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until the whole story shall have been told the State Taxpayers' Association. Rupert in the form of a serial.
F. Asplund reported for New Mexico; A.
G. MacKenzie for C. E. Arney, Jr., for the THE CONFERENCE OPENS
State of Washington; Vance H. Evans for At two o'clock on Monday, Oct. 11, the California; E. M. Sawyer for Idaho. These Conference was opened by Dr. Milbank
reports will be epitomized in later numbers. Johnson, the president, who is also chair
MONDAY DINNER SESSION man of the Board, California Taxpayers' Association.
Not even the dinner hours were wasted. He introduced A. C. Hardison, president At half past six o'clock, with Dr. Johnson of California Taxpayers' Association, who
as toastmaster, the delegates carried on the delivered the welcoming address, pointing discussion around the dinner table. out the danger of abuse of the taxing
Mr. Hardison emphasized the vital interpower of government. While Mr. Hard est of agriculture in tax matters. ison was expressing the cordial hospitality
M. D. Lack, Vice Chairman and Tax of California, a telegram came from Presi
Counsellor, California Taxpayers' Assodent Coolidge, in which the Chief Executive ciation, discussed “The Organization and said: “I am sorry I cannot attend the Functions of Local Committees.” meeting of the Western States Taxpayers'
A. E. Poulsen, president of the Sonoma Conference. Please extend to those pres
County local committee, told of the reent my greetings and best wishes for the search report of California Taxpayers' Assuccess of deliberations."
sociation in the affairs of his county. James your A little later a telegram came from Egan, secretary of Kern County Committee,
reviewed the work that has been done there. United States Senator Reed Smoot of Utah, chairman of the Finance Committee
Charles L. Wright, president of the Pasa
dena local committee, gave an interesting of the Senate, which read. “Please con
account of the work in that city, especially vey my regrets that I cannot join the Western States Taxpayers' Conference. The
referring to the Holly Street Improvement
after which Joy A. Winans, chairman of object of the meeting meets my hearty approval, and I hope that increase of taxes,
the Los Angeles City Committee, spoke,
making special reference to the Los Aneconomy in expenditure of taxes collected, and simplification of tax laws will be geles Flood Control District affairs, and stressed."
announcing that the directors of the Los The Conference proceeded immediately Angeles City Committee had resolved to Prof. M. N. Stockwell of the Department should have been more detailed informato the program, the first paper being by oppose the $26,000,000 flood control bond
issue on the Nov. 2 ballot until there of Economics, University of California in Los Angeles, on "The Relation of Federal,
tion relating thereto.
The dinner session closed with an inState and Local Taxation."
teresting statement by George G. Tunnell After Charles R. Hows, tax commission
of Chicago. er of Arizona, had been introduced to the Conference, Judge Henry H. Rolapp, Vice
TUESDAY ACTIVITIES President of the Western States Taxpayers' The delegates were at their work again Conference, and President of the Utah Tax Tuesday morning, Oct. 12, at eight o'clock payers' Association, gave in detail the his. at the breakfast table and at ten took up the tory of the formation of the Conference. regular session in the Conference Hall. The
Chairman called on H. M. Richter, dele. SOME STATE PROGRESS REPORTS
gate from Texas, to report on the taxation The Chairman, after appointing the com affairs of that commonwealth, after which mittees, called on C. C. Chapman, editor Marshall DeMotte of Corning, Cal., was of the Oregon Voter, and the member for introduced to speak on “The Relationship Oregon of the Advisory Committee, who Between Fixed Charges, Initiative and Leg. reported progress in his state during the islative, and Administrative Costs of Govpast year. F. N. Fletcher of Nevada fol ernment.” DeMotte was former chairman lowed with a progress report, after which of the State Board of Control of California. Judge Rolapp reported for Utah that every Discussion followed, led by Mr. Newell of county in the state had been organized by Pasadena.
