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He did not compute the relationship of taxes to what came back to the States in the form of public works in New York, but I think it would be substantially the same. He went on to say again the following:
Especially relevant here is the fact that under flood control New England received 3 percent of the $10 billion authorized; one-third of 1 percent of the $1,800.000,000 appropriated in the last 5 years. My survey of the years 1953 and 1954 shows $66 million spent by the Army engineers in 1953, and $533 million in 1954, and $393 million for reclamation in these 2 years. But New England received but $7 million in all, or less than one-half of 1 percent. Her share of income is 619 percent and of Federal taxes borne 712 percent; of manufacturing employment 9-plus percent; and of vulnerability to floods an even greater percentage.
I read these figures because of what you said earlier in the day, that this is a national problem—a national problem—and we are justified in seeking the support of the Nation as a whole in all of the States of the Nation. Ever since I have been in Congress I have taken the position I was going to vote for reclamation, irrigation, and flood control projects even when New York State would not derive any direct benefit from those projects, because I had a strong feeling that what benefits Arizona, California, or Minnesota is going to benefit New York State too. I think the people of the State as a whole feel that my judgment was sound on those things.
I think what you said is so important that we must all emphasize it just as strongly as possible, that is, when a flood strikes Connecticut, or New York, or Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, it is not only the problem of those States. ('alifornia, Arizona, and Minnesota, and the other States are also concerned because it affects the entire economy.
My experience in Congress, and I think probably yours too, is that an awful lot of important measures and projects are decided on a regional basis. Too few of the Members of Congress of both Houses are willing to look at these matters from a nationwide standpoint, but only from a parochial or sectional basis.
I think we are going to sell this and I think you have made some very fine suggestions. I think we must be able to show the Members of the Congress and the people back home that this is a national proposition, and that it is just as much the concern of the States which have not been directly affected by recent floods as it is of those States which have been directly affected.
Governor RIBICOFF. I want to thank the committee for all the time it has given me.
Senator LEHMAN. May I just ask one more question? I have one question which has been brought to my attention by my staff.
You say you feel there should not be any limitation, Governor?
Senator LEHMAN. With regard to the amount of individual corerage. Does that mean you do not favor any limitation whatsoever with l'egard to the amount that the Federal Government could write?
Governor RIBICOFF. That is right. No limitation either way. provided it furnishes a true insurance value. Naturally, you will not allow a man to take out $200,000 insurance on $100,000 of property. That would be handled just like an insurance company. But I would say I would have no limit. By doing that it has the saving grace, in my opinion, that you eliminate the necessity for large Federal subsidies. Because by removing the limitation and writing the insurance
coverage you would find that even large companies would buy this protection even though the disaster would never strike them, and it would all help to build up the fund, which would be a good, sound fund, and might be a self-carrying fund.
I feel if you took off the limitation and did it nationwide find the premiums would be very reasonable and would be sufficient to carry any potential loss.
Senator LEHMAN. But if you did set a limitation on overall amount that could be outstanding-for example, in my bill I have $2 billion as a limitation, and the Kennedy-Saltonstall bisl has only $500 million, but on an ascending scale up to $1.5 billion—if you set any limitation with respect to the aggregate and total amount of insurance that could be written, then you would have to set a limit on the amount of each policy.
Governor RIBICOFF. Let me make this one point on that. If you had a disaster which was so great that it would potentially destroy the fund, the United States economy would be practically destroyed. We are undertaking the same thing, if that is what you are worried about. Basically you destroy the nerve center of the economy and are giving a body blow to the whole economy if you do that.
As this gentleman, Mr. Whitehead, of Scott & Williams, points out, we go into the foreign countries and allow the businessmen in these European nations to get back into business. We vote these billions of dollars to allow them to get this material for approximately 16 cents on the dollar, and we refuse the people of our Nation the same and equal privileges. After all, this is their tax money.
The United States has the investments. The United States is the biggest partner in practically every business. In large corporations and businesses the United States Government takes 52 percent of the earnings. Under these circumstances I do not think it is too much to say to the United States, “We are going to write a sufficient amount of coverage and make it unlimited,” because what you are doing is insuring basically the economy of the United States, as well as the economy of the individual affected.
It is my hope, Senator, that it will be unlimited in both ways. It might sound very, very radical, but it is only so because you envisage total destruction. However, if you do have total destruction you
have no nation left anyway. So therefore, if destruction ever comes in so great an amount, then every resource of the entire Nation and of all the people will basically become pledged to revive the economy of the Nation, because if you do not have an economy you do not have a nation. That is what makes a country go—if we are going to have an industrial economy, that is-unless we are reconciled to becoming a group of small agrarian farmers. If it is developed as an industrial nation it can no longer contemplate that type of society.
So I think you have a very practical problem that might sound scary when you first talk about $2 billion or about unlimited amounts, but when you contemplate the total assets of the United States entirely, and what it is worth, you realize that $2 billion bulks very minutely against the total assets of the United States of America.
