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newspapers might object—not unreasonably—to having the credentials of their correspondents submitted to a committee of metropolitan newspapermen, was regarded as probable. At any rate, objection came in each House to the delegating of powers which are essentially those of the Legislature itself.
In the Assembly, Wyllie made strong protest against any such rule being adopted. "It has been offered as excuse for this rule,” said Wyllie, “that it has been taken from those governing in Congress. If that be so, I consider it a very good reason for rejecting this proposed change." Assemblyman Sutherland defended the rule, however, stating his belief that it was a good one,
The Senate, after extended discussion, decided on Senator Larkins' motion that the rule should be rejected.
“There is no good reason,” said Senator Larkins, "why this Chamber should not be open to the press. We want no newspaper trust. The only way The People have of getting the news is through the newspapers. Let the newspaper correspondents be free to come here."
Senator Curtin attacked the rule, questioning not only its desirability, but its constitutionality. He held that the Legislature has no constitutional right to delegate its powers to an outside committee to determine who shall act as legislative correspondents. Senator Curtin also showed the injustice of such a rule to the country press.
Senator Caminetti backed up Larkins and Curtin, insisting there is no good reason for putting into the hands of three men, outside the Legislature, power to say what newspapermen are entitled to places on the floor.
Senator Wright, however, defended the rule, declaring it to be desirable. But Senator Wright and Assemblyman Sutherland received small backing. The legislators retained in their own hands the power to pass upon newspapermen's credentials.45
But each Legislature has the power to fix its own rules. At future sessions—the prediction is safe-similar attempts to shift responsibility for keeping independent newspaper writers off the floor will be made. And may--indeed, almost to a certainty, will—be successful. The right of the press—it should not be regarded as a privilege-to free access to all legislative gatherings, cannot be too jealously guarded.
The rules finally adopted were—with few changes which were for the most part for the better-practically the same as those which had governed at former sessions.
48 The rules governing the press which were finally adopted were entirely new. They were as follows:
"A person desiring recognition by the Senate or Assembly as a newspaper correspondent shall make application in writing to the President of the Senate or Speaker of the Assembly.
“(a) The applicant shall state in writing the name of the newspaper or newspapers he represents and that he is not engaged, and will not become engaged as a lobbyist for any person, copartnership, corporation or interest and that he is not and will not become the agent or representative of any person, copartnership, organization or corporation in advocating or attempting to defeat any measure pending in either branch of the Legislature, that he is not employed in any executive, administrative, or legislative department of the State government and will not become so employed while accepting the privileges of a press representative.
“(b) It shall be the duty of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly to assign one or more rooms for the exclusive use of correspondents during the legislative session, which room shall be known as the press room. The press room shall be under the control of the Superintendent of the Capitol Building and Grounds, provided, that all rules and regulations shall be approved by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the Assembly."
CALIFORNIA'S TAXATION PROBLEM.
The 1913 Legislature had scarcely convened before it was confronted with the problem of the uncertainty of the State's finances.
The trouble had been foreshadowed at the session of 1911. Chairman Charles P. Cutten of the Senate Finance Committee of that session pointed out repeatedly that under the new system of taxation sufficient revenues for State purposes would not be raised. 48
By the time the 1913 Legislature had assembled, practical demonstration had been made that under the new system the public-service corporations, immediately affected by the change, were not paying the same proportionate taxes as the other tax-payers. As the revenues derived from the corporations are, under the new system, used exclusively for State purposes, it became
46 Cutten gave it as his opinion that the needs of the State would increase faster than the gross incomes of the public serv. ice corporations.
"The increase of expenditures in 1911, over 1905,"_said Cutten in a statement published in the Sacramento Bee, Dec. 6, 1911, "was $4,555,571, or 45.7 per cent. The increase for 1911 over 1909 was $1,111,291, or 8.282 per cent., the smallest increase for over ten years, both in percentage and amount.
