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in the financial history of our Commonwealth, since the creation of a permanent debt, that the receipts at the Treasury during the year are equal to all the expenditures. It is true, that previous to 1842, the receipts appear equal to the expenditures, but they were made up by loans, the proceeds of which were applied to the public improve. ments and the payment of the interest on the prior loans. In February, 1842, the Commonwealth reached the point when no new loans to pay interest would be taken, and from that period to February, 1845, no interest was paid, but certificates were issued therefor, bearing six per cent., except for February and August, 1844, which were put at five per cent. This rapid increase of the public debt destroyed our credit, produced the deepest alarm in every reflecting mind, and if not timely arrested, would have inflicted an irreparable injury upon our Commonwealth and our citizens.
To regain our position, maintain our credit, and fulfil our solemn obligations to those who had loaned us their money, there was but one course to be pursued, and that was, in connection with retrenchment and economy, to rely upon taxes to supply the deficiency in the revenue. During the last two years, these taxes have been cheerfully and promptly paid. No loans have been made. The public liabilities have been promptly met. The revenues have increased from nearly all sources, and the public debt is diminishing. I make these observations principally to show that we should maintain, generally, the present enactments in relation to revenue, avoiding carefully either the former system of loans or any new experiments under the idea that taxation may be avoided by some financial panacea. We have passed the most difficult period in safety, and stand upon solid ground. It is best to advance slowly and steadily, rather than by seeking a shorter route to endanger our present position and jeopard the future, which now brightens before us.
The estimated receipts for the present fiscal year are as follows : Estimated receipts from all sources,
$3,641,500 00 To which add balance in Treasury, December 1, 1846,
Estimated aggregate revenues, Estimated expenditures,
Estimated balance in Treasury, November 30, 1847,
$579, 119 81
The details of these estimates will be found among the tabular statements attached to this report.
In order to present in a condensed form such subjects as are material to the proper understanding of our financial condition, I have prepared several tabular statements which are appended to this report, and arranged under the following heads :
A. The amount of State debt.
In this is included the entire funded debt, the unfunded interest certificates outstanding, with the interest thereon included, the relief notes in circulation, and the amount due domestic creditors. The non-payment of interest by the Commonwealth at the periods stated in a former part of this report, occasioned the issuing of certificates of
stock for that interest, which in the aggregate amounted to four millions four hundred and ninety-eight thousand five hundred and eighty-nine dollars and twenty-eight cents. These certificates by the acts of the 16th of April, 1845, and 20th April, 1846, were authorized to be funded, and interest at the rate of four and one-half per cent. added to the amount. As directed by the act, there has been funded of these certificates the sum of three millions seven hundr and fifty-four thousand five hundred and forty-four dollars and eighty-one cents, which, with the interest added thereto, occasioned the issuing of stock to the amount of three millions nine hundred and eighty-nine thousand three hundred and seventeen dollars and twenty-one cents. There remains yet unfunded, the amount of seven hundred and three thousand eight hundred and ten dollars and sixty-nine cents. I have, however, included these, together with the interest thereon, in my statement of the debt. I have thus embraced in this, as in my former report, the entire liabilities of the Commonwealth. The public debt is forty millions seven hundred and thirty-nine thousand five hundred and seventy-seven dollars, being two hundred and forty-six thousand eight hundred and sixteen dollars and twenty-two cents less than it was on the 1st of January, 1846.
TAX ON REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY.
The following statement exhibits the amount of tax on real and personal estate, as. sessed and paid, for the years therein stated, viz: Aggregate amount of State Tax assessed in the several counties of the Common
wealth, as follows, viz: For the year 1841,
$523,530 46 Do. 1842,
664,341 63 Do. 1843,
992,875 51 Do. 1844,
937,424 74 Do. 1845,
1,300,881 69 Do. 1846,
$5,719,938 72 From this sum must be deducted, to cover exonerations for lost taxes,
commissions, for collecting, and registered taxes in Philadelphia county, for six years, together with abatement of taxes allowed in 1845 and 1846, say
588,755 35 Leaving available of the six years assessments, the sum of - $5,131,183 37
Of this amount the following sums have been received at the State
$33,292 77 Do. 1842,
486,635 85 Do. 1843,
553,911 38 Do. 1844,
751,210 01 Do. 1845,
1,318,332 02 Do. 1846,
Leaving, on the 1st of December, 1846, to be realized, the sum of
The precise amount assessed for 1846, cannot be stated, as no reports are received until the settlements are made by the county auditors in January. But it is at least equal to 1845, because that amount was fixed by the Board of Revenue Commis. sioners, to stand as the minimum amount until the next meeting of the Board. It is, therefore, probable, that the amount here presented for 1846, is below the actual assessments. This will be correctly ascertained when the reports are received from the counties. In order that the State Treasurer may be hereafter enabled to present, for the ensuing year, the amount of assessments, I recommend that a law be passed, requiring the assessments to be completed on or before the first day of December in each year, and making it the duty of the county commissioners, immediately thereafter, to forward to the Auditor General's office, an abstract of the assessments, showing the amount in each county. The disagreement among the counties as to which was properly the triennial year, as stated in my former report, is corrected by the act of the 22d of April, 1846, by which the year 1846 is adopted, and triennially hereafter. The increased property and advanced value, since the last triennial assessment, will thus be reached, and will increase the revenues, from that source, for the current fiscal year. This act, embracing as it does other provisions for increasing the revenue, will add to the means of the Treasury for the current year, and is taken into view in my estimate of the revenue. The act in question was, I learn, rapidly passed, and it is worthy of consideration, whether it may not be made more clear and explicit. My attention has been especially called to the provisions relating to taxation of domestic stocks, whether they are assessable in the name of the owner for State purposes.
