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Madison voters back railroad tax -- State Journal editorial from 150 years ago

April 14, 2019

This State Journal editorial ran on April 7, 1869:

The election of this city yesterday passed off quietly. The principal question was whether the city should be honest and carry out in good faith its obligations and promises to the St. Paul railroad company, in consideration that the link of road from Sun Prairie to Madison should be completed.

A contract had been entered into between the city and the railroad company, which would require the levy and collection of $20,000.

A few individuals have taken the position that this tax should not be levied, that the whole thing was a swindle, etc., etc. Much loud talk had been indulged in during the last month, open repudiation of this contract demanded, and the present city government denounced in the most savage manner, for having authorized the contract.

Upon this issue, a candidate, Mr. Elisha Burdick, was called out to run for mayor. He accepted the position most willingly. The enormity of the whole conduct of the city government in its action on this railroad questions has been discussed and held up to the public gaze in its most offensive form, by a few chronic grumblers; an immense feeling of indignation on the part of the people against carrying out the terms of the contract with the railroad company has been claimed. We were told the whole city would give an overwhelming majority in favor of Burdick and repudiation.

As this issue was forced upon the people, Mr. Proudfit, a good businessman, favored the railroad policy of the present city administration from the start. ...

With the issue thus joined, the people went to the polls, and the verdict was a most triumphant vindication and endorsement of the actions of the present city authorities on this railroad question; and a most thorough squelching out of the chronic growlers.

The vote stands for Andrew Proudfit, who favors carrying out the railroad contract in good faith, 1,350; for Burduck, who was for repudiation of the roadroad contract, 145.

Can city officers desire a stronger or a more emphatic endorsement? We think not.