Governors of six States and about two hundred and fifty delegates were present at the opening, at Columbus, O., Nov. 12, of the National Conference on State and Local Taxation. It is the first national conference on the subject and it is expected to be productive of good results in securing a more equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation as they rest on the property of individuals and corporations. Governor Guild of Massachusetts, who was made permanent chairman of the conference, said in part: "The future belongs neither to the corruptionist nor to the demagogue, but to those apostles of fair play who demand justice from labor to capital, justice from capital to labor, and who recognize that the whole question is not stated if we do not add justice from both capital and labor to the public, which pays the dividends of the first and the wages of the second. The various States differ among themselves as to which kind of impost should be devoted to State and which to local revenue. There is absolutely no uniformity in taxation, and industries are transferred from one Commonwealth to another by the exemption from taxation in certain States of classes and corporations that cannot be exempted under local laws in other States. The policy and government of a great city are controlled by an overwhelming majority of voters who pay no taxes whatever, or at best a small head tax that is the same regardless of the expenses of administration. I believe this fact is at the root of evil local government. The demagogue in the great cities can afford to ignore the discussion of extravagance that never hits directly at the masses. Padded payrolls and corrupt contracts do not seem to hurt the average city voter. They may mean a job without work for this voter's cousin, or a contract with thousands in it for distribution for that voter's employer. The people pay in the end, of course, for indirectly somebody has to pay for extravagant furniture and paint bills, for armies of loafers supported in joyous idleness at the public expense. Usually it comes out of real estate. The tenement house owner pays the added tax for his house and raises his rents. The provision dealer pays it for his shop and raises the retail price of steak. The non-taxpaying voter pays his increased rent with a curse not at his own foolish vote for a corrupt government, but at the capitalistic landlord who he has been told is grinding the faces of the poor. His wife returns from market with similar criticisms on the duty on beef, which is of course absolutely inoperative and utterly without effect on prices. Neither appreciates that the extra dollar for rent or the high price of steak go in the shape of taxes to support armies of political barnacles for doing no service beyond sticking to 'the organization.' "

Members of the National Grange from all sections of the country assembled at Hartford. Conn., Nov. 15, for the annual ten-day session. Former Governor Bachelder of New Hampshire, the Master of the National Grange, in his annual address said in part: "Agriculture represents more capital and gives direct employment to a greater number of people than any other single industry in the country. The thirty-five million people classed under the head of agricultural people produced last year crops to the value of about seven billion dollars. The influences that have contributed to the existence of monopolies known as trusts have caused widespread discussion, and one of these, very frequently assigned as the foundation of the trouble, is the protective tariff, in that schedules which were adapted to the industrial development of the country when the present rates of duty were established are unfair and unreasonable under existing conditions. The tariff itself has been so prominent as a political issue as to make its discussion in a non-partisan organization like the Grange an impossibility, but the subject of its revision in a way to meet existing conditions, and especially as a contributor to the formation of trusts, is a non-partisan question."

November 23, 1907

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