The domestic corporations pay a tax on their dividends, in case such are declared, and if none are made, the officers are required to furnish, under oath, a statement of the aggregate value of the stock, and pay a tax thereon. It uld, therefore, not seem proper to tax them in detail also, and I incline to the opinion that they ought not to be assessed for State purposes, inasmuch as the corporation pays directly a tax to the State. If the Legislature intended a double taxation, or such should be the will of the present Legislature, a declaratory act to that effect will be necessary. There is also, I learn, some difficulty and obscurity in relation to taxing accounts, &c., The whole subject will, no doubt, claim the attention of the Legislature, and receive such action as may be deemed proper.
It will be observed, that the outstanding taxes in December, 1846, are considerably less than in December, 1845. Whilst this fact exhibits the increased promptness in the payment of taxes, it also exhibits a diminution of means, from that source, for the present year. This diminution, however, will be fully made up by the increased as. sessments, and the otherwise increased revenue.
The monthly statements exhibit the receipts in July to be one million five thousand two hundred and forty-eight dollars and eighty-five cents, of this sum six hundred and seventy-nine thousand thirty-eight dollars and twenty cents was on account of the taxes for 1846, and fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifteen dollars and thirty-seven cents on account of taxes due for previous years. The balance was received on account of canal tolls and other revenues. These receipts placed the Treasury iu a condition to meet the August interest. The counties that distinguished themselves by the prompt payment in July, of the taxes of 1846, are as follows, and they paid in the order of time as they are mentioned, viz:-Bradford, Adams, Cumberland, Erie, Carbon, Berks, Tioga, Luzerne, Armstrong, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Dauphin, Fay ette, Greene, Crawford, Delaware, Warren, Lancaster, Montgomery, Columbia, Chester, Allegheny, Northampton and Philadelphia.
The abatement allowed by the forty-second section of the act of the 29th of April, 1844, has been in the highest degree beneficial to the 'Treasury, and of advantage to the counties and the tax payers. It produces prompt payments, and thus enabled the · Commonwealth to meet her engagements. Without that provision, we would have failed on more than one occasion. The payment of taxes within the year is important to the State and the people. When delayed, or when two and more years' taxes are collected in one, it becomes more onerous upon the tax payer, and the delay increases the exonerations. In my last report I noticed this subject, and suggested that the collectors' warrants should be made void at the end of one year instead of being valid for three years, as the law then stood. The Legislature adopted the suggestion in part, by making them void in two years. I respectfully repeat my former suggestion. I also recommend that the abatement should be allowed to the individual tax payer; the prompt would then receive the benefit of it, and it would tend to produce more certain and punctual payments. In several counties that paid their quota, the allowance was made by the county commissioners to the tax payers; this course received my sanction, for it is the same thing to the Commonwealth whether the county or each individual re
ceives the benefit of the abatement. But this allowance can only be made when the county pays a sum approximating its quota. The suggestion I make, is to permit its allowance in every case when paid by individuals, provided it reaches the Treasury some days previous to the 1st of August. Connected with this subject, I respectfully repeat a suggestion made in my last report, viz: that the duplicates be at once placed in the hands of the county treasurer, and dispense with the agency of township or ward collectors : the treasurer to visit each township or ward on certain days, of which he shall give notice : allow an abatement of five per cent. if the tax is paid before the 15th of July, between that period and the 30th November, no deduction : if not then paid, the person in default to pay six per cent. with costs of collection: the county treasurer's commission to be regulated by a graduated per centage: the treasurer to have power to appoint deputies, if necessary, he and his sureties being responsible for the discharge of duty. This system would produce rapid and concentrated collections, diminish the expenses of collection, and be greally advantageous to the people.
