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$1.08 $1.25 $1.42 $1.50
$0.62 $5.04 $3.00 $4.06 $363.00 $2.49$1.84 $1,382.00 $7.56 $132.50 $1.42 $840.0
other state of the Union these discriminations still flourish at the expense of subscribers who pay the full rate.
4. The utilities law is working a revolution in business management. While some managements are doubtless models from a business point of view, they are not the general rule. Many of the utilities companies have not been operated on a business basis; in fact, it is probable that a good many of the managements did not have the remotest idea as to the exact standing from a business point of view of the plant they were operating. Uniform accounting, rlues governing the service and the regulation of rates compels the adoption of business and scientific methods, which is resulting in nothing short of a revolution in management.
5. All of the effects of the law, taken collectively, are bound to place investments in public utility enterprises on a more stable foundation. The law works both ways. On the one hand, it protects the consumer against unjust and unreasonable rates and poor service, and on the other it protects the investor in his claim to a reasonable rate on the property which is devoted to public use. This legislation will probably remove public utility investments very greatly, if not entirely, from the field of speculation and place them in the class of conservative, certain and stable investments.
This paper has been made brief on the assumption that it will merely serve as a text for discussion. I have naturally viewed the law in the perspective of its administration. Some of its novel features have not even been mentioned. The skeleton of the utilities law has been outlined. Other important laws administered by the commission have likewise not been treated.
The New York Public Service Commissions
HON. THOMAS M. OSBORNE
Member of Commission No. 2 and formerly Mayor of Auburn
I regret very much that I do not come prepared with a formal paper, written as I should like to have had it written, and such as you have a right to expect. I think, however, Dr. Meyer will agree with me that members of a public service commission get into the very bad habit of putting off anything that can be put off until the last minute and as my last minutes have been spent in a sleeping-car I have arrived without any such paper as you ought to receive from me.
I have listened as you all have, with a great deal of interest to Dr. Meyer's paper. Those of us who have been trying to wrestle with the same problem know the excellent work of the Wisconsin Commission. We wish we had Dr. Meyer in our State; and if he will only migrate to New York I will undertake to provide a vacancy upon the New York Commission, to which he would be appointed in very short order.
In New York State we have lately been bothered by a new political catch-word-"Government by commission." During the late State campaign one could hear on all Government by sides, "Yes, I admit this or that; but I am Commission opposed to government by commission;" and one of the ablest and most perverse of our metropolitan newspapers announced itself as being in favor of "the summary arrest and so far as practical the abolition of government by commission, whereof the portentous growth in state and nation constitutes one of the greatest dangers of the times and whereof the extreme of futility has been illustrated in Governor Hughes's principal creature"-the "creature" referred
to being the Public Service Commission, of which I have the honor to be a member.
The platform adopted by the Democratic party at Rochester, under the guidance and control of that distinguished statesman the Honorable "Fingy" Connors also denounced "government by commission" and alluded to the New York public service commissions as "woeful failures."
At first sight it might seem as if these commissions, being "the extreme of futility" and such "woeful failures," might have been secure from attack until more dangerous evils had been abolished; but, jesting aside, the phrase "government by commission" and an expression of opposition thereto has been made by some eminent men whose utterances may not be set aside as lightly as those of Mr. Connors' platform committee. If the phrase is but a phrase, what does it mean?
In that most delightful nursery classic for young and old, "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There,' Humpty Dumpty remarks, "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean; neither more nor less." This system is sometimes followed outside the Looking Glass; and while convenient for a speaker is apt to be a trifle confusing to hearers. So whatever meaning "government by commission" may have to the speaker it is well to have it thoroughly explained before we can be sure if we understand.
The truth is, there are many forms of government by commission; and some are good and some are bad. The Supreme Court of the United States is a commission to hear and determine final appeals and decide (if they can) upon the meaning of the constitution; the Interstate Commerce Commission is a body which, violently opposed at its inception, has become a necessary means of controlling our great interstate railway corporations; there are various commissions in the several states which cover a variety of activities-railroad, gas, electricity, prison, and highway commissions; our boards of education are commissions specially charged with the interests of the schools; there are in most cities commissions for the police, fire, charities and other municipal departments. All these are examples of "government by commission;" and there are many others.