« PrécédentContinuer »
1. Private enterprise shall be encouraged to serve as large a total need as it can.
2. Government assistance shall be utilized (where feasible) to help private enterprise serve that need.
3. Government aid shall be established to clear slums and provide adequate housing for families with incomes so low that they cannot otherwise be decently housed; and that Government aid is limited to those communities which can demonstrate that those needs cannot fully be met through reliance solely upon private enterprise or upon local and State revenues.
Now it seems to me that those basic principles are sound. I think there are very few of us who will not insist that whenever private enterprise can supply the need for housing, it shall exclusively do so. There are some who perhaps disagree that the Federal Government should function at all in this problem, but I am satisfied that there is a need for the clearance of slum areas, and a need for the construction of low-cost housing which is not attractive to private capital. In that field, community, State, and Government efforts are required and justified.
It is self-evident that to construct a new home today, even one of very modest size and appointments, requires an investment of between $7,500 and $12,000. If private capital builds such a modest home for investment, the minimum rental is likely to be at least $75 per month, and in most cases higher. There is a great field for such construction, and it is proceeding rapidly. The level of prosperity and employment and wage scales is high, and there are plenty of customers for that high-cost housing. But it is also evident that throughout the Nation, and throughout our district in south Jersey, there is a high proportion of families who are willing to work and are satisfactorily employed, who nonetheless are wholly unable either to buy or rent decent homes at the present price structure. It is a matter for national concern that such people be decently housed, and that is the field where Government aid can operate.
And, of course, the further field is that of slum clearance. The gradual elimination of slum areas and their replacement with decent housing units is of a social value which cannot be exaggerated.
I believe that the principle of this legislation is sound. We must continue to emphasize the language of the bill which provides that Government aid can in no circumstances be extended where private enterprise or local or State assistance will do the job. Within this sound principle, the Housing Act, effectively and sensibly administered,, will be of enormous social benefit.
I have said before that my district suffers less than more congested and metropolitan areas. Nonetheless, in Atlantic City particularly, and in the three Cumberland cities of Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland-Landis, as well as in Cape May County, there is need for housing, and there is need for slum clearance. The local authorities in these communities are aware of that need and with some degree of assistance, I am satisfied that they can and will do a job.
The present bill contains broad provisions for home loans and insured mortgages particularly for veterans, for housing research to study means of reducing cost, for rental-housing aids and for the insurance of housing investments, for slum clearance and urban rede
velopment, and for the construction of low-rent housing with veterans' preference. It is not incumbent upon the House to accept every sentence of the Senate bill, but it is incumbent upon us to join with the Senate and move quickly toward the solution of the housing problem. The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Snyder here?
Proceed, Mr. Snyder.
STATEMENTS OF CALVIN K. SNYDER, SECRETARY, REALTORS' WASHINGTON COMMITTEE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BOARDS, ACCOMPANIED BY EDWARD R. CARR, REALTORBUILDER OF WASHINGTON, D. C., AND WILLIAM D. DAVIS, KANSAS CITY, MO., PRESIDENT OF FARM MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC., AND PAST PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTE OF FARM BROKERS
Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Calvin K. Snyder, secretary of the Realtors' Washington Committee, National Association of Real Estate Boards. Our offices are at 1737 K Street, NW., in Washington and 22 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Ill. I have been authorized to appear here today on behalf of the National Association of Real Estate Boards, representing 1,028 realestate boards and a membership of 42,611 realtors throughout the country.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, we should like to present our testimony in three parts.
First, I would like to make an opening statement on behalf of our association and then introduce Mr. Edward R. Carr, a realtor-builder of Washington, D. C., immediate past president of the National Association of Home Builders, who will discuss titles III, V, and VI of S. 866 as passed by the Senate and presently being considered by your committee. Then I should like to introduce Mr. William D. Davis of Kansas City, Mo., president of the Farm Management Associates, Inc., and past president of the Institute of Farm Brokers. Mr. Davis, with your permission, will discuss title VII, the farm section of S. 866.
In my opening comments I should like to review the preamble to S. 866 and touch briefly on the advocated objectives of this bill. I have several charts here which I would like to use in making our presentation. By means of these graphic illustrations of local, State, and Federal expenditures and debt at all three levels of government, we will seek to prove that it is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide a home for every citizen.
