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Doctor FINEGAN. You will find that what I have said is true of the States generally. They have increased their appropriations from year to year, and you say that there ought to be a permanent increase during all the years to come, and I agree with you, and you will find that large increases have been made from year to year. That is so in Pennsylvania and it is so in New York. Many of the States have from year to year increased their appropriations, and generally would not decrease them because they receive funds from the Federal Government.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to call your attention to this condition: You have a lot of States in this country that are taxing their people for schools. As Doctor Winship said to the committee, there is a great craze for education, and localities are voting bonds everywhere for public education. Now, you have all of those States that are progressive and that are taxing themselves to the limit for local purposes. I do not know what the law is in Pennsylvania, but I know that in many States they are taxing the people upon the full valuation of their property for the purposes of local taxes. They pay State taxes and local taxes, a large part of which goes for education. Then, there are other States where the people are not taxing themselves to that extent. It was in evidence before us that in one State property was assessed for the purpose of local taxation at only 16 per cent of its real value, whereas, in Massachusetts it is assessed at full value. Now, do you think that any State should get Federal aid for education until it does tax its people at a rate or upon a basis equal to the average of the other States?
Doctor FINEGAN. The true measure, in my judgment, is not the basis upon which the property is assessed or the amount of taxes paid. One State may assess property at 20 per cent of its value, and have a high rate, while another assesses at full value and has a low rate.
The CHAIRMAN. I am assuming that they will have the same tax rate.
Doctor FINEGAN. That does not follow, and my experience is quite the contrary.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your experience in Pennsylvania ?
Doctor FINEGAN. My experience in New York and Pennsylvania is that the rates vary. For instance, where you have taxes levied upon a 20 per cent valuation, you will find that the tax rate runs to 4 or 5 per cent or even greater but where property is assessed at full value the rate is correspondingly lower.
The CHAIRMAN. Massachusetts has a rate of 3 or 4 per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the average. The rate is between $30 and $40 per $1,000, and the property is assessed at full value. Frequently it is assessed at more than you can get for it. My point is, why should you tax progressive States that are already carrying this terrible burden to help States that are perfectly able to do this for themselves?
Doctor FINEGAN. Federal Taxes are not assessed upon the States. Such taxes are assessed upon property irrespective of its location. Laying taxes for education is not different from laying taxes for any other purpose for which Federal appropriations are made.
Mr. BLACK. But if there is an increase in the Federal Budget, there must be a consequent increase in taxes, and the taxes must come from these States.
Doctor FINEGAN. There is nothing in this bill that proposes any increase in Federal taxes.
Mr. BLACK. But that is bound to follow, because it is an added charge upon the Federal Government.
The CHAIRMAN. Speaking of Federal taxation, what has happened in Pennsylvania has also happened in Massachusetts and many other States. When the people amended the Constitution and gave the Federal Government the right to tax individual incomes in time of peace as well as in time of war, they took away from the States the possibility of the States collecting income taxes and using that money for their schools.
Doctor FINEGAN. That money went to the Federal Treasury, as I have already stated, and the States are deprived of it for educational purposes. A proper proportion should be set aside for education.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the Federal Government took just that much money out of the States ?
Doctor FINEGAN. That was my argument a moment ago.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, the people are burdened with taxes. In Massachusetts it is a very great burden, and especially to the little householders. They are paying the great bulk of the local taxes. The great bulk of that comes from the assessment of real estate property, and in Massachusetts we have a tremendous lot of people who own their own homes. My own district is full of home owners, and they are paying a tremendous tax rate upon a high valuation. However, they are glad to do it in order to educate their children, but why should they be taxed still more by the Federal Government in order to pay for the schooling of children in States where the people who are able to do it for themselves are not willing to tax their people to the extent to which the people of Massachusetts are taxed? In other words, I am not saying anything against Federal aid if it is necessary, but I have not been able through all these hearings to find out where it was necessary. My point is that the State, before it gets Federal aid, ought to be willing to do as much as its sister States do, according to its ability.
