January 2, 1877
To the General Assembly:
The reports of the officers in charge of the State Government and institutions show that the general condition of State affairs which it is your duty to consider is very gratifying. The demand for extensive changes of the laws, which is often a temptation to excessive legislation, is at the present time less urgent than usual, and you may, I trust, therefore be congratulated on the prospect of a short and harmonious session.
The following is a brief summary of the present financial condition of the State:
On the 15th day of November, 1875, the public debt of the
State was ..$7,949,920.12
The redemptions during the year were
Loan of 1875 $1,465,414.82
Outstanding November 15, 1876 .... $6,484,505.30
Of the amount outstanding on the 15th of November last, the sum of $11,8565.00 had ceased to draw interest, the holders thereof having been notified to surrender their stock for redemption, so that the interest-bearing funded debt of the State is .$6,472,640.30
A reduction during the past year of . $1,473,114.82
The fund debt is divided as follows:
Foreign debt, so called, payable in New York City . $6,482,840.30
Domestic debt, payable in Columbus .1,665.00
The local indebtedness of the State is as follows:
Debts of counties ....
Debts of townships including debts incurred by boards of education other than for separate school districts
Debts of cities, first and second class .
Debts of incorporated villages ..
Debts of school districts (special)
Sept. 1, 1875
The amount of reimbursable debt, therefore, is
State $ 6,484,505.30
Irreducible debt consisting of school, college,
other trust funds) ..$4,207,716.90
Aggregate public debts in Ohio (State, local
And trust funds) ..$46,752,200.76
The local indebtedness in this statement is reckoned to September 1, 1876, and the State debt to November 15, 1876.
The balance in the State Treasury,
on the 15th of November, 1875, was $ 1,429,778.52
The receipts from all sources for the fiscal year
Ending November 15, 1876, were ..5,159,667.96
Total amount of funds in Treasury for the year ..$ 6,589,446.48
The disbursements for all purposes during the
year have been .$ 6,003,617.44
Balance in the Treasury November 15,1876 .. $ 585,829.04
The Auditor of State estimates the receipts for the current year from all sources, including balance on hand November 15, 1876, as follows:
Revenue Fund ..$ 826,644.05
Asylum Fund ... 1,882,940.86
Sinking Fund 1,071,622.33
School Fund . 1,607,442.80
Total estimated receipts . $5,388,650.04
The disbursements at---
From Revenue Fund $ 686,289.97
From Asylum Fund 2,120,267.69
From Sinking Fund 1,071,487.18
From School Fund ..1,538,676.00
Your attention is especially directed to the observations of the Auditor of State in his report for 1876, under the head of Estimated Disbursements.
I desire to concur in the recommendation of the auditor that the Asylum Fund be consolidated with the General Revenue Fund. It will tend to simplify accounts and to facilitate the transaction of public business, without impairing the safeguards of the Treasury or the data upon which statistical and other estimates can be based.
The taxes levied in 1875, collectible in 1876, were
State Taxes .. $ 4,948,995.19
County and local . 23,003,976.18
Delinquencies and forfeitures 940,211.00
The taxes levied in 1876, collectible in 1877, are
State taxes .$4,626,620.54
County and Local ..23,894,635.98
Delinquencies and forfeitures 1,443,929.30
The taxable valuations in Ohio, as shown by the grand duplicate of 1876, are----
Real estate in cities, town, and villages $371,848,098.00
Real estate not in cities, town or villages 704,940,269.00
Personal property 520,681,599.00
Which is a decrease from the grand duplicate of 1875 of $1,105,896.00
This decrease arises as follows:
On personal property .$14,979,219.00
Increase in the value of real estate in cities,
towns, and villages $5,816,377.00
Increase in the value of real estate
not in cities, town, or villages $8,056,946.00
Total increase ..13,873,323.00
Net decrease, as above $1,105,896.00
From the foregoing statement it appears that the State debt has been reduced during the past year almost one and a half millions of dollars, and that the indebtedness of counties, townships, and school districts has been reduced over three hundred thousand dollars. But cities of the first and second class and incorporated villages have increased their indebtedness more than ten millions of dollars since the close of the fiscal year 1875.
