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importance placed on farm-to-market roads and other transportation by our membership. The statement reads:
We shall continue to work for the development of a boldly planned integrated transportation system, including highways, rail, water, and air, on both a regional and a nationwide basis to include individual, corporate, cooperative, and publicly owned facilities of every type, including increased Federal and State appropriations for all-weather farm-to-market roads.
Meeting farmers' farm-to-market roads needs will contribute to an expanded United States full employment economy,
Some economic forecasters have said that we need—and this includes the interstate system as well as primary and secondary highways—will contribute to an expanded United States full employment economy. We need an expanded highway-construction program to keep pace with our expanding economy. We also need transportation facilities on which to build an expanding economy.
Our national farm gross income in 1955 will probably be more than $7 billion short of a full-employment level and, for the same year, realized net income of farm operators will be about $342 billion lower than is needed as the basis for an expanding full-employment economy. In 1955, America's farm families should be a $10 billion market for commodities and services instead of the $41 billion projected by the United States Department of Agriculture's most recent revision downward of their expected income of farmers in 1955.
In view of this economic slippage--this difference between actual output and what we might have enjoyed would it not be accurate to say that we need an expanded highway construction program before we shall ever be able to attain a gross national product of $500 billion in 1960, instead of 1969. We shall never attain this objective with farmers up to the axle in mud and with urban and city workers losing valuable time in rush-hour traffic jams on the way to work.
The expeditious movement of people and the products they make or grow, or the service they are able to render will benefit every tiny segment of our population. For example, a network of hard surfaced, all-weather roads touching every farm family would decrease the transportation costs of food and clothing, reduce the price of food to consumers, and raise prices paid to farmers.
Opponents of an expanding full employment economy are trying to play off supporters of greater Federal appropriations for United States schools against an expanded road construction program and vice versa. The reason is obvious; they hope to divide, confuse and destroy. They are aware that the funds required for meeting schoolconstruction needs need not be in competition with the obviously needed $101 billion 10-year highway modernization program. These obfusticators are men of little vision. However, National Farmers Union has been long aware of the need for construction of both roads and schools. Certainly, there is a need for both. We believe the urgent need for both merits prompt action by the Congress to make possible a substantial road- and school-construction program.
United States educational systems faced with a tremendous $12 billion problem in current school construction needs alone have been presented with a pale pretense of a program which would shift almost
a total fiscal responsibility back to the States and school districts and provide a windfall for the banking fraternity. It is better designed to increase profits in the municipal bond market than to build children's schoolhouses. The President's message and program for roads is neither bold nor realistic, it is just like his plan for financing school construction. Both programs are windfalls to financiers and contractors but would be of no help to hard pressed rural States to fill clamoring needs.
National Farmers Union has confidence in the membership of this committee, and we believe there is a way whereby we can launch both a school- and road-construction program without conflict. We hope that your efforts will be directed toward this objective.
National Farmers Union encourages the committee to act promptly. There is no lack of information as to the need for prompt action. The questions, it seems to us, are--what legislative route to pursue ! And, how much the expenditure should be? We support S. 1048 as a step in the right direction. Both schools and roads should be built where they are needed for maximum contribution to national welfare and security. They should be paid for by the entire Nation from general revenues. Earmarking of specific Federal revenues for specific expenditures would, we are convinced, be a very bad precedent.
President Eisenhower's program looked attractive in its glittering wrappings, but disillusion sets in when the wrapper is removed and the details are revealed. His highway program like his other recommendations looks good on the surface but lacks substance. Each new detail that is revealed shows more windfalls for the wealthy and lower income and higher costs for most of the people.
That ends the statement, Mr. Chairman.
Senator GORE. Mr. Baker, is it a fair summary of your statement to conclude that you as a spokesman for the National Farmers Union believe that this committee should look at our highway problem as a whole and accelerate construction and improvement on all types of highways?
Mr. BAKER. Correct.
a of the witness. You say "earmarking of a special Federal revenue for specific expenditures would, we are convinced, be a very bad precedent.” Would you care to detail that?
