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Mr. Wilcox. The community simply does not have the funds to match. The $18 billion is fine, but, as I understand it, Mr. Williams, it requires in every case a certain amount of local matching, and all I can do is repeat myself: The money is there for the matching, and the local money is not there in many cases.
Mr. Williams. I would like to say one other thing, Mr. Chairman:
One thing that bothers me about bureaucracy, whether it be at the Federal level or the State level, or even perhaps the county level, is the length of time it takes to get things done.
Regardless of the way this bill goes, up or down, we are all solidly in back of creating more jobs, we are all solidly in back of cleaning up the environment, and I would hope we could eliminate much of the delay, not only the delay we experience at the local level and the Federal level but also at the State level.
That concludes my questioning.
For almost 2 years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development withheld funds from Baltimore County in Marylandfunds for sewers and other purposes, because Baltimore County had apparently resisted all efforts to permit the entree of blacks into the area, and because Baltimore County had apparently resisted all efforts to permit low-cost housing for the poor to be constructed in the county
I take the position that Federal dollars should not be used under any circumstances to subsidize any political subdivision which acts contra to existing law, civil rights legislation, in housing, employment, and so forth.
Within that context, I would like to see some provisio in this legislation which would prevent the subsidizing of any political subdivision, which overtly or covertly follows a practice of apartheid in housing or in employment.
Unfortunately, HUD, if today's papers are accurate, has now knuckled under to political pressure or political expediency and has released some of the funds to Baltimore County.
More specifically, I want to address this question to all of the witnesses:
No. 1, what is your position on Federal dollars being used to help those political subdivisions which resist integration or equal access in housing?
No. 2, what would your feeling be about a proviso being written into this legislation?
Mr. Wilcox. Mr. Mitchell, I would be happy to lead off.
We would favor such a proviso in the legislation, and we believe both Federal and State funds should be denied to communities and I do not see it in quite the same perspective as you do. I think it goes in many ways beyond the simple matter of racial exclusion. I think it is exclusion of all people, of all economic levels except the rich and the near-rich, and I think it includes young people and old people as well as black families.
We are specifically, in the case of one Federal Government program, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation's program that goes through my Department, as well as the State-funded program for a recreation match which matched that Bureau of Outdoor Recreation money denying funds which engage in exclusionary zoning, and we held up funds for a community because of a township near Philadelphia, and it did amend its zoning pattern so the funding was approved, at least on a partial basis, and we are currently holding up funds for Upper St. Claire Township near Pittsburgh, and I am pleased that the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in a lead editorial last Friday applauded this action. So, we are completely in tune with what you have just said, and, as I say, I think it even goes beyond the racial issue, as important as that is. We do not think that funds should be taken from all of the taxpayers, particularly on a regressive tax basis, to go to fund facilities for the higher economic level of taxpayers.
Mr. MITCHELL. Thank you. Mr. Peyton? Mr. Peyton. I think one thing we mentioned earlier here that might tie in with what you have in mind is this paragraph 709(b) where the bill states that these grants would be made subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.
We fight this issue all across the country—it did not start out as an issue of hiring minority people, but it soon turned into that because we found that there are so many limiting codes, plumbing codes, that require a plumber to lay this pipe. Now, Baltimore County is one of these places where you do not go beyond the property line and lay pipe unless you have a plumber who gets a permit which the plumber has to sign. Well, we feel that this is cutting out jobs for people who sorely need them.
As you mentioned before, the inner city has this high unemployment factor. Here is one area where we are trying to get some of those people to work by not legislating them out of work but legislating them into work because they are going to work, as I said, for $3 to $5 an hour, whereas a plumber will get $7 to $10, and there are very few plumbers. I think if we push this issue, and this requires code revision, this might be one area where the thought you had in mind could come about.
Mr. MITCHELL. Just one brief response to your statement, Mr. Peyton. You indicate the language of the proposed legislation says, in general, "such conditions as the Secretary may set.” However, in light of this most recent capitulation for Baltimore County, I am not at all sure this language is strong enough to protect the interests of the people.
