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be involved in corporate wealth or not, and it is also certain that they will not submit to any discrimination against themselves by those who conduct the great instrumentalities of transportation. The Governor has a great responsibility in selecting the Commissioners, and it is justly anticipated that he will choose men whose very names import that intelligence and strength of character that is worthy of the great trust.
The abolition of the doctrine of fellow-servant, so far as it affects the liability of the master for injuries to his servant resulting from the acts or omissions of any other servant or servants of the common master, closes the controversy that has existed in the General Assembly for years on the principle involved in this proposition. Without commenting on the particular phraseology, which seems to have been very carefully weighed, we may say that the general proposition is just, in accordance with the spirit of modern jurisprudence and with the sound policy of the law. Those who serve railroad corporations take great risks. Eight thousand of them were killed in the United States in the last fiscal year; and the protection of the lives of the public, as well as their own lives, exacts most scrupulous care on the part of those who select them. That care cannot in any way be so forcibly impressed and so firmly assured by any methods so efficient as holding the companies responsible to the employees, as well as to the public, for injuries negligently inflicted upon them. While railroads are private corporations, their very nature gives them a public relation of the closest connection with the mass of the people, and they are now become, as a rule, opulent money-making institutions. The hardship to them, if such there be, in the new rule is not so great as the hardship to the public and to the employees alike would be were it not adopted. It is, therefore, likely to be acquiesced in by the companies and to be thoroughly sustained by enlightened public sentiment.
ARTICLE 13.-TAXATION AND FINANCE.
The great subject of taxation and finance is comprehended in an elaborate article of twenty-three sections. The chief provisions are that:
1. All taxes, State or local, are to be uniform on the same class of subjects in the territory of the taxing power; but after 1913 the General Assembly may segregate the several kinds of property and specify different subjects of local and of State taxed on.
2. Taxes on incomes of $600.00 or more; and license taxes on any business that cannot be reached by the valorem system, are authorized.
3. Real estate and tangible personalty are to be assessed at market value.
4. Lands added to city or town limits may be taxed lower for ten years.
5. When there is a corporate franchise tax, shares of stock representing the business or capital of the corporation shall not be further taxed.
6. There is to be a reassessment of real estate (except that of corporations) in 1905, and every four years thereafter; and special assessment of coal and mineral lands is provided for.
7. There is a capitation tax of $1.50 on all male adults, except military prisoners; $1.00 to go to the free schools, according to school population, and 50 cents to go into county and city treasuries for local purposes.
The General Assembly may authorize a capitation tax of $1.00 for school or other local purposes.
8. There shall be no limitation against a State tax, but bona fide purchasers of property are protected.
9. For local purposes, the assessment of roadbeds, real estate, rolling stock and personal property of railways (except the franchise and non-taxable shares of stock issued by other corporations) is to be made by the Corporation Commission, and is to be taxed by local authorities according to their assessment.
10. Railway and canal corporations are to pay an annual State franchise tax of 1 per centum on gross receipts in lieu of other taxes, license charges, including property tax, except the annual fee of $5.00 on the charter and assessments for street or local improvements.
11. Stock of trust and security companies and banks are to be taxed according to the present system, but the values of their real estate is to be deducted from the value of the stock to prevent double taxation.
There are certain exemptions from taxation:
1. (a) Property of the State and its local division; (b) that of churches and religious bodies; (c) private burying grounds not exceeding an acre; (d) that of educational institutions and of the Virginia Historical Society; (e) that of the Young Men's Christian Association, asylums, reformatories, hospitals, nunneries, benevolent and charitable associations; (f) and that of the Society for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
No inheritance tax is charged against such exempts on any legacy. The Legislature may, however, if it sees fit, repeal the exemptions save that of State or local public property; and the exemptions do not apply to associations paying money or benefit on account of sickness, accident or death.
2. Property exempt from levy for debt under the poor law is not liable for the capitation tax.
The committee in their long consideration of this article were assisted by experts from other States. It is justly claimed that it simplifies the subject; prevents in some cases double taxation; will realize from railway corporations a greater revenue than ever before; and that it is after the model of progressive and thriving States.
This may all be true, and yet I could not support the article and was paired' against it, being absent, sick. The uniformity and equality of taxation on all classes of property alike, save alone that exempt on account of its public ownership or relation, are to my mind a fundamental principle of democratic government so ingrained that no plausible theory or tempting scheme can grind it out. It does not prevent license taxes for carrying on any business, whether it be railroading or practicing law.
It does not prevent a franchise tax, for a franchise is property and often of great value, and the new Constitution recognizes franchises as property in requiring the municipal governments to offer them for sale.
Neither does uniform and equal taxation stand in the way of
any reform movements to realize any just tax whatsoever out of a corporation based on its properties, its earnings or its busi
I dislike to dissent from so important a work of my Conventional colleagues as the Article of Taxation and Finance, but the fact that other States have adopted such a system is not conclusive, and I had rather stand in the ancient way with a good example than follow them in a new and doubtful one. Time will test the new system. I hope it may work well, and I recognize some of its benefits. But however it may work, be it well or ill, my opinion is not likely to be changed, that uniformity and equality is the eternal base of righteousness and fairness in the distribution of public burdens, and the only one that in the long run will protect the weaker portion of society from discriminations against them.
ECONOMICS, REFORMS AND ELECTIONS.
Amongst the economic reforms are: The reduction of taxation 25 per cent. on real and personal estate; the levy of a tax of 1 per cent. on the gross receipts of railroads; the abolition of the County Courts; of one clerk in the counties that had two clerks; the levy of $5.00 on every corporation annually as a license tax; the abolition of Spring elections in counties; the prohibition of county and municipal subscriptions to corporations; and the institution of machinery that will increase revenues and keep down taxation. It is estimated by an able member of the Convention that the economic reforms will save the State not less than $1,000,000 per annum.
The elections of county officers that used to take place in the Spring are transferred to the Autumn and consolidated with the elections of members of the General Assembly on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The Secretary of State, the Treasurer, the State Superintendent of Schools and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Immigration are chosen by the people at the same time that they elect the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor and AttorneyGeneral. There will, therefore, be seven candidates upon the general State ticket. This scheme will relieve the General Assembly of the thankless task of selecting four State officers, and places their selection in the hands of the people. Whether it will be of that benefit to the people which it imports upon its face remains to be seen, for it makes the opportunity of the class of men who rise by expert combinations. Not all is yold that glitters. There are some miscellaneous changes that I might mention, but I will pursue the course that General Lee did on one occasion when there were many adjectives in an article prepared by another for his signature. "Strike out those adjectives,” he said to his amanuensis, “and leave some for another time.”
ORDAINMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION.
The Constitution was ordained on Thursday, the 29th day of May, 1902, by a vote of 48 to 38, two Republicans voting in the affirmative. Although my constituents in Campbell county were strongly for ordainment, I could not so vote, because I was a party to the expression of the Norfolk Democratic Convention of May, 1901, stating "its sense" in favor of submission of the Constitution to the people for ratification or rejection,” and, as an exponent of that doctrine, had spoken accord