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The President of the Senate appointed as members of the committec provided for by the foregoing resolution: Wessrs. Clark, MacMurray, Sneed, Schulze, Hanson, Telford, Denvir and Giberson.
Mr. Cuthbertson offered the following resolution, which on his inotion was adopted :
SENATE RESOLUTION No. 11.
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate inform the House of Representatives that the Senate is now duly organized and ready for the transaction of business.
Mr. Mills offered the following resolution, which on his motion was adopted :
SENATE RESOLUTION No. 12. Resolved, That the rules of the Fifty-second General Assembly be adopted as the temporary rules of the present session, to be in force until the permanent rules of the Senate of the Fifty-third General Assembly shall be adopted.
Mr. Clark, from the committee appointed to wait upon le Governor, reported that they had performed that duty, and that the Governor would communicate to the General Assembly in joint session by niessage this p. m.
The President of the Senate announced the following appointments: Executive assistant, F. Loomis; messenger, Ralph J. Revells; janitor, George Hastings.
A message from the House by Mr. McCann, Clerk:
Mr. President-I am directed to inform the Senate that the House is organized by the election of a Speaker and other officers and is now ready to proceed with the business of the session, Respectfully submitted.
B. H. McCUxx, Clerk of the House. At 1:30 o'clock p. m., on motion of Mr. Clark, the Senate took a rocess until 2:00 o'clock p. m.
2:00 O'CLOCK P. M.
The Senate reconvened.
MESSAGE FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTITIVES,
A message from the House by Mr. McCann, Clerk:
Mr. President-I am directed to inform the Senate that the House of Representatives has adopted the following joint resolution, in the adoption of which I am instructed to ask the concurrence of the Senate, to wit:
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION No. 1.
Resolved, by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring herein, That the two Houses meet in joint session in the Hall of the House of Representatives at 2:00 o'clock this p. m., for the purpose of receiving the Governor to deliver his official message in person to the Fifty-third General Assembly. Adopted by the House, January 3, 1923.
B. H. McC.uxx, Clerk of the Housc. On motion of Mr. Clark, the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives in the adoption of the foregoing resolution.
At 2:03 p. m., the Senate preceded by the President and President pro tempore and the Secretary of the Senate, proceeded to the House of Representatives to meet in joint session as provided by House Joint Resolution No. 1, adopted this day.
JOINT SESSION, 2:00 O'CLOCK P. M. The hour having arrived, the time heretofore fixed by joint resolution adopted by the House of Representatives and the Senate, at which the two Houses meet in joint session in the Hall of the House of Representatives, for the purpose of receiving the Governor to deliver his official message in person to the Fifty-third General Assembly, the Senate, preceded by its President and Secretary, appeared in the Hall of the House of Representatives and by direction of the Speaker took the seats assigned them.
The two Houses being convened in joint session the President of the Senate announced that a quorum of the Senate was present.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives announced that a quorum of the House was present.
The committee heretofore appointed to wait upon the Governor, appeared in the Tall of the House of Representatives, accompanied by the Governor, who, after being presented to the joint session, personally delivered his biennial message to the General Assembly, as follows, towit:
STATE OF ILLINOIS. 11 cmnders of the Fifty-third General Assembly, Rcprcsenting the People of the State of Illinois :
It is provided in our Constitution that the Governor shall give information, make recommendations and account to the General Assembly.
In accordance with these obligations, I therefore submit the following message:
In my inaugural message of two years ago, T enunciated principles which I arcepted as guides for public welfare and I desire to reiterate my faith in these principles at the commencement of this session, and refer you to that communication for my stand upon such issues of public moment as are defined therein.
At the close of the last session of the General Assembly, I called public attention to the failure of legislation permitting the people to vote on the adoption or rejection of people's ownership and operation of street cars at a five-cent fare, and other measures, and promised to convoke special sessions of the Legislature to enact laws to solve these problems.
However, following the adjournment of the Legislature, on July 21, 1921, I was indicted, on numerous unfounded charges, by the Grand Jury of Sangamon County, partly, I believe, as a result of my advocacy of certain measures, during the session of the Fifty-second General Asesmbly, which were displeasing to the powerful financial interests represented by the Chicago Traction Companies, and partly as a result of my veto of certain excessive appropriations desired by other powerful interests.