VICISSITUDES OF BUILDING A GREAT
asset which, preserved and treated accordUNIVERSITY
ing to the ordinary rules of business, would The paper by Dr. Henry Suzzallo, Presi. in time make the University self-sustaining. dent, University of Washington, was read Pressure was brought to bear on Dr. to the Conference by Dr. Frank C. Touton, Suzzallo to renew the leases on the old Professor of Education, University of terms of rental. Dr. Suzzallo refused, and Southern California.
was supported by the Board of Regents. The Chairman stated:
Gov. Hartley appointed enough new A few days before the Conference opened Regents to give him a majority, and Dr. the Board of Regents of the University of Suzzallo's resignation was requested. Washington asked Dr. Suzzallo's resigna
The other angle to the controversy was: tion. The Board of Regents had only The University owns a large tract of timber lately been reconstituted, by Gov. Hartley, which came into its possession as a land so as to give a majority of members who
grant from the United States. would support the Governor against Dr.
This timber land is in one body where it Suzzallo. The controversy had arisen dur
has been inaccessible because of lack of ing the World War, when Dr. Suzzallo, as
transport facilities. It has therefore been of chairman of the Industrial Relations Com
relatively low market value. However, the mittee for the state, had brought an eight: increasing scarcity of timber has brought hour day into the lumber camps of Wash
the University timber lands into demand, ington. Gov. Hartley, who is a lumber- and pressure has been brought to bear on man, bitterly opposed Dr. Suzzallo's eight- Dr. Suzzallo to sell the lands. He and the hour day for the lumber camps.
Regents refused on the ground that the There were two other angles to the con lands would still further increase in value, troversy. The University of Washington and the University largely profit by holdowns ten acres of the old campus which ing them. had been leased for 50 years to various The lumbermen insisted. Dr. Suzzallo business interests, and on which business
was adamantine on both proposals, taking structures had been erected by the lessees,
the ground that the patrimony of the Unithe structures to revert to the University versity was involved, and that it was his at the expiration of the leases.
duty and the duty of the Regents and of Under the terms of the leases, the Uni all friends of education and of the friends versity derived only about $80,000 annu of the taxpayers of the state to protect the ally in ground rentals. The land has in- University property. creased enormously in value since the The controversy, therefore, had detained leases were made, being now worth many Dr. Suzzallo in Seattle, and Dr. Touton millions of dollars. Dr. Suzzallo saw in read Dr. Suzzallo's paper which had come this ten acres in the heart of Seattle an by airmail.
A DOLLAR’S WORTH OF EDUCATION
By DR. HENRY SUZZALLO
President, University of Washington In these days when tax burdens are greatly in merely inquiring into the administration of school creasing, it is natural that attention should be funds and asking if the money is well spent. focussed upon the largest item-education. It is There are other leagues of taxpayers which always the largest item that seems to offer the
exercise no such restraint, and are more propalargest possibility of a cut, though this by no
gandistic than judicial. They are willing to means follows. It may be spent far more effec
wreck the school system and American demotively than many smaller items. That is a fact
cratic institutions, provided they can save a few to be determined. It will be determined, not by dollars. Such efforts are futile. They can have prejudice, but by judicial examination.
no permanent success. They stir animosities Some Tax Associations, notably the one in which are slow to heal. They separate them. California, are doing just the type of work that selves in the name of economy from the schooleducationalists and taxpayers and other kinds of masters who are striving for efficiency, when it Americans appreciate. It is not trying to dictate is plain to everybody that the forces for efficiency American policy, or to change the fundamental and economy must co-operate, if the public is to American traditions, which insure free govern. get what it needs at the lowest reasonable cost.
I toleo it that this tax conference is not inter
ested in a saving of school money which would change the fundamental nature of our American institutions and our national life. Our political forebears have determined that there shall be equality of opportunity for our youth to develop its human capacities through schooling. You are not interested in the tax reducer who says that there can be too many educated and intelligent men and women; or in the fellow who fears there will be a short labor supply of the ignorant and docile kind, if schooling is too freely supplied. You want schooling, but you wish your dollar's worth of education. A DOLLAR'S WORTH OF NAILS
How is a dollar's worth of education to be de. termined? In the same way that you know
people to have better schools, just as it is theirs to prefer an automobile to a horse and wagon. A MORAL PROBLEM
The problem of getting people to want some thing else than they do is another problem. Per. haps they have the wrong values and are spending too much money in one place. But this is a problem in the moral, social and spiritual recon. struction of men and women. It is not a problem in economics. They may be spending more than their income. This is serious, but it is primarily a question of morality, though it has terrific economic effects.
