« AnteriorContinuar »
Senator EAGLETON. What are the construction dates, if you have them in mind, or maybe we will get this from Mrs. Allen, on some of the older or oldest school facilities still in use in the District of Columbia?
Mayor WASHINGTON. I think we will have some further detail on that. But the major thrust here, Mr. Chairman, is one of relieving the neglect of years passed in trying to relieve the serious overcrowding situation, and of course, in this outlay we have six or seven schools in the Anacostia region particularly where our overcrowding is heaviest, and this goes to the heart of that problem. At this point this would be seriously curtailed by the action taken in this regard, and that we believe is serious.
7. Major construction projects in the area of public health facilities including the Northwest Community Health Center and major improvements to Glenn Dale and District of Columbia General Hospital.
8. A new receiving home for children and construction of four cottages for residents at the District Training School.
9. Improvement of playground development projects, recreation center buildings and the replacement of several deteriorating neighborhood swimming pools.
10. The replacement of free library branches and the construction of seven new branches.
New systems for water pollution control programs at Blue Plains. And that gets into a very, very heavy consideration.
Senator EAGLETON. Mr. Mayor, even if one would take the isolated view that that which occurs in the District of Columbia would not affect individuals who live in suburbia. The Blue Plains project would help people in suburbia, wouldn't it?
Mayor WASHINGTON. It is the heart of the regional plan. We have said to some of our friends of suburban jurisdictions just recently
Senator EAGLETON. What friends are those? (Laughter.] Go ahead. Mayor WASHINGTON. I would like to assume this posture, Mr. Chairman.
Deputy Mayor Watts, speaking there, indicated that we wanted to move forward with this treatment plant at Blue Plains. And this is a rather substantial outlay and one that will, as you pointed out, relieve pollution both in the District and in the metropolitan area.
The development of a highway network according to the comprehensive program of the Department of Highways and Traffic. This includes the District's share of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's program for a 98-mile system of rapid transit.
Mr. Chairman, the above represents only a brief highlight of the many projects which, for a longstanding period of time, have been accumulating. The demands of our city are unprecedented in the capital improvements area. If the District is to grow and thrive and become a place that we all can be proud of, substantial progress must be made in all of the areas mentioned.
We believe that the District can meet its responsibilities in meeting the above program requirements through comprehensive planning for financing those projects. It is estimated that the capital improvements projects will need approximately a billion dollars worth of funding over the next 6-year period.
We propose that this funding source not be the U.S. Treasury but rather the private sector and that this be accomplished through the issuance of municipal bonds. The major features of this bond program are three in particular:
(1) The District government would be authorized to finance its various capital improvements through the issuance of interest-bearing negotiable obligations. This authority to issue obligations would replace
existing District authority to borrow from the Treasury. (2) The District would be limited with respect to the amount of outstanding obligations it could issue at any one time. This limitation would be established through the mechanism of a formula similar to the current procedure used for establishing loan authority in the general fund.
(3) A program of direct Federal grants to fund the capital improvements program of the institution of higher education. This program would be made possible since the Federal Treasury would be relieved of disbursing the estimated $1 billion worth of loans to the District over the next 6 years by having the District turn to the private sector for that financing.
We believe that these three features particularly, as well as others, in terms of flexibility, the ability to plan in Jong range, would help us substantially in capital outlay construction programs.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that this bond legislation proposal is highly desirable for other significant reasons. It is entirely consistent with the commitment for a greater degree of self-governing for the District of Columbia.
It provides the District with a financing mechansim more comparable to those of States and localities throughout the Nation.
It removes the District's capital improvement program from complete dependence upon the constraints of the Federal budgetary Climate and, therefore, enables the District to plan more comprehensively and meaningfully.
As you can see, Mr. Chairman, both the programing and the financing of our capital outlay programs are highly complex. The demands are great and correspondingly the solutions are difficult. We stand ready to provide any information necessary to further clarify our proposals.
