Page 2 of 22 Feb 1917 Issue of Des Moines Iowa Homestead in Des-Moines, Iowa

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Des Moines Iowa Homestead (Newspaper) - February 22, 1917, Des Moines, Iowa 2 370 the Iowa Homestead february 22, 1917 matter of self Protee Tho rite endorses appropriation at the request of the Iowa Homestead Hon. Clifford Thorne for years a member of the Iowa state Railroad commission and one of the leading authorities of the country on Railroad matters has written the following endorsement of an appropriation for for checking Over the Federal valuation of Iowa railroads which was recommended to the thirty seventh general Assembly by governor Harding recently pert assistants have been employed and kept at work constantly. There Are Over ten thousand Miles of track and right of Way and several thousand cars engines and buildings to be appraised in Iowa Iowa should follow the principles of private business. Suppose you individually had a Case in court in which the Pivotal Issue involved the appraisal of a Large piece of property. In your Case let us assume that a Board of appraisers has been appointed and that the other Side has employed the Ablest help that could be secured and then were working con stantly Day in and Day out for several years. Would you calmly ignore the proceeding or would you be present with Able assistants to protect your rights at every stage of the contest from the hearings before the Board of appraisers to the filing of the report and possible Appeal to the courts for setting aside the findings you would do the latter if you Are a Man of any discretion. We must learn to handle Public affairs in the same practical efficient common sense manner As that in which we handle private business. The american people will permit no other Standard to exist. The Federal act authorizing the interstate Commerce commission to make this National appraisal of our railroads specifically provides that any tentative valuation when determined shall be served upon the Carrier involved and upon the governors of the states traversed by the Railroad giving each party thirty Days in which to file pro tests. Federal Law makes governor the responsible party. So far As the people of this state Are concerned the Federal statute itself specifically places the responsibility in the first instance upon your chief executive. Undoubtedly he will Call to his assist Ance the members of the state Railroad commission. The state Railroad com Mission has not one civil Engineer in its employ and it has just one statistician and his whole time is More than taken up on other matters. For Over six months the commission has been trying to procure another statistician for the Price it is Able to pay. Let us assume that the Railroad com Mission is authorized to take charge of this work Independent of the chief executive. Then by the Federal act the governor is authorized to file the protest on behalf of Iowa and the state rail Road commission is authorized by the state to do the same thing. Would it not be Wise to Center the responsibility there Are persons who Are going to scrutinize most carefully every act that is performed at every stage of this contest. Every word spoken before the commission and every exhibit filed will be reduced to writing and be made Public property. If the governor should concede any Issue of great importance in this contest or should he employ incompetent men to Champion the cause of the citizens of this state in that proceeding which involves several Hundred millions of Dol Lars to our state it would forever kill Harding politically in the state of Iowa. The whole state would know positively and definitely whom to hold responsible. On the other hand if he should perform his task wisely and efficiently he will Merit and he will receive the credit that will be his due. And the state of Iowa will be benefited thereby. It is no time Sor a dog in the Man Ger attitude. be that 5t have been better for Congress to have placed the responsibility on the Railroad commis Sions instead of the governors of the various states. It May be better for Iowa at the present time to place this responsibility on the Railroad commis Sion or the Commerce counsel or the attorney general and by Law require the governor to adopt As his whatever findings or conclusions either one of these officials May arrive at. It is entirely proper and fitting for any per urge insist upon their idea of the proper drafting of the measure and the selection of that department of the state government which they think should have this subject in charge. But before it is too late above All things it is absolutely essential to waive our various differences of opinion As to some phases of the subject under consideration and to unite on seeing Are Given and the editor Lola Homestead from time to time during this generation and future generations so Long As private ownership continues our railway companies Are going to seek to secure advances in their freight and passenger rates. They Are entitled to a just return but Freedom from com petition in rates gives them an almost unlimited Opportunity to charge what they please except As they May be re strained by Public regulation. When our task is to remove discrimination the value of the Railroad property is of Little significance. But when we seek to determine whether a Railroad is earn ing enough Revenue the basis of All our computations must be the value of the property. The supreme court of the United states has expressed this in unequivocal language in the celebrated Case of Smyth v. Ames. To say that a Given rate is reasonable because it is the same As another rate for a similar service is reasoning in a Circle. How do you know that the other rate is reasonable comparing rates is merely scratching the surface of this question As to whether our rates Are reasonable As a whole. To say that a certain company is earning one Hun dred thousand or ten million dollars is meaningless to you until you know what is the investment or the value of the property which that company owns. Vast sums involved in valuation of Iowa railroads. In View of this situation Congress has authorized the interstate Commerce commission to make an appraisal of All the Railroad property in the United states divided by state lines and then to keep this valuation up to Date from year to year. Here you have probably the most Gigantic task of a constructive economic character being performed by any Public tribunal of the present age in this country or in any other country. A faint Conception of the magnitude of the undertaking May be grasped when you contemplate the fact that m Iowa alone the railway com value of More than and you and your children and your children s children Are going to be required to pay an annual tax on All this property next year and the next year and so on in the future for generations to. Come. A Little variation of 10 per cent in the value of the railroads within the boundaries of this state will Cost you fifty millions of dollars. Is there another question before the Iowa legislature today and when has there Ever been another question comparable to this in so far As Dol Lars and cents Are concerned you have other questions of a moral and