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Finances in Oregon.

as in a vise the salary clauses have from the beginning been quite completely ignored. The intent of the makers of the constitution in specifically naming the sum to be received by each of the different state officials whose offices were created by the constitution, with no authority granted to the legislature to change, is clear. Furthermore, these officials "shall receive no fees or perquisites whatever for the performance of any duties connected with their respective offices."[1] These constitutional provisions pertaining to salaries were flouted. Twice the regular procedure was followed in attempting to increase these salaries each time the amendments proposing the increase were lost at the polls.[2] Nothing daunted, the legislatures added special compensations when additional administrative duties were developed and allowed the collection and retention of fees galore ; but finally in 1905 a "flat salary" law was passed naming a sum "in lieu of all salaries, fees, commissions and emoluments" then received.[3] What the fate of this law will be if tested in the courts is uncertain. In this connection I am concerned only with the influence of the constitution upon the salaries. The economy (or rather lack of economy) of the fee system long maintained in connection with the state offices will be discussed when the salient characteristics of Oregon's system as a whole are examined.

Internal Improvements—Public corporate participation in internal improvement was tabooed. Enterprise by private corporations even was strongly deprecated by not a few of the leaders in the convention. The ideal of the convention was ultra-individualistic. The document it framed gave no license for participation by the state government, or by any municipality that might be created under it, in any industrial or commercial activity. The contracting of public indebtedness,


  1. Article XIII.
  2. The proposed amendment of 1864 provided for granting to the Legislature authority "to alter or modify" salaries; that of 1872 provided for specific "flat" salaries. Memorials and Resolutions, 1864, p. 15, and Session Laws 1872, p. 216.
  3. Session Laws, 1905, p. 133.