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amination and report. I venture to predict that as a result, it will eventually follow into oblivion the general property tax. It is too grossly unjust, discriminatory, and unscientific.
As to the necessity for better control by the taxpayer over both civic and provincial expenditure, let me give you a concrete case:
The city of Winnipeg has a population of 200,000 within the city limits proper (greater Winnipeg probably from 250,000 to 280,000). Of these 200,000, after deducting children of school age and under, there remains an adult population of 144,000. Of the latter 85,000 are electors (individuals on voters' list), and of the 85,000 electors about 32,000 are real property owners or taxpayers, while of these 32,000 there are only 24,000 resident taxpayers capable of voting on money by-laws, equal to one-sixth of the adult population. These 24,000, or 28% of the voters, have to pay for carrying out the policy of all those who have representatives in the council, and therefore realty is unfairly burdened because the owners of realty are not properly represented. Lavish expenditure is the result.
For instance, when a nurses' home is wanted in connection with one of our hospitals, a luxuriously equipped building costing $400,000 is erected for about 60 or 70 nurses. With the same money it would have been possible to erect a house costing $6000 or $7000 for each of those nurses.
And as to our provincial expenditures, we have a magnificent capitol building, which can bear comparison with any capitol building on this continent, or in Europe, but it cost nine or ten million dollars, and in view of the present population of the province of 600,000, is a crime and far beyond our requirements and the capabilities of our population.
Again, our provincial government has erected a palatial home for the deaf and dumb, out on the prairie beyond the reach of civic utilities, at a cost of about $1,000,000 — to accommodate less than 200 pupils. For the same money a separate $5000 house could have been built for each of those pupils.
How are such extravagances to be controlled unless some sort of intermediary court, such as the delegates from Indiana have described, is established to investigate on demand of the taxpayers any proposed expenditures, with power to curtail or prohibit, if in their judgment circumstances and conditions do not warrant the outlay?
CHAIRMAN HAGERMAN: Any further discussion, gentlemen ?
Thomas A. POLLEYS: I happen to represent the Chicago and North Western Railroad Company, in charge of tax matters, and I want to say that I have given considerable study, as all of you gentlemen representing the states and other corporate corporations have, to the trend of public expenditures. I am very much interested, and I am rather hopeful of something being accomplished in the way of retarding at least the future growth of tax burdens by proper scrutiny and by giving proper powers to boards like the Indiana commission, to sit in judgment upon proposals for tax expenditures and bond issues, but I have no great faith that we are going to accomplish anything very much in that way in the near future, or ultimately.
As compared with the present amount of taxes, we might just as well get ourselves accustomed to the idea now, and for any time in the near future, that the aggregate amount of our tax burdens, either federal, state, county, local or school, are not going to be substantially less than they are now. I venture a guess—merely a guess—that if we ever see in our lifetimes the total tax burdens of the federal government recede to a point of three billions of dollars per annum, we shall be in luck. I venture the suggestion that no state which is now represented in this conference will see its tax burdens recede by as much as ten to fifteen per cent of the total amount at which they now stand. That is not saying that may not be so. I am guessing that in my opinion it is going to be so, and I think we might as well get used to the idea.
Furthermore, I am not so much of an adherent of the idea that these taxes after all are so appalling. We have been accustomed in the last two or three years to talking as though taxes were taking bread and butter out of our mouths. As a matter of fact, the figures given by Senator Van Alstine very well illustrate the fact that when the state of Iowa is paying annually for the upkeep of its automobiles—as it can well afford to, as far as that is concerned, if it wants to-is paying three times the amount of the total taxes, state, county, local and school, in that state, why, I think, it looks a little ludicrous to over-emphasize the amount of taxes being paid. I do think there is some over-emphasis.
If you put the movie bill alongside of the automobile bill, I believe they would put your tax bill so far in the shade that you could hardly recognize it.
As one of a number of people who are interested in these tax matters, I have been distributing for our company a large amount of statistical information bearing upon tax expenditures as well as upon real estate valuations, for quite a number of years. There is a great deal of interest displayed in these tables that are issued as to tax expenditures, notwithstanding they are issued by a railroad and discounted as propaganda and all that sort of thing, but I have come to the conclusion that the number of people in any community who have an intelligent and a permanent and continuing interest in tax matters, outside of the day they go to pay their tax bill, is a minor fraction of the population, and you might as well get your local interest organized.
If you think you are going to have the public at large flocking to attend large meetings, bearing upon tax expenditures, you are
deceiving yourselves; and you don't really believe it. If you would organize locally by counties and communities and get a small group of men who have an intelligent interest in the first place, and who will have an increasing interest as time goes on, which ought to be and can be a continuing interest, as far as they are concerned, you can get the education locally you should have, upon that matter; you can bring to bear upon people who take an interest in tax burdens a judgment that is well-advised and that is concentrated, and which can be brought to bear by one small group of men on another small group of men, and so on. I don't think we stand much chance of getting anywhere with anything other than that.
