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Washington area would be much more interested in paying a 1-cent increase in the gasoline tax to assure providing appropriate highways and bridges and facilities than to just pay 11/3 cents—1310 cents more for gasoline, as such.
I mention this merely because the chief and principal opposition to the increase in the gasoline tax has come from the same people who have increased the cost of gasoline twice since the 21st of February. Senator Cain. Your members, Mr. Cleveland, are consumers of
gas for both pleasure and business?
Mr. CLEVELAND. That is right.
Mr. BATES. Did that same increase occurring in the case of the States you mentioned—did it take place here in the District?
Mr. CLEVELAND. Mr. Bates, it is my understanding, and probably there are other people here who can correct this if I give you false information, that the price of gasoline in the Greater Washington area is regulated by the dealers over the line absorbing some of the tax and keeping the price to the consumer at the same level. About the only comment I can make is that at the last session of the Maryland General Assembly, which ended last March or the 1st of April, the price of gasoline in Maryland was increased 1 cent per gallon.
Mr. BATES. That is a tax?
Mr. BATES. The reason I asked the question is because you mentioned the fact that the tax both in Virginia and Maryland is higher than what it is here in the District, and I was wondering whether or not the increase in gasoline price by the dealers was larger in the District than what it was in the State of Maryland or in the State of Virginia at the same time.
Mr. CLEVELAND. Well, I cannot answer that.
Mr. Bates. Do you not know whether the price of gasoline went up in Virginia or Maryland at the same time it went up in the District?
Mr. CLEVELAND. 'Well, the price has remained the same; yes. It has gone up formally, as I understand it, in all three jurisdictions in the Greater Washington area.
Mr. BATEs. Does that include the whole State of Virginia or just a part of it and the State of Maryland or just a part of it, or was it a sort of general increase all over the State?
Mr. CLEVELAND. I cannot answer that. I will be glad to get that information for you.
Mr. BATEs. You do not think there is any attempt on the part of the Washington area just to equalize the costs to the consumer by jacking up their price so as to take advantage of the increased tax in each of these States? There is no such attempt; is there?
Mr. CLEVELAND. No, sir. Senator Cain. Thank you very much, Mr. Cleveland. Mr. CLEVELAND. Thank you, sir. Senator Cain. We shall now be delighted to hear from a spokesman of the Washington Board of Trade, represented this morning, I think, by Gen. David McCoach, Jr.
General, we are delighted to have you with us.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. DAVID McCOACH, JR., CHAIRMAN,
MUNICIPAL FINANCE COMMITTEE OF THE WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
General McCoach. My name is David McCoach, Jr., and I am chairman of the municipal finance committee of the Washington Board of Trade, consisting of 7,600 members, including membership in every, practically every line of business in the District of Columbia.
In accordance with the committee's wishes, I will discuss today the District's general fiscal problems. Detailed comment respecting the tax proposals which have been submitted will be given when the committee receives testimony concerning the bills which have been introduced at the request of the Commissioners.
A necessary prerequisite to an intelligent discussion of additional revenue requirements and sources is a determination of the amount of money which will be required to efficiently operate the municipality and provide for essential improvements.
Your committee has already received from District government officials rather detailed information about departmental needs and explanations of increased costs during the last 10 years. To eliminate great duplication in the record, I will comment only on broad, over-all trends and requirements.
We have consulted with the appropriate District of Columbia officials, charted costs since 1920 until the present, and projected them through 1955 on chart 1 which I will now briefly review.
The red line on this and other charts to follow, shows the population. Through the year 1946, this population curve was constructed from official Census Bureau figures, figures released by the District of Columbia Bureau of Vital Statistics, and information assembled by the Washington Board of Trade.
The population projection for 1946–55, shown by the solid red line, is an estimate prepared by the Post war Planning Committee of the Washington Board of Trade.
In January 1946, it was estimated that 930,000 persons resided within the District of Columbia, and that that figure would have shrunk to 880,000 by 1950, but expanded to 950,000 by 1955.
Hɔwever, I am now advised by our city planning committee that revised figures will soon be released by them and by the Census Bureau. They are not yet ready for release, but we know approximately what they will be, and they have been indicated by the broken red line on the chart.
First, rechecks indicate that figure of 930,000 for January 1946, was too high. Secondly, we believe that as of January 1, 1947, the District's population was at the level previously forecast for 1950, 880,000, or even a little less. Thirdly, we now anticipate a slower increase in future years, and doubt that the population of the District of Columbia will against exceed 900,000 before 1960.
Mr. Bates. General, what was the population as of the 1st of January? You say you have revised it somewhat now?
General MČCoach. Yes, sir; our original figure was—January 1946, 930,000.
Mr. BATES. Yes.
General McCOACH. And then, as shown on that chart, we showed that a decrease was anticipated to 880,000 by 1950, but expanded again to 950,000 by 1955.
Mr. BATES. What would you say the peak was now on your revised figures? I would like to get that in this part of the record.
General McCoach. 930,000 was the peak; is that correct?
Mr. WILLIAM H. PRESS (executive secretary, Board of Trade). That was overestimated. Mr. Black, chairman of our city planning committee, can answer that question for you.
Mr. BATEs. Then you say, on the basis of the census report, that some information which you have, that you are revising that.
Mr. FISHER BLACK (chairman, city planning committee, Board of Trade). It looks as though that was a little too high; that is being revised as of this year.
Mr. BATEs. What is the revision?
Mr. BLACK. And the current estimate is 860,000 for this year, and we do not know just how much population we lost during the year; there was some loss, so, it was higher than 860,000.
General McCoach. About 930,000 was approximately the peak.
