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Comptroller of the Treasury
STATE OF MARYLAND.
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE,
ANNAPOLIS, January 4, 1900. To the General Assembly of Maryland :
In pursuance of Section 9 of Article 19 of the Code of Public General Laws, I herewith respectfully submit in detail to your honorable body the financial operations of the Treasury Department for the fiscal year ended September 30, 1899:
Statement "A" shows the total receipts during this period to be $3,791,298.77, to which sum must be added the balance in the Treasury proper, September 30, 1898, of $566,351.30, and cash in the Funds' Account of $102,305,48, Taaking the total receipts for the year, including balances, $,759,955.55. Deducting, however, such balances and the amount to the credit of the Sinking Funds and the Common Free School Fund, the ordinary receipts were $3,791,298.77, or a gain of $695,984.55 over the year previous. But there must be deducted from the year 1898 the sum of $125,000, being the amount received from the account of the Military Emergency Fund, which would make the ordinary receipts for 1899 $820,984.55 in excess of that for 1898. By reference to said Statement “A," however, you will observe there were received $600,000 00 from the Consolidated Loan of 1899, and $78,153.65 from the General Government of the United States, as a repayment to the Military Emergency
Fund, aggregating $678,153.65. Deducting this sum from the excess of $820,984.55 above shown, would leave a net gain in the ordinary receipts during the fiscal year of $220,984.55.
A more thorough examination of this statement will be found interesting, in order to ascertain specifically such increase and whether the same is applicable to the ordinary receipts of the State government, or to the Public Schools, School Books and the Sinking Funds, for there is a marked difference between the two.
The amount received from collectors of State taxes dur. ing the fiscal year has been very large-$1,172,596.59-exceeding by far any previous year. The gain in the amount received from said collectors and the tax on Baltimore City Stock is $81,126 76 over the year previous, notwithstanding that year was in excess of 1897 by $85,936.81, while the sum received from Tax on Incorporated Institutions shows a loss of $5,334.00 for the year, hence the total gain from di. rect taxes amounts to $76,092 76, a sum specifically dedi. cated to the Public Schools, School Books and State Debt, or the Sinking Funds, and to this fact is attributable the large payments to the public schools during the past few years, made possible by the prompt collections, as clearly demonstrated by the small amount due at the close of the fiscal vear from collectors of State taxes, Table 13 showing $147,376.21 less than the year 1898, and that, too, with an increased basis for 1899.
Therefore, the remaining amount of this gain of $220,984.55, viz: $144,891.79 accrues to the ordinary operating expenses of the government and is largely obtainable by increased receipts over that of the year previous from Tax on Gross Receipts of Corporations $69,308.08 ; Excess of Fees of Office, $15,886.29 ; Bonus on Corporations, $37,878,59, etc. Let not this increase mislead you. While the Tax on Gross Receipts of Corporations may equal that in the year now before us, yet the Bonus Tax will fall far short of the year now closed, since such receipts were unprece. dentedly augmented by virtue of the formation of so many new corporations with large capital stock, notably, trust companies. The creation of so many new corporations cannot reasonably be expected in 1900, hence this revenue must be largely diminished, estimated by me in Statement "C" to be $10,000. Again, the fiscal year 1900 has passed sufficiently to state that the revenue from Excess of Fees of Office will show a heavy shrinkage from $82,200 28, the amount received during the fiscal year. From such sources of revenue as these must be paid the judiciary, civil officers, the expenses of the present legislature, and all appropriations to State and charitable institutions; therefore, I trust you may exercise the utmost caution and prudence in whatever appropriations you may make.
Your attention is respectfully directed to the amount paid into the Treasury by Registers of Wills from tax on commissions of executors and administrators and collateral inheritances, aggregating $100,305.72 as against $184,155.44 for the year 1898, or a loss of $83.849.72. While this tax must necessarily vary, yet the commissions allowed for its collection is highly exorbitant-25 per cent. In this connection I can but renew the recommendation made in my previous report to his excellency, Lloyd Lowndes, Governor.
