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when he said he would help us out if we got mixed up with the police, and that sounded very cheering indeed. I don't exactly understand why somebody hasn't said something about St. Paul. I was in South Bend last week and gave an address before the national real estate dealers association, which was meeting there, and one of the speakers said that Minneapolis was a very religious city, and that the religion consisted in loving the Lord and hating St. Paul. I feel that the gentleman was mistaken about it, because I think perhaps that instead of calling Philadelphia the city of brotherly love, we ought to call St. Paul and Minneapolis the twin cities of brotherly love, because we have not found any of that feeling in Minnesota since we have been here, and we have seen a number of citizens of both places. I think that the problems that the Mayor spoke about here all arise after a man has been elected instead of before. It is always an opportunity for one to say that you are in favor of reducing taxes, that you are in favor of building new roads, and that you are in favor of building even new school buildings and paying school teachers better salaries. All of those things cost money.
Your lieutenant governor asked me a minute ago if there wasn't some trouble because the legislators did not consult with taxing experts. Now, the opinion that was given by the greatest taxing expert we have had in the State of Indiana was that there was only one real solution to the taxing problem, and that was to give everybody in the state who wanted a bonus, a bonus, and to exempt everybody else from taxation; and that would be more satisfactory, Mr. Mayor, than simply exempting the property of the small house owner.
We have all sorts of questions presented to us in regard to exemption from taxation. I have on my desk down at Indianapolis today a fifty-page letter, written on both sides, in indelible pencil, by a man who owns eight hundred acres of land, and he wants all land exempted from taxation, on the ground that he produces food, and if we would exempt all land from taxation the reduced price of bread, of corn and wheat and hogs would give to the people all that we collect in the way of taxes from the farmers. The farmer isn't the only man who wants to be exempted from taxation. Everybody who has a public utility also wants to be exempted from taxation. All of our secret orders want to be exempted from taxation; all of our churches want to be exempted from taxation; and we have a large number of crafty taxpayers who exempt themselves from taxation, without appealing to our board for any aid.
Ladies and gentlemen of the conference, there is only one solution to the question of taxation and to that great problem which has existed since the very inception of civilization. That solution consists in expending public money just exactly as it is expended in a well-conducted private business; when that is done, when it be
comes possible to do that, you will have reached the only sensible solution that there is for the question of taxation. You will not see then in one city the tax rate up to more than five per cent and in another city below two per cent, which we have in the State of Indiana. One of them is managed well and the other one is not managed well. That is all there is to it. Every city ought to be run exactly as though it were a splendidly managed private business, and in order to do that, the people who now do not take any interest in taxation must take interest in it, or this great problem will overwhelm many of the municipalities of the United States of today. There are some of them that are on the verge of bankruptcy, and in our own state there is only one power that is standing between bankruptcy and one-third of our townships, and that is the state board of tax commissioners, which has the power to prevent them from creating indebtedness when it is not necessary. You all have to work at it. Business men, lawyers and doctors and others must have the subject explained to them so they will understand that a reduction in the valuation of their property will not in any way affect the amount of taxes which they pay. but that it depends upon the amount of money which is expended. We have organizations all over our state, and you no doubt have in yours, seeking to bring down the valuations that are placed upon particular classes of property. That will not help the situation. There is no help for it excepting the help that must come from every man who pays taxes. He must look into how the money is expended and to see that it is not thrown away, and your officers need that help. They cannot see everything that is done, and they cannot control everything that is done. Thousands of dollars will be expended without anybody knowing about it, and we not only have to assist in paying the taxes, but we, as taxpayers, all over the United States, must assist in expending that money. That reminds me of a story. There was a man in our town a good many years ago of some very considerable means. He had a nephew, sort of a ne'er-do-well boy, who chased around to the races, and to the state fair, and such places as that, and did no good, and his uncle finally took him in hand and sent him to a business college over at Indianapolis. The young man had been over at the business college long enough to get through, and he wrote a letter to his uncle saying that he had done very well and he had a nice position over there. His uncle wrote to him and asked him what he was doing and where he was employed, and he received no answer. One night the uncle came into Indianapolis very late, and down on South Illinois Street he dropped into one of those cheap oldfashioned restaurants, where everything is five cents-five cents for a cup of coffee, five cents for mashed potatoes, five cents for porterhouse steak, five cents for everything; it would buy everything on the bill. He walked in and looked around. He did not like the looks of the place but he thought it was the only place he would find open. He sat down, and then looked up in utter astonishment, and saw his nephew there with a napkin strung over his arm. He looked up at him and said, “My God, Horace, you don't work here?" Horace looked down at him. He says, “ yes, I work here, but by God I don't eat here."
The taxpayers of the United States have got to work here and eat here both; they have got to be on the job in regard to national taxation and in regard to state taxation. I see the lieutenant governor looking at me as though my five minutes were about up, and I guess that is so, but I want to leave this message with you, and I am sure I am expressing the sentiment of every person who is here when I say we are glad to be here with you, and that we thank your officers for their kindly words of welcome. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN NOLAN: I think it is up to the chairman to make some explanations. Evidently from the remarks that have been made recently, the chairman's intentions have been misconstrued. In the first place, I did state that it was unfortunate that the governor was not here this evening, but that was not intended as a reflection upon the substitute for the governor. As a matter of fact, the lieutenant governor is always capable and always willing to fill, and fill efficiently, the position of the governor, and we all realize that if the governor is out of the state we are in a position to furnish a substitute that is almost as good as the real thing.
