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The twelfth article, Finance and Taxation, starts with a prohibition of poll taxes,5 Intangible personalty must be taxed "by uniform rule" and "all real and personal property according to its true value in money," except school bonds and outstanding bonds of Ohio or parts of the state.
Burying grounds, public school houses, houses used exclusively for public worship, institutions used exclusively for charitable purposes, public property used exclusively for any public purpose, and personal property, to an amount not exceeding in value five hundred dollars, for each individual, may, by general laws, be exempted from taxation.
Such laws, it is expressly reserved, shall be subject to repeal." Especial provision is made that all property employed in banking shall always bear a burden of taxation equal to that imposed on the property of individuals, and inheritance, income, and franchise taxes and "taxes upon the production of coal, oil, gas and other minerals" are authorized. Income and inheritance taxes may be at uniform or graduated rates and in the latter direct and collateral rates need not be the same. Not less than half of the receipts from these two taxes must be paid over by the state to the "city, village or township" in which they originated."
Corporations, provided for in the thirteenth article, must be formed only under general laws, which are subject to alteration and repeal, and must submit to such varyingly elaborate regulation as the legislature may think wise.1
5XII, 1. Amendment 1912. The requirement of "service which may be commuted in money or other thing of value" is also forbidden. The original Ohio constitution (1804) had declared "that the levying of taxes by the poll is grievous and oppressive; therefore the legislature shall never levy a poll tax for county or state purposes."
6XII, 2. Amendment 1912.
8XII, 7, 8, 10, respectively. Amendment 1912.
9II, 9. Amendment 1912. The legislature must provide revenue for the needs and obligations of the state (XII, 4); tax laws must specify the object of the levy and proceeds can be used for no other purpose (XII, 5). Legislation incurring bonded indebtedness must provide taxes sufficient to pay current interest and establish a sinking fund sufficient for redemption at maturity (XII, 11).
1Stockholders in banks and similar institutions "shall be held individually responsible, equally and ratably, and not one for another, for all contracts, debts, and engagements of such corporations, to the extent of the amount of their stock therein, at the par value thereof, in addition to the amount invested in such shares" (XIII, 3).
"No act of the General Assembly, authorizing associations with banking powers, shall take effect until it shall be submitted to the people, at the general election next succeeding the passage thereof, and be approved by a majority of all the electors, voting at such election" (XIII, 7).
The exercise of the right of eminent domain is allowed corporations only on payment or deposit of full compensation in money (XIII, 5).
Article fourteen, Jurisprudence, commands the legislature at its first session2 to provide for the appointment of three commissioners to prepare a code of procedure, to abolish so far as expedient, "the distinct forms of action in law" currently used, and to provide for the "administration of justice by a uniform mode of proceeding without reference to any distinction between law and equity."
The fifteenth article deals with a variety of miscellaneous subjects, such as the seat of government, state printing, duelists, lotteries, the liquor traffic, and civil service.5
Article sixteen provides that amendments to the constitution may be proposed by three-fifths of the legislature and ratified by a majority of those voting upon them at a general or special election, voting on each amendment separately, after five weeks' publication in each county. Two-thirds of the members of each branch of the legislature may submit to the electorate the question of calling a constitutional convention. Delegates must be nominated by petition and voted for on a separate ballot, without party designation. In 1932 and every twenty years thereafter the question of calling a convention must be submitted to the electors of the state. All amendments proposed by a convention are required to be submitted to the electorate for approval or rejection.8
Article seventeen, dealing with elections, repeats much already stated in previous articles, but adds nothing of importance.
The eighteenth and final article, Municipal Corporations,1 is celebrated for its home rule provisions. These, in a word,
21. e., after 1852.
Report to be subject to the action of the legislature.
4Local option is provided for.
5"Appointments and promotions in the civil service of the state, the several counties, and cities, shall be made according to merit and fitness, to be ascertained, as far as practicable, by competitive examinations. Laws shall be passed providing for the enforcement of this provision." (XV, 10, Amendment 1912.) "Women who are citizens may be appointed as members of boards of, or to positions in, those departments and institutions established by the state or any political subdivision thereof involving the interests or care of women or children or both." Otherwise only electors may be appointed to any office (XV, 4. Amendment 1913).
lay down the mandates that municipal incorporation shall be by general law,2 that special laws applying to individual cities must be submitted to the municipal electorates and that cities may frame their own charters, subject to such limitations, in financial and other matters, as may be prescribed by the legislature.3
By two-thirds vote or on petition of ten per cent. of the electors the "legislative authority" of a municipality may submit to the electors the question "shall a commission be chosen to frame a charter." Ballots must be without party insignia and must provide also for the election of fifteen commissioners to frame the charter in case a majority of those voting on the question desire it. When framed copies of the charter must be mailed to all voters. Amendments may be made in a similar fashion by vote or petition and submission to the voters.5
Municipalities are classified into cities and villages according to population,-5,000 and less than 5,000, respectively, and are vested with
authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws."