I believe that my indictment was planned and executed purposely to so tie my hands and occupy my time with legal defense as to prevent me from devoting my exclusive efforts to the affairs of the State and the promotion of measures beneficial to the people. To some extent these plans' were successful.
My time was principally occupied with matters connected with my legal defense until June 24, 1922, when I was finally acquitted by a jury in Waukegan, Lake County. This absolutely prevented my giving time and thought to questions involved in special legislative sessions until too late for new laws to become effective any earlier than they would through the processes of legislation of the present regular session,
ECONOMY AND FINANCES.
The financial condition of the State of Illinois is better today than at any time in its history. The daily balances in the Treasury during the past two years have averaged larger than during any other like period heretofore.
The balance on hand January 1st, 1923, was $22,820.192.79; and the record will prove that in the departments under the supervision of the Governor, the strictest economy, consistent with the best interests of the State, has been practiced; that there have been no illegal expenditures and no improper diversion of appropriations.
In a word, this administration has adhered to the policy that every dollar expended should secure a dollar's worth of service.
During the preceding administration, the sum of $500,000 was wisely appropriated to be used in cases of unforseen disaster, to meet emergency military expenditure for riots, or expense causd by fire, flood or other emergency requirements in any of the departments, A similar appropriation made by the Fifty-second General Assembly was cleclared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The great need for adequate appropriation for these possible emergencies was demonstrated during the fiood conditions last Spring on the Illinois River, but, owing to the lack of available State funds, it was not possible to pay for the necessary relief given the flood susferers.
On April 24, 1922, in response to urgent appeals from many quarters, I appointed a (ommittee, known as the Illinois Flood Relief Committee, to assist in the relief of sufferers froni floods along the streams in Illinois, and designated the Adjutant General as executive and disbursing officer.
This committee launched a campaign to arouse public interest in relief fund subscriptions and collections. It co-operated with the Illinois Red Cross Relief Committee, and seruired the co-operation of newspapers, conmercial and civic organizations, mayors of various Illinois cities, and other public and private agencies.
The State of Illinois gave valuable practical assistance, through the assignment to the work in their appropriate capacities, of district health superintendents, sanitary, hydraulic and highway engineers, employees and equipment of the Division of Game and Fish, and officers of the Military Department.
Through the activities of the committee and the Red Cross, combined, more than $77,000 was collected and disbursed for food, seed and cash grants, greatly to the relief of needy sufferers damaged in their personal and property effects by the disastrous floods of last spring.
I take this opportunity of publicly thanking the committee for the inselfish service of its members.
At this time there exists a deficit of $35,000 in the Department of Public Health due to necessary expenditures made for anti-toxin to prevent diphtheria among children, and a deficit of $120,428.73 in the Military Department for the expenses of State troops employed in strike and riot trouble between July 8 and September 22, 1922.
And I am advised that in the Division of Grain Inspection, owing to the unusually large shipments through Chicago, which are required to be inspected by the Grain Office, the appropriations for overtime for that purpose are exhausted. You will, therefore, be requested to make an appropriation of $7,500 to provide for the overtime required for grain inspection for the balance of this fiscal year. All of this appropriation that is used will be refunded the State by, the owners of the grain inspected.
The last General Assembly appropriated over $3,000,000 in emergency appropriations to carry the various activities of the State through the last six months of the biennium. As far as I am informed, there will be na requests from any of the departments under the supervision of the Governor for emergency appropriations, except as above noted. And I am also infornied that each of these departments or divisions have unexpended balances in other accounts, which, if transferable, would more than make up these deficits.
According to law, the Department of Finance is preparing a budget of estimated maximum appropriations required for the succeeding two years, which will he submitted to your Honorable Body.
In the preparation of this budget every item is being scrutinized with a view to reducing it to the lowest possible amount consistent with good government and efficient administration,
The aggregate of this proposed budget will be several million dollars less than the aggregate appropriations made by the Fifty-second General Assembly.
REVISION OF THE REVENUE LAWS.
