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In said Statement “J," at the close of the fiscal year, the gross debt, after consolidation is shown to be, $5,709,326,13, with an offset of 33,112,283.18, leaving the net debt of the State at that date, 52,597.042 95. In said statement is not included the $300,000.00 issue for the Fifth Regiment Armory, since the commission had failed up to that time to secure a site therefor. Subsequently however, the Commission has secured a site for the same, and the building will soon be in course of construction. Therefore, the Treasury officials have issued this sum as of January 1. 1900, completing the entire issue of “the Consolidated Loan of 1899.” After taking this issue of $300,000.00, the debt of the State on January 1, 1900, will stand as follows:
3 per cent. Exchange Loan of 1889...
..........$ 7, 400 00
100,000 00 5,401,926 13
$6,009,326 13 CONTRA. Stock Annapolis Water Co.
..$ 30,000 00 Farmers National Bauk, Annapolis... 46,470 00 " Balto. & Fredericktown Turnpike Co. 11,000 00
" B. & 0. R. R. Co., Washington Branch 550,000 00 Northern Central Railway ('o. (Mortgage).. 1,500,000 00 Stocks in Sinking Funds .................... 875,387 00 Cash in Sinking Funds.............. ..... 108,426 18 $3,121,283 18
Net debt of State
Permit me to call your attention to what has been accomplished during the past four years : Net debt September 30, 1895...
............ $3,005,253 13 " January 1, 1900 .............
...... 2,888,042 95
Decreased in four years, three months............... $117,210 18 And yet in meantime lave issued bew loans amounting to $1,500 000 00 Actual reduction.
...... $1,617,210 18
In other words, there has been paid during this period $1,617,210.18 of the State debt; and that, too, with a tax rate for loan taxes of two cents less. The record speaks for itself.
ASSESSMENT AND LETY OF 1899. Statement “K” shows the assessed value of property, subject to the 17i per cent tax rate, except tax on capital stock of corporations, amounting to $611,539.616.00, or a gain in basis over previous year of $8,213,550.00, with a corresponding gain in tax of $14,579.07.
To show the increased basis of taxation under the new assessment law of 1896, I herewith submit the following table : Years.
Amount of Levy. Rate. 1896. ....... $540,461,747 00........ 959,319 53........179 cents. 1897........ 607.965,272 00....... 1,079,138 27........174 cents. 1898........ 603,326,096 00....... 1,070,903 81........178 cents. 1899. ....... 611,539,646 00....... 1,083, 482 88... ... 174 cents.
Let me remind you, however, such increase is not beneficial to the Treasury proper one cent, but is specifically dedicated to the Public Schools, Free School Books and the Sinking Funds.
PUBLIC SCHOOL Tax.
In Statement “ L” is shown the levy, receipts and disbursements on account of the Public School Tax for the fiscal year 1899. The receipts during the year aggregate $774,725.57, together with the balance on hand October 1, 1898, of $338,938.25, make the large sum of $1,113,663.82. There was disbursed during the year $736,663.63, leaving the balance of $377,000.19 on hand for future distribution. During the past six years, the following amounts have been distributed and paid to the public schools of the State:
FREE SCHOOL BOOKS.
Statement “ M" exhibits the amount of levy, receipts and disbursements on account of Free School Books during the fiscal year; receipts, $147,084.26 ; disbursements, $146,101.39, the latter being $3,598.61 less than the amount appropriated--$150,000.00--for such purpose by Chapter 135, 1896. This difference was apportioned to Worcester county, but by reason of legal complications as to who were the proper school authorities in that county, the said sum was not paid until after the close of the fiscal year, and until the case had been finally adjudicated by the Court of Appeals.
By said statement it will be apparent that the 2 cents of the 17} tax rate, yielded nearly sufficient revenue to make this account self-supporting, but by reason of the heavy deficits for the preceding three years the said fund still shows a deficit of $133.702.11.
RECEIPTS IN DETAIL.
From Tables Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, are clearly shown in detail the receipts into the Treasury during the fiscal year from Clerks of Courts, Registers of Wills, etc. The receipts from Clerks of Courts and others shown in Table No. 1 aggregate the sum of $917,923.20. By deducting the amounts due the Oyster Fund and certain municipalities on account of Liquor Licenses would leave from this source a net revenue to the State in round figures of $500,000.00, wholly applicable to the ordinary receipts of the State government, and from which is largely paid the expenses of the legislature, civil officers, judiciary and the large appropriations to the various institutions, State, educational and charitable. An effort, no doubt, will be made, so far as Baltimore city is concerned, to divert this revenue from the State into the city treasury. Such a loss would embarrass and vitally affect beyond measure the credit of the State. The State must have sufficient revenue to meet promptly all its obligations, and any diminution to this extent must be met by levying an additional direct tax sutficient to 'cover such loss. For the first year, an additional 12 cents to the 17} would not recoup this loss, or a virtual tax rate of 30 cents on each $100.00. This rate could, of course, be lowered in a short time, but not below 8 cents. Therefore, if you deem it to the best interest of the State to di. vert such revenue, you must lery an additional tax as above mentioned to cover this loss.