Mr. Peyton. If I may, I would like to perhaps offer some language that might do a little bit more along that line.
Mr. Stone could get up something, and we could send it in to you. Mr. MITCHELL. I would be most appreciative.
Mr. MURPHY. I might respond on behalf of the National Association of Counties.
At this point in time, our official policy statement, the American County Platform, is silent on the issue or the question that you are raising as to whether Federal dollars should be withheld for grants that do not have an open-housing policy.
I would point out though that our policy is under review and revision at this time. It has been reviewed by a county planning and development steering committee composed of 45 elected and appointed county officials. The revision relating to housing is pointing out very strongly that counties have a direct role in the providing of adequate housing opportunities for all income groups, well, all socioeconomic groups, within the community, and that counties must act upon that responsibility in order to provide this equal opportunity. But I will
have to say that this has not been voted upon by the membership of our organization, some 20,000 county officials, and we expect that it will, based on the response and the initiative taken by this county planning development steering committee.
So, I do not believe that our organization could take a position right now as to whether or not Federal Government dollars should be withheld
Mr. MITCHELL. All right. I only can hope that in your review, reassessment, you will take that position, because I think it is rank hypocrisy for this Nation to continue to subsidize those whose practices are certainly not in the best interest of the various categories of people that I alluded to before.
I yield back the balance of my time.
At the outset, Mr. Williams, there may be a ray of hope for your suggestion. During the break I called home, after hearing about all of this money going to be made available, and my home town has & municipality owned electric-water plant board; they are building a new water treatment plant, and I asked them if they had made application for a grant, and the guy around the corner from me said "No, there is too much redtape to put up with; we are going to build it ourselves."
Seriously, I would like to ask if any of you all have had experience this is specifically Frankfort, Ky.-have had any experience of any problems with HUD or the agencies, if there are not unreasonable requirements for
Mr. Wilcox. I think that we, in the State government, feel that all through the Federal Government there are too many detailed rules and regulations. No doubt there are too many rules and regulations in our own operation, and we are trying to eliminate them.
One of the problems is, as someone in our department recently said, that HUD_never says "No."
Mr. CURLIN. They keep you on the string?
Mr. Wilcox. They keep you guessing; that is exactly right, and I find it uncomfortable to say "No," and there is a temptation on the part of the public official, and 'I feel it, too, sometimes, to do anything rather than say "No," because when you say “No," you are then in a brawl.
But if HUD could really respond definitely when the answer is "No," then people could move and seek options and alternatives.
Mr. Curlin. Do you think it would be of any assistance I have just glanced at this bill, and I assume you all have read it more carefully than I have in preparing for your testimony. But one thing, it is not very specific at all. This just grants to the Secretary, in his discretion, to use this wherever he, in effect, wants to, but priority to be given redevelopment areas and economically developed centers as defined in other law and where there is substantial unemployment.
Are you all satisfied with the specifics of the language of the bill? Mr. Wilcox. I think, in balance, to leave the details up to the administrative branch is probably preferred, simply because every time the details are set out in legislation then some other circumstance develops that nobody anticipated or had any reason to anticipate. this guy.
You can't fit the situation, and at least with the administrator's regulations it is a rather simpler process to make adjustments in the guidelines.
Mr. CURLIN. I noticed today that a lot of testimony has been given as to distribution systems and things like that, and they talk about how this was needed because it was water treatment or sewer treatment.
Do you see any limiting language in here that directs it to be used for distributing or collecting systems in the bill itself?
Mr. MURPHY. No, I do not.
Mr. Curlin. Would you suggest that if we are after that goal, that an amendment would possibly be in order to direct it to that particular phase of this total area, as opposed to sewer treatment or water treatment, this would be to lines and laterals and collecting systems and distributing systems and things like that?
Mr. MURPHY. If I understand section 702 of the Housing Act of 1954, I believe that is what that program is specifically directed at, and since you are dealing with that section of the Housing Act in this bill, I think it is efficient, but perhaps you want to clarify that in the committee report language.