The only way to know whether you are getting your dollar's worth in education is by comparative study. What is the other fellow getting for his dollar? How does he educate more people in a better way by spending less money? What is his method of administration? How is spending organized? What is the training of the spenders? How far, finally, may we apply his methods to our differing conditions? The last question will keep us sane.
There are two domains in which we may watch the uses of a dollar. The first is in the domain of administration, and the second in the domain of teaching. We are more at home in the first field than in the second. Here is where taxpay. ers' associations have done their chief work. Locating schools, building and bonding, purchasing supplies, hiring and distributing teachers have been the chief factors taken into account. Improving the effectiveness in turning out more and better human product is still a mysterious field to the layman, but the educationalist is beginning to understand it through the new science in education. Taxpayers must be concerned with it.
In the field of administration there are certain obvious comparisons of methods which give aid.
We can give education cheaper and better through the consolidation of schools and the transportation of pupils, through sending students to another school district with one district paying another, where these devices are applicable to the particular case. LARGER UNITS
Larger units of school management than the little country district will help. County or community units of management may be given some larger use than now, without destroying local selfgovernment, an essential feature in American life not to be lightly put aside.
There is no more delicate problem than to de termine which school functions shall be centralized and which decentralized. Only experience will tell what is right. The present passion for centralizing everything to get financial efficiency is dangerous. It is stressing consideration of one factor and losing sight of others.
You may save money and get a centralized and standardized bureaucracy, inject politics into your schools and make them easy victims of propa: ganda. The representative of a new league of taxpayers' associations in one state proposes that all the schools be under control of one central state board and that all teachers be appointed by this board of laymen with professional advice. Such a board might well determine minimum standards of training and certification, but the
whether or not you are getting a dollar's worth of nails. It is strange how many fail to see the fundamental likeness, and go astray in their thinking. They think that they ought to get a perfect human product from the schools at any price they feel comfortable in paying. That economic version is not true anywhere in business where men ask and pay a price. Quality and quantity go up or down as the price paid varies. This is just as true in schooling as it is in any economic service. Hold fast to this thought and many fallacies in thinking about school expenses will disappear.
A dollar's worth of nails today is different from a dollar's worth several decades ago. Science and industrial progress have improved quality and quantity in production. You may need more or less of a thing, or a better kind. The dollar is not the same dollar. Its purchasing power has changed. All these factors have to be kept in mind in school costs, yet they are not. Educational science and psychology can now give us a better educational product than before, and we want it. Our standard of living has raised here as elsewhere. It is the privilege of a democratic
hiring of teachers should be left with some au and different speed of mastery among, groups of and we thority nearer the parents of the children they pupils is an economy. The bright will go faster teach. Anglo-Saxon civilization, of which America and save school years.
The slower will move is a part, is more broadly common sensed by its ahead at their own pace without tripping and problem
experience than it is narrowly and relentlessly charging repeated years to the taxpayer.
Another illustration is provided in the lay opBut le
The locating of different types of schools may, position to supervisors. Good supervisors of ordipiritu) in these days of local pride, be a great source of
nary teachers double the effective service of the waste. Four years of high school may be main.
teachers under them. It is all a matter of when tained where there should be only two years.
and where and how they are used. a problem in it is for Junior colleges may be maintained at home where educational adjustment. On the budget they look t has
the expense would be less than if students are like extra help and are readily lopped off. Better
Another fallacy is the talk about “trimmings, More per had just elementary schools, high schools and
fads and frills” in the course of study. With so y colleges
, we now have respectable and effective units including elementary schools of six years,
many kinds of human nature to be served, what
is a frill to one student is a need to another. The junior high schools of three years, senior high
chief reason these subjects have not been elimi. schools of three years, and junior colleges of two
nated is because the different parents could not years. Meager attendance is sometimes unavoidable. When it is, we must pay the bill. But it
agree. Therefore it is left to the schoolmasters
where it may better be left. The science of their is more often avoidable, with modern transporta
own profession will take care of the matter, tion, to saturate a school unit to the point of
There is another economy fallacy that lurks in the door high working efficiency and economy; that is, to
this field. To maintain some of these modern a thrifty point of organization.