I think a $500 million program and a $250,000 limitation is totally inadequate. It would be enough for the State of Connecticut, but again I am not looking at this as a Connecticut problem, but as a
nationwide proposal. You will never get it through Congress if you look at it only as a Connecticut problem.
We have to be practical about it. Your only chance of getting it through Congress is to make sure it is sold to the Congress of the United States as a national program.
I do not expect Senator Prescott Bush to stand up on the floor of the Senate and say that this is just for Connecticut, or Senator Lehman to stand up and say it is just for the State of New York. It is for the United States. You are giving no one State as an example. It happened to our State this August; it can happen to your State next August. These are the arguments that sell the Congress of the United States. It has to be on a national basis and it will be very, very wrong and self-defeating if you limit it in amount in both ways.
Senator LEHMAN. Governor, I know your legislature is in emergency session now. Therefore, I am particularly grateful to you for having come here. I have had a few special sessions myself and I know what they are. You have been most helpful and I am very grateful. I also want to express my thanks to your assistant, Mr. Cotter, for helping to make the arrangements for the hearing here today.
Governor RIBICOFF. I say this to the committee: I stand really to come to Washington at your call, for anything you might want—any further testimony, or further suggestions, or anything you might want of the State of Connecticut or its governor. On a moment's notice I am ready to go to Washington.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you very much, Governor Ribicoff.
Without objection, the material submitted by Governor Ribicoff, containing his message to the special session of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut and the report of the Connecticut Flood Recovery Committee to Governor Ribicoff, will be made a part of the record.
(The documents referred to follow :) MESSAGE BY His EXCELLENCY ABRAHAM A. RIBICOFF, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE
OF CONNECTICUT, TO THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NOVEMBER 9, 1955
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, and members of the Connecticut General Assembly, on August 19, hurricane Diane caused floods throughout Connecticut that produced the worst disaster in the State's history. The loss of life was tragic. The damage to property was enormous.
Then, on October 16, with the ground still saturated from the August rain. floods struck again. A 4-day rain, high tides, and fierce winds produced a second major flood. The tragedy that couldn't happen again was repeated within the short span of 2 months. Families and business firms and communities which suffered grievous losses in August were hit by a second blow.
Here is the grim toll of the two floods: Ninety-one persons are known dead; 12 others are missing and presumed dead; 86,000 persons were unemployed : mora than 1,100 families were left homeless; another 2,300 families were at least temporarily without shelter; nearly 20,000 families suffered flood damage ; 67 of our towns were affected by the floods.
The damage to individual property, to business, to industry, and to State and municipal facilities must be counted in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
We meet now in nonpartisan session to help our people and our towns solve the problems arising from the floods. We must chart a course so the State of Con. necticut can recoup the resources which were drained away. We must plan so that from the flood destruction will rise an even greater State than we had before the rains came.
Our first concern after the storm was for the lives and health of the families who had lost their clothes, their furniture, their homes, their every possession. All agencies of the Government and private organizations pitched in to help. On the morning of August 20 we called on President Dwight Eisenhower to declare Connecticut a disaster area and asked for help. Help came at once.
The President flew to Hartford and met with the governors of the affected States. The President's warmth and deep concern gave us all a tremendous lift. He promised that redtape would be cut and all possible Federal assistance given.
We had outstanding cooperation from the entire Connecticut congressional delegation. They were untiring in their efforts and most helpful.
I also had splendid cooperation and assistance from Lt. Gov. Charles Jewett. I am very grateful for his support.
The American Red Cross embarked on a program in which it is spending more than $9 million in Connecticut to help rehabilitate homeowners and small-business men who were victims of the flood. During the emergency periods, the Red Cross fed and clothed and sheltered 120,000 persons.
Outstanding contributions also were made by the Salvation Army, the soldiers and airmen of the Connecticut National Guard, the State police, the State civildefense organization, the Coast Guard, the State highway department, thousands of State employees many other departments, the Army and Navy and private helicopter pilots, the amateur radio operators, the Merchants' Disaster Committee, the United Service Clubs' Committee, and the firms which donated helicopters and trucks and a wide variety of material.
There also were thousands upon thousands of unsung heroes who gave everything they had in the way of sacrifice and courage.
It became obvious after the August flood that the job of rehabilitation was so immense that the best brains available must be brought to bear on our problems. It has never been my philosophy that all the wisdom in the State is centered on Capitol Hill. A fllood-recovery committee was appointed to make a study of the multiple-flood problems and recommend a program.
This distinguished committee was ably chaired by Sherman R. Knapp. Represented on the committee was a cross-section of the economic, the political, and the civic life of our State. The legislative leaders of both parties were on the committee and played key roles in its work.