The attention of the Legislature has often been called to the rapid increase of municipal indebtedness and expenditures, but it is so important that I do not hesitate to repeat what has heretofore been said. The whole people of the State are deeply interested in this subject. The burdens borne by the cities and towns must be shared, in part at least, by all who transact business with them. The town and the neighboring country have a common interest, and in most respects, must be regarded as one community. I submit that to the subject of local indebtedness the General Assembly should apply the principles of the State Constitution on the subject of State indebtedness.
Under the provisions of the eighth article of the Constitution, the State debt, notwithstanding the extraordinary expenditures of the war has been reduced from over twenty millions, the amount due in 1851, until it is now only about six millions. An important part of the constitutional provisions which have been so successful in State finances is the section which requires the creation of a sinking fund, and the annual payment of a constantly increasing sum on the principal of the State debt. Let a requirement analogous to this be enacted in regard to existing local indebtedness; let a judicious limitation of the rate of taxation which local authorities may levy be strictly adhered to, and allow no further indebtedness to be authorized except in conformity with these principles, and we may, I believe, confidently expect that within a few years the burdens of debt now resting upon the cities and town of the State will disappear, and that other wholesome and much needed reforms in the whole administration of our municipal government will of necessity follow the adoption of what may be called the cash system in local affairs.
Under any limitations and safeguards which the Legislature may adopt, a very large discretion must necessarily be committed to the local authorities. The wisdom of its exercise will depend mainly on the citizens themselves. In order to secure an honest, economical, and efficient administration of a city government, the best citizens of all parties must unite and act together. In the administration of our State and National government we have political parties and it is probably best that it should be so. But there is no more reason for the antagonisms of political parties in a municipal government than in a bank or railroad company. Municipal governments are organizations designed chiefly for the better protection of property and person, and the better management of schools and charities. In the administration of such governments all honest, industrious citizens have an identical interest. The cooperation of a moderate proportion of the best citizens in any city in Ohio, with a determination expressed by them that good men, from all political parties, or no political party, shall administer its affairs, and that unfit men, of any party, shall not hold its offices, would soon secure a good municipal government. Such a government calls for the best work of the best men, and neither party alone can furnish it. The improvement of our municipal government, generally, would constitute one of the best possible guaranties of an efficient civil service upon a large scale.
In the month of April last information was received from the sheriffs of the counties of Stark and Wayne, and from other sources, that in some of the mining districts of those counties bands of rioters were by force and intimidation preventing laborers from working where they had been hired and were desirous to labor, and that their employers had been expelled by violence from their property.
The Adjutant-General and the Attorney-General of the State immediately repaired to the scene of the alleged riots, and after investigation reported that the representations of the sheriffs of those counties were fully sustained by the facts, and that the local authorities were unable to afford protection to citizens and to preserve the peace.
The Adjutant-General was directed to call to the aid of the local authorities of said counties a military force sufficient to protect citizens in the enjoyment of their rights and to enforce the laws.
With the assistance thus afforded, the civil authorities were enabled to arrest many of the offenders and prevent further injury to person and property. Immediately after learning that the local authorities were again able to maintain law and order without assistance from the State, the military companies which had been called into the service of the State were withdrawn and returned to their homes.
The Adjutant-Generals report contains a full and detailed account of these transactions, accompanied by copies of all papers relating thereto, and a statement of the expenses incurred. It is gratifying that in this affair, which at one time threatened to be very serious, the supremacy of the law was upheld without loss of life. Adjutant-General Wikoff, Attorney-General Little, and the officers and men of the military companies which were called out, deserved and have received the marked approbation of the people of the State.