Doctor FINEGAN. The true basis for determining that is not the amount of taxes which a State pays, but the measure would be the amount of taxes which a State pays for public education in proportion to its economic income.
The CHAIRMAN. There should be some ascertainment of those facts.
Doctor FINEGAN. Yes. Further, I justify appropriations for public education by the Federal Government, not only upon the fact that the Federal Government has been taking the resources of the States through the Federal tax system but upon the whole general theory that anything which makes the people who work in the cotton fields of the South more productive, which makes those who work on the farms of the West more productive, or which makes those who work in the textile mills of Massachusetts more productive, is something that contributes to the general welfare of the country and the general prosperity of the Nation.
The CHAIRMAN. That is perfectly true, and nobody will deny that, and if we had a centralized Republic where one tax was paid to the Federal Government, that principle would be absolutely correct. Then all of the taxes would be levied and collected by the Federal Government, and the money would be apportioned all around throughout the country according to where it was needed, in order to bring it up to the standard.
Mr. BLACK. With one complete system of Federal education.
Doctor FINEGAN. We are opposed to that and this measure not only does not contemplate it but actually prohibits it.
The CHAIRMAN. If it could be shown that all of the States are doing as much as the average State, or if they were required to do as much as the average State before applying for Federal_aid, I would agree that your argument would apply, and that the Federal Government, as a national matter, should help those States that can not help themselves. That has always been the policy of our Government, but it has never been the policy of the Government to help those who can help themselves.
Doctor FINEGAN. I think I can place in your hands a document which contains the data to show what the expenditures of each State for public education are, and the relation of such expenditures to the economic income in such States.
Mr. BLACK. New York is having difficulty in getting money enough for its own needs. We have many rural people up there to look out for.
Mr. LOWREY. Did you say there were some States that taxes their property at 16 per cent ?
The CHAIRMAN. There is one county in Virginia that assesses property for taxation at 16 per cent of its value.
Doctor FINEGAN. Then Virginia needs Federal aid.
The CHAIRMAN. Why not tax it upon an equal basis with Massachusetts? They are assessing property in this county in Virginia at 16 per cent of its fair market value.
Doctor FINEĞAN. What was the tax rate? The CHAIRMAN. I do not know. Mr. LOWREY. In regard to that I want to say that in the two States I have lived in, Mississippi and Texas, ever since I have been paying taxes I have had to make my oath that I was giving in the property at what I would be willing to accept for it on a sale.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you have the same law that we have in Massachusetts.
Mr. LOWREY. In Texas I paid last year a rate of $3 per $100. There were three blocks out in a city division that I tried to sell for $500, but could not sell them. The equalization board valued them at $1,500, but I could not get $500 for them to save my life.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, how property is valued for the purpose of taxation should be taken into account, as well as the tax rates, and unless a State was doing for itself along that line up to the average
of all the States of the Union it ought not to receive Federal aid. They should first be required to do what they can before they get Federal aid.
Doctor FINEGAN. I would not quarrel with you on that. I think I can furnish you a table that will show in general what the States are contributing from their economic resources for public education, and which will also show that several States will not be able to maintain an education program for the education and training of its boys and girls for citizenship adequate to the national needs without financial aid from the Federal Government.
I thank you.
STATEMENT OF DR. ROBINSON G. JONES, SUPERINTENDENT
OF SCHOOLS, CLEVELAND, OHIO
Doctor JONES. Mr. Chairman, I am at your service. Do you wish to ask me questions, or do you wish me to speak on this bill?
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to have you present your views on these bills before you and to have your views upon this whole question as to what should be the relation between the Federal Government and the States and localities upon this question of education.