Mr. BAKER. In many States if you want to build a new schoolhouse you have to raise the cigarette tax. The specific tax and the specific use of the funds or expenditure of the funds are tied together by a specific earmarking process. Fortunately the Federal Government has never used that process which has caused so many difficulties in a lot of States.
We think that this business of taking a specific tax, one of the Federal taxes, and say all of the revenues from that tax go to highways in this case, and it cannot be used for anything else or nothing else can be used to build highways, is a very bad precedent from the standpoint of the future.
We could get ourselves tied up in a complete network of interlocking revenue measures with an expenditure. Every time you want to vaccinate cattle for disease you would at the same time have to dream up a new kind of a tax revenue to cover that program.
We think it is best for revenues to come into the Federal Treasury as a lump sum, and expenditures to be paid out, both determined independently by Congress in there.
Senator SYMINGTON. I have no further questions.
Senator MARTIN. Mr. Baker, you are familiar that quite a number of States have constitutional provisions that all gasoline taxes must be used for roads?
Mr. BAKER. Yes, sir.
Senator MARTIN. Do you know of any States where that hasn't worked out to good advantage?
Mr. BAKER. There are some States, for example, Senator Martin, that, as in the Federal tax, it says that the tax is for highway purposes, yet they tax farmers. I do not know whether your State does that or not, but they charge farmers for the gasoline that they use in their tractors that are never on the highways. They charge them for gasoline to use in their stationary engines.
Senator MARTIN. I am not bragging of anything that we have particularly in our own State. We have always exempted from taxation anything that is used on the farm, stationary engines, tractors, and so forth.
Mr. BAKER. If you are going to earmark funds, taxes raised to build highways ought not to be levied against gasoline used on a farm for stationary engines that never get on the highway.
Senator MARTIN. I agree with you fully on that. In our State we have had for many years an amendment to our constitution that all taxes raised from gasoline must be used for highway and bridge purposes. Are you acquainted with the farm-to-market road system in Pennsylvania ?
Mr. BAKER. Not in any great detail; no, sir. I would say this: As far the the Federal revenues and expenditures, Senator Martin, I do not thing you would want to say that you are going to—say a specific revenue proposal is brought up such as the one the House is acting on today where they are voting to determine whether each of us and our children will be $20 less on income tax. If that tax were tied specifically to financing the school-lunch program there would be an entirely different set of considerations going to the gentlemen making up their minds on how to vote this afternoon. But the way the Federal Government is now—the theory on which it is set up is that you make a decision on this tax matter as a tax matter. Then you make decisions on expenditures on the merits of those expenditures, and you do not get your thinking and your floor debate tied up as between the purposes for which the funds are going to be used and the way in which they are going to be obtained.
Senator MARTIN. Mr. Baker, do you not think as a tax theory that the taxpayer would get full use of the money he contributes in taxes if that could be done right through our toll system, and that it would be fair and equitable!
Mr. BAKER. I am personally opposed to toll roads, Mr. Chairman, as a principle. I do not know whether that was your question or not, Senator Martin.
Senator MARTIN. No.
Mr. BAKER. I think because a fellow does not have enough money to put out a half dollar when he has to go to work every morning, we ought not to keep him off of our roads in this country.
Senator MARTIN. What I am getting at is this: Take my own State, for example. I believe there are about 17 States where all the gasoline
taxes are used for road and bridge purposes. We had that in testimony at one time. If we could work out a system by which all the tax that a man pays goes for the thing in which he is interested-1 know we cannot do that fully, but as far as gasoline and lubricating oils are concerned that could be done, and it has been done in quite a number of States. Is that not a sound theory!
Mr. BAKER. No, sir, I do not thing so, as far as the Federal budget is concerned. For instance, take toll roads. I do not know that I know what your position is on toll roads. A fellow that needs to go somewhere because his grandmother died does not have anything to do with whether he has paid a particular tax or whether he has a half dollar to put in the machine when he wants to go.
If you have the whole thing set up as toll roads that fellow could not even go to his grandmother's funeral if he did not have that half dollar.
Senator MARTIN. You understand that if you could not build anything but toll roads you would not get much mileage because there are only about 8,000 miles of roads in the United States that would be self-liquidating. It is just such a small amount.