Article 1, section 1 of the Constitution of the United States reads: All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of the Senate and a House of Representatives— and the 10th amendment provides:
The powers not designated to the United States by the Constitution or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
It seems to me that the very first decision which must be reached by the Congress in considering S. 866 is whether or not it shall be the responsibility of the Federal Government to eliminate slums and
blighted areas, to provide a home in suitable living environment for every citizen, and to develop and redevelop the Nation's communities; whether this national policy shall be discriminatory in that it shall be directed to serve a tiny segment of the Nation's economy instead of the economy as a whole; and further, whether or not this Congress wishes to invite the communities of the Nation to come to Washington-bypassing the constitutional provision of States' rights-for every bit of assistance whether it be for housing, automobiles, clothing, food, insurance, education, or the other social necessities of our American way of life. And, finally, the Congress is confronted with whether it wishes to delegate control over its purse strings to a Government agency administrator.
This is not a new issue. It has been brought up time and time again in the past decade or more. It was part of the full-employ ment bill, where the purpose of the administration was to force acceptance of the principle that the Federal Government must assuine responsiblity for providing every citizen with a job at a living wage. It was only after an arduous struggle in the House of Representatives that this principle was not enunciated in the act as passed.
S. 866 raises again this same issue of direct governmental responsibility for the welfare of individual citizens. It is stated in broad and resounding terms and in the obscure language of the preamble, and it is implied in numerous passages throughout the legislation.
The question is not one of the desirability of better housing. It is not even of the probability of the Government being able to provide housing for its citizens through the kinds of activity called for in this measure. The larger question is whether it is possible for the Government to undertake this responsibility without opening itself to demands for taking on responsibility for other needs clothing, farm machinery, automobiles, vacations. There is nothing unique about housing when this question is faced.
In dealing with this bill you are looking down a long road. You are committing this Government to immeasurable financial burdens and to an incalculable expansion of function. You are taking over to the central authority that obligation which in a free country rests on industry and on the effort and ingenuity of individual citizens. You are looking down the road to an economy controlled and directed by the National Government. The result will be a different economy and a different government from what we have known. This must be kept in mind when you consider this bill.
There is another aspect of this question. Can citizens long remain free when they are dependent on the Government for these necessities with which you are undertaking to provide them? Can they long remain free when they pay rent to the Government, when they look to the Government for the source of money to finance their homes, when, in the event of foreclosure, the Government no longer stands as a protection between them and the mortgagee, but is itself the mortgagee?
These are the kinds of questions which come up as you consider S. 866. The proponents of this bill have a beguiling argument. But there is the obligation of looking beyond to the fundamental issues it raises. You are assuming for the Government a task without evidence that it can be accomplished by the Government. You can be
certain that the very effort to accomplish it, even though the effect may fail, will bring about profound changes in the relationship of the Government to the citizen. You may at the end find that we are without both houses and freedom.
Thus, a great deal rests upon determination of whether or not it is the Federal Government's responsibility. We say that it definitely is not, and I should like to present a few charts to help illustrate and emphasize our point of view.
This first chart is the public debt per capita and is broken down into classifications for the years 1940 through 1947. At the lefthand column is shown the local public debt per capita; in the middle column, the State public debt per capita; and, in the last column, the Federal public debt per capita.
You will note that the local public debt per capita has decreased, from 1940, from $127 to $96; that the State per capita indebtedness has decreased from $27 to $21; and that the Federal indebtedness, since 1940, has increased from $326 to the present indebtedness of $1,794 per capita.
The next chart is a break-down to show the individual State per capita indebtedness as related to the Federal per capita indebtedness. You will note that the States of Nebraska and Iowa are the lowest, with approximately 75 cents. The rest of the States are graduated to show you Kentucky, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, California, and Alabama. The highest State per capita indebtedness was Louisiana, with $72.01. This is approximately 2,500 percent less than the Federal per capita indebtedness of $1,794.
The next break-down is a break-down of municipal per capita indebtedness. Milwaukee, for example, was lowest with $11.25; Des Moines, Iowa, $40.21. New York has the highest, $393.23, it being the largest metropolis as well. Again we find that we have about 300 percent difference between the highest local per capita indebtedness and the Federal per capita indebtedness of $1,794.