* Prior to the year 1892 all Clerks of Courts and Registers of Wills were allowed a commission of 5 per cent. upon all State money8 collected by them, save and except the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, whose connoission was and still remains 1 per cent--a very fair and reasonable compensation to all for the labor and responsibility of handling the State's money. By reference to Chapter 564 of the Act of 1892, you will find these rates of commission changed, ili so far only as they relate to Registers of Wills. By that statute they are allowed a commission of 25 per cent. upon such collections, one-fourth of entire amouot-a most exorbitant rate, in my opinion--and this tax can only be paid to the Registers ; must be paid within a specified time, and if not paid becomes, in some instances, a lien upon property, as, for example, the Taxon Collateral Inheritances. Every official should be compensated fairly and equitably, according to the service rendered, but when the compensation is more than this, the same is exorbitant, and is made at the expense of every taxpayer, and is derogatory to the Treasury of the State. Such statutes should unquestionably be repealed.
The receipts from Tax on Mortgages aggregated during the year $18,563.02, or a gain of $11.985.49. This revenue should and will gradually increase each year, and while much difficulty has been experienced in the past in securing the basis as well as collecting the tax, yet every new form of taxation has its difficulties, but I see no reason why all these should not be overcome and this tax collected as readily as any other.
It is a source of much gratification to state that of the $125,000.00 borrowed by the State to defray the expenses of arming and equipping the Maryland troops in the SpanishAmerican war, $78,153.65 of this amount was received into the Treasury during the fiscal year from the General Government of the I'nited States, as a repayment for the costs and expenses so incurred, with a strong.probability that this sum will be further increased during the fiscal year 1900 by a second repayment of claims now held under adjudication. The revenues of the State during the fiscal year were sufficient to warrant the taking from the Treasury proper the sum of $16,846.35, which together with
$78,153.65 received as above shown from the United States Government, wiped out the entire war debt, and that, too, without the levying of a fraction of a mill upon the taxpayers of the State.
DISBURSEMENTS. The disbursements during the fiscal year, as shown in detail in Statement “ B,'' aggregate $3,649,724.07, being $213.622.57 in excess of the previous year, leaving a balance on hand September 30, 1899, of $707,920.00, as against a balance of $566,351.30 for the fiscal year 1898. The largely increased disbursements during the year is plainly manifest by reason of the payments of $522,579.14 on account of the Consolidated Loan of 1899 and -100,000.00 to the Sinking Funds.
This balance of $707,920.00 is a very gratifying one, but for fear this large amount may be misleading I would respectfully remind you that such is not the balance January 2, 1900, nor is this entire amount applicable to the ordinary necessities of the government. Indeed, only a small portion thereof is such. By reference to Statement “L” vou will find that on October 1, 1899), 4:377,000.19 of this amount belonged to the Public Schools, 142,500.00 thereof being distributed on that day, hence the balance of $330,925.81 was alone available to meet the heavy October payments and the specific purposes for which such moneys were levied and collected.
ESTIMATES. In Statements (" and "D" will be found the probable receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year 1900. In these two statements you will observe there is contained the sum of $:300,000.00 on account of the Consolidated Loan of 1899, being in anticipation of a further and final issue of this loan to this extent in building an armory for the Fifth Maryland Regiment.
FREE SCHOOL FUND). Statement "E" will show you in detail the condition of the Free School Fund at the close of the fiscal year, the gross receipts and balance to the credit of said fund at the close of the last fiscal year amounting to $96,833.4+, or a gain of $19,417.87. While the ordinary accretions to this fund are slightly in excess of last year, yet this gain is largely attributable to the proceeds of sale of 3500 shares of stock of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company at $5.10 per share, aggregating $17,850.00, which stock had been ordered stricken off the books of the Treasury Departinent by Joint Resolution No. 15 of the Acts of 1892, but