Doctor Jones. Mr. Chairman, I have not prepared a set speech on that subject. We have not accepted, in my belief, the SterlingReed bill as it has been written, or we have not accepted in full the subsidy question. I have not felt that the States would have any need for a subsidy such as is expressed in the quantity in the bill
The CHAIRMAN. Are you the superintendent of public schools of Cleveland, Ohio?
Doctor JONES. I am.
I would rather express, if I may, our view as to a clearing house for education centralized in the Government. I do not know that I care particularly what title the chief officer may have, or whether he may have a position in the Cabinet or may be regarded as a commissioner of education. I doubt whether the title in itself will confer dignity upon the institution. I feel that in the long run dignity will come to the institution only as it deserves it. I doubt whether any member of the Supreme Court would exchange places with a member of the Cabinet, and I doubt if the Chief Justice of the United State would be any more important if he were a member of the Cabinet, and yet we of the outlying districts have as great respect probably for the Chief Justice and for the Supreme Court as an institution as we do for any other institution of the Government that we know of. I believe that if a department of education, whether it be centered in the Cabinet, or be decentralized or attached to some other Government organization, were properly financed, and I mean by that adequately financed to provide the answers for the school public at large that it desires, the dignity of the relationship to the Government would be properly taken care of.
I feel that there should be in that clearing house in Washington, under the Government, a department of research, a department for studying the financing of education, a department of physical construction and reconstruction, a director of welfare, a director of educational personnel, a director in charge of foreign education, and a director in charge of educational legislation. What the relative importance of those divisions may be, should be determined after the organization is set up under your commissioner. Whether there should be some condensation of those departments, or not, I am not saying. Those are the items in which we are concerned. "I doubt if it is dignity that we require so much as information. If you were to
ask the city of Cleveland, what it needs to-day, we would ask you to report to us what is the best system of taxation in a State, with our physical possibilities, to adequately provide education for the different types of communities within the State, with a proper differentiation between the needs. The needs of Cleveland are different from the needs of Gallipolis, on the Ohio River. We have talked about a uniform education for all; that is a theory, but, in my judgment, it is not a fact. We have to do with the education of adults in Cleveland, and that is probably not the case in Gallipolis. The director of research that you have set up in Washington is in a department which is inadequately financed, and, as a result, the National Educational Association, through its department, is trying to supply wants which you have not supplied through the Government.
We are setting up a department of research which will provide practical answers which are needed in this country. For instance, this morning the superintendent of schools in Cleveland needs to know the cost of a first-class personnel surrounding him to provide for the direction of the schools for the ensuing year. That is important, and those facts are probably not within any of the files of the Bureau of Education in Washington. The National Educational Association is accumulating that type of information. The city of Cleveland would be interested to know to-day to what extent education shall go, and to what extent we are warranted in spending public funds to supply it in a given community. We are interested in knowing whether we shall provide for adult education; whether we shall provide for public welfare; whether we shall provide for eight years education or for 12 years education; whether we shall provide definitely for commercial and industrial education; and whether we shall enter upon apprenticeship training in trades. All of those questions are before us. How could we secure the answers? It would be providing the superintendent of schools with information to furnish the board of education. It would provide the facts, and then they would jointly determine upon the cost of the program of education for next year. We built up a department of research which is probably increasing the overhead of the city of Cleveland beyond the overhead of other cities, and this is where chickens come home to roost.
When we have built up an overhead that is excessive, the board says, "tear down that overhead." When we proceed to tear it down, the department of research goes, and when the department of research goes, the superintendent of schools, or the manager of the school system, is without information to provide the board of education. He refers to the city of Washington, or to his Government, and there he finds that it has been torn down, too. We are having to practice efficiency, and are constantly building up the department of research. That, with the other added departments, are growing up around us to such an extent that we are going to be obliged to supply a system of accounting and bookkeeping such as we have never had before, or else the superintendent of schools will be changing positions very rapidly. We have a director of finance. Our city has found it necessary to provide a director of finance for the schools alone, and he is an authority in this country on the financing of schools. I have had occasion, in providing educational