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Boss Hague
King Hanky-Panky of Jersey

Part 9

By Jack Alexander

Originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on October 26, 1940
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002

The Cost of a Boss

The following comparative table, whose financial statistics are for 1939, gives an idea of what Hague rule is costing Jersey City:

City Population (1930) Acreage Government Costs
Akron 355,040 34,570 1,922,096
Louisville 307,745 24,244 12,894,116
Jersey City 316,715 8,320 33,440,958
Indianapolis 364,101 33,624 7,811,367
Kansas City, Mo. 399,746 38,400 6,950,000
Cincinnati 451,100 46,326 10,370,188
St. Louis 821,960 29,232 19,323,880

For debt service alone, Jersey City’s 1940 budget calls for an expenditure of $6,045,827, or almost enough to run Kansas City, whose Pendergast machine has naively been thought to be the ultimate In rapaciousness.

The answer to the question, “Where does it all go?” is hard to obtain. City officials are evasive when questioned, and the detailed budget is so esoteric that it is difficult to separate the items. It is impossible to get a figure on the number of city employees, but if Hudson County government, into which Hague dumps his lame ducks, is any criterion, it must enormously inflated. Near-by Essex County, of which Newark is the seat, has a 1940 population of 832,115 and 1,993 employees; Hudson, with a 651,254 population, has about 2600 employees. All told, Hague Is believed to control a total municipal and county pay roll of between $12,000,000 and $20,000,000 a year. Annually, on a day variously known as Tapioca or Rice Pudding Day, each employee kicks back 3 per cent of his total annual salary to his department head. What becomes of the immense sum thus realized is unknown. The employees are told that it is used for “political purposes.”


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