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funded indebtedness of the State during the last fiscal year was a contribution of $309,717.00 to the sinking fund, thus reducing by that sum the debt remaining unprovided for on the 30th day of September, 1881.
The aggregate receipts of the State Treasury during the last fiscal year, including a balance from the previous year amounting to $5,531,858.71, were $17,735,761.59; the payments during the same period amounted to $13,898,198.21, leaving a balance in the treasury at the beginning of the current fiscal year of $3,837,563.38.
The amount received from taxes on corporations during the last year was $1,539,684.27, being an increase of $546,959.11 over the previous year.
The rate of taxation for the current fiscal year was fixed by the last Legislature at 2 45-100 mills on the dollar. This, it is estimated, will yield on the present valuation of property a revenue of $6,820,022.29. The imperfection of our laws touching the matter of taxation, or the faulty execution of existing statutes on the subject, is glaringly apparent.
The power of the State to exact from the citizen a part of his earnings and income for the support of the government, it is obvious, should be exercised with absolute fairness and justice. When it is not so exercised, the people are oppressed. This furnishes the highest and the best reason why laws should be enacted and executed which will subject all property, as all alike need the protection of the State, to an equal share in the burdens of taxation, by means of which the government is maintained. And yet it is notoriously true that personal property, not less remunerative than land and real estate, escapes to a very great extent the payment of its fair proportion of the expense incident to its protection and preservation under the law. The people should always be able to recognize, with the pride and satisfaction which are the strength of our institutions, in the conduct of the State, the source of undiscriminating justice, which can give no pretext for dis
The revenues and expenditures of the canals for the year ending September 30, 1882, were as follows:
Weighmasters and assistants, for salaries and office
To collectors of canal tolls for salaries, clerk hire, pay of inspectors and office expenses...
Salaries chargeable to the annual revenues, refunding tolls, printing and miscellaneous expenses....
For the year ending September 30, 1881, the revenue failed to meet the expenditures by the sum of $205,642.45.
The following is a statement of freight carried and tolls collected from the opening of navigation to December 1st in the years 1881 and 1882:
To provide for the deficiency in the sinking fund under article 7, section 3 of the Constitution, it will be necessary to raise by tax the sum of $1,038,198.34, which will be equal to about 38-100 of a mill on the present valuation.
The Superintendent of Public Works estimates that the tolls received since September 30, 1882, with an unexpended appropriation in the canal fund, amounting together to about $588,000, will be ample to make the necessary repairs and operate the canals until the close of the present fiscal year.
The adoption of the amendment to the Constitution abolishing tolls on the canals renders it necessary for the present Legislature to provide by tax for their maintenance and repair for the year ending September 30, 1884.
The amount required for these repairs the Superintendent estimates at $500,000. Some legislation will also be necessary, under our new canal policy, to provide for the inspection of boats and the collection and preservation of statistics.
Since, by the adoption of the constitutional amendment, the cost of maintaining the canals is to be met by a tax upon all the property of the State, it is our plain duty to deal with this subject with strict economy. The safeguards heretofore existing in the Constitution, which protected the tax payers from unlimited expense in the management and repair of the canals, having been relinquished by the people, this act is by no means to be regarded as an indication that they have forgotten the time when the extravagance and fraud connected with the canals were a scandal and reproach to the State. They have in their devotion to their great water-ways, and in the fear that the limitations of the Constitution might impair their usefulness, surrendered the protection thus afforded, together with the revenue derived from tolls, and have intrusted the whole matter to their chosen representatives. In the execution of the trust committed to us under such circumstances, all propositions and schemes for the enlargement of the canals or the expenditure of large sums of money in their alteration, should, in my opinion, be stubbornly opposed, at least until the effect of the abolition of tolls is fully apparent. At the present time, what
the people want, and what they will demand, is the management of the canals as they now exist in such manner that their utmost capacity shall be made available at the lowest possible cost.
Considerable sums of money which have been appropriated for specific canal purposes still remain in the treasury, the expenditure of the same having been heretofore prevented by the prohibition of the Constitution. It is suggested that these moneys might well constitute a fund to be drawn upon to meet unforeseen emergencies.
CANAL APPRAISERS AND AUDITORS.
From a statement furnished by the Canal Appraisers, it appears that the number of claims filed during the last fiscal year was eighty-nine, amounting in the aggregate to $168,652.57. During the same time, 273 claims, amounting to $866,741.58, have been disposed of, the aggregate of awards made upon the same amounting to only $19,644.76. Since the close the fiscal year a large number of other claims have been adjudicated, which leaves at the present date about 400 to be acted
At the close of the year ending September 30, 1881, there appears to have been 741 claims on file awaiting determination.