Now there is no intent on my part, or on the part of the committee, to usurp the basic legislative functions of this body. The committee has done research. It has collected material. It has investigated the law. It has evaluated the various problems. The committee members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for the common good. Their report should be of invaluable help and guidance to you in the days ahead.
This report and its recommendations deserve your support.
For my own part, I accept the report, incorporate it as a part of this message, and recommend the passage of each and every affirmative proposal made by the committee.
The largest single expense resulting from the floods is the restoration of town and State bridges and roads. We face two alternatives in raising the necessary money :
(1) The legislature can divert money from the highway fund, thus sharply curtailing the interior road-construction program for the 1955–57 biennium; or
(2) It can pay for this reconstruction from an appropriation for which new taxes must be levied.
My recommendation is that the highway fund be left intact.
It must be borne in mind that the funds will not be spent for new construction, or in improvements. All we will be doing is making ourselves whole again-to bring ourselves back to where we were on August 18. If we dip into the highway fund for this work, we will set our interior roadbuilding program that much behind. To realize how badly we need this program, all you have to do is to ride our roads and look at the acute traffic problems harassing local officials across the State. This legislature recognized these enormous road needs by voting the additional taxes to make funds available for our behind-the-times road system. To destroy the fund would mean a repudiation of our own action a few short months back.
One of the greatest opportunities this legislature has to leave its imprint on the future of Connecticut is in the field of town planning.
Here you can take the leadership in seeing that from the wreckage of the floods will rise a greater and finer and more modern State.
69096-56-pt. 1- 44
One of our first acts after the August 19 flood was to use the Governor's contingency fund to make a panel of topflight planners available to the hardhit communities. There could be a tendency in some quarters to do a patchup job and merely restore the towns to the conditions they were in before the flood. This would be the great tragedy of the flood disasters. Such shortsightedness and lack of imagination would merely compound the losses.
In some of the flood communities, substandard or congested sections were washed away. The floodwaters did in 1 night what town pla ners would have required 50 years to achieve. Some of these areas now present possibilities for the most wideopen, imaginative sort of planning. Communities where tenements, industries, and business sections were crowded hodgepodge along the riverbanks have an opportunity to plan along modern lines. They can solve their traffic problems. They can provide ample parking space. They can build industrial parks away from the riverbanks. They can open up new residential areas, develop recreational facilities, and improve their shopping districts.
We have maintained a policy that the desire and initiative for this planning must spring from the communities themselves. Neither the Governor nor the legislature wants to force its will or its personality on the individual towns. I don't mean the damaged communities should be turned upside down. Each town has a beauty and character of its own. There are areas we wouldn't want to see changed by so much as breaking a stick or turning a stone. But the best of the past can be blended with the new. We have an obligation to our children and our children's children to correct the blight of the past and build communities for the future.
Seventy-five thousand dollars has been committed from the Governor's contingency fund for the planning work already done. About 18 communities have requested this planning assistance. To carry out an additional 1-year planning program, which seems a reasonable period of time, we will have to spend another $183,000. The Federal Government will contribute a matching amount.
In addition, under the Federal urban renewal and redevelopment programs, Federal funds will help pay the cost of improving substandard areas or relocating business, industry, and residential buildings out of the flood plain.
In the total planning and redevelopment program, the Federal contribution will amount to more than $5 million. The State's share will be approximately $2 million.
It is obvious that the hard-hit flood towns, some of which were faced with serious economic problems before the floods, cannot assume this financial burden themselves. The State must carry a major portion of the load.
Any outlays we make for planning and for redevelopment would be prudent expenditures. We would be helping these towns get back on their feet and become so attractive that they would draw new industry and new business. Then instead of being dependent on State tax funds, they would themselves become big producers of tax revenues.
The flood recovery committee recommended to the legislature for further study another proposal on redevelopment. This proposal would help business and industry, which are not eligible for Federal funds, to relocate out of the flood plain. This could be done by the issuance of municipal redevelopment agency bonds, or through the use of funds borrowed by the Connecticut Development Credit Corporation. A combination of both methods could be adopted. The financing would be guaranteed by the State.
This is a forward-looking step for which I have great enthusiasm. Industry needs to be encouraged. We should offer every inducement, every assistance, to hold our old industries and attract new enterprises.
A program by which a municipal or nonprofit redevelopment agency can build factories, and then lease or sell them to manufacturers, will be a boon to the economic growth of Connecticut.
One of the vital needs of Connecticut, and for which we will need substantial Federal appropriations, is flood-control works. Our people must have this protection.
Soon after the August flood, the State's unqualified support was given to the projected flood-control dam at Thomaston. Connecticut's official concurrence for the construction of this dam has been filed with Washington. We now must press hard in Congress for the necessary appropriations to build the dam. Had this dam been built, the terrible damage wreaked in the Naugatuck Valley by the August flood would have been sharply curtailed, according to the Army engi
And the damage caused by the October flood would have been prevented entirely.