subjects does not add their total budget cost to CENTRAL PURCHASING
the taxpayer. The child has to be taught some
thing. If it is not one subject, it is another. You Central purchasing instead of district purchas
merely add the differential in cost if there is one, ing is an advantage clearly demonstrated by every not the whole budgetary amount. study made. One specialized office can do better
If a student making progress in a subject that than eighty school boards of laymen who do not make buying a major business. But experience subject of lower cost where he makes no progress
costs ten per cent more is compelled to take a opposes the purchasing for a school system being
and has had to repeat, the state loses ten-tenths merged with a bureau of the general political
where the thought was to save one-tenth. government. School systems should be given a
Money expenditure is related to performance of certain autonomy, like the courts. Their im
function. America as compared with other indusmense budgets are a constant temptation to poli
trial countries has a much heavier capitalization, ticians who would use their buying and hiring as
but it pays higher wages and gets a mass propatronage. We have largely fought our way to
duction that lowers prices. There is a thought independence of politics. Why retreat to ancient
there for educational production. evils of which we are largely rid?
Educational research and new scientific proce. Careful budgetting is of high advantage. But dure promise most for efficiency and economy in the budget officer who recommends cuts and re the domain of teaching. The intelligence tests as ductions should be more than an accountant deal. aids to diagnosis, standard achievement tests, the ing with figures representing dollars. He should comprehensive examinations, comparative know something about function. All efficiency is study of teaching processes all promise to give related to educational function. In many cases the taxpayer more for his dollar in school, just as the budgetting political officer is hopelessly science and scientific technology have given more ignorant. The budget is a splendid tool in the and better nails for a dollar than before. hands of a competent mind, and a stupid instrument when it is not. Budget forms must be made THREE ADDRESSES up with more regard for interpreting tasks to be performed than is the case at present.
Charles A. Rudel, tax expert, Pacific. In the domain of teaching we have just begun Southwest Trust & Savings Bank, then read to study economy and efficiency in a scientific a paper on “Analyzing Bond Proposals." manner. This is a wholly psychological problem Prof. Rolland À Vandegrift's paper on which the ordinary layman does not and probably will not understand. Here reliance on the
“Costs and Methods of Financing Public professional expert must be had. Segregation, Improvements" followed,
COSTS AND METHODS OF FINANCING PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS
By ROLLAND A VANDERGRIFT
Director of Research, California Taxpayers' Association Montesquieu, the French philosopher, as early great thinker gave expression to this thought, has as the eighteenth century made the observation demonstrated the truth of the statement. that liberty invariably increases taxes. The in The increase of taxes has been necessary be
crease of to
ment largely due to an expansion of the functions and activities performed. It is undesirable to of government. Under the monarchies and other eliminate entirely or unnecessarily restrict these forms of personal rule, the bulk of expenditures services in an expanding society, but there is a went to support the person of the ruler and his pressing need that constant vigilance be exercised establishment.
to prevent expenditures from expanding beyond The public treasury was, in effect, his personal ability to pay. Therefore, accurate information of purse, and was used to gratify his pleasure or the growth in extent and cost, nature and spread extend his power. The demands were almost of benefit, and constant guard for their wise, -** limitless and imposed a burden only in itself economical and efficient administration are needed, I limited by the physical ability of the subjects to so that the fullest return can be made for the tax contribute, or the power of the ruler to extract, burden imposed. without destroying the source of revenue. The use of public funds, primarily for the
Some Facts beneht of the ruling class, and the obnoxious
According to figures prepared by the National methods of the royal tax collectors in imposing Industrial Conference Board and carried to the taxes which took from the producer a larger and
year 1925, the latest available, the total volume of larger share of his earnings, finally resulted in
taxation collected in the United States in 1924 revolutions which overthrew the absolute govern
was $7,907,000,000, compared with $7,766,000,000 g ments.
