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endowment; South Carolina supported her State institution by a permanent tax endowment; and Maryland granted to her first two colleges a permanent endowment supported by taxation.
Other striking examples might be cited, but it is not necessary, as these will show the general trend of legislation, and that is sufficient for our present purpose. There has been a manifest tendency in all legislation to foster learning and favor those connected with institutions of higher education, and it is no small matter that so many of the States of the Union have declared in their Constitutions for the protection and fostering care of higher education.
Nearly every State Constitution has a section relating to the encouragement of science, literature, learning, etc., and out of the thirty-eight States, two have provisions authorizing the establishment and main tenance of a State university, while twenty-four States have established universities by statute laws.
EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION.
One of the earliest methods of favoring colleges was the exemption of college property from taxation, which to all intents and purposes is equivalent to granting special appropriations in the several cases, equal to the amount of taxes on property of equal value. This custom was almost universal aniong the colonies, and even extended so far as to exempt in several instances the property of the members of the college or university. Thus, Rhode Island formerly exempted all the property of the professors of Brown University from taxation, but when the charter was revised this feature was amended, so-that now the property of each professor is exempted to the extent of ten thousand dollars only. The principle of exemption of educational institutions from taxation has been so grounded in the nature of our Government as to represent a practicably irrevocable law.
Historically, no more settled and constant policy has ever been adopted by so many States in regard to higher education. In the majority of
' the States either constitutional provision or statute law exempts property in actual use for educational purposes, while sereral go further and exempt the productive funds also. It would be difficuit to estimate the number of millions of dollars thus expended during the history of our country for the support of higher learning; for it is assumed that an exception in favor of property invested in educational institutions must necessarily increase the taxes on other property, which is equivalent to voting a tax for the support of education.
According to the Report of the Commissioner of Education for the year 1885–986, the total amount of productive funds of three hundred and forty-five colleges and universities situated in forty-three States and Territories in the United States was $19,687,378. The total valu
See Appendix A.
ation of unproductive property (college grounds, buildings, and apparatus) amounted to $43,565,413, and the total appropriations for higher education by the several Legislatures were $862,580. Had the unproductive funds been freed from taxation there would have been voted for higher education the additional sum of $1,306,962. If the productive funds had been also exempted, this amount would have been increased to the sum of $2,797,583. Compared with the work to be done this seems but a small itein of assistance, yet it means the education of some thousands of young men yearly, a constant factor in the encouragement of higher learning. A careful consideration of this subject will show how universal has been the policy of the several commonwealths in encouraging learning in all its forms, in appreciating the necessity of advanced education, and in supplementing and encouraging private benevolence.
There is still another principle involved. The State not only recognizes the absolute necessity of superior education for the moral, social, and political well-being of its subjects, but it acknowledges that private and sectarian schools are performing work that otherwise would legitimately devolve upon the Government. To this common policy there is one exception. The comparatively new State of California, upon the principle that all property ought to be taxed, levies upon the property of institu. tions of learning. Having established its own university by the aid of the Federal Government, it recognizes no others as necessary to the well-being of the State, but regards them all as private business enter. prises and requires them to assist in the support of the Government by direct taxation. It is a remarkable instance of the reversal of a timehonored policy wbich has taken deep root in the constitution of educational society. I say reversal, because soon after California became a State the Legislative Assembly granted aid to non-State institutions. Au historical retrospect of the relation of the State to education may be presented in a few propositions, as follows: (1) in colonial times State, private, and church benevolence worked together; (2) subsequently private and church schools were prominent, still being aided by State appropriations; (3) the gradual cessation of State aid to private and church schools, and the growth of State universities. On the other hand, freedom from taxation continues, with more guarded provisions; the priv. ileges of members of the non-State schools are growing less, until a State on the Pacific coast taxes education and taxes benevolence. We
may infer from the foregoing facts that there is a tendency of States, not to do less for higher education, but to do more, and to do it in a methodical way for a particular purpose. There is a wider differ
'In every State except California the unproductive property is freed from taxation to a greater or less extent, and the productive funds of colleges are exempt in many States.
2 In the same year $1,568,433 were received from tuition fees, and from all other sources not named above the sum of $1,739,723. The total number of students in attendance was 67,642.
entiation of State and non-State schools than formerly. There is a · wider separation of church and State in matters of education. The old classical school is supported by the church, while there is a growing tendency on the part of the State to build universities for educational and industrial purposes.
The policy of early legislation is about to be realized concerning State institutions. A review of the history of the State universities, particu. larly of the West and South, for the past ten years will show a progressive tendency. At the present outlook it seems that there will be one well-established State institution or its equivalent in every State, for the promotion of those studies which pertain directly to the political and industrial sides of education. But this does not imply that nonState institutions should not receive assistance, encouragement, and protection. Every class of citizens should receive due representation, and when a very large proportion demand educational institutions constituted after their own manner of thinking, it is not only the privilege of the State to sanction by its laws the creation of such institutions, but its duty to at least see that no injustice is done, and that its attitude is in every respect encouraging. So long as these institutions make for a better citizenship, a higher learning, and a general improvement of the people, it is absolute folly for the State to tax their efforts. It is to "tax the light” and discourage private benevolence. “Noth. ing yields so large a return to the tax payer as this exemption of educational institutions from taxation.