The Board of Centennial Managers have completed the work entrusted to them, and it is a satisfaction to know that the part taken by the people of Ohio in the National exhibition at Philadelphia was highly creditable to the State.
The appropriations made by the General Assembly have been carefully and economically expended, and when the affairs of the Board are closed up, a balance of several thousand dollars will be left unexpended.
The entire number of Ohio exhibitors was one thousand of whom two hundred and fifty received awards, a proportion larger than was obtained by any other State for the same class of articles. The jury on collective State exhibits (individual exhibits not coming within the line of their duties) recommended in their report awards to Ohio as follows:
1. For a State building on the Centennial Grounds, of excellent design and workmanship, constructed with materials exclusively from Ohio, and by workmen from that State, and containing contributions of building-stone from nearly every quarry in the State, with glass made from Ohio sandstone.
2. For a large collection, by the State Archaeological Society, of mound builders remains, and other antiquities relating to the prehistoric man.
3. For a large collection of the vast mineral resources of the State, with their primary derivations, and especially from the Hanging Rock iron region, the Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Hocking Valley, and Perry county coal and iron regions, also including excellent specimens of salt and bromine.
4. For a complete exhibition of the woods of the State.
5. For an extensive exhibition of the cereals of the State.
6. For a complete display of many varieties of fruits from twenty-four different counties.
7. For an exceedingly interesting exhibition of the educational system of the State, embracing all departments of education.
8. For a large, elaborate, and exceedingly valuable geological map of Ohio, with many excellent features deserving special commendation.
The Board of State Charities, which was reestablished by the General Assembly at its last session, is rendering important service. This Board has no authority whatever, excepting only that it is its duty to examine thoroughly into the condition and management of all public institutions, penal or charitable, that are established by law and administered by officers or agents of the State, or of any city or county thereof. It is also the duty of this Board, annually, to report to the General Assembly such facts and suggestions as are deemed important in relation to the interests committed to tis care.
More than thirty thousand persons, poor and suffering men, women and children, come under the supervision of this Board. It is believed that the publicity thus given to the management of these institutions is adequate to the correction of all abuses. The members of the Board serve without compensation, and its expenses are small, having been for the past year, including the salary of the Secretary, less than two thousand dollars. I commend the report and work of the Board to your favorable consideration.
As a member of the Board of State Charities, I have visited with my colleagues, during the year, the following State institutions, to wit: the Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home, at Xenia; the Hospitals for the Insane at Cleveland, Dayton, and Athens, and the Longview Asylum; the institutions for the Education of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, and Imbecile, at Columbus; the Reform School for Boys, at Lancaster; the Reform School for Girls, at Delaware, and the Ohio Penitentiary. These institutions were found to be in a satisfactory condition. Experience has shown that the appointment of good men of different political parties on each of the Boards of Trustees of these institutions is conducive to their best interests. They are all entitled to the confidence of the people of the State and to the continued liberality of the General Assembly.
The work upon the Columbus Hospital for the Insane has progressed satisfactorily during the past season. In the opinion of the Trustees, if the necessary appropriations be made promptly, a large part of the edifice will be ready for occupancy by the first of April next.
The Ohio Penitentiary is altogether inadequate to the necessities of the State, there being at this time imprisoned therein about fifteen hundred prisoners, while the Penitentiary has suitable accommodations for not more than one thousand. Intermediate prisons, or work-houses, should be provided without delay for the confinement of the younger class of prisoners, and those especially who are punished for a first offense, and whose reformation may be reasonably hoped for. As work-houses, they should also be adapted to the imprisonment of able-bodied vagrants, who live habitually by beggary, and are becoming a dangerous element, not only in the cities, but also in the agricultural districts of the State. The courts should have authority to protect the public from this class of offenders by sending them to a place where they can and will be compelled to earn their living.
