United States. Congress. Senate. Special Committee.

Post-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) online

. (page 17 of 49)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Special CommitteePost-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) → online text (page 17 of 49)
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ington, you can figure that j^ou are also going to have some Federal
governmental management.

Mr. Jonas. It reminds me of the old saying, the piper calls the

Congressman Fish. You are putting me on the spot. What you
want me to do is get jon a lower interest rate and more loans. I guess
that is a pretty good idea. That is what I will try to do.


Mr. Jonas. We would ratlier have that than a grant.

Congressman Fish. Everybody else is asking for somethino- You
are the hrst outsider who says that you want a grant or loantmd are
wilhng to pay it back. I am sure that the committee will take it
under advisement.

The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Jonas. The next witness is Mr
i?!P?'- f" J^^^burgh. Mr. Shipp, please state vour name and
alhliation tor the purpose of the record.



Mr. Shut My name is E. Maltby Shipp. I am chairman of the
Aewburgh 1 lanning Board and member of the Orange County Plan-
ning Board, from Newburgh, N. Y. ^ j

I think that I have got to go along a little bit different lines from
wliat my two predecessors have because they have more or less speci-
hecl certain things. I am going to try to cover what the municipalities
m Urange County have done in postwar planning.

Thei-e are three cities in the county: Newbui^gh, Middletown, and
l-ort Jervis. Ihose cities have a population of approximately 31,000
for the city of Newburgh, 21,800-and-some-odd for Middletown, and
I think about 9,000 to 10,000 for Port Jervis.

These cities have not been in any way backward in making their
plans for the postwar period. They have, however, hesitated some-
what in going ahead with any definite selection of the various thino-g
that they want done, very laregly due to the fact of not knowing
what would be the most advantageous for the consumption of the slack
m labor that might come up, or where the money was coming from

U e heard a good deal this afternoon about the cities not beino- able
to hnance tlieir public works. I think that is so all over the countrv
However, some of these public works could be financed by the cities'
But the general program has been laid out with the idea that it is
going to be necessary to prepare such a plan of coordinated work so
mat It will cover perhaps a greater amount tlian they could possibly
nuance m any one of those three cities. '

Newburgh alone has 11 items here, and I know of three others
that have not been put on this list, amounting in all to $2,125,000 as a
rough estimate. The list is as follows :

Proposed list of postwar projects, city of Neivhurgh, N. Y.

Sewage disposal plant ,{;-, QQr> on^

Tunneling South St. through Downing Park _ ^onam

Rehabilitating roads and walks, """ H m)(YH)

Amphitheater in Downing Park nn nn^

Repaying of streets ~" lOo' 000

Extension of water lines 5o' 000

Water storage reservoir within city limits lOo' 000

Indoor recreation center ' -^9^' qqq

Concrete bottoms for a 6-lap ice-skating rink and hockey rink 11 So'oOO

i ire-alarm system 5q' qqq

Some of those plans were drafted before the war, just as the war
came on, and probably would have to be revised as to cost at the present


In Middletown, their work has principally been centered around
sewage, a storm water system, and construction of a coagulation sys-
tem. These amount to $705,495. That did not include, however, a
large item for parks and recreation, amounting to $330,000.
I do not have the figures on Part Jervis.

As Mr. Bush is going to follow me on the matter of county work,
I think that it might be well just to say that all of this work has
been coordinated with a view to what is going to take place in the
State and the county, as it may affect Newburgh from a transporta-
tion point of view. We do feel that air- water transportation — I mean,
by that, hydroplane landing — is very important on the Hudson River,
and that is one of the omitted items.

The feeling I have, I think a great many of the people in New
York County have and it has been voiced this afternoon by several
of the speakers, is that the words "public works" implies in the minds
of a great many people a type of public works that took place just
before we went into the war. There is a little bit of a feeling among
most of the people planning the work, and I think the citizens them-
selves, that that type of public work does not stimulate prosperity.
The kind of public work we want is something that will keep the
industries going.

