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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/107

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FINANCIAL HISTORY OF OREGON 99 which he could cash this three-quarters-of-a-million of war- rants. The interest then accruing on them would be his own. He did not have to account to the state for it. His only risk turned upon the validation of these warrants by the succeeding session of the legislature. Such a grand opportunity for mutual advantage, for the warrant holders on the one side and the state treasurer on the other, would surely not be overlooked. Notwithstanding this striking demonstration of the diversion of interest earned by public funds because of the retention of a primitive treasury law, another decade was to elapse before legislation was enacted providing that the interest accruing on treasury surpluses should belong to the people. The Outstanding Warrants of the Seventies. The follow- ing statistics of the outstanding warrants reported by the state treasurers during the seventies are significant of further blun- dering, if of not something worse, in Oregon treasury legis- lation : Outstanding Warrants, Bearing Ten Per Cent Interest. 1872 $ 76,883.69 1878 192,975.62 1874 287,559.00 1880 ;. 20,337.76 1876 289,665.01 The sum reported in 1872 was mainly a residue of the un- paid indebtedness of the period preceding, 1868-1870. The deficits of subsequent periods were due to special expenditures for public buildings without any increase in the levy for state purposes. In 1876 the state supreme court ruled that the general revenues of any biennial period could be applied only in meet- ing the expenses of that biennial and the deficit of the pre- ceding period. This made it necessary to make a special levy for liquidating the accounts of longer standing represented by this outstanding warrant indebtedness. Accordingly, a special levy of three mills was made for the payment of these old warrants in addition to the regular four-mill levy for current expenses. This special three-mill levy was extended through four years, 1877-1880, inclusive. 1 iMessages and Documents, 1876, pp. 11-12; Simon v. Brown, 6 Or. 285.