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Parent Issue
Day
7
Month
August
Year
1874
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

If there is any point in the defense of tho State Treasuror and of the financial policy of the Slate administración upon whioh peculiar roliance is placed, it is the point that the large balances in tho treas ury aro tliere merely by operation ot luw. Even the Lansing Itcputdinin, the most ardent and enthusiiastic ot' those who have rushed to t.he support of State administratiim againut the charge of mismanageruent, can find nothing better to say in bohalf of that administration than this. It adniits that tho policy of jiiling up so large a balance would be a b;id oiie íf it were a question of policy. Indeed it could scarcely do otherwise, sinoe it has itself condernned such piling up. It insists, however, tbat the qucstiou is not oue of policy or of muiiagcment, but of law. The law, it says, is responsible for the vast accumulation in the treasury, and neither the party nor the administration, nor yet the State Treasurer, is justly chargeable with it. We have little doubt that the Bepubiican has brought itself to believo this ; for it is possible to a certain class of journals, aB to a certain class of individuals, to persist in telling a story until they succeed in deluding themselves into crediting it. We do not believe, howover, that thu people of the State can be so easily hoodwinked, for two or three plain reasons. In the first place the people understand very well in a general way that if the law is responsible for the accumulation in the treasury of a balanco, confessedly larger than it is wise, economical or prudent to have therein, the Eepublican party in the State is responsible for the law. For a score of years that party has controlled the legislation of the State in financial, as well as all other matters, and it is too late for it or any of its defenders to say that the legislation it hasprocured is not in harmony with its policy. But, more than this, the people can and do point to specific acts of legislation whereby the Republican party has deliberatoly set itself to work to increase the treasury balance by retaining money in the treasury after it ought to be paid out. A very conspicuous iustance of this is act number 148 of the session laws of 1S73. By its title it is a very harmless act indeed, being merely " au act rolating to the accounting for money received and expended by certaiu officers ;" but a careful examination of its proviaions shows that its title very imperfectly conveys its purpose. The first four sections provide for the rendering of an account by every officer receiving or disbursrng money for the State, or under any law of the Slate, to the Auditor General ; and for the manuur in which vouchers shall be taken and receipts given. To this portion of the law there is no more serious objection than that it practically puts every State institution under the control of the Auditor-General, and makes all the officere of such institutioii8 tributary to him ; but this, though naturally calculated to gall and humiliate such officers. works no practical injury to the people. The fifth and sixth sections are so important tbat we give them in full. They read as follows : Section 5. Money appropriated by any act of the Legislature for the use or benefit of auy Stata educational, charitable, reformatory or penal institution, or to be disbursed by any officer. may be drawu from the State Treasury upon the warrants of the Auditor-General as follows, viz. : Under appropriations tor ourrent expenses, monthly or quarterly, for pro rata amounts ; and under appropriations for other than current expenses, at such intervals and for such amounts as shall best meet the purpose3 of such appropriations ; but at no time shall an amount be in excess of the amount necessary fcr the current month, as showu by the reijuisition ot the proper officer or board, to be made in writing and under oath ; nor shall the Auditor-G-eneral draw this warrant for money to be placed in the hands of any officer acting for the State, for disbursement, until vouchers coveriug the expenditure of money previously drawn or received to be expended for a like purpose shall be presented, eximined, and audited as provided in sectiou three of this act. Sec. 6. The term "officer," as used in this act, shall be construed to include all commissionurs, boards of commissioDers, trustees, boards of trustees, inspectors, boards of inspectors, regenta, boards of regents, agents or otlier person or board of whatever denomination or character, receiving or tdisbursing money for the State, for or on account of any building or work tor the State or for the maintenance, or for the use or benefit of any State educational, charitable, reformatory or penal, or other institution or organization, or for or on account of any purpose whatsoever, under any act of appropriation or other law of this State." Frotn a glanne at these sections it will be seen that the appropriations for the various State institutions, which have heretofore been payable to the trustees thereof and accountable for by thein under their bonds, are now retained in the treasury until the Auditor-General sees fit to draw his warrant for such portion of them as has been actually expended. All the responsibility of determining as to the propriety of the expenditure and the correctness of the account ! rendered to other State officers for work done under their orders is taken away from them and lodged with the General ; and the result is that it rests almoBt entirely with him whether the balance in the treasury shall be iarge or , sraall. Whether this is wise or sound policy, so far as securing the faithful performance of work is concerned, we do not now care to discuss ; though we venture the assertion that any clear-headed and unprejudiced citizen who will examine its workings in the case of such an institutiou as he University, for instance, will unhesitatingly condemn it as unwise and unsound. The points now to be determined are whether the policy is that of the Republican party, and whether it results in swelling the treasury balance beyond prudent limits, and upon these the mere reading of the law leaves no room for doubt. That the balance must increase more rapidly when the appropriations which have heretofore been paid out in the lump are dribbled out in quarterly requisitions is too olear for argument ; and if the passage of the law by a Eepublican Legislature left any question as to its being a part of the party policy, the fact that the Auditor-General was profoundly interested in procuring the passage of this law, whereby he became arch-regent of the University and arch-trustee of every other State iustitution, would set the question at rest. When, thorefore, the Lansing IiepnUican, or any other of the defenders of "ring" mismanagement, attempts to relieve the party or the " ring" of the responsibility for burdening the people with taxation so that thu "ring" may have money to use at four per cent., by shiftine: the burden to the nlinnlrWa nf : the " luw," let it be remembered that they have only added another step to the 1 process whereby the purpose of the party was achieved. If it is the operation of law which is responsible for this great wrong, it is the Republican State administration wbich is directly responsible for the law, and for all that the law brings

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus