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available except upon a basis of investment of an equal amount by the State or District. The Highway Department of the District of Columbia has repeatedly called attention to the fact that its participation in this fund is being jeopardized by lack of sufficient funds. However, I assume that this danger does not concern these business groups if they can mooch a little more from the Federal Government. I am astounded that irresponsible business groups would be willing to jeopardize the larger program in order to save momentarily.
There is no excuse for the statement that these groups have figures showing that the present gasoline tax income is sufficient to meet the needs of this city.. I assume that the city could exist without any gasoline tax and allow the streets to remain as they are, and we could probably travel them in some fashion for considerable time. The proper method is to keep these streets in current repair, and make capital improvements when they are needed rather than to allow these things to accumulate until they become a collosal burden. The old adage might be pertinent to this situation, "figures do not lie, but liars figure.”
Leaving all of this argument about gasoline tax income and needed street repairs out of our consideration for the moment, the man in the street knows that when you compare the street requirements of 1924 to 1933 with that of the present time, that the requirements of Washington are or should be much more, if proper consideration is being given to needed improvements and repairs
This man in the street also knows that when we have a highway tax situation now which provides very little more revenue than was produced in 1924 to 1933, that something is wrong with the conclusions of these pseudo business groups. Either they are grossly ignorant, or they want to bleed the Federal Treasury for every dollar they can get without regard to fairness.
If I were convinced that this is the attitude of any considerable number of the citizens of this District, I would be opposed to any tax relief for them until they changed their minds.
There may be some room for difference of opinion as to what is a fair share of the real or personal tax burden but there can be no room for argument on a gasoline tax. The taxpayers of Indiana pay a 4-cent State gasoline tax, plus a 142cent Federal gasoline tax, and that adds up to 542 cents total gasoline tax as it now is proposed for the District of Columbia. A representative of the Federation of Business Men's Association "bellyaches" about a like tax for the District because it amounts to a 40 percent gross sales tax. Whatever it amounts to it is the same in Indiana and many other States of the Union, and in many of them more up to 71,2 cents State and Federal. If the money is needed for good streets and highways, we either levy it or do without the improvements. The people who use and wear out these roads and streets pay this tax and they are willing to pay it out in the States to have good roads. In fact they are willing to pay it everywhere else but here in the desired haven for tax dodgers.
Is a 512-cent gasoline tax any more burdensome on District residents than on Indiana residents, and that of many other States? Or 612 cents in Virginia and West Virginia ? Or 542 cents for Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland ? Or in some other States 71/2 cents? It is no less anywhere than 542 cents total, Federal and State, so what is the matter with Washington ?
The principal thing which these groups have done is to show their ignorance of this subject and demonstrate their prejudice and “mocching" tendencies. In brief, here is their idea of fairness. They are willing for my Indiana taxpayers to pay a gasoline tax of 54, cents per gallon—that is, 4 cents State and 14, cents Federal-to keep up Indiana State roads, and they want to pay a less gasoline tax than that and have Congress donate $8,000,000 or more to the District of Columbia budget, and transfer whatever is needed from the general fund of the District to the highway fund of the District, and thus accomplish by indirection the tax fraud of having Indiana taxpayers keep up Washington streets because Washington fails to pay its share as demonstrated by the average of the Nation. If 4.6 cents State tax plus 142 cents Federal, or 6.1 cents per gallon, is the average, what are these so-called businessmen kicking about? If Congress were asking the District of Columbia motorist to pay more than the lowest figure among the States, these whimpering tax dodgers might have something of which they could complain. The highway fund is now inadequate, and they know it; if they want to be fair, they should not object to a gasoline tax the total of which will be six-tenths cents below the average.
If these said businessmen's groups were considered to be right, then everyone else who has ever studied this problem is wrong. All of the States of this Union, Congress, District Commissioners, citizens' groups are out of step but these small-visioned, selfish business groups. That is why there is so much criticism leveled at groups of this character. They are so blind they can only see their side of the problèm. This problem has two sides, that of the taxpayer in my State and other States of this country, and the District taxpayer. When the District taxpayer pays less than his share, the Indiana taxpayer pays more than his share.
The thing Congress tries to do is balance the tax load, but it seems we get very little help from these businessmen's groups. The District taxpayer should not be overloaded, nor should the District taxpayer mooch on the Federal Gosernment. We may have some difficulty with this balancing problem, but its complexity should not cause us to shrink from our duty. However, the duty to honestly tackle this problem rests alike on the citizens of Washington anii Congress. The problem is not solved by such foolish enunciations as came from the groups I have mentioned.