Mr. Schoonm'aker, who is chairman of the postwar planning in-
dustrial committee, has done a very good job in Newburgh and in
the vicinit}^ of Orange County. They themselves are planning to ab-
sorb a great many of the people coming back from the war and
other industries who have migrated away from Orange County be-
cause we have very few war industries in Orange County, outside of
the Newburgh area. Consequently, the whole plan of the work has
been one to be in sequence with the absorption of those who are most
in need of labor.

Now, our building trade in Newburgh can undoubtedly provide
a great deal of stimulus if such things as were spoken of a few min-
utes ago are done in order to coordinate the work of reviving indus-
try throughout the country. We are dependent upon the whole
country in any program. The lumber trade, as we will know, has
been in a state of stagnation due to the amount of lumber taken by
the Government and the lack of manpower. Such things as that are
going to require coordination of the general work that we are de-
pendent upon throughout the country.

Some of these projects will need lumber; some of them will not.
And unless we can get the allocation of those things that are essential,
we will have to drop down to one of these other lists.

The Chairman. May T interrupt you for a moment?

Mr. Shipp. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Do you believe, in accordance with the statement
made yesterday by Commissioner Catherwood, of the New York State
Department oi Commerce, that there is no need for Federal aid in
these small communities like Newburgh, and Cornwall, and Port

Mr. Shipp. I am afraid that I cannot agree with him that there is
no need for it. I know there is going to be a little opposition in the
minds of people, as I said, because their idea of Federal aid has been
one that has been brought out this afternoon that the moneys are going

99579 — 45— pt.


to be just enough to support the people. Very little material was
bought by Federal aid, or, as it was supposed to be, by the munici-

The Chairman. Well, now, Mr. Shipp, the idea that we have in
mind when we talk of Federal aid excludes any such proposition as
WPA. We are talking of Federal aid in terms of aid by the Federal
Government to worth-while projects proposed by the States or

Mr. Siiirp. I appreciate that.

The Chairman. And we had testimony here yesterday to the effect
that the State administration did not believe it was necessary for the
Federal Government at this time to make any advance other than for
the planning.

It does not seem to me that the small communities like Newburgh
and Cornwall and Port Jervis, who have to make substantial outlays
of capital in the event of unemployment, can possibly go along with
that suggestion ; that, rather, the solution to the problem is that the
municipalities and States undertake to some extent the original cost
of both the planning and of construction ; and that the Federal Gov-
ernment, in order to give impetus to that plannijng, should in some
degree help finance it. I should imagine it would be very difficult in
a small community like Newburgh to spend thousands of dollars in
building up a shelf of plans and expending that money out of the
treasury of 1944 for possible use in 1947 or 1948. Am I correct in that
assumption, Mr. Shipp ?

INlr. Snipp. You are decidedly correct, and we only have to look at
tlie history of those towns to see that that is so.

With reference to the sewage-disposal plant on which the plans
were drawn, it was a long time before it was possible to get the
amount of money necessary to even draw the plans, because we had
to get outside experts to do it.

With reference to any improvements, I will hesitate to call that
public works. It may be private work and everything else. Pri-
vate building, public works, and industrial work has been hibernating
for 4 years. Consequently there has been an accumulation of that
work. If the communities could not finance it as it accumulated, I
cannot see how they could get started now and finance it themselves.

It is like a snowstorm. If you begin plowing right away you are
all right, but if it piles up on you it is almost impossible without
outside help of snow plows to get it out of the road. The necessary
w^ork that has accumulated, together with work on facilities that
would be beneficial to the community, will be helpful in getting the
people back to work and tiding over this period of transition.

I don't see how they could possibly stand that expense at the
present time, nor just how that is going to be done. I am an engineer,
myself. I don't wish to go into the economics of taxing or whether
it is a matter of direct loans or direct obligations by the Govern-
ment. What I am trying to do today is give you the statement that
the towns and the country have made preparations for a program
of work, but they have not made preparations for a program of
financing that work. The question as to whether they can do it
themselves or whether it calls for outside aid is a matter for somebody
else to answer.