Education is not a money making business; it is either a benevolence or a public defence. There is not an institution of advanced learning that can pay its way by tuition. There has been a sacrifice by the people at large through the State, or by individuals, or by organizations and associations. Referring to two of the foremost political economists, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, we find that their doctrines oppose the practice of the taxation of institutions of learning. Adam Smith's fundamental law of taxation seems to bear directly upon the question, when it declares that “The subjects of every State ought to contribute toward the support of the government as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities, that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the State." 2 Who ever heard of an institution of learning enjoying revenues as stock-owners in a railroad company enjoy dividends? Does any one ever hear of educational institutions of higher learning declaring dividends to individuals ? Education is on an entirely different basis. When a college or a university gets money, it buys books, builds libraries, purchases apparatus, employs extra teachers, or erects a new building, that the youth of the country, the best wealth of the State, may be better fitted for the duties of citizenship and for life.
R. T. Ely: Taxation in American States and Cities, 345. 2 Wealth of Nations, Book V, ch. 2.
Again, Mill says in reference to taxation, that “equal sacrifices ought to be demanded from all.” I Is it equality of sacrifice wlien, men, by donatiog their means to set up a fountain of learning in the desert, are taxed by the State for their offering to benevolence? Turning to a practical example, let us suppose that Mr. A gives $100,000 to build a library in a State university; this amount of money passes out of the range of taxable property and becomes exempt from taxation, which is quite right. The tax which was hitherto raised on this sum must now be raised on other taxable property in the State. On the other hand, Mr. B chooses to give $100,000 to found a library in a non-State institution. If this is taxed by the State, it is evident that Mr. A's and Mr. B's property, deroted to the same cause, disposed of in the same way, and existing in the same form, will be treated in an entirely different manner by the State. Mr. B's benevolence will not only be taxed, but will be taxed at a higher rate than it would if Mr. A's benevolence were taxed. In other words, Mr. B’s benevolence is taxed to support Mr. A's benevolence, which is not according to the, American meaning of the term, “equality of sacrifice.”
Again, it is frequently said that it would be impossible to tax the State university, and to tax it would be the same as if an individual were to pass money from one hand to the other; but this is not generally true. The property of State universities is usually made up of gifts from the National Government and from private individuals, to. gether with accumulations upon various gifts and appropriations by the State. In most cases a large percentage of property came from other sources than from the pockets of the people through taxation. That is, for the State to give an institution one hundred thousand dollars, and then to tax the institution on this sum and two hundred thousand dollars. which the State did not give, is not the same as giving money and taking it back again.
Nor is it sufficient to say, when the State has established and provided for the support of its own university, that government has done its city to higher education. To assume this is to assume that the State has provided for the needs of all classes of the people in all of the branches to be learned, and lias placed this source within the reach of all, and, having done this, has gone into remote places of the Commonwealth to bid young men to come, showing them the need of education. The State in taking such a stand assumes an imperialism in education which is entirely out of place. That we need centralization in education is evident, but not at the expense of local institutions and nonState schools. Enongh can not be said in favor of that local pride which builds a college and invites young men to be educated, young meu who would never be educated if left to the repelling influences of a centralized institution several hundred miles from home.
Perhaps it is well to close this argument with the words of President
1 Principles of Political Economy, p. 485.
Stratton, of Mills College, who pertinently says: “ Property held for private use, or for business, or on speculation, when the gain is to inure to the benefit of the holder, should be taxed; property devoted to the public good, from which the gain inures to the public at large, should not be taxed.
Private benevolence should be allowed free scope to expand itself in these directions (i. e., the welfare of the citizen and the existence of the State). *
That whenever it assumes this charge it should be regarded as the friend and ally of the State in a peculiar sense, the sharer of its cares and the bearer of its burdens."
NATIONAL EDUCATION ARISES FROM LOCAL.
Whatever ideas men may have had of national education, or of national aid for higher education, the precedents of the colonies and States were already established in regard to all of the points considered. Lands had been granted by the several colonies for the maintenance of schools; schools had been supported from the public treasury. But as public sentiment grew in favor of union, there was also the accompanying development of the Federal idea of education. It was observed that education was to be the nation's defence, and as such it was advocated strenuously by the greatest statesmen. The sentiments in favor of distinctly national schools were not, however, sufficiently universal to carry out any well laid plans; and Congress, although encouraging and supporting education, has thrown the chief responsibility upon the several States.
Besides the Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Federal Government has managed no schools, although by libraries and museums it has added to the general sum of knowledge. The great plan has been to furnish the various States with means for *he education of all within their respective domains, although many statesmen desired a more decided policy on the part of the Federal Government.
THE OPINIONS OF STATESMEN.
After the great struggle of the Revolution was over and theminds of men were relieved from the strain of war, and political turmoil had subsided by the organization of the new government, the fathers of the republic turned instinctively toward the moral, social, and intellectual improvement of the people. Indeed, the foundation of the new government was conditional. It was made dependent upon growing intelligence. The building of the structure whose foundation had been laid could not continue unless supported by ever increasing morality and intelligence.
One can not refer to this period of the nation's history without recognizing the profound and far reaching wisdom of George Washington · on all subjects of great moment. In his first message to Congress Washington says: “Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with