During the early part of the last spring, the public improvements sustained great damage by an unprecedented flood, which occasioned large expenditures in repairs, and delayed the opening of navigation until May. They have, nevertheless, yielded a considerable revenue to the Commonwealth. The receipts during the fiscal year are,
$1,357,203 37 The entire expenditures during same period, are
Net receipts during the last fiscal year,
It is proper to observe that this amount, às presented, exhibits the actual receipts and payments at the Treasury, without reference to the amount reported by the canal officers. The fiscal year closes on the 30th of November. Their statement presents the amount reported by their officers, as received and paid. Some of these are in transitu, at that time, and come in after the year closes. The above named sum of six hundred and twenty-five thousand one hundred and thirty-five dollars and sixtythree cents, being the net profits of the canals and railroads, was applied with the other revenues to the payment of the interest on the public debt, and other expenditures of government.
The amount of loan authorized by the act of the 4th May, 1841, was two million two hundred and twenty thousand two hundred and sixty-five dollars, and for that amount, notes commonly called “ Relief Notes,” were issued. Of this amount the sum of one million forty-three thousand three hundred and eighty-seven dollars has been redeemerl and cancelled at the Treasury, up to the 1st of December last. On the 31st of the last named month, the further sum of fifty thousand dollars was also cancelled. The amount funded under the 1st and 3d sections of the act of the 4th May, 1841, is ninety-tive thousand two hundred and fourteen dollars. Leaving in circulation on the 1st January, 1847, the sum of one million thirty-one thousand six hundred and sixty-four dollars. The statement (K) appended, will exhibit this result in detail. This loan fell due on the 4th of May last, but the Commonwealth, by the 9th section of the act of the 22d April, 1846, assumed the redemption of the notes, and released the banks from any obligations to redeem them. The same section directed, that the one per cent. interest heretofore paid should cease. This provision has been enforced with the acquiescence of all the banks interested. But a difficulty has arisen in relation to the 5th section of the act of the 20th April, 1846, that section repeals so much of the resolution of the 24th of June, 1842, as authorizes the payment of five per cent. to such banks as would, within sixty days after the passage, commence and continue to redeem the notes so issued under the act in question, in gold and silver coin.
The following is a list of the banks that have redeemed these notes in specie under the resolutions of the 24th of June, and the amount issued by them: Bank of the Northern Liberties,
$70,000 00 Bank of Delaware County,
43,057 00 Bank of Germantown,
35,524 00 Farmers' Bank of Bucks County,
The intention of the acts of the Legislature seems to be that after the 4th of May last, the interest on the unredeemed and unfunded notes should cease. I annex a copy of my letter to John F. Watson, Esq., cashier of the Bank of Germantown, on this subject. The banks interested, I believe, have acquiesced in this opinion, except the Bank of the Northern Liberties, which claims the right to deduct from its tax on dividends the accruing interest since the 4th of May. The construction put on the act by this department will be enforced, unless the Legislature otherwise direct.
The cancellation of the relief notes operates as an extinguishment of that amount of the State debt, and is important to the currency by withdrawing from circulation notes which prevent the circulation of specie, and are generally so torn and defaced as to be unfit for further use, as a circulating medium. In this view it is worthy of inquiry whether some provision may not be proper, consistent with the demands upon the Treasury, to withdraw them more rapidly from circulation than is provided by existing laws.
The following statement exhibits the loans which are due, or will fall due, in the current year, for which no provision is made, except so far as the relief notes are provided for by the acts of the 20th and 22d of April, 1846. Southwark Bank,
due May 1st, 1843, $12,500 00 Farmers' Bank of Bucks County,
4,611 00 Farmers' Bank of Reading,
15,018 00 Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank,
1844, 62,500 00 Bank of Northern Liberties,
5,000 00 Bank of Delaware County, 66 May 6th,
8,611 00 Bank of Montgomery County,
13,077 00 Commercial Bank of Pennsylvania,
50,000 00 Bank of North America,
" April 1st, 1847, 50,000 00 Doylestown Bank of Bucks County, 6 Sept. 1st,
3,000 00 Bank of Commerce,
12,500 00 Western Bank of Philadelphia, 66 Nov. 1st, 66 25,000 00
$261,817 00 Stock loan, per act of April 1, 1826, due Dec. 1, 1846,
1841, 27,041 69
930,000 00 Mar. 4, 1841, 6 July and Nov. 1847,
22,335 06 Loan (relief) May 4, " May 4, 1846,
The charter loans were taken by the banks named, in compliance with the 8th section of the act of the 25th March, 1824, and to the provisions contained in their charters, which refer to that act. The loan taken by the Southwark Bank, is twelve thousand five hundred dollars, redeemable May 1, 1843. The bank, however, is indebted to the Commonwealth for tax on dividends, in a sum exceeding this amount. It claims the right to withhold these taxes until paid. I have no authority to make such arrangement, and if done in one instance, the other banks would have the same right, and thus the revenues from this source be diminished. A law should be imme