A gasoline tax for road improvement and maintenance of 4 cents District and 142 cents Federal is no more burdensome in Washington than that same tax in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, or the higher gasoline tax in Virginia and 10 other States. The gasoline-tax money is used for no purpose except highway improvement, and right now is badly needed here in Washington. Do you “bellyaching" businessmen want to pay less for roads than the rest vi these United States? If you do, you are going to get badly fooled and not only that, you jeopardize your whole problem of equitable tax distribution. If your reasoning is so much in error when plain comparison of numbers is involved. how do you expect Congress to give any weight to your reasoning on complicated real estate and personal property taxes? Possibly what Congress should do is hike your general tax rate, and make you carry the load and like it. No, Congress should not be unfair just because you are unfair. Congress should quickly adjust the District gasoline tax of 4 cents for District use, as the District needs the money for its highway program and necessary maintenance. I respectfully suggest to my colleagues of this Eightieth Congress that we do not permit an unfair burden to remain on our constituents in order to favor selfish groups who desire to evade their share of their just responsibility. I appeal to you to enact H. R. 2283 into law at the earliest possible moment.
Mr. BATES. Mr. Harrison, do you wish to add to your testimony?
STATEMENT OF S. R. HARRISON, DEPUTY ENGINEER OF STREETS,
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS, ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mr. HARRISON. Yes, I would like to, sir.
Mr. HARRISON. The Petroleum Industries Committee has recently published a brochure which I would like to discuss.
Also the Petroleum Industries Committee has said to us and also to the public generally that they have used our figures in their computation. The results have a ring of plausibility, but the figures have been used in such a manner that we thought it necessary to present you with this part of their brochure.
The Petroleum Industries Committee has recently published brochure entitled "Is an Increase in the District of Columbia Gasoline Tax Necessary." In their reasoning the committee has excluded from consideration important factors which are so well known that it is evident the omission has been made knowingly in an attempt to portray a picture of the situation satisfactory to them but which will mislead the citizens of the District of Columbia. The Petroleum Industries Committee has economists at its command to whom the factors referred to are well known and no other conclusion can be reached than that their calculations have been designed to result in a given and preconceived answer. This is especially true in that their representative was assured on two separate occasions that the government of the
District of Columbia would be glad to supply any information desired by them. No information other than that used was requested and that furnished was used in a misleading manner.
It has become necessary to refute the misleading and erroneous statements which are being distributed by the Petroleum Industries Committee. The first four pages of their brochure are devoted to developing a premise upon which rests their whole case against an increase in the gasoline tax rate. This paper will prove that premise
. is false beyond a reasonable doubt. With the premise exposed as false and misleading, the many conclusions drawn therefrom by their economists will be found to be not based upon true facts.
For purposes of clarity the first four pages of the brochure referred to and statements in refutation are set out below in juxtaposition. A close reading will show how deliberately misleading the propaganda against the 1-cent increase in our gasoline tax has become.
Mr. Bates, I have had set forth on the left hand side the questions propounded by the petroleum industry and on the right-hand side are the true facts as we see them.
The first question is:
How much would the proposed 1-cent increase in the gasoline tax cost motorists in the District of Columbia ? The Petroleum Industry says:
Approximately $1,500,000 in its initial year, according to the Director of Highways. This amount will naturally increase with the expected increase in• the consumption of gasoline.
The true facts are: The annual revenue is estimated at $1,500,000. However, this is not all paid by District motorists. Gasoline is
purchased in the District by residents of nearby Maryland and Virginia who are employed here and by many large interstate bus and trucking companies. District motorists will by no means pay it all.
The Petroleum Industry then asks:
Are additional funds needed to provide the District with adequate highways and streets? And they answer:
No. Existing sources of highway revenue will provide the District with ample funds to match its entire Federal aid allocations in the 3-year period ending June 30, 1949, and will make possible a level of construction more than twice as large as in the years immediately preceding the war. Present sources of highway revenue will provide sufficient funds to permit a 42-percent increase in operating expenses, to complete $6,175,000 of non-Federal projects, including the South Capitol Street Bridge, match all Federal highway aid allocations, and still have a surplus of over half a million dollars at the end of the 1919 fiscal year.