Municipal ownership of public utilities is elaborately provided for. No ordinance for such acquisition can take effect until after thirty days, during which a referendum may be demanded.8
Excess condemnation is authorized for municipalities acquiring property for public use, and the excess above the amount actually used may be sold with "such restrictions as shall be appropriate to preserve the improvement made." Bonds issued for the excess property are not a municipal liability, but a lien upon the property bought for the use in question and upon the excess.9 Assessments upon abutting property to the extent of
2Also required by XIII, 6.
8XVIII, 2, 7, 13.
8XVIII, 5. The debt limit of a municipality may be exceeded in the case of mortgage bonds for the acquisition of a public utility (XVIII, 12).
Sec. 12. Text, infra, p. 342.
the benefit to be derived from the improvements, not to exceed one-half of its cost, may be made by a city for the construction. of improvements.1
The Ohio constitution, among those of the distinctly large 75. commonwealth, stands most clearly for government by the the Ohio and people. The amendments of 1912, headed by those establishing Proposed the initiative and referendum, sought to establish a government Constituresponsive to the people governed and to give to the electorate -in whom rests final responsibility for governmental actionthe tangible means for making its power effective. Toward making the government itself a more efficient organ for the execution of the wishes of the people, however, the Ohio convention contributed almost nothing.
The New York convention of 1915, on the other hand, made an efficient governmental machine the first principle of its endeavor. It sought responsibility by making each official's duties and powers definite and by reducing the constitutional checks. through which responsibility could be shifted from one officer to another and lost in the general confusion. Centralized control was emphasized, administrative organization was simplified and the governor's position made more distinctly than before the fountain and center of the entire state government.
The differences are excellently typified-personified-in the presidents of the two conventions. Herbert S. Bigelow, pastor of a non-orthodox Cincinnati church, whose religion is democracy and social progress, was elected to preside over the Ohio convention because in him centered the aspirations of those who sought more direct popular government and whose thoughts and studies had not narrowed down to the technical details of the government itself, who believed in the efficacy and wisdom of the common will and sought above all things else to give it expression. Elihu Root, world famous statesman and intellectual leader among senators and presidential advisers, but endowed with little faith in the masses of the people, was the natural choice for the chairmanhsip of a convention which was keenly alive to the evil effects of popular apathy and saw the enormous wastefulness of a government already highly popular in form but clumsy and beset by friction when in operation. The New
Work of the
York convention was thoroughly aware that in a government in which diffused responsibility is made inevitable by law party "bosses" extra legal and utterly irresponsible functionaries— must necessarily arise in order to cement the warring governmental elements into a workable if not a graceful or efficient political organ. This convention was determined to set up a state government that could run itself.
Unfortunately the new instrument produced was ahead of its time and also behind the times. The people were jealous of their powers and feared to lose them in a too workable— hence, too powerful-government whose new functions they little understood or appreciated. The convention failed to understand the people and so failed to offer them additional safeguards or additional means of control.
At a special election held in New York in April, 1914, in which less than one-fifth of the electorate participated, a constitutional convention was ordered by an insignificant majority of those voting. Under the constitution of 18942 providing for a periodic submission to the electorate of the question of calling a convention, a vote would naturally have been-and will betaken on the subject in the present year.3
Delegates were elected at the November election, 1914, and assembled in the spring of 1915. On September 10 a constitution was adopted in convention by the vote of 118 to 33 but was overwhelmingly defeated by a popular majority of more than half a million in the election of November 2. The convention decided to submit separately its taxation and apportionment amendments. Three other amendments which had been proposed by the legislature, (1) to extend the suffrage to women;5 (2) to alter the interest rate upon state indebtedness and (3) to ratify a bond issue for the barge canal, were voted on at the same time. All save the last were defeated, though with varying majorities. In its address to the people the convention pronounced as most important in its work of amendment ten pro
4893,635 to 388,966. The convention cost the state about half a million dollars.
5The vote was 553,348 for; 748,322 against.
cf. proposed constitution, IX, 4.