In Pennsylvania we had the first toll road. We have roads paralleling that whole system that are free roads. So a man takes the toll road through choice because that gets him there a little quicker, and he can take a free road if he so desires. It is paralleled on both the north and south by a free road.
Mr. BAKER. Pennsylvania is a good case in point, Senator Martin. Is I understand, you have Philadelphia at one end and Pittsburgh at another. Then you have some very long distances of mountain and forested land. "If you said that you would not build any highways in that mountainous, forested land except with the gasoline tax paid by people that live in that forest, you would not have any roads there. You would have just a few trails.
It seems to me like that is what we are saying with respect to southern Missouri, for example. I doubt that you could use the tax revenue, Senator Symington, from southern Missouri and build as many roads as you need in southern Missouri, just for national defense and security.
Senator Martin. Mr. Baker, you are entirely right, and that is why I favor this big road program that we are contemplating. I have been giving a lot of thought to a toll road from the east, one to Los Angeles and another to the northwestern part of our country. It will be the most valuable thing from a national defense standpoint that we probably can construct. After you get through Missouri it would not be self-liquidating.
My idea is that we could use this buildup of enormous traffic in the East to push it through. I am not satisfied with it yet, but I have been giving an awful lot of thought to it.
Albert, you know that I never got into this thing very seriously until I became chairman of this committee. It is a very serious thing in America. My first great interest in roads from a national defense standpoint came during my last military job, which was to take 16,000 soldiers 1,600 miles overland, and I had to send my engineers ahead to repair bridges and take out bad curves, and, Stuart, we did not take any of our heavy stuff along. It was all the light stuff. That made me realize that we just had fallen behind in roads.
In Pennsylvania, in 1930, I urged the farm-to-market roads. We built 20,000 miles of roads of that kind. I think it is the best thing we ever did in the State. A lot of that was done from general revenues, although we tried to support it with the gasoline taxes, but it was too big a program. I think it has done more to keep the young men and women on the farms. A lot of people on the farms worked in town and then went out at night to work on their farms, which makes a pretty good combination. So I am intensely interested in what you are suggesting about a farm-to-market road. But on the other hand I think as a Nation in some way we have got to get behind a program because we are too far back in the building of roads. We are too far back in transportation in our country.
We have got to do a lot, Mr. Chairman, as far as the waterways are concerned. For example, we are hauling oil from Houston, Tex., to Pittsburgh by water. We could not haul it all by railroads or by trucks. There are not enough railroads and roads enough to do it. We have a big problem here and we have to approach it as an objective for the general good of all the people.
I am not going to take any more time. I appreciate what you said, Mr. Baker, very much indeed.
Mr. BAKER. Senator Martin, there is no quarrel certainly on our part as to the very great need for a much better highway system, all the way from the farm gate to New York City or Wall Street, if you want to put it that way. The main question, it seems to me, is the speed at which we are going to do this.
We have presently about 4 million unemployed. If we do as good as the President thinks we will do next year we will have 5 million unemployed, that is with the 3-percent increase in gross national product. That leaves room, it seems to me, for us to put some of those folks to work building some highways of the kind you are talking about; to build some schools.
Senator GORE. Senator Neuberger?
Senator NEUBERGER. I would like to ask a couple of things, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Baker, do you not think that in quite a few States the policy of earmarking gasoline taxes for highways has worked out well ?
Mr. BAKER. In some of the States it has. As a Federal proposition it ought not to be started or you are going to get yourself in such a tangle of multifariously related considerations that you are going to start a precedent here that is going to blow you right out of the top.
Senator NEUBERGER. As you know I am sympathetic with a great deal of the programs of your organization. Isn't your organization backing Senator Hill's bill to use the Continental Shelf oil revenues for education ?
Mr. BAKER. Yes, sir.
Senator NEUBERGER. Is that not earmarking specific revenues for a specific purpose ?
Mr. BAKER. That is a specific case, a special case where we have already—what we are fighting there is an attempt on the part of a lot of people to give away a national resource.
Senator NEUBERGER. But it is still earmarking?