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viz: from September, 1812, to August, 1814,-the Debt amounted to 361,760 ducats.
That in the Parliamentary Budgets, or “Stati Discussi" of the Receipts and Expenditures for the 2 succeeding years, viz: from September, 1814, to August, 1816, (which have, however, been erroneously calculated,) there appears, to the prejudice of our Treasury. General, a Deficit of 431,316 ducats in the first year, and of 207,301 in the 2nd year, making together 638,617 ducats, subject to the difference which may be found when the Account shall have been definitively completed.
That, consequently, the Total Debt of our Treasury.General, in that part of our Dominions, is 1,393,432 ducats.
That this result supposes all the Revenues of those years to have been collected, and to have been applied precisely to the payment of those Charges for which they had been destined; but that this supposition is in fact erroneous, because a part of those Revenues has always remained to be collected, and because another part, more especially of those of the year ending in August, 1816, aud received subsequently, had been unavoidably applied to the payment of Expenses of the current year, which from their nature could not admit of delay; from which there results, in the actual state of the Finances, another Deficiency of 446,568 ducats, which, being added to the abovementioned sum of 1,393,432 ducats, inakes the absolute Deficit, for the entire liquidation of the Expenses of the State, up to the end of August of last year, amount to 1,840,000 ducats.
That in consequence of such an inequality in the past years, between the Revenue and the Expenditure of the State, the sanctity of public faith has been violated ;-the Revenue having been insufficient for the payment of the interest due to the Public Creditors,—of the Salaries of the Persons employed in Civil and Military Employments, —and of other just Claims.
We at the same time considered that, as it was our wish to take as a guide, for the Imposts of the current year, those of the year ended in August, 1816, which were calculated upon Estimate by the Parliament at 1,407,886 ducats, it might be expedient to deduct some sources of Revenue which had altogether failed, to appropriate others, according to their original destination, to uses of piety or of publie beneficence, and to calculate the rest according to their actual produce; the result of wbich has been that, instead of 1,407,886 ducats, there might be expected to be derived therefrom only about 1,082,702 ducats; su that, continuing for the cur: ent year the same amount of Revenue as that fixed by the Parliament for the past year, thers would require to be levied a further sum of 325,184 ducats, in order 10 produce the sum of 1,407,886 ducats, which had before been estimated.
We afterwards proceeded to cause to be submitted to us, an Ao
count of the existing Charges and Expenses of our said Dominions beyond the Faro, and we have seen that, for the current Financial Year, which is already advanced, it is not possible to introduce the desired economy, and to make any change in the system of Administration ; and we have, therefore, thought it just and expedient to make certain provisions forthwith, upon the basis of the last Budget, in order to meet the exigency of the case, -reserving for the next and succeeding years those reforms, which will be necessary for the welfare of that part of our Dominions: accordingly, we order that these provisions be considered as a temporary Financial Budget, and be valid only until the end of August, of the current year 1817.
In consequence of which, having heard our Council of State, we have resolved to decree, and we do decree as follows:
Art. I. The Charge, or Expenditure, of the current 5th In. diction, (Financial Period) which commenced on the 1st September, 1816, and will end on the 31st August, 1817, shall remain fixed at the sum of 1,394,130 ducats, being less by 9,570 ducats than that established by the Parliament for the past year.
II. With the said Sum, the Payments described and specified in the Budget shall be made.
III. To the sum above slated, shall be added the further sum of 150,000 ducats, to serve, in conformity with Article XI of our Law of the 11th December, 1816, as the quota of the current year towards the extinction of the Debts in arrear, and therefore as a Fund for the liquidation of the Public Debt.
IV. In consequence of the said addition, the Total Expenditure of this year shall remain fixed at 1,544,130 ducats.
V. The sources of the actual Revenues shall be described, divi. sionally, in the before-mentioned Budget, and there shall also be described in it those Revenues which fail, and those which are of less produce than was anticipated, compared with the Estimate of the past year.