The expense attending the maintenance of this Board, exclusive of the payment of awards, for the last fiscal year, was $39,639.20, of which sum $15,280.07 was paid to various attorneys employed to defend, on the part of the State, against claimants.
I desire to submit in this place for consideration the question whether it would not be well to establish in the place of the Board of Canal Appraisers and the Board of Audit, as now constituted, some tribunal which shall have the power to hear and determine all claims against the State. It seems to me that justice to the claimants and protection to the State would be much better assured if these demands were submitted to persons whose experience and training fit them for the examination of the questions involved, according to the rules and methods which prevail in courts of justice. It is apparent that such a tribunal could be maintained, and a competent person provided as counsel to protect the interests of the State, at a much less expense than that attending the Board of Canal Appraisers and Board of Audit, and with vastly more satisfactory results.
I can see no reason why the office of Auditor of the Canal Department may not also be abolished. The cost of its maintenance during the last year is reported as being more than $22,000. Since the change in the Constitution the duties which might devolve upon that officer could, it is believed, be well performed in the Comptroller's office with very little increase in the expense of that department.
It is supposed that the changes above suggested would result in an annual saving of more than $30,000, with no detriment to the public service.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction has furnished the following statement relative to his department covering the year ending September 30, 1882.
COMMON SCHOOL STATISTICS.
Total receipts, including balance on hand October 1, 1881....
Amount paid for teachers' wages..
Amount paid for school-houses, repairs, furniture, etc.
Number of teachers employed for the legal term of
Number of teachers employed during any portion of
Number of children attending public schools...
The success of our common school system is so closely connected with the welfare of the State, that its satisfactory condition should be a subject of congratulation to every citizen. The number of children attending public schools during the last fiscal year was 19,807 in excess of the number reported the year previous, while my predecessor in his last annual message called attention with regret to a decrease in attendance for the year then closed.
Seventy-six banks of discount and deposit were engaged in active business under the provisions of the banking laws of the State, on the 1st day of October, 1882. On that day their condition was reported as follows:
The increase in deposits during the year was $6,333,850}; profits, $729,527; loans and discounts, $5,503,379, and the net aggregate increase in assets was $9.099,888.
During the year six new banking associations were organized, one failed, and one was converted from a State to a National bank.
On the 1st day of July, 1882, the number of savings banks reported to the Superintendent of the Bank Department was 127, of which number eleven are in process of voluntary liquidation. During the year one new savings institution was organized, and one closed, having first paid its depositors and creditors in full. The condition of the savings banks on the day above named was as follows:
Number of open accounts.
The increase in these several items during the year was as follows:
There are fourteen trust, loan and mortgage companies in the State. Their condition on July 1, 1882, was as follows:
This statement shows an increase over last year of $10,765,848 in deposits, $1,322,027 in surplus and profits, and a net aggregate increase in assets of $13,869,620.
On the first day of October last, there were in the State fourteen corporations for the safe-keeping and guaranteeing of personal property, employing $2,676,900 of capital in the aggregate.
State supervision of banks is worse than useless unless it is thorough and effective. Under the law as it now stands, the Superintendent of the Banking Department must cause an examination to be made of these institutions only when, in his opinion, there is good reason to suspect an unsound condition, or false reports. It would seem that the solvency of the banks and the protection of depositors would be better assured, if one or more examinations, in each year, were made compulsory on the Department.
The records of the Insurance Department show that there were 151 fire insurance companies doing business in this State on the 1st day of July, 1882, of which sixty-nine were New York State companies, fiftyfive were organized in other States and twenty-seven were foreign companies, with assets amounting in the aggregate to $154,810,860,43; their total liabilities, including capital stock, were $111,423,096.62, and their net surplus $43,387,793.81.
There were twelve marine insurance companies doing business in the State on the first day of January, 1882, with assets amounting to $22,888,423.93, and liabilities, including capital stock and scrip, amounting in the aggregate to $18,183,850.69, leaving a net surplus of $4,704,573.24.
There are twelve life insurance companies organized and doing business under the laws of this State, with assets amounting in the aggregate to $225,966,512.02; liabilities, $187,050,970.48, leaving a surplus as regards policy-holders of $38,915,541.54.
There are also seventeen life insurance companies organized in other States, but doing business in this, with total assets of $203,310,947.58, and liabilities amounting to $169,813,325.83, leaving a surplus as regards policy-holders of $33,497,621.75; also one foreign life insurance company, with total assets in the United States of $123,735.09, liabilities $5,248.75, and surplus, $118,486.34. We have six casualty insurance companies, of which two are New York companies, two organized