social character of More importance but you have no question of greater monetary importance to the people of our state today and you never have had a question of greater importance judged by that Standard since the state of Iowa was organized. Present valuation basis of All future Railroad w _ have noticed a statement made by a member of the state rail i Road commission that the railroads contemplate a general increase in Iowa state rates. This fact is of much importance to Iowa citizens but con Sider for a moment the relative importance of an Advance in state and interstate rates. On passenger traffic it would probably amount to substantially the same on the state traffic As it would on interstate traffic. How Ever approximately two thirds of the Railroad revenues Are derived from freight traffic and about nine tenths of the freight revenues in Lotta Are derived from interstate traffic. An and Vance of 5 per cent in interstate freight rates would be approximately ten times As important As a similar and Vance in the freight rates on state traffic simply because 90 per cent of our traffic is interstate in character. And please remember that the ultimate basis of both your state and interstate rates on both passenger and freight traffic today As Well As ten Twenty or fifty years hence will be the value of the Railroad property. Fully appreciating1 the tremendous significance of this National valuation the railway companies three years ago commenced preparing for the contest. Every important Railroad serving Iowa already been working on the Case months. Civil engineers of and acknowledged Vert accountants to chock the f statistics Able appraisers of i while Fate trembles in the balance voices of the past speak words of encourage ment and sympathy. Responsibility is placed upon some Defi Nite person or group of persons who must secure results or take the consequences. I cannot believe for an instant that the governor or those who advocate placing this task in the hands of the chief executive will stand in the Way of the passage of the Law if the major Ity favor placing the matter in the hands of the Railroad commission or the Commerce counsel upon the other hand i cannot bring myself to believe that those who would prefer the Railroad commission or the Commerce counsel to perform this work will stand in the Way of ultimate passage of the measure if the majority favor placing the responsibility on the governor. This is no time for dogs who Are inclined to stay in mangers. Railroads would like to create Dis sension Over details. Nothing would Render More huge de Light and pleasure to our most esteemed attorneys for the railroads than to see the friends of this measure divided As to who shall perform the task and thereby defeat the whole proposition nobody can Render greater and More valuable service to the railway companies than to create dissension ranks. If a measure cannot be Defeated in one manner it frequently can be accomplished in another. It is stated on very reliable and distinguished author icy that there Are several methods of skinning a if there Are any of my friends who have been inclined to question the wis Dom of this measure i most sincerely urge them to reconsider the whole question. Of course i May be entirely in error but i have Given the subject very careful and deliberate consideration and in View of the whole situation the character of the controversy the magnitude of the issues at stake the absolute Folly of further procrastination and what that course of action May Cost this state i most sincerely Urgo that you support the measure in a whole hearted and disinterested Man Ner. It is for the Good of the state. It will be very shortsighted policy for Iowa to spend millions for buildings and Capitol extensions and hard roads and other matters and to decline to expend to protect her interests in this proceeding. It will be false Economy to save in this manner and to run the Chance of an unjust excess of five or ten per cent in Railroad values upon which you will be compelled to pay an annual tax. You May save this and you May lose or consider for a moment the wide possibilities for variations. Some of the questions on which there Are differences of opinion Are of minor importance while others involve very Large sums of Money. A variation of Only 2 per cent will mean a variation of More than pne million dollars in the appraisal of railroads located wholly within the state of Iowa. Two per cent variation will make million dollars difference. On several matters differences of Opin Jon have Arisen Between the various states As to the proper methods or principles to be followed. On some items there Are differences ranging from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. One state insists that Severance damages should be allowed for whether paid or not an other state insists that no allowance should be made for Severance damages unless they Are actually paid. This alone gives Rise to differences varying from 100 to 300 per cent in land values. One state makes no allowance for intangible values the Engineer for another state recommends an allowance of 40 per cent for this item. A member of the inter state Commerce commission allowed 30 per cent for intangible values in the appraisal of a Public Utility before he went on the interstate Commerce com Mission. One state uses 10 per cent for contingencies another uses 2 per cent one state allows 9 per cent More for interest during construction than does another state. One state would allow a Large percentage for going value an other allows nothing. Differences of a substantial character exist in the methods followed by the engineers. Some variations in appraising Public utilities. In one Case in a Federal court two experts had appraised the same prop erty for the same purpose at the same time and the value at which they swore under oath varied 300 per cent. In the celebrated los Angeles Case last fall the value testified to before the state commission by those representing the company was More than 500 per cent greater than the value testified to by those representing the City. Iowa should go into matter in a thorough manner. This proposal that Iowa should look after her interests in the National appraisal of railroads is not that it should be a Mere act of kindly assist Ance on the part of Iowa. It is a fight a contest to protect the rights of the citizens of this state before the inter state Commerce commission just As truly a contest As any Case that has Ever been fought out before any court in state or nation. At the same time Ful Mann performed in a tact Iowa should not go 4nto the matter in a half hearted Way. She should make a thorough exhaustive preparation in order that she can perform the task in the most efficient manner possible. Clifford Thorne believes in High stack. To the notice one of your subscribers asks about placing poles for stacking Hay. I have stacked Hay with poles for Twenty years and i never could see any use of having More than three poles. Have them at least thirty six feet Long then when finishing a stack you have More room. To swing the Hay. Also you a higher stack thus doing. So Many stacks so that much exposed to the i

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