I can say, oflhand, as a taxpayer, that I don't believe they can do
it with the land values and taxes today on the scale that has been laid
out, either in the county or State.

I would like to say this in reference to a question you have asked
some of the other witnesses, whether Federal aid would stimulate
the drawing of plans at the present time. I think it would hurry
the preparation of those plans — if it were only the fact that there
was somebody from the Federal Government urging it to be done
and giving a certain amount of technical assistance, the plans would
be less likely to lie on the desks of the engineering offices waiting for
something to happen.

I think one thing further, Mr, Chairman, is this : One of the
previous witnesses dwelt on the delay in getting things started, 6
months or a year. My experience has been that the greatest delay
in getting anything started is the financing of it and the knowledge
of where the financing is coming from.

After that is once established, it does not take long for the engineers
to draw up the plans and get the estimates and the things "'in the
works." If there is some plan whereby you know where the financing
is coming from, the stimulus there for action is sufficient to make it
possible to get almost any of these things actually started within a.
few months. I think that that would take up the slack.

Now, I still feel that this allocation of work cannot be local. I
believe it has to be so coordinated that there will not be a stoppage
or a bottleneck in the materials that are coming for the work.

Congressman Fish. Have you concluded your statement ?

Mr. Shipp. I think so.

Congressman Fish. I have to leave, and I beg to be excused. I want
to thank Mr. Shipp for his remarks in representing the Planning Board
of Orange County. I understand that there is another member here,
Mr. Peter Bush, whom I wish you would call next; also two gentle-
men from Eockland County: Supervisor Williams and Mr. Lyone
who will speak for the needs and postwar needs of Rockland County.

I regret very much that I have to leave. I want to thank you very
much for the able way you have conducted this subcommittee meetingy
Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Just before you retire, Mr. Shipp, I want to say
that I am pleased that you are in favor of Federal aid or stimulating
assistance in connection with the preparation of plans. That has been
a particular pet of mine ever since we started this postwar planning
work, because I have always felt that the most important thing to
getting started is to get started. The only way we could do that, as
far as I could see, was by the stimulation of the actual plans and

I think that all through industry the lumber trade and everywhere
else there is a sentiment for this building program. I am thinking
now of our county which has a great scarcity of private houses.
There are people, traveling as far as 60 miles, who cannot find hous-
ing any nearer to their work in our section of the country. There is
a great opportunity for private enterprise to build in that section:
And slum clearance, also. The lower-bracket of rent payers cannot
afford to pay the high prices of materials today and it may be nec-
essary to have some subsidy on slum clearance.


I do believe private enterprise can take care of the building in our
section of the country if we have proper allocation of materials, and
the labor is available at the time. The labor will be available because
that is what we are planning for.

Thank you very much, Mr. Sliipp. Mr. Colmer.

Congressman Colmer. I want to be sure that I understand Mr.
Shipp's view. If I understand you correctly, there is going to be a
necessity for some postwar construction, Federal implemented con-
struction ; that the cost of that construction, both in the planning and
in the construction itself, should be participated in by the Federal

Mr. Siiipp. Just how, I am not clear. But I believe it will be nec-
essary if it is carried on to any extensive scale.

Congressman Colmer. Yes.

Mr. Shipp. You could take up any one of these things that we have
on the list, and the municipalities could do it. If you are going to
carry it on for an extensive period of time, they cannot do it.

Congressman Colmer. That is all that I have.

The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Shipp. Now, with respect to the
rest of the witnesses, of course, we are very glad to hear you. But, if
there is anybody who has a written statement who would rather file
it instead of testifying, we will be pleased to accept the statement in
lieu of their testimony.

The next witness will be Mr. Peter H. Bush, of Monroe, who is also
a member of the Orange County Planning Board.