STATE TOBACCO INSPECTIONS.
The State Tobacco Warehouses are now being operated under the new law of 1898, Chapter 314, and during the year the increased earnings were very marked. By ref. erence to Table No. 7, the net earnings from Jay 8, 1898, to April 1, 1899, the close of the year as fixed by said Act, aggregate 515,705.05. It is but proper to state, however, that from the reports so far submitted since that tiine, such increase has not been maintained.
Tables Vos. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 show the balances due, exclusive of interest, by sundry officers and corporations. Your attention has already been directed to the amounts due from collectors, as shown in Table No. 13, being $147.376.21 less at the close of the fiscal year than at the same period last year, yet this sum, $134,712.31. is much larger than it should be; the amount due, 327,322 88, by one county, Montgomery, exceeding by $1,238.01, the entire
levy for 1899. This result is largely due to the district system of collections, and with few exceptions those counties having such a system are further in arrears than those in which the collections are made by one person. In this connection, I would again renew the recommendations made in my former Report.
GENERAL TREASI'RY LAW'.
“Notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution, many local laws are r'ow upon the statute books, allowing discounts and extending the time for the collection of taxes,' other than as autborized by the general law. Such laws are perplexing and cumbersome to this department, and, in my opinion, clearly in violation of Section 33 of Article 3 of the Constitution. All these laws should be repealed and a general Treasury law be enacted for the whole State, experience having demonstrated that this is the safest and most speedy method of collecting the State's revenues.
SPECIAL AUDITOR. "Believing that the interest of the State demanded a more thorough and personal inspection of the books and accounts of State officers handling public funds, as well as various institutions receiving State aid, than it was possible for me under existing statutes to give ; fcr while large powers are given me under Section 2 of Article 6 of the Constitution, yet I do not construe such statute as conferring upon me sufficient authority to personally examine a State office, such as offices of the Clerk of a Circuit Court or Register of Wills, in order that I might inquire under oath into the condition of the affairs of such offices, their metbod of doing business, how the moneys received by them are expended or applied, and whether or not they are complying with the several provisous of law. Besides, to make such examinations throughout the state by the Comptroller himself, would be a physical impossibility.
* The Legislature of Maryland at pvery session appropriates thousands of dollars to various charitable, State and reformatory institutions, many of which, indeed most of which, are not required to make any report of woneys so appropriated. The only examination to which they are subject is by a committee from the Legislature, and that not very thorough. These institutions should in my opinion, be subject to a very thorongh examination, the result of which should be reported in detail to the Comptroller, in order that he may intelligently advise the Legislature of the wisdom of such appropriations.
"That a rigid and careful examination should be made of all State offices and institutions receiving State aid, by duly authorized and competent persons, there cannot be the slightest doubt, in order that the State should receive its own and the public the best and most intelligent service. These opinions I held when called to till the respousible position I now occupy, and my official connection with the Treasury Department has only strengthened those convictions. * * * Had such bill become a law, I am fully persuaded a more intelligent and trustworthy service would now be given the State."
CONCLUSION. I have endeavored to present fairly and as succinctly as the importance of the subjects so treated demanded the
operations of the Treasury Department during the fiscal year, the recital and labors of which have been found both agreeable and pleasant. Whatever may be found worthy of commendation in the management of the State's fi. nances, must be equally shared by my co-laborer, Hon. Thomas J. Shryock, State Treasurer, upon whose financial ability I have relied, and whose devotion to the highest interest of the State I have always found paramount
My relations to this Department will soon terminate, but it is with pleasure I shall lay down its cares and responsibilities to so distinguished a gentleman as the Hon. Joshua W. Hering, whose strict integrity and financial skill is a sufficient guarantee that the affairs of that Department will be executed faithfully and well.
My thanks are especially due all the cierks in the Treasury Department for their uniform courtesy and kindness, as well as the fidelity with which they have each served the State. Respectfully submitted,
PHILLIPS L. GOLDSBOROUGH,
(OPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY.