Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/290

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

Washington thus extended the franchise in 1910; California, in 1911; and Oregon, in 1912. Previous to 1910, four western states, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho, had permitted women to vote. Now twelve states have extended the franchise to women. The results of this extension of the suffrage are naturally of great interest. Some statistics of the number of women voting have been collected in different places. The relative proportions of women voting to men voting vary. Taking into consideration the fact that there are more men eligible to vote than women, an approximate average would show that about three quarters as many women as men vote. Women’s organizations are showing increased interest in political questions. Political speakers often find that women constitute more than half their audience. Coincident with the voting of women is the prominence given to moral issues. Prohibition and the abolition of capital punishment were voted at the 1914 election in Oregon, these measures having been previously defeated at a recent election in which only men voted. This does not prove that women carried these measures, yet the general opinion seems to favor this conclusion. Recent reform administrations in Portland and Seattle have been attributed partly to the influence of women voters. There is also evidence which points to the influence of women in bringing health and educational measures to the fore. Two members of the Oregon state legislature in 1915 are women.

There remains to be considered legislation which does not concern directly instruments of government, or laborers or women as classes; this may be called welfare legislation. This class includes such topics as taxation, public utilities, prisons, education, eugenics, the sale of liquor and immigration.

The system of revenue in nearly all the states is the general property tax. The verdict of political economists is that it is unjust and antiquated; unjust because intangible personality escapes taxation, and antiquated because adapted to the relatively simple condition of a more equal distribution of wealth found in newer communities. The general property tax is supplemented by other forms of revenue, as inheritance taxes, corporation taxes and licenses, so that some states, perhaps not more than ten, have escaped much of the evil resulting from the general property tax. Fewer than this number of states have definitely abandoned it, having separated state and local taxation. California abandoned the general property tax in 1910 and acquired the separation of state and local revenues. Oregon has on two occasions voted against proposals leading to the abandonment of the general property tax. Every election for the last few years in Oregon has brought forth a good-sized list of tax measures to be voted on; and not many of them pass. Intense interest in Oregon has centered on the single tax. The single tax as discussed in Oregon means the raising of larger proportions of revenue from land and smaller proportions from improve-