VI. The Revenues described in the aforesaid Budget, and whicla are levied by the Act of the Prosieguo, shall continue to be levied during the current Indiction.
VII. As from the said Revenues of the Prosieguo, the realizing of a larger sum than 1,082,702 ducats is not to be expected, for the reasons above stated, there will be wanting 461,428 ducats to meet the Expenditure mentioned in Article IV, such sum shall be raised by the means which will be prescribed in the following Articles.
VIII. The residue of the last 3rd of the Fondiaria of the year of the 4th Indiction, which will give the produce of 46,536 ducats, shall be collected as is pointed out in the division of the Budget alluded to. This residue of the Fondiaria shall be levied upon the gross Revenue, as in the year of the 3rd Indiction, at the rate of 74 per cent., with the
corresponding retentions upon Incomes derived froin Property, and from the profitable possession of it, either in money or kind, and in every respect conformable with the year of the 3rd Indiction; com. prehending, moreover, the augmentations resulting from the rectification of Declarations made up to that time, and our Resolutions thereupon, after the rectification of those Declarations shall bave been completed.
IX. A Tax of 5 per cent, in addition to the Fondiaria, shall be collected, which will give by approximation a produce of 199,436 ducats. This shall in like manner be levied upon the gross Revenue, with the corresponding retentions, in conformity with what was praetised in the year of the 3rd lodiction for the collection of the 7} per cent, and in the same manner as has been prescribed in the preceding Article.
X. There shall also be levied an Additional Tax of 3 Sicilian Grani, per tomolo, or of 2 Tari and 8 Grani, per salma, upon the consumption of wheat, barley, and grain, or upon ground corn, as well civic as rural. This Additional Tax, in conjunction with the actual Tax of 11 Tari, 4 Grani, per salmn, upon grouud corn, as well civic as rural, shall be collected according to the prices of the exchange, or to the peculiar local custonis, at the time, until the said Tas upon rural consumption can be reduced to a fixed and invariable sum. The said Additional Tax of 2 Turi, 8 Grani, per salma, shall be carried into execution in the month of February next; and the produce thereof for 7 months, up to August, is calculated at 48,236 ducats.
XI. The burthen of the Additional Tax prescribed in the preceding Article shall likewise be exteniled over the Commune of Palermo, whose proportion of which, being calculated at the rate of the 50,000 ducats, which is actually considered to correspond with the 11 Tari, 4 Grani, per salma, may be fixed at 6,250 ducats.
XII. There shall, moreover, be collected an Additional Tas of I ducat per head upon Animals used in private Carriages, or in bired Vehicles, in all the Communes, and upon Animals used with saddles in the Communes of Palermo, Messina, and Catania only, with the exception of asses; which Additional Tax, according to an approximative calculation, may give a product of 8,000 ducats. In levying this Additional Tax, the same rules as to the mode of collection, and the same reservations, shall be observed as were prescribed with regard to the Principal Tax.
XIII, The same Tax shall be levied this year as was imposed in the
year of the 3rd Indiction, upon Animals of the species of the horse, ox, pig, sheep, goat, &c., which, calculated according to the approximative results received in the 3rd Indiction, may give the produce of 42,000 ducats,
XIV. There shall lastly be imposed a Tax of 3 Sicilian Grani, per rotolo, upon meat of every kind (with the exception of game and
poultry,) upon fresh fish, and upon salted fish, both pickled and dry. This new Tax, being to be collected from the following month of Fe. bruary up to the end of August of the current year, may give the produce by approximation of 110,970 Ducats, which is precisely what is wanting in order to make up the sum of 461,428 ducats of actual Revenue, as has been mentioned in Article VII.
XV. In order that the Collection may not be delayed, and as we are not able beforeliand to decide upon the manner in which the Tax of 3 Grani, per rotolo, upon meat and fish, prescribed in the preceding Article, shall be levied and collected, the dispositions in this respect shall be made by our Minister, resident near our beloved Son, the Duke of Calabria, Lieutenant-General in our Dominions beyond the Paro; and We are willing that the Orders and Instructions which may be issued for this purpose shall be published in our Royal Name.
