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(AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS)
LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA
PASSED AT THE
SESSION OF 1927
HELD AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF MONTGOMERY,
WATT T. BROWN, President Pro Tem. of the Senate.
J. LEE LONG, Speaker of the House.
I, JOHN BRANDON, Secretary of State in and for the State of Ala-
The Brown Printing Company,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1927 by
BIBB GRAVES, GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA,
for use of said State,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.
MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR
To the Members of the Legislature of Alabama:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you back to the Capitol and to congratulate you upon the spirit and harmony that has pervaded your organization during the Extra Session so recently held. This spirit of co-operation means much for the State and I am sure that wisdom and sound business judgment will govern your actions during your regular session. I am sure that if the same harmony prevails, the same thoughtful consideration is given that characterized your Extra Session this State will be the beneficiary.
I have full confidence in your fidelity, patriotism and wisdom. You as law makers are charged with grave and solemn obligations. You make the laws-The Governor executes your will as enacted into law. The people then are dependent upon, in a large measure, the laws you enact and the fidelity and afithfulness with which they are executed. Therefore, Legislative and Executive authority should approach these duties with a feeling of fairness to all, having in mind the good of our Commonwealth and the betterment of our race.
During the term of my administration much has been accomplished-Much more is to be done. Every platform promise made by the Democratic party has been fulfilled, and it may not be amiss to recapitulate.
1. We entered upon the duties of the office pledged to the people of this State that farm property and homes should not be raised in taxation, except where improvement and increased value demanded-This promise has been fulfilled and farm lands have not been increased. The Legislature of 1923 passed laws giving us a Tax Commission that has not ruthlessly levied higher taxes upon that class who are unable to bear it. Taxes were assessed and equalized without court procedure and property has been held at its fair value and no complaints are being heard among our people. New capital is being attracted to our State, tax values are growing daily and our repealing of certain exemption laws, together with new industries producing pay rolls are rapidly advancing our tax assessments to enormous figures. This is shown by the figures taken from the report made by the State Tax Commission, which show that our total assessments for 1922, was: $943,516,122.00, while for 1926 it was $1,108,005,144.00, or an increase in the last four years of $162,278,892.00
in tax values and no lands have been raised, this advance coming from new industry and new tax values. If this policy is pursued and capital is invited to invest here and industries continue to come in, we will soon have enough revenue to meet every demand of the State. It occurs to me that if we hold a low rate of taxation we will encourage industry to locate within our borders, increase our tax values and make pay rolls for our people.
I invite your close scrutiny of our tax assessments and the work of our Tax Commission and believing that the last revenue bill is worth your careful consideration, I am recommending to you its re-enactment, for under its provisions we have been able to meet the obligations of the State under appropriations heretofore made, paid off certain outstanding indebtedness and added to the State's real estate holdings.
I realize that in order to carry on Government revenue is necessary and the demands of the State now are greater than ever before. Advalorem tax has been carrying the burden of taxation for years. Equality in taxation is fundamental. Stocks and bonds, hoarded money and solvent credits should be taxed. Other sources may be suggested, but bear in mind that heavy taxes on homes and farms and industry weakens rather than builds your tax assessments. I am of the opinion that taxes are now more nearly equalized than ever before in the history of the State. There is less complaint-No suits are pending. I, therefore, recommend the retention of the present Tax Commission law and ask of those to follow, a close study of their administration of same. I call your attention to their report and the recommendations they make. It is worthy of your most careful consideration.
ASSESSMENNT OF SHARES OF STOCK
The assessment of shares of stock of domestic corporations and banks was placed in the hands of the State Tax Commission and it has served to obtain a greater uniformity and equalization in these assessments. It has brought satisfactory results to the State and the tax payers. There is in our opinion no necessity for a change of this law, unless it be for the possible extension of the time for fixing such returns, to agree with that for filing the regular tax returns.
The Franchise Tax has worked satisfactorily and this administration increased this tax 57.7% over the previous administration and I refer you to the tabulation made in the report of the State Tax Commission.
AUTO LICENSE TAX
I respectfully call your attention to the report of the State Tax Commission of the Auto License Tag Tax-This fund, as you know, is set aside to pay the interest on Highway Bonds, allocate said bonds, maintain the Highways and pay the expenses of the Highway Department.
The total collections from this source, as shown by the report of the Commission for the past 4 years, was: $7,044,315.82, of the amount so far as the expenses of operation and administering the law, there was an expense in the 4 years of only $138,010.39 -This includes the purchasing and distribution of Tags, salaries of clerks, freight on tags and postage, printing of receipts, etc.
Out of these collections $2,700,000.00 Bonds of which only $500,000.00 was due, have been retired and are no longer liabilities of the State.
The Act levying an Excise Tax of 2 cents per gallon was passed February 10th, 1923. This tax is allocated in equal proportions to the several counties of the State and as a consequence in the four years, each County in Alabama has received $093,653.92. This tax is intended to build lateral roads, and Commissioners Court should be required to use it for this purpose and for road construction and maintenance alone. I trust no diversion of these funds will be made.
The Tax Commission as now organized has functioned without a single law suit, without complaint, and I can but commend their policies and the laws under which they acted to your consideration for reenactment and continuance.
Under the Constitution, the Governor is required to submit to the Legislature a Revenue Bill for its consideration. I, in accordance with this provision transmit to you herewith the Revenue Bill enacted by the Legislature of 1923, which has been productive of much revenue without complaint, and I recommend it to you for passage with such minor amendments as you deem proper.
The education of our youth is the most important subject perhaps with which you will have to deal. While this State has made great strides in the education of our people much remains to be done in order that every boy and girl may be given an opportunity in life. An educated citizenship is the greatest asset of any commonwealth. The people who have shown that they earnestly desire a system of education that will carry the schools to the remotest corner of the State.