Now, something was said about the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul. We who live here do not realize that there are any differences between the two cities. Occasionally people come from the outside and comment upon it, but we are working together, both Minneapolis and St. Paul, in the best spirit of mutual helpfulness and with neighborly spirit. That, we feel, ought to be a good model for other people. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are working together for the upbuilding of the northwest and the State of Minnesota, and you will find while you are here, that there is no feeling between the two cities. There is a little very healthy competition, but it don't get to the point where we go out gunning for one another. And that same spirit of neighborliness we feel ought to exist not only among our communities and the states in this Union, but we feel also a spirit of neighborly feeling for our friends to the North, and so it has been suggested, as long as these happy speeches were being made, that at this time we might call upon some one to speak for the Dominion of Canada, and although this has not been agreed to in advance, I am going to call upon Mr. J. T. White, Solicitor to the Treasury of the Province of Ontario.
Mr. J. T. WHITE, Solicitor to the Treasury of the Province of
Ontario: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I am very glad of the opportunity of saying a few words tonight. I have attended these conferences every year since 1915, and I have found them oi great benefit to me. We find that we can come over here and learn a great deal, not only from your experience in matters in which you have been successful, but we learn a little from your mistakes. We shall be glad to have you over in Canada some time, and if you cannot learn from us any other way, you can probably learn something from some of our own mistakes, because we probably have a few. One of them was when we tried in the western provinces to exempt improvements from taxation. That does not seem to have worked out as well as was expected, but possibly if we could exempt all the small householders, as the lieutenant gov. ernor suggested, it might be better. We tried that in Toronto to a certain extent.
I have not noticed any evidence of ill-feeling between linneapolis and St. Paul. In fact we always combine the two together in one city. It is a little different in Ontario. The city I live in has no immediate neighbors in the way of other large cities, but the other cities of the Province, bearing in mind the fact that Toronto is the.capital and gets universities and normal schools and central prison, and things like that, are inclined to call Toronto “ hog-town” occasionally, but that probably is a matter that will have to be adjusted between the different municipalities in time.
I want to thank you for this opportunity of saying a few words. and I want to say again that I have derived a great deal of assistance from the meetings that I have attended.
Mr. Hough: Tell them one way you raise taxes there that we don't raise them.
Mr. White: Regarding the race tracks?
MR. WHITE: I must apologize possibly for participation of the government in the tax on a gambling institution, such as the race track, but it happens that in the province of Ontario we are not responsible for the location of the race tracks. There the dominion government takes that responsibility and allows, under certain restrictions, race-track gambling in the province. Some of the tracks are located close to the border, so that we have a little opportunity to get a little money out of Buffalo and Detroit. In fact, that was one of the excuses we used for putting on the tax, that we are going to make the Americans pay part of the tax. We tax the race tracks seventy-five hundred dollars a day. They are allowed a race meeting of seven days each, and in addition to that we instruct the race-track owners to deduct from the winning tickets
five per cent of the amount that they are entitled to on that ticket. The system of betting is mutual betting and all the money paid goes into the pool, and the race track deducts three per cent off this, and five per cent for the government, and we will get a revenue close to four million dollars this year out of race tracks. (Applause)
CHAIRMAN NOLAN: I am sure we enjoyed the remarks of Mr. White, and I presume now the time has come for the formal number on the program.
Mr. White in his remarks said that they were in the habit of speaking of Minneapolis and St. Paul as one. We have no objections to this as long as you do not refer to the combination as St. Paul.
Personally I have enjoyed the privilege of introducing these gentlemen to you tonight. I haven't a great deal of sympathy for the average introducer because I have had some experience with it. Not long ago I was on a program and the chairman happened to be a gentleman who was somewhat deficient in the art of oratory, and he was conscious of the fact, and he tried to make his condition plain to the audience. He said, you know I cannot make a speech, I never could make a speech, but at the same time, if you don't know, you ought to know that some of the most brilliant men the world has ever produced were poor speech-makers, whereas some of the most eloquent orators have been only boneheads.” It is my pleasure at this time to introduce to you an eloquent orator. The next number on the printed program is a review of recent tax legislation, by William E. Hannan, legislative reference librarian, New York state library. Mr. Hannan is not here and so his paper will be read by Mr. Holcomb.
SECRETARY Holcomb: That is a hot one. Mr. Chairman, before proceeding to the dry subject of taxation from this delightful experience which we have had, I think I had better make a few announcements, because it might be that quite a few might think they had to go home or go to some other engagement, and if I should undertake to read the digest of legislation of th
ast year, I am sure there would not be anybody here to listen to my announcements.
CHAIRMAN Nolan: Play safety first, Mr. Holcomb.
SECRETARY HOLCOMB: The committee on arrangements desires me to announce that there will be a luncheon for the ladies at the New England furniture company. I don't know what that means. Furniture is rather hard eating. All those wishing to attend the luncheon kindly register at the information booth as early as possible. Automobiles will be at the Third Avenue entrance to convey ladies to the luncheon. One o'clock tomorrow.