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Michigan Railroad Amendment

Michigan Railroad Amendment image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

ibo Michigan Legislature has fínally greed upon thc railroad aid smendineut o tho Stilte CoDstitution, and the furin f its subniiesion for ratifioation, aud the me to bu voted on, wliioh ia at the regular State election in November. Tbis mendment uuthorizes thc Legislature o subuiit the quealion to the vote of the eople of the several looalities whethor hey will ineur this deb-t. The bonds, s they now stand ure void. The proosed amendment itutborizes the Legisature to próvida for thüir pajment by a special tus upon tho property of thn respectivo municipalitius whieh have iacued them, provided that the peoplo oí' ihosB localities, at special elootiona held for suoh purpose, sball olect to assume thu dobis. This amendment is spccioosly drawn. lts advocates will Dsist that it is a mere permission to these people to assuine or repudíate tha dobt, as they may chooso aud that the whole pfiople of the State onght to vote them this privilege. But tho objection to this kind of idobtedness cannoi De removed by such argument ib that. ín principie, it doea not differ froui a general autburity to vote railroad aid dcbts. An umeuduient autliorizing every towa in the State to vote railroud aid would be merely to authorize the people to subscribe oroot, at theirpleasure, and the amendinent actually proposed by the Legislatura is precisely the same tbing, with the limitation to the atuouüt aud to the towns indicated. - The objeotion to this system oí indebteduessis radical. The rights of private property are sacrcd. Tho majority o the people in no town have the right to confíscate, or mortgage private proper ty, except for public uses; they can have uo right, ii&r c:in tlioy be iuvestet with the power, to Uke the property o one man and give it to anoiher. Independently of this fundamenta principie of justico, such subscriptious aro agaiust sound policy. NothÍDg can be more suicidal than thia wliolesale in debtednei-s. If the propoaitioo wcre made to incur a. State debt of 85,500, OOO in aid of ruilroad, it would be ove whelruingly rejeoted, because nn enor inoua publio debt is a grievous burden i.nd a positive iujury to th,e Stato. - How much mor oppreasive will be thi saino debt when it becomes a specia mortgago upoa the real aud persona property oí a few counties and towns It will hang upon them liko a orushing weight. It wül be a lien pon thei frames for the next. gencration. It wil dttcr immigration aud drive out capital It will forcé rr;en toestablish themselve in counties exeinpt frotn mortgage aoc exempt from the ccaseless demands o the boadhoíders for their interest. I the people of Michigan want instance of the effect of these railroad debtd Ie theia look at Iowa, WÍ6C0Dsin and Tlli nois. Let them look at the büght tha bas followed these bonda. Let them look ai the pitiful exliihition of the cor p-rato authorities of perhaps a score o counties, towns and cities now underae tual arrest for refusing to levy and col lect taxes to pay these bonds, when, ir poiut of fact, to collect the tax fron ihe property of the municipaüiies i practioal confiseation. All movable cap ital haa flud the coramuivities, and th ouly citres aud towns which are enjiy ing comparativo prosperity nre thog which have long s:nie practically repu diatcd, but agaiust whom icgal proceed ings will eventually be adopted. Th per.pleof this State, by a vote of near Ij five to one, recently placed a proh' bition upou this kind of business, ant they did so on the grouod that the in evitable bankruptey which will jollow these muoicipalilies that iucur thes debta ia a practical iujury to tho char acter aud credit of the vvholu State.


Old News
Michigan Argus