, he has put them on the salary list and created useless offices in payment for political servioes. SWEL1.ING THE SALARY LIST. Tlie expenses of the mayor's office in Detroit bad previously been $2,700. Under him tliey rose to $6,214 in 1S96, besides printing. special pólice offleer, xtra elerks, telegraph bilis, etc.wnieh irought the total annual expense of he mayor's office up to more than ;20,000. ÍSee controller's report, 1396Yï; general f uncí and report, 1897-98, page 593.) The salaries in the recelver of taxes ■Öice prior to the Pingree administraron amounted annually to $15,690. ünder his rule they rose to $26.412. See controller's report, 1SSS-S9. and ontroller's report, 1897-98, page 596.) Prior to Pingree the total legal dejartment consisted of a city counselor, it $2.000; the city attorney, at $2.500, ind an assistant city attorney, at $2,X)0, a total of $6.500. Mayor Pingree ïhanged all this to a corporation counsel, at $5,000; chief assistant, at $3,000; assistant, $2,500; three lesser assistiuts. at $1.500 each, $5.400: one chief :lerk. $1.200; one clerk $1,000; messenger, $300, a total of $18.400. (See con:roller's report for 1897-8, page 596.) Even this enormous increase is only i small portion of the additional burilens imposed upon the taxpayers in ;his one department, for it does not iuclude special counsel, who were rariably hired for the innumerable uits in which Mr. Pingree involved :he city. In one suit alone Mr. C. A. Kent was paid .f20,500 for an opinio'i vhich proved to be contrary to the uling of the United States coürts, and Mr. Benton Hanchett was paid $15,XX more for doing nis best .to bolster ,ip this unfortunate opinión. The loss :o the taxpayers of Detroit by absoiutely useless litigation provoked by Mayor Pingree was enornious, somo jonlpetent judges placing It at nearly, f not fully, one inillion dollars. ONE DEPARTMENT AS A SAMPLE. As an illnstration of the marnier In .vhich Mr. Pingree makes other people pay hls personal obligations. take the ïealth departinent of Detroit. Before Etngree was mayor the department ivas couducted by only threc paid ofaclals, but when Mayor Pingree's poard, appointed by hini and with Qlmself ns an ex-otllcio member. was in control, the pay roll contalnod an average of elghty names, and at one time reached a grand total of ninety:wo! Resides this outrageous incroase in the number of officials, the ottaer exenses of the board w.ere enormously ncreaseá, and tbe taxpayers cannot -et teil the full amount that this one branch of the Pingree machine cost [hem, some of the claims being still pending. PROOF THAT PINGREE'S ADMINISTRATION WAS A DIRTY ONE. Before Mr. Pingree became mayor the janitor work at the city hall was at a cost of $2,75.50; under Pinree it rose to $0,G88. (Soe controller's :eport, 1897-i), past' 508.) This is more than is paid for the lanitor work iu the three largest buildngs in Detroit, and the expenditure of (liis large sum to clean up after Mr. Pingree and Lis appointoes soems to jrove conclusively that nis was not a ;lean administration. The general road fund was $186,000 the year before the advent of Mayoi Pingree. For nis last year it was $273,976. (See controller's report 1897-8, page 007.) Thls fund and oth ers for sewers and repairs are the onei most used to control votes. The tax payers paid only $85,000 for sewers before the Pingree ring captured tlM city, while they cost $109.352 the last year of Pingree's rule. (See control ler"s report, 1897-8, page 010.) FAT PICKING FOR BOODLERS ANE HEELERS. But it is In the matter of repaving streets that the political boss is enabled to get in nis most efficiënt work Large gangs of men are hired for this work. just prior to election, and theii manlpulation was reduced to a sciéneí during the Pingr&e regime. Tbc yeai prior to Mr. Pingree's first eloction th annual expenditure for tliis work was $82,201. Tbc lust year of Pingree ministration the people paid for r ing and ''reform" the sum of $814.121 (See controller's report for 189-7-8 page 009.) MORTGAGE THE PEOPDB TO TH MONEY LOANERS. These are only samples of the enormous inerease of expenses in all de partments of the city government. Although the taxation was nearly don bied. the amounts wrung from the peopie by the tas collectors were not sufficient to meet the requirements of the "Pingree Push," and Mayor Pingret mortgaged all of his fellow-citizeus 1c the money loaners of the east. When he was elected mayor the citj was practically f ree of debt, though $(540,024.45 was carried as such in 1889 The total bonds outstanding, according to controller's report, 1897-98, page 594, amount to $4,830,000, on wliich he computes the annual interest for current year at $194,350. No matter how taxes may be assessed, every dollar ol this enormous tribute Is paid by the sweat of labor. Every year this immense sum is drawn from the savings of the people of Detroit and sent to swell the boards of the money lenders of the east, whom Mr. Pingree pra tends to oppose. A FALSE PRETENCE EXPOSED. When confronted with these facts. Mr. Piugree's defenders usually say that the increased amount of debt and taxation represents municipal improvements, for which the money üas been well spent. If this were true the value of all the property in Detroit would be increased by these improvements. Is such the case? On the contra ry, it is a notorious fact that the value of property has enormously decreased, several of the best and newest blocks having been sold for less than one-third their cost. The money squeezed out of the taxpayers and borrowed by mortgaglng every poor man's home was so reeklessly misapproprlated that the city derived no benefits in comparison 10 the additional burdens heaped upon the people. In consequence. property ceased to be remunerative and in spite of its unequalled natural advantages Detroit property is soinething that nobody wants. It was a sad thing for the people oL Detroit that it took them several years to realize the final re alt of Pingree's ruinous rule. It will be well for the people of Michigan if they protit by the experience of Detroit it is too late.


Ann Arbor Argus
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