I call the attention of your Honorable Body to the necessity of amending our revenue laws so as to establish a more equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation, and especially with a view to compelling the hidden wealth to bear its just share of the expenses of governinent.
A considerable portion of the funds required for State expenses are now being raised by indirect taxation.
Th method of providing funds is used by a number of other states, some of which raise all of the revenue they require by this means. With our present rate of 45 cents on the $100 of assessed valuation, we will raise about fifteen or sixteen million dollars. This is but a little more than the amount paid out by the State for educational purposes this fiscal year, which amounts to $11,500,000.
I would suggest that the General Assembly investigate other means of indirert taxation and give serious consideration to still further increasing the inheritance tax.
On November 7, the people of lllinois ratified by a large majority the law providing for a bond issue of $55,000,000 for compensation to Illinois men and women who served in the late war. Immediately upon the canvass of the vote, the Service Recognition Board created by the Act to administer the distribution of this fund, consisting of the Governor, the State Treasurer and the Adjutant General, proceeded to organize and in meetings held regularly since that time have formulated a comprehensive set of rules and prepared forms of application to be used to carry out its provisions.
A proceeding to enjoin the Service Recognition Board has been instituted in the courts, and if the law is upheld, as I hope it will be, the pay. ment of compensation to Illinois' veterans will not be delayed.
It becomes your duty, therefore, to take such action as will enable the Board to carry out the intentions of the law and the expressed will of the people by appropriating the $55,000,000 so that the payments may be continued during the ensuing biennium.
An appropriation sufficient to cover the operations of the Board is also of immediate necessity. In my opinion, it is advisable that some method of indirect taxation, as hereinbefore suggested, be devised to provide for the payment of these bonds and the interest thereon as they mature.
In addition to over $30,000,000 expended on public highways and $1,000,000 on waterways, both of which have been paid out of special funds provided by law, the amount expended in building activities of the State during the past two years totaled approximately $7,000,000, leaving unexpended appropriations of between two and three million dollars made for buildings not yet completed.
When I became Governor in 1921, I found a vast amount of uncompleted work. Not a shovel of earth had been turned in the waterway construction; the Centennial Building was under roof, but required an additional million dollars for completion; the new penitentiary at Lockport, which had been under way since the passage of the law creating the Penitentiary Commission in 1908, was only well started; at the group hospital in Chicago, the foundation walls were barely to the surface of the ground, and only a few of the buildings at the Alton and Dixon State Hospitals were finished.
Rather than start new projects, this administration adopted the policy of completing those which were under construction and great strides have been made toward this end.
With these buildings nearing completion, and in view of the heavy burden of taxation borne by the people of Illinois, it is my hope that we can greatly curtail our building activities during the next two years.
The $60,000,000 bond issue, approved by the people in 1918, provides for the construction of 4,800 miles ol State or trunk line highways. The entire principal and interest of the bonds will be paid by motor license fees without a cent of direct taxation. The maintenance of these roads is also provided for and will be paid from fees collected on motor vehicles. The present automobile license fees are not a burden on the motor user's since Illinois' schedule of license fees is below the average of other states, and is substantially lower than that of some of the states in the Middle West, which have as yet no adequate plans for systematic road improvement.
In addition to the money derived from State bonds and motor license fees, the appropriation made to Illinois under the provisions of the Federal Aid Road Law are being utilized for road construction on the bond issue system. Under the terms of this law, Illinois must meet the Federal appropriations dollar for dollar.
WORK PRIOR TO JANUARY, 1921.
When I became Governor in January, 1921, there had been completed of the State Bond Issue System approximately 700 miles of paved roads in. cluding State Aid 15-d work. Up to that time no bonds had been issued, but the construction had been financed by means of Federal Aid appropriations and motor license fees, together with moneys advanced by the counties under the provisions of the State Aid Road Law, which provides that when the road is taken over by the State the counties will be reimbursed.
The amounts expended from these sources, up to that time, were aiut as follows: Federal Aid Fees.
$ 5,724,799.05 Motor License Fees.
10,899,757.52 County Funds
$22,059,046.35 Of the county funds $3,163,278,61 have since been refunded to the counties.