XVI. In order that the public faith may be maintained inviolably, there shall be kept in our Treasury-General an entirely Separate Account of the Fund of 150,000 ducats, which is destined for the payment of the Debts in arrear, and which shall have nothing in common with the other Revenues, and be regarded as an inviolable Fund, not by possibility to be devoted to any other purpose.
XVII. In order to secure the corresponding amount for the Fund which is to serve for the extinction of the Debts in arrear, and for the gradual liquidation of the Public Debt, there shall be specially destined to that object, in the present year :
Ist. 110,970 ducats, the estimated produce of the Tax upon meat, and upon fresh and salted fish.
2ndly. 16,000 ducats, to be received out of the proceeds of the Additional Tax upon Animals and hired Carriages.
3rdly. 23,030 ducats, the remainder, being made up from the produce of the other Tax upon Animals, of the species of the ox, sheep, goat, &c.
XVIII. If the produce of the Tax upon meat and fish, imposed as above, ap to August of the present year, should happen to exceed the sum before estimated, the excess shall be added to the Separate Fund for the payment of the Debts in arrear.
Moreover, there shall be added to the said Separate Fund, whatever other excess there may be upon the whole of the Budget; but whenever the contrary case shall happen, that sum which at the end of the year is deficient, shall form a temporary deduction from the said Fund, to be afterwards restored in the following year.
XIX. In order that the means may not be wanting of satisfying de. mands, and for the purpose of avoiding future delays in payments, the greatest activity shall be used in the collection, when they become due respectively, not only of all the Taxes imposed, and of those added in the preseut Decree, but also of all the Revenues in arrear.
XX. In consequence of the above dispositions :
Ist. The payment promised, by the Regulation of 16th August, 1816, in favour of the Creditors of the State, and of the Persons employed in the Service of the Government, shall be carried into effect.
2nd. The payment shall be made to the Department of the Roads, for the present at least, of one third of its dotation.
3rd. The Military Officers shall receive all their current pay, from the Funds assigned to the Department of War.
XXI. Besides the arrears due to the Private Creditors of the State, those of the Departments of War and Marine shall be included in that Class, for so much as is owing by those Administrations up to the end of August, 1815 :
1st. To their Private Creditors.
2nd. To the Officers for their pay, and to the Regiments for their rations, also up to the end of August, 1815.
3rd. And lastly, for so much as remains to be paid to the said De. partments by the Treasury of Sicily, from the 1st September, 1815, to the present day, on account of the assignment of 700,000 ducats, which was fixed by the last Parliament.
In the same Class of arrears shall also be included, the sums remaining to be paid by that Treasury on account of the assignment fixed by the said Parliament for the Diplomatic Body, for the year from September 1815, to August 1816, and subsequently.
XXII. In consequence of the preceding Article, the different Funds assigned for that purpose shall be applied with the greatest exactness and care, to the liquidation of the Debts above men. tioned, and the corresponding Returns shall be drawn up, in order to be submitted for our consideration, with the view to our prescribing the system to be observed in the distribution of the destined Funds, and the preference to be granted to the different Classes of Creditors.
XXIII. Provision having been made by the dispositions contained in the present Decree for the satisfaction of the Creditors of the State, it shall no longer be allowed from this day forward to any one, to liquidate the Taxes which he owes to the State by means of the Credits upon it which he may possess.
XXIV. The Plan of Finance formed for the current Indiction being provisional, and to be valid only until the end of August of the present year, the Minister assisting near His Royal Highness the Duke of Calabria, is charged to form and to transmit for our exa. mination, at the latest by the middle of April next, a Project of the Budget, which he shall think it practicable to adopt for the subsequent, the 6th, Indiction, from September, 1817 to August, 1818.
XXV. Our Councillor, Secretary of State, and Minister of Finance, resident near Us, and the Minister assisting uear Our Lieute