It will be seen by the report of the Secretary of the Board of State Charities that several of the jails in the State have been condemned by grand juries as unfit for use. The State is bound to take reasonable care of the health of prisoners, and especially of persons detained on mere suspicion of crime. I recommend a provision of law that whenever a jail has been or shall be condemned by a grand jury it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county to take all prisoners coming into his custody for confinement in jail to such neighboring jails as he shall deem suitable and safe, and shall have sufficient accommodations for the purpose, and that the fair and reasonable expense of the support of such prisoners shall be paid by the county so sending to the county so receiving the same.
The field work of the Geological Survey proper is now entirely done, and half of the final reporttwo volumes, each in two parts,--in which the results are to be permanently recorded, have been already published, while the first part of the third volume is now going through the press, and the second part is in process of preparation.
The two remaining volumesone on Economic Geology, and the other on Zoology and Botanyare nearly completed, and the whole series will be ready for publication before the close of 1877.
The general Geological Map of the State, the preparation of which formed part of the duty specifically assigned to the Geological Corps, is also nearly completed, and will be presented for publication the same time with the volumes of the final report already specified.
In the plan originally proposed by Prof. Newberry, the chief Geologist, and adopted by the Geological Board, the final report was to consist of six octavo volumes, two on Geology, two on Paleontology, one on Economic Geology, and one on Zoology and Botany.
It was at first supposed that all the really important results of the Survey could be embodied in such a report, but it has been found impossible to include within these limits satisfactory reports on all of the eighty-eight counties of the State. It therefore became necessary to prepare a third volume on Geology, and another on Paleontology, or to leave unpublished a large part of the most valuable materials which had been gathered. The publication of these volumes will give a symmetry and completeness to the report which both the interests of the people and the credit of the State demand.
It has also been thought advisable to add to the general Geological Map of the State detailed maps of the most important mining districts, made on so large a scale as to permit all mines, mining properties, furnaces, and rolling mills to be clearly represented. These maps will form six sheets, three of which are finished; the other are now in course of preparation.
In the appropriation asked of rand granted two years, since, for the completion of the report and map, no estimates were made for this additional work, and to provide for its accomplishment during the coming year a further appropriation of $25,000 will be required. Should this sum be granted by the General Assembly, the entire report and all the maps specified will be finished and ready for publication before the close of 1877.
My attention has been called by the Executive Committee of the State Board of Agriculture, to the embarrassed financial condition of the Board of Agriculture, to the embarrassed financial condition of the Board by reason of loss sustained by the failure of the Richland county Bank, and by the unfavorable weather during the week of the last State Fair. The Board has been unable to pay the premiums awarded, and its ability to do the important work for which it was established is seriously impaired. The aid of the Legislature will be invoked, and it is hoped that such relief will be afforded as, after investigation, may be required by the important interests involved.
I respectfully recommend to your attention the suggestions of the Inspector of Mines on the subject of establishing a department in the Agricultural College for instruction in mining engineering, and as to the amendments required to increase the efficiency of the laws relating to this office.
In my message to the General Assembly in the year 1868, I spoke of the prevention of frauds upon the elective franchise as the most important subject then requiring the attention of the General Assembly. This subject has lost none of its importance. The extent of the evil in Ohio has probably been somewhat overestimated, but the fact that it exists at all tends to weaken public confidence in the ballot-box, and is a serious evil. The government must, in that event, pass into the hands of unscrupulous men. I submit to your judgment the propriety of such amendments to the election laws was will provide for the registration, prior to the election, of the lawful voters in each ward or election precinct of all the cities of the State.
In order to save unnecessary expense, and for the greater convenience of voters, I would also recommend the propriety of submitting to the people an amendment of the State Constitution, providing for holding the State elections, in the years in which the Presidential election occurs, on the day of the Presidential election.
In conclusion, I desire to assure you that in all your endeavors to foster and protect the interests and rights of the people of Ohio, you may rely on my earnest cooperation, and that my sincerest wishes will be accomplished if, under the Divine Providence, your legislation shall be directed to that end.
R. B. HAYES