The Senate has time and again proven it is a supporter of the District's needs. We ask that it again aid us in approving these two vitally needed financial measures.
I would say in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, that we did not come here to criticize anyone in the Congress. We came here asking that our partnership in relation to the affairs of our city be meaningfully implemented. We believe we are in a position to make that request. We believe that we must get on with the involvement in these two thrusts, our capital improvement and our Federal payments if this city is indeed to survive, prosper, and strive in the future.
Thank you, sir.
We have a series of rather detailed questions that would require figures and the like. We may submit them to you in writing for your response in writing.
Mayor WASHINGTON. Yes, sir. I would be very happy to respond promptly, sir.
Senator EAGLETON. I would like to ask you one general question because this comes up repeatedly. The argument is made that the District of Columbia could operate on a much more reduced Federal payment, indeed on a much more reduced overall budget, that there is enormous waste, duplication, et cetera, in the management and operation of the District of Columbia government.
What are you doing and what do you continue to do to reexamine operations with the objective of keeping them in line on a cost control basis or cutting back on programs that are not needed, or are you totally eliminating some that prove to be fruitless? What is your ongoing method of program evaluation, cost accounting, and the like?
Mayor WASHINGTON. In general terms I would say that we continue to look at this comprehensively and as I pointed out, Mr. Chairman, in this 1970 budget we went into the base for $24 million. We were commended for that but the statement was that we ought to do more. And I would like to ask Mr. Coppie to more definitively respond to that question, because it is one with which I am continually and personally involved.
Mr. COPPIE. Mr. Chairman, first to just try to put the District budget situation in prospective in relationship to other cities,
As the chairman knows, we offer a comprehensive range of services that frequently goes beyond what the normal city, in comparable population range in the country, does provide for through its regular operating budget. For example, we are providing for a higher educational program. In many cities that is a State responsibility. We are providing for a comprehensive welfare program. In the State of Pennsylvania, for example, welfare cost is primarily a State cost. And in the area of health we provide a comprehensive range of health services. In many cities that is a State's responsibility.
In short, the District is not only carrying normal city responsibilities, we are also carrying State responsibilities and, of course, because we are part of the Federal Establishment, we are carrying Federal responsibilities too. We think in balance the District budget can be justified in relationship to its size. However that is not a suggestion in any way at all. We do not have the responsibility to be sensitive to the need for improvements in the area economy and efficiency of the District Government.
We will provide for the record, a comprehensive management report of management improvement action that has been taken during the 1970 fiscal year. And we feel this will help, Mr. Chairman, to understand the way we are improving our management in the District of Columbia
Additionally, this year for the first time, the District did provide the first step of a comprehensive programing and budgeting system. This is part of the development of a system that will have further steps built into it in 1972 fiscal year and subsequent years. We feel this is a significant step in the right direction insofar as budget improvement in the District of Columbia is concerned.
As the Mayor pointed out--we have reduced the base of the District budget by $24 million in the 1970–71 budget that is now
pending before the Congress and specifically in the Senate: $17 million of that base reduction, Mr. Chairman, were conscious reductions to reduce our operation in areas where we felt reductions could be justified.
În 1970 Senator Proxmire represented to the District of Columbia that through a conscientious reexamination of our personnel management program, as part of our review of the 1971 budget development, we could eliminate 1,000 positions in the District of Columbia
Mr. Chairman, the budget is now before the Congress. We have eliminated 924 base positions. In short, we feel that we are doing the things that are necessary to reexaminé our operations. We feel that we are making significant progress in our management improvement area. We know we can do more and indeed we will do more. But we feel that the budget currently before the Congress, as presented by the President and the District government, can be further justified on its merits.
We feel that the sharp reductions that have taken place in the House as a result of the shortage of revenue, only work against an effective and meaningful program in the District of Columbia.
Senator EAGLETON. Mr. Coppie, if the House budget prevails as is, even the department that deals with program budgeting, et cetera, will have to be cut, wouldn't it?
Mr. COPPIE. We have at least 27 positions, Mr. Chairman, to provide for further expansion of our comprehensive management program budget.