Mr. Curlin. One problem we have encounted in the water pollution commission in my State is that in a lot of the small areas they will get a facility and they will hire an operator and everything will be going along pretty good until some big city comes along and hires
Have you all encountered this problem in the expertise necessary to operate these facilities?
Mr. MURPHY. To some extent that is true. I believe there is provision in both the House and Senate version of the pollution bill providing for a substantial level of funding for training, personnel training. We, of course, support that provision very strongly.
Mr. Curlin. That is just going to make him a better operator. It is not going to keep him.
Mr. MURPHY. We think it will train more operators.
Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Wilcox, I would ask this sort of academic question, because Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are just as poor as a church mouse, and maybe the other States and municipalities are also.
In Pennsylvania, for example, with which you are acquainted, let me take the 1969 adjusted gross individual income tax for Pennsylvania. They had about $35.5 billion out of which they had an individual tax liability they had to pay to the Federal Government of about $5 billion.
Wouldn't it be most helpful if we were able to say that 10 percent of that tax due to the Federal Government ought to be withheld for the needs of the State, and the needs of the municipality?
Say if you were to take 10 percent of that, and 80 percent of it could be earmarked, say, for schools, more quality education, and the difference between that used for what we are trying to do here.
I think what we are trying to do here, in line with what Mr. Mitchell pointed out, is to create employment for the lowest type skilled people. This would give them employment, for example, in building sewers and water lines; then, we would be able to eliminate these blocked-up sewers in the muncipalities which are causing so much property damage when we have these heavy rains and floods.
Would you think, to have such a withholding of that type of money, instead of giving it all to the Federal Government and then come back down here with a heart bleeding plea to see how much you can get back to do the job that you are aiming to do now
Mr. Wilcox. I think it would be fine with one minor caveat, and that is I think that each State ought to have to take the political responsibility of actually levying that or not levying that additional 10 percent. In other words, you have a graduated income tax that was collected by the Federal Government, but those States that levied an additional tax, that that money would flow back, be collected by the Federal Government and returned to the State.
So, the answer, I think, to your question is: “Yes, sir.”
Mr. BARRETT. I do not mean that we would give it to the Federal Government.
Say you have a Federal tax of $5 billion, or $5.5 billion, and we think that 10 percent of that $5.5 billion ought to be withheld and used for what we think is of the highest importance, highest priority
Mr. Wilcox. Yes.
Mr. BARRETT (contining). Would you think that would be a bad method to use in order to keep the States just as affluent as they could be under the conditions we are experiencing today?
Mr. PEYTON. I do not think it would be a bad method. I think it would be a good approach.
Mr. BARRETT. You are speaking for Mr. Alexander?
Mr. MURPHY. Yes, I am speaking for the National Association of Counties.
I think the principle that you are advocating is what we are after in terms of general revenue sharing. I know the method is a little bit different, but since the Federal Government does have the resources and the capacity to levy these taxes and collect them we think because of the strain of resources on the local level, really nonexistent resources, anymore, that approach you are advocating is highly desirable.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PEYTON. Will there be any further questioning after the showing of the film?
We have seen this film, and I recommend it highly.
The Chairman. We did get to see it. We were busy on other things on the floor.
Mr. Williams. He wants to know whether there will be any more questioning?
1 The CHAIRMAN. No; we have agreed to close the questioning and : see the film, and we will meet tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock, and at that time I hope that each side, the minority and majority, wil send out notices to their members.
Mr. Williams. Mr. Chairman, I am not certain about this, but i think there may be a minority caucus tomorrow morning.
The CHAIRMAN. I think they have called that off.
They have called off the revenue-sharing bill. They did not ge': around to it.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I just wanted to call attention to it.
The CHAIRMAN. If it is true, if there is a conference, we will have to change that and meet at 9:30. We respect that always.
The hearing will be closed, and the only thing we will have now the showing of the film.