Mr. Bates. You mean the estimate was too high. What is your estimate now based on the revised estimate!
Mr. BLACK. The revised estimate as of the first of the year was 860,000.
Mr. BATES. What was it the first of '46 ?
Mr. BLACK. The Census Bureau estimate as of the middle of '45, was 938,000.
Mr. BATES. I see.
Mr. BLACK. And that was estimated to go down to 930,000 as of the first of '46, and then they are coming out with another estimate that is to be submitted shortly, and we understand that is going to be down in the neighborhood of 860,000.
Mr. BATES. January 1, this year.
General McCoach. These revised figures, which I am sure will be available in final form before this committee concludes its deliberations, indicate the population now requiring service from the municipality is less than we thought.
For our purposes, we assume that the District's population for the next 10 years will remain nearly constant at a little less than 900,000. This, we believe, is an important factor in estimating future municipal costs and revenues.
Through the year 1946 the curve marked “Maintenance and operations, general fund," is constructed from figures furnished by the Auditor of the District, except that in order to provide more comparable figures we have eliminated street and highway appropriations which were included in the general fund in the twenties, prior to the establishment of the highway fund.
The amount shown on this curve for maintenance and operation appropriations during the fiscal year 1947 is slightly over $66,000.00 and is an estimate which has been discussed with the Budget office and includes deficiencies during the present fiscal year.
With this unprecedented annual cost of operation and maintenance as a basis, we can proceed to an estimation of future requirements The rate of increase in operation costs between 1920 and 1910 is shown on the chart.
Applying this same rate of increase, but adjusted because of the expected leveling off of population increase, we estimate that general fund maintenance and operation appropriations will increase one and three-quarter million dollars in 1918, and then at the rate of threequarters of a million dollars annually each year, and in 1955 will total, roughly, $73,000,000.
The curve marked "Total general fund appropriations," differs from the curve for maintenance and operation appropriations by the amount of annual appropriations for capital improvements.
I think it is well at this point to call attention to the fact that the pattern shown in the curve does not correctly portray the actual pattern of capital expenditures.
The principal reason for this is the fact that repayments to the Federal Government for park purchases and PWA loans do not appear in the curve until substantially later than the actual improvements were made available,
For example, under the PWA program there were sizable capital expenditures during the middle thirties. However, the District repaid the bulk of this money in the last few years. Consequently, the curve will indicate that there were large capital expenditures during the war period, which was not true. This, of course, does not alter the total amount expended for this purpose nor the average annual amount with which we will deal.
The total general fund appropriations for the fiscal year 1947 have been estimated to be about $73,000,000. The capital items included in that figure were estimated by the budget office to total $7,000,000.
In order to make an estimate of the total general fund requirements during the next eight years we must determine the amount which should be added annually for capital improvements to the figure already derived for maintenance and operation.
Despite a general acknowledgment of the necessity for rather extensive capital improvements, it is our judgment that large capital outlays, plus the necessary increased cost of operation, cannot be levied in taxes without detriment to the economy of the District, nor do we believe it necessary for reasons to be shown later. I am speaking there of a large capital improvement program.
Mr. BATEs. Pardon the interruption at this moment, but I have been quite interested to get that information. I have asked for it almost a week now, and I have not got it yet.
The budgetary requirements of '48, general operating expenses, plus the capital improvements that have been programed for '48 and also '49, because this tax schedule based on these tax bills must be geared not only to your current operating expenses for '48, '49, and '50 but also geared to your capital-outlays estimate; have you got a tabulation
howing those facts-a tabulation that you have given some study to!
General McCOACH. I have no tabulation. Of course, these charts, Mr. Bates, divide—show the operating expenses and show the total xpenses; that is, the appropriation chart-bill.
Mr. Press. This is capital and maintenance.
General McCoach. The difference between those two would repreent the capital outlay.
Mr. BATEs. That is what I want. I would like to have figures. I asked for those last week.
General McCoach. You have the figures on which this chart was based and prepared.
Mr. Bares. And showing the general estimated budgetary requirements, and then, in addition to that, the capital outlay that you have planned for several years ahead. We have got to give some reason why we want all this additional revenue and why we have a recapitulation here of the budgetary requirements of '47 and '48 and the deficiency of $3,000,000, yet we have not anything to show us what the capital outlays are going to be—the specific projects that you have programed for ’48 and ’49 and, let us say, '50 and '51, over a period of 5 years—so that we will have some idea as to the revenue needs over and above your current expenses. Now, have you seen any table of that kind ?
, General McCoach. No; I have not seen any table, but Mr. Press has the figures on which this chart was based, which necessarily included
Mr. BATES. Then he must have had the table.
Mr. Press. We have estimates of total capital requirements in the District of Columbia chargeable to the general fund.
Mr. BATES. Just the sum total.
Mr. BATEs. Somebody gave you a figure that was pulled out of the sky?
Mr. Press. Well, there have been citizens working, a committee of citizens has been working with General Young on that problem.
Mr. Bates. Yes.
Mr. PRESS. And it is a right sizable figure, but the General's testimony, as he progresses, refers to the amount we can spend each year, and tells you how we can get it.
General McCoach. The present budget contains a little less than $8,000,000 for capital improvements; that is for 1948.
Mr. Bates. Have you studied those projects embraced in the $8,000,000 of capital improvements, that is, your committee?
General McCoach. In oeneral, yes, sir.
Mr. BATES. We would like to have a comment on that because it is very important that somebody from this District who has made a study give us that information. We have not because we have not had the information, and somebody should comment on the need.
General McCoach. I think every project in this year's budget is highly desirable. On the other hand, I think there is a difference between desirability and