Senator EAGLETON. It is your desire to expand the program and the departments that exercise fiscal oversight on the operation on the whole randum range of the District of Columbia governmental program so as to make them more efficient, to get more for your money, and so the very program that would be designed to accomplish that desirable goal will itself be cut?
Mr. COPPIE. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I also think it would also be meaningful for the record to show that all pay increases that are now being authorized by the Congress for employees in the District of Columbia include 15-percent pay absorbtion by District operating departments. That is to say that the police, fire, and teachers' salary bill, which was approved last week, will fund 85 percent of the total need and similarly so will classify salary increases that are being authorized.
We are requiring District agencies to absorb 15 percent. I think we are moving properly in the right direction. We are sensitive to the need for economy.
Senator EAGLETON. Thank you, Mr. Mayor and thank you, members of your staff.
Mayor WASHINGTON. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, if I might, I think on Sunday, both the Star and the Post, had some editorials which I would like to submit for the record.
Senator EAGLETON. They will be received and made a part of the record. Thank you very much.
(The editorials referred to follow :)
(From the Washington Post, June 7, 1970)
CONGRESS, THE DISTRICT-AND MONEY Every year about this time, the District of Columbia government goes through its fandango with Congress about taxes, federal payments and appropriations.
This year the specifics involve the deficit in the current budget caused by a congressional-enacted pay increase and the city proposals for a new budget of $825 million, an increased federal payment, and increases in income, property and gasoline taxes. As usual, the arguments about these specifics rest on a series of broad assumptions-generally summed up on one side by the conclusion that the District taxes and spends too much and on the other by the conclusion that Congress starves the District. Some of these assumptions are valid but many are not. So perhaps it might clarify the arguments over the specifics a little if we can clear out some of the false assumptions.
Assumption: Taxes in the District are terribly high. They drive residents to the suburbs and they repell potential residents from other cities.
Facts: In major taxes—income, real estate, and sales—District residents generally pay 20 to 30 per cent less than do Maryland suburban residents and about 10 per cent more than do Virginia suburban residents. When all charges for government services are included-water, sewer, trash, auto tags, etc.—all of the suburban jurisdictions except Arlington are more expensive than the District to live in. As far as other cities are concerned, the burden on residents from major taxes in the District is about average substantially less than that in such places as New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Buffalo and Milwaukee and substantially more than such places as Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle.
Assumption: The tax on real estate in the District is much higher than it is elsewhere.
Facts: Based on true value, the property tax in the District averages about 15 percent more than it does in the Virginia suburbs and 15 to 30 percent less than it does in the Maryland suburbs. On a national basis, the property tax here is lower than it is in 15 of the 20 other cities with a population over 500,000.
Assumption: Congress has been so stingy with money that the District government is financially starved.
Facts: This was true a few years ago but it no longer is. Since 1965, the money available to the District has skyrocketed (Representative Natcher hardly deserves his reputation as a skinflint). Appropriations have doubled since 1961 and tripled since 1960. Including grants from various federal agencies, the amount of money available to the District doubled between 1966 and 1970.
Assumption: The largess of the federal government-in raising the federal payment from $30 million in 1963 to $105 million in 1970 and in providing other grants estimated to total about $199 million in 1971-has been overwhelming.
Facts: As recently as 1966, the federal government was paying a greater share of the local-state government bills in seven states than it was paying in the District of Columbia. In 1968, the last year for which figures are available, the federal government put up 35 per cent of the money spent by the District government. In that same year, the federal government provided more than 25 per cent of all the money spent by state and local governments in Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. Some of that money both here and elsewhere was for highways. But it is not at all clear that the present federal payment of $105 million is overly generous in terms of the federal interest in this city.
Assumption: The District government spends more money than does the government of any city of comparable size in the country.
Facts: That's true. Only New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles have larger local budgets. However, some programs paid for by the city here are financed elsewhere by the states. Los Angeles, for example, spends nothing on education