Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/293

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Finances in Oregon.

saying that there should be a hard and fast constitutional limitation of all salaries. To the legislature was entrusted the naming of the salaries only of the county officials and of those connected with offices that might later be created.[1]

The concern for keeping the burden of the support of the state government light is evident in the proposal to definitely defer the time before which the erection of a state house should not begin. The date for the utilization of the University fund was placed ten years in the future. The proposal to divert this fund to common school purposes and thus avoid the line of public expenditure for higher education had strong championship. Participation in activities for internal improvement either by the state or local governments was rigidly denied and the use of public credit by either the state or local governments was closely limited. The employment of a convention stenographer to keep an official record of the debates was dispensed with on account of the expense it would have involved. The "pay as you go" and "hard cash" rule of business practice was enjoined in the prohibition of all banking activities for the circulation of instruments of credit. The strongest consideration with them against the unlimited liability of stockholders in corporations was the fear that such discouragement of corporate enterprise would lead in the end as it had in Missouri and other states to an irresistible demand to guarantee the loans of transportation companies by the state and local governments.

The spirit of the convention as evidenced by its discussions as well as by the document submitted to the people was entirely of the safe and sane order. It was profiting from the disastrous experience of the states of the Middle West during the generation preceding in their state canal and railway building and wildcat banking excesses. There was a strong dispo-

  1. "The salaries were fixed at a very low figure for the time in the constitution because the leading men in the convention were over-anxious to commend the constitution to their parsimonious constituents and thereby secure its adoption. But for special efforts of a few, the salaries would have been fixed twenty-five per cent below what they are." — Daily Oregonian, Oct. 8, 1870.