Mr. Bush. First, I would like to make a correction on your last
statement. I am not a member of the Orange County Planning Board.
I am the executive chief engineer.

The Chairman. With that correction, I think, probably, you are
better qualified to testify than under the introduction which I gave.


Mr. Bush. I should also like to say that I am a member of the post-
war planning committee of our Board of Supervisors of Orange
County. Furthermore, I belong to the Committee for Economic De-

Now, the subject which I wish to discuss or offer for your considera-
tion refers to things that are needed in Orange County. I am basing
my statement on the studies that I have made as a member of the plan-
ning committee of actual needs

One of the first needs, I should say, would be an adequate tax map
of our entire county. The methods of assessing properties and making
up the tax rolls now are entirely inadequate to apportion the burden
of tax equitably among the people of the county. They are still
using an old method of making up the tax which goes back to a period
shortly after the Revolutionary days. There have been no improve-
ments since.

From my studies, I find that many thousands of acres of land in the
county are not on the assessment roll at all. This is disclosed by the
fact that calculation of the area as determined by the county planning
board from our own studies, differs from the report of the State tax
commission as to the acreage of the county that is on the tax list.


The Chairman. You said that some people up in Orange County
do not have to pay taxes ?

Mr, Bush. Yes. I would say they are not paying taxes, but I am
paying the tax they should be paying. For that reason, I think this
map is a very important requirement for the county. It should be
based upon a survey, with suitable ground control, in order to insure
its accuracy for the purpose for w^hich it is intended.

The Chairman. Just a minute, if you please. Of course, you realize
that we are on the subject of public works. Now, as a good Democrat,
I myself think that those tax rolls up there ought to be revised in order
to include everybody, because we down here hate to see these Repub-
licans absent from the tax rolls.

Mr. Bush. Maybe there are a few of the Democrats that are not on.

That is the first consideration, as I said. It w^ould be built upon the
basis of an adequate survey and map. It would very readily be done
by tracing each individual parcel of land for the simple reason that all
of our titles originate from the colonial clays. These were subsequently
divided up into so-called farm lots and larger tracts. Those farm lots
were fenced and those fences still show. That is the frame work and
it could be done very accurately.

The Chairman. Wliy is that a matter of Federal aid? We are
trying to keep this down to the question of public works, and whether
or not there should be Federal aid in connection with planning for
public works and ultimately in the construction of public works.

Mr. Bush. This is part of the planning for that purpose. I will
bring it out a little later in my statement.

The Chairman. Very well.

Mr. Bush. We are confronted with other problems in the county.
Let me first say that Mr. Taft brought out the needs of agriculture,
which is the largest industry in the county for a soil survey project.
Such a survey is based upon this so-called tax map which would
be a survey map of the county showing each individual field, the type
of soil in that field ; and what that soil is best adapted to raise. This
cannot be done under the present method of soil survey which is shown
simply on the United States geographical map. It does not show
where the man's property is located.

If you own a farm, or Jim Jones owns a farm and he is planting,
it may or may not be adapted for that crop. He could increase the
revenue from his farm, and the same would apply throughout the en-
tire county. That is a basis for the project.

The other project which Mr. Taft mentioned is an economic geo-
logical survey of the county. All of that would be very readily shown
and detailed. We have no map of that kind nor a soil survey map
of the county at the present time.

I am trying to show you, Mr. Chairman, that this is a basic need
for the other projects which are planned. It would serve the pur-
pose in the case of highways, flood control, recreation — in other words,
it is the basis of all of the planning we wish to have done in the
county, as well as serving as the tax map.

For crop control, the difference in altitude of the terrain can just
as readily be shown by the use of the stereoptic method which is now
used. There have been so many advances made in aerial surveys
and maps that a very accurate job could be accomplished.


Now, we have three other projects which are related and which
might be classified as under one head. Those are flood control, re-
creational facilities, and reforestation, which Mr. Taft mentioned in
liis talk to yon a short time ago.