CHAIRMAN HAGERMAN: Is there any further discussion, gentlemen ?
MR. VAN ALSTINE: Apropos of the comments the gentleman was now making; when I returned from the last session of the legislature, at which our legislature increased the state tax about one and one-half mills, one of our leading farmers came into my office He had driven up in a Chalmers car, and he spent quite a little time protesting about that one and one-half mills. I explained to him the general increase in the price of commodities which made that absolutely necessary, and so forth, and finally he said, “Well, now, you can explain all you please, but this increase in taxes has got to stop. It is getting beyond the limit," and so forth. “Now," I said, “my friend, I just want to make this suggestion; I want to ask you if you realize how much that increased the tax on your farm ?" And he did not. I told him it increased the tax on his farm between two and one-half and three dollars. Now," I said, "you come in here and you spend a half an hour of your time protesting to me about that increase in taxes,” and I said, will go down here to the garage and buy a tire for that car and pay $60 for it without batting an eye.”
I wish to say in reference to those figures I gave that I was called upon without previous notice, and I should like the privilege of reviewing those figures. I want to say that I believe the Iowa farmer or any other farmer perhaps has a license to own an automobile more than anybody else. He rides in the country, I want him to have all the pleasure he gets out of it; I don't want to deny the farmer or laboring man or any other man any convenience or any luxury that he can afford; but if it is undermining his homestead, he had better forego it, and I believe such figures as these had better be looked squarely in the face and that we should ask ourselves whether we can pay the bill.
CHAIRMAN HAGERMAN: If there is no further discussion, the conference will adjourn to two o'clock this afternoon.
• You TWELFTH SESSION
FRIDAY AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 22, 1922
CHAIRMAN LORD: Is the chairman of the committee on resolutions present?
Philip ZOERcher of Indiana: Mr. Chairman, I move that this conference adjourn at 4:30 sine die so that the tax association can meet and transact business that may come before it.
CHAIRMAN LORD: I think the motion a very timely one. The tax association, as you all know, has to elect officers and transact some business that will take fully half an hour. Trains leave, especially trains eastbound, about half-past seven. That would give all of you gentlemen an opportunity to get your matters fixed up and your bills paid and a chance to shake hands all around and get away in good shape without hurrying, and I feel very confident we can accomplish everything between now and the time suggested by the gentleman from Indiana. Now, if there is a second to that motion, I will put it.
(Motion seconded) CHAIRMAN LORD: It is moved and seconded that when the conference adjourns this afternoon sine die it be at half-past four. Are there any remarks?
CHARLES J. TOBIN: Shall we have to turn the clock back?
CHAIRMAN LORD: The conference will adjourn at that time, and without further motion. If we can get through before that time, why, all right.
The secretary will read the resolutions so that we may have themi in mind once more.
SECRETARY HOLCOMB: The first resolution has to do with the Bulletin (reading): Resolved, That this conference commends the Bulletin published by the National Tax Association and expresses its appreciation of the services rendered by Professor Harley L. Lutz, editor.
I move the adoption of the resolution. (Motion seconded)
CHAIRMAN LORD: Moved and seconded that this resolution be adopted; are there any remarks?
(No response) (Ayes and noes, unanimous) CHAIRMAN LORD: The ayes have it; the resolution is adopted. SECRETARY HOLcomB: The next resolution is: (reading)
Resolved, That this conference reaffirms the position taken by the thirteenth annual conference on taxation, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 10, 1920, with reference to opposing the exemption from income taxation of the salaries of all public officials and of the interest on future issues of federal, state or municipal obligations, and hereby recommends the submission by the 68th Congress and the ratification by the states of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States which will permit the principle thus stated to be embodied in our national income tax law.
CHARLES J. TOBIN: I move that the resolution be adopted.
CHAIRMAN LORD: Moved and seconded that this resolution be adopted. Are there any remarks?
John E. BRINDLEY: Question.
CAPTAIN W. P. White: I understand that this resolution has been passed twice heretofore, apparently without opposition. I was surprised to find that a form of resolution which had been opposed was changed in the very last hours of the convention and that it had been adopted without opposition. Now, I have been accused here of opposing everything that is proposed. I feel that my opposition is justified; that no public question should be accepted without a thorough discussion and analysis of the opposition. We have a great habit in America of “passing the buck”. We “let George do it”. We have several amendments to the Constitution of the United States which are exceedingly undesirable, and it has been done because--well, most people want it, so let it go.
Now, there is no necessity for the adoption of a constitutional amendment of this character. The states can tax their own issues, the government of the United States can tax its issues, and that is as far as it is necessary to go, so far as issues of public securities are concerned. I understand that the issues of a state can be taxed