"The Tax Commission in its various reports assured the Legislature that it could easily raise sufficient increase each year to run the State. But if the Legislature had taken the early assurances of the Commission in good faith and increased its appropriations in the same ratio as has been done for ten years past, the State would be now facing a deficit of $2,121,346, instead of $450,000.
"It is my opinion that under the present rates the annual deficit will increase rather than diminish, as the needs of the State are increasing faster than the revenues of the publicservice corporations."
evident that Cutten's contentions of the previous year had some foundation. Incidentally, it may be added, from the beginning, Cutten had not been alone in his predictions of the insufficiency of the new system.
The change in the State's revenue system furnishes one of the most extraordinary chapters in California's not unsensational political history. That the change was at all possible, was due to the fact that the old system was notoriously unsatisfactory.
Under the old system, for all purposes, State, county, municipal and district, an ad valorem tax was levied upon all property liable to taxation. The system proved inadequate and cumbersome, particularly in the levy of taxes for State purposes.
The State tax rate was the same in all the counties. The assessments upon which taxes were collected, however, were made by county assessors. In one county the assessments might be fixed at 60 per cent. of the actual value of the property; in a second county the assessment might be 30 per cent. This would mean that the tax-payer of the first county paid double the State tax paid by the tax-payer of the second county. To be sure, the State Board of Equalization attempted each year to equalize assessments as between counties. But the acts of the equalizers were more fruitful of scandal and harsh feeling than of practical results.
Another serious defect of the system was that under it equitable assessment of public-service corporations and other representatives of large aggregations of wealth became practically impossible. That large interests were able to evade payment of their just share of the public revenues was notorious.
To evade such pay
ment, by taking advantage of the weakness of the system, it was necessary for these interests to influence,47 if not control, State Boards of Equalization and County Assessors.48 This brought these interests "into politics” in many, if not all, of the counties of the State. But even where Assessors were free of corporation control, the inadequate machinery at their disposal to hunt out property, upon which powerful interests might seek to evade taxation, made equitable taxation under the
47 "In some form or another," said Governor Johnson in his inaugural address, January, 1911, “nearly every governmental problem that involves the health, the happiness, or the prosperity of the State, has arisen, because some private interest has intervened or has sought for its own gain to exploit either the resources or the politics of the State."-See Appendix "Story of the California Legislature of 1911," page I.
48 The close connection between the county assessors' offices and the tax departments of the various public service corporations is suggestively shown in the associate membership list of the County Assessors' Association of California. The association meets annually to consider problems of assessment and taxation. The associate members meet with the assessors to advise with them. Among the associate members at the Association's meeting at Los Angeles in December, 1912, were: W. W. Brison, Tax Agent, Southern Sierras Power Company; _Chas. E. Jewett, Tax Agent, The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway; A. O. Adams, Tax Agent, Los Angeles Railway; Geo. E. Springer, Tax Agent, Northern Electric Railway; J. Fred Traggardh, Tax Agent, J. D. Spreckels Companies of San Diego; F. A. Waters, Tax Agent, San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad; Frank Mattison, Tax Agent, Sierra and San Francisco Power Company; J. L. Smith, Tax Agent, Western Pacific Railway; Wm. H. Kline, Tax Agent, Pacific Gas and Electric; C. J. Hall, Tax Agent, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph; Alex. Brown, President State Tax Association; T. C. Coogan, Attorney The Pullman Company; D. V. Cowden, Tax Attorney, Southern Pacific Company; Al W. Baker, Assistant Tax Attorney, Southern Pacific Company; J. Harry Scott, George E. Mitchell, E. A. De Camp, General Tax Agents.
Jere Burke and Walter Parker were, during the days of their political activity, closely identified with the Association, as associate members. At its 1912 meeting, the Association adopted the following resolutions:
"Whereas, It has pleased an All Wise Providence to take from our cherished friends,
and also Associate Members, J. T. Burke, A. P. Maginnis and W. F. Parker; and
"Whereas, Through the intimacy of long personal and official association, we have had unusual opportunity to know them as citizens, as officials, as friends and men, and have always