Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 23

March 23, 1915 – The charges of gross extravagances against the Range mining towns are credited with causing the defeat of the St. Louis County Division Bill, which was killed in the House today by a vote of 84 to 32.

The opponents of the division bill claimed that the Range towns are controlled by officials who exact great sums of money in the form of taxes from the mining companies and spend this money in the most out-of-control manner.

The proponents of division answered that Duluth wishes to continue in control of St. Louis County government to use a majority of the county funds for roads and other improvements in the Duluth end of the county. Also it was charged that the steel company now has control of the county government and resists every effort made to wrest it away.

Many of the figures and comparisons used last night in the House Cities Committee in support of the John H. Harrison Bill to fix a maximum for expenditures of municipalities and villages were transferred to the floor of the House in opposition to the County Division Bill, for it is charged that the desire for division merely is a plan to extend the extravagances charged against the villages into county government.

The vote against division was 84 to 32. As the arguments against division are for the most part the same as are used in support of the Harrison Bill, the vote on division was taken as a favorable forecast for the Harrison Bill, scheduled to be a special order of business on March 29.

Representatives Charles T. Murphy and Samuel Scott, both from the Range, made the fight for county division. Outside of their charges against Duluth and the steel company, they argued that the county is too big, that it is a great inconvenience for the Range people to make the trip to Duluth for court business, and that as the Range has the big share of the assessed valuation it is entitled to be separated from Duluth and the southern half of the county.

William J. North, Anton Borgen and Edward R. Ribenack, all of Duluth, made the fight on behalf of Duluth. H. H. Harrison of Stillwater aided them. He said he had been present at the committee hearing on the limitation bill the night before and was absolutely astounded at the freedom with which the Range towns squandered money raised by taxing the mines.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “St. Louis Division Bill Is Turned Down. Range Towns Lose in Their Effort for a New County. Charges of Extravagance Against Cities Said to Have Been Cause. Similarity of Issues Indicates That Harrison Bill Will Pass.”; March 24, 1915; p. 1.

St. Louis County, Minn.,_Minnesota#/media/File:Map_of_Minnesota_highlighting_Saint_Louis_County.svg


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