in 1923, and $2,194,000,000 in 1913. The increase These revolutions were not necessarily brought of $141,000,000 in 1924 was 2 per cent over 1923. about by the monarch's impoverishing the nation, and the total was more than three and one-hali but ecause the expenditures were made in the
times as large as in 1913. interests of the ruling minority. The taxpayers, The per capita total for 1924 was $70.99, comwho were now developing learning, could not see
pared with $70.21 in 1923, and $22.73 in 1913. that they were getting a return from the heavy
The average burden per person gainfully emexactions. The revolt and the establishment of
ployed was $182.94 in 1924, $184.05 in 1923, and popular or representative government brought, as
$59.25 in 1913. a matter of course, the condition that public dis
Per family, the total taxes amounted to $301.23 bursement should be for the general benefit rather
in 1924, against $303.58 for 1923, and $102.12 for than for the few.
1913. It was but natural that once the people en
There is no mistaking the effect of such an injoyed public service at the expense of the general
crease of the tax burden. It cannot continue at treasury there should be an indefinitely expansive
such a rate and our prosperity endure, Happily demand for such service to satisfy them. As a
there appears to be a realization of the dangers result, expenditures began to expand, until the
and an intelligent move to find a remedy, the ; former outlay of monarchies became insignificant Federal Government pointing the way in repeated in comparison. The people, now, through the
tax reductions and internal economies. Even now. vote, encouraged too frequently by the tax spend
only a few months after the last Federal tax reers, make expenditures.
duction, we are looking forward to another posAt the same time, as popular government ex
sible reduction by the next Congress. pands, public activities multiply both in extent and number. Old functions are extended to em
The Federal Government collected $3,095,000,000 brace more, and new functions are taken over.
in 1924, compared with $3,220,000,000 in 1923, a
decrease of 3.9 per cent, but the states took up Public expenditures have, as a consequence, in. all but $6,000,000 of this savings by increasing creased faster than population and wealth. The
taxes from $945,000,000 in 1923 to $1,064,000,000 danger, however, does not lie in the amount of
in 1924, an increase of 12.6 per cent. taxes, so much as whether expenditures are wise,
Local governments increased their taxes by 4.1 proper functions of government, and are being
per cent, or from $3,601,000,000 in 1923 to efficiently and economically administered in the
$3,748,000,000 for 1924. The Federal Government interests of all the people of the community.
took in 1924 approximately 40 per cent and local The demonstration that "liberty invariably in governments 60 per cent of the total tax bill creases taxes” is more emphatically seen in the collected. United States than in any other country. The Reducing the situation to terms of the 1913 functions and activities of government here have dollar, so as to take into consideration the de expanded to almost countless numbers, all pre crease in the purchasing power of the dollar, the sumably in response to public demands, and all
total tax bill in 1924 was almost two and one-half of which, under the immutable law of compensa times as high as in 1913. tion, must be paid for out of the pockets of the taxpayers.
WHEN BONDS ENTER THE EQUATION Federal, state, county and municipal govern
Much more was expended by all governments ments all carry on activities, the lists of which
in the years noted than was raised in taxes. Total are almost limitless and which frequently overlap and duplicate. Many of these activities con
expenditures, as given by the National Industrial
Conference Board for 1924, amounted to $10,252, tribute to the benefit of the general public, and others apparently only assist a special group and
000,000, compared with $10,145,000,000 in 1923,
and $2,919,000,000 in 1913. This is an expendiindirectly the public interest.
ture for 1924 of about three and one-half times The constantly increasing taxation and expand
the 1913 figure. This was in spite of a 10.6 per ing of public expenditures in all these divisions of
cent decrease in the cost of the Federal Governgovernment are largely the results of ever expand ment for 1924 under 1923, and was due to the ing, intensively and extensively, of the services fact that expenditures by state