It has been claimed that restrictions of State and local laws have prohibited the increase of bonded indebtedness, and that an upward revision of those restrictions would weaken the financial structure of the municipality or State. We all know the old adage that a chain. is no stronger than its weakest link. These charts which I have just shown you illustrate forcefully that the weakest link in our economic chain is the per capita indebtedness of the Federal Government in relation to the per capita indebtedness of local and State governments. We cannot continue to heap upon the shoulders of the Federal economic picture more indebtedness before we ask the municipalities and States to assume a greater burden.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I should like to insert at this point an analysis of excerpts covering the limitations on taxing powers and debts from the constitutions and restrictive limitation laws of the States who have representatives on this committee. Also, the most recent amendments to legislation concerning taxing powers and debts. This information was obtained from The Tax Reporter of the Commerce Clearing House, Inc. Without exception, there is not one State whose constitution prohibits a change in the existing tax and debt limitations as long as the majority of the voters favor such change. The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the record.
(The documents above referred to are as follows:)
SOME RECENT LEGISLATION CONCERNING TAXING POWERS AND TAX RATES, 1948
The law: Final summary of 1947 tax legislation.
Property tax limitation: Act 293 amended the provisions of the Property Tax Limitation Act pertaining to local units in increasing the total tax rate limitation within their areas. Approved June 30, 1917, effective October 11, 1947.
The law Compiled Laws, 1929.
Property Tax Limitation Act (Act No. 62, P. A. 1933):
97-607. SEC. 3551.3. (c) If any local unit shall hold an election for the purpose of increasing the total tax rate limitation * * * the vote of such election shall be taken by ballot. * ** Said ballot shall state the amount to which it is proposed that the total tax rate limitation on property in the local unit be increased and the number of years for which it is proposed that said increase shall be effective. Said ballot may also state the purpose for which the funds derived from the voted increase over the constitutional tax rate limitation may be used, and such funds shall not be considered by the county allocation board in dividing the net limitation tax rate among the various governmental units entitled thereto. * * *
(Above as amended by Act 293, P. A. 1948, effective October 11, 1947.) (NOTE.-Constitutional limitation-11⁄2 percent of assessed valuation
this limitation may be increased for a period not to exceed 5 years at any one time, to not more than a total of 5 percent of the assessed valuation by two-thirds vote.
Final summary, 1947 tax legislation, first special session.
Additional local tax levies: S. B. 360 provides that the electors of a political subdivision, other than a school district, may, when the amount of taxes raised within the 10-mill limitation is insufficient for ordinary requirements, vote to levy a tax in excess of such limitation.
Approved December 5, 1947; effective 90 days after filing with Secretary of State. (Law not reproduced.)
Final summary, 1947 tax legislation.
School district levy: S. B. 2 provides that the board of education of any school district may, upon approval of 60 percent of the electors, levy a tax in excess of the 10-mill limitation for the purpose of meeting the ordinary requirements of the district.
Approved April 2, 1947; effective immediately. (Law not_reproduced.) Extension of 10-mill limitation: S. B. 81 amends section 5625-15, G. C., relating to extension of taxes beyond the 10-mill limitation, by increasing the allowable levy for recreation purposes from two-tenths to five-tenths of a mill.
Final summary of tax legislation, 1946 second special session.
Authorization of cities to make additional levies for municipal universities: S. B. 360, laws of 1946 amended subsection 5 of section 5625-15, to change the limitation figure from fifty-five hundredths of 1 mill to 1 mill over and above what a municipality might, by referendum, levy a tax for the purpose of a municipal university. Section 4003.11 was amended to provide that the council may assess and levy taxes on all taxable property of a municipal corporation to the amount of ninety-five hundredths of 1 mill on the dollar valuation. Formerly the amount was five-tenths of 1 mill.
Approved and effective July 10, 1946.
Final summary, 1943 tax legislation.
Levying additional taxes: S. B. No. 69 provides that prior to December 31, 1944, the taxing authority of any subdivision by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, may declare by resolution that the amount of taxes which may be raised within the 10-mill limitation by levies on the current tax duplicate will be insufficient to provide an adequate amount for necessary requirements, and that it is necessary to levy a tax in excess of said limitation for any of the purposes in section 5625-15 G. C. or to supplement the general fund appropriations for relief, welfare, * * *, and that the question of such additional levy should be submitted to the electors at a special or primary election. Such levy should not be