Now, we have an area of land where there are a lot of crops, the
principal one of which is onions. This area has been improved to a
certain extent by Federal grant and completed within the last three
or 4 years.

There is one area in the county that is much below the rest of the
county in financing and prosperity. By the development of recrea-
tional facilities in that area, a certain measure of funds could be made
available to the people of that area, and bring a certain amount of
prosperity, which they do not enjoy. In that program should be
included reforestation.

I noticed that some of the speakers todav referred to our forest
reserve, the use of wood in construction. By reforestation, we as-
sure the people in Orange County — it might only be a small matter
as related to the Nation as a whole yet the principle Avould be the
same — a crop maybe 25 years from now. If there was another war,
we would need more forest products.

Another need that we feel is airports. Air transportation is un-
doubtedly becoming active which calls for better facilities for pas-
senger, mail and handling of merchandise. Now, in our study of the
need of airports in the county, we first feel there should be what they
ordinarily term the feeder type of airport, that is, a type of airport
which feeds into the major commercial lines.

Some time ago, before the war, I had some correspondence with one
of the commercial operating lines. They had about concluded tliat
they would establish an airport simply for that purpose. Anything
we might do along the line of developing air transportation and pro-
viding airports in the county would be done in cooperation with the
Port of New York Authority, the Regional Planning Association, and
also the Planning Commission of the State of New York.

Of course, now, the costs of these projects which I am submitting
for your consideration would undoubtedly be beyond the means of the
county itself, were it all to come at once. I think Mr. Shipp stated
the case very well when he said that ; Mr. Sheridan, also, as I recall,
made the same statement that funds for the planning of these things
should be made available now from some source.

Under present conditions of the ordinary taxpayer, witli his burden
of income tax, land tax, and similar taxes, the local community may
not be able to afford that fund at the present time, but probably could
absorb it later. That is in conformity with some statements that it
might be taken up later through long-term borrowing or through a
long-term bond issue at a low percentage rate. But, as Mr. Shipp said,
the financing of these things is still an unsolved problem.
' If we are to create a reservoir of work, as Sheridan brought to your
attention, we certainly should have plans ready to put in action when
the time demands those plans, so that the public-works program can
go into effect.

The Chairman. You do not agree with Commissioner Catherwood,
of the State department of commerce, that there is no present need of


Federal aid, either in planning or in the ultimate construction until an
emergency arises?

Now, it seems to me that the emergency might also be said to be
around the corner, depending on the date of victory and the demobili-
zation of the troops. It seems to me ^Ye ought to get ready, but that is
contraiy to the opinion of the department of commerce of the State.
Do you agree wih the department of commerce ?

Mr. Bush. I still maintain the attitude that there should be some
source from which funds can be made available now for this planning.
If the State is not going to do it, then the Federal Goverimient should
do it, because these small communities, as I see it, haven't the money to
invest at this time in that type of project.

The Chairmax. Mr. Bush, do you think that we are in a position
to rely upon the statement that, insofar as New York is concerned,
there is no need of Federal aid ?

Mr. Bush. I think that I am too small in caliber to oppose an opinion
stated by Mr, Catherwood.

The Chairman. The reason that you are here to testify is to give
us the viewpoint of the people in the rural communities or the small

Now, we have had the mayor of the city of New Rochelle ; we had
Commissioner Moses in liis various capacities; and we are trying to
get the thought of a cross section of the people. That is why we
had some of the supervisors and count}' representatives down here.
That is why, I assume, you are here — to give your viewpoint on
whether or not Federal aid is necessarj^ or desirable. That is the only
thing that we have before our committee, and that is Avhat we would
like to have answered by you and every other witness who appears
here, not so much with respect to the particular projects that you have

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Special CommitteePost-war economic policy and planning. Joint hearings before the special committees on post-war economic policy and planning, Congress of the United States, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, pursuant to S. Res. 102 and H. Res. 408, resolutions creating special committees on post-war economic (unit 6) → online text (page 17 of 49)