The true facts are: Additional funds are needed. An opposite statement is neither founded upon fact or logic and is entirely misleading. During the war our population increased by 40 percent. That of the Metropolitan Area by 43 percent. It is estimated that the population of the Washington-Metropolitan Area in 1955 will be 1,550,000 persons. This represents an increase of 60 percent above the population in 1940. It is estimated that 8,000 new dwelling units will be constructed in the District during the next year, largely in virgin territory. District highway programs have always been based upon need. Comparison of the present program with the years before the war is irrelevant and misleading because our needs are now greater. Labor and per
sonnel costs have increased 37 and 32 percent respectively and construction costs are up an average of 55 percent. It now requires $1.55 for every dollar expended before the war. To operate on present sources of revenue would result in not matching $2,865,367 of Federal-aid funds and would lose to the motorists of the District a total of $5,730,734 in highway work. A 1-cent increase in the tax will earn the tax equivalent plus an additional $1,230,734.
The Petroleum Industries then ask:
Approximately $21,442,000 under the present tax structure, projected as follows:
The estimated 1946–47 automotive tax receipts are projected at slightly higher levels during the following 2 years in line with the long-run increase in highway user revenues. The 1946-47 figures correspond with the Department of Highways' estimate except for a slight increase in anticipated registration fees due to a recent rise in registrations and an adjustment in the miscellaneous income to bring it up to the actual 1945–46 level.
The true facts are not very far off. We concede that revenue expectancy is a matter of estimating and that an honest mistake is possible in this respect. The Petroleum Committee estimates $21,442,000 revenue during 1947–48 and 1949. The District estimates $20,654,600. However, the District estimate is predicated upon local experience over a long period of years rather than upon national averages and we think it is more correct. The District estimate, based upon the present tax structure, follows:
The Petroleum Industry then inquires:
What other funds are available for highways during the 3-year period? And they state:
A total of $1,893,830 in additional funds will be available. Of this amount $1,590,544 will come from the Highway Fund balance remaining from the fiscal year 1945–46, and an estimated $303,286 in credits from lapsed balances in the 1945 and 1946 appropriations.
The true facts are: The Petroleum Committee figures are not correct. A total of $21,010,085 in additional funds will be available. This consists of $1,590,544 balance from the fiscal year 1946 and lapsed balances of $419,541 from the 1945 and 1946 fiscal year.
The Petroleum Industry there inquires : What will be the operating expenditures and other obligations chargeable to the Highway Fund for the fiscal year 1916 47? And they state:
Approximately $5,506,452, exclusive of funds required to match Federal-aid allocations. This estimate, approved by Congress and incorporated in the Federal budget for the 1947 fiscal year, includes a number of paving and drainage projects and the year's contracts for the South Capital Street Bridge. These expenditures may be tabulated as follows: Maintenance and operation-Highway Department.
$1, 530,000 Trees and parkings
162, 900 Vehicles and traffic..
586, 152 Metropolitan Police
607,500 Miscellaneous expense.
204, 900 Minor capital outlays--
1, 125, 000 Major capital outlays (other than Federal aid).
1, 290, 000
5, 506, 452 The true facts are: $5,640,752 is the correct figure for work other than Federal aid. An item of $134,300 in deficiency appropriations has been omitted from the Petroleum Committee's statement. The true figures are tabulated below: Maintenance and operation–Highway Department
$1, 530, 000 Trees and parkings
162, 900 Vehicles and traffic.
586, 152 Metropolitan Police.-
607, 500 Miscellaneous expense.
204, 800 Minor capital outlays--
1, 125, 000 Major capital outlays (other than Federal aid)
1, 290,000 Total
5, 506, 452 Deficiency appropriation--
134, 300 Total
5, 640, 752 The Petroleum Industry then asks: What will be the operating expenditures and other obligations of the Highway Department during the next three fiscal years?
Approximately $15,449,356, exclusive of the funds required to match Federal aid. This estimate allows for a 42-percent increase in operating expenses above the prewar level, $3,375,000 for routine construction work, and $2,800,000 for completing the South Capital Street Bridge.
The true facts are that approximately $16,922,256 will be the operating expenditures and other obligations (other than Federal aid) if expenditures are held to the 1947 level. In holding the 1947 level the Petroleum Industry Committee entirely disregards estimates for the
1948 which are of public record and now before Congress, entirely disregards the growth of the city and the actual highway facility requirements and also discounts the increase in labor and material costs; in fact, it is not conceded that the committee is competent to determine the needs of the District of Columbia insofar as highway facilities are concerned. Based upon actual need approximately $18,208,052 will be required for operating expenditures (other than Federal aid) during the fiscal years 1947-48 and 1949.
The Petroleum Industry then inquires: