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must remember every person is human, whether you are an official or not, and when you tax your home you say, "Well, I believe I will keep it for ourselves", and the Negroes then were not being taken care of. It might be selfishness, perhaps, but that is the truth. Now, the amount of taxes that you want to know, the amount paid through the State
Mr. BOYER (interposing). I am not interested in the amount, but I would like to know what the taxpayer pays toward education in your State, on the hundred dollars.
Mr. DEROUEN. That is very difficult to say, because in Louisiana here is a county or a parish here that perhaps has taxed itself 50 mills on the dollar to carry on public school work. The adjoining one pays only 15 mills.
Mr. BOYER. That is what I am trying to get.
Mr. DEROUEN. The State tried to handle the problem by subdivision, by school districts. Then, we adopted the unit of the county and we tried all ways, and we have always met difficulties and have never been able to levy a uniform tax throughout the State.
Mr. BOYER. Is that pretty generally the same in all the Southern States?
Mr. DEROUEN. I am not able to speak for the others. I do not know about that.
Mr. O'NEILL. Doctor, I would like you to clear this up. Take these 17 States you have mentioned, any one at randum, and tell us the percentage spent on colored schools as compared with white schools.
Mr. THOMPSON. You mean at the present time?
Mr. O'NEILL. Yes. Give the figures for 1936 if you have them. Mr. DONDERO. I might say, Mr. O'Neill, I think the doctor answered that in the record before you came in.
Mr. THOMPSON. I will try and find it here.
Mr. MASON. Forty-six dollars for white per capita, and $10 for Negro, which is at the rate of 80 and 20, approximately. In some other States it was 48 and 3.
Mr. O'NEILL. That will bring out the point I was trying to make. Suppose you take the State of-take my State, because it is a Northern State. It is not comparable, but New Jersey would get $3,000,000 the first year. Suppose only 25 percent of that were used for colored schools-New Jersey does not have them, of course, but the Southern States do-do you think that would be equitable?
Mr. THOMPSON. It would be difficult to answer that question. Mr. O'NEILL. Before we get off on the wrong track, I should like you to answer this: If you should be alloted the same percentage out of this Federal aid that you have been getting from State moneys, are you likely to be satisfied?
Mr. THOMPSON. No; and the bill does not call for that, as I understand it.
Mr. O'NEILL. Is there anything in the bill to prevent it?
Mr. THOMPSON. That is a question that I attempted to answer awhile ago, under section 3, where it provides for a just and equitable distribution of the expenditure of said funds among the several
public schools of that State or Territory, taking into consideration the total population in each population group for which schools are specifically maintained therein.
Mr. O'NEILL. Suppose the State legislature decides that the manner in which they have been allocating these funds for the past 5 or 6 years would be a good plan of allotment and that the allotment of Federal funds shall be on that basis.
Mr. THOMPSON. If that is the case, then we will have to go to Congress and get something done about that. However, I think that precedents in handling the Morrill Act would probably be followed in this case. That is, I take it that most of these States want to do the right thing, the States anyway. Down in the local communities, where you have people close to the schools, and that sort of thing, is where we have a diversion of funds. So I am assuming that they will use the legal precedents of the Morrill Act or some such objective measure as that to interpret "just and equitable."
Mr. O'NEIL. Do you realize that when you come back for amendment, if it is ever necessary, you are going to have to run the gamut of "Federalization" and you are not going to have a very good case, and that you are taking that chance with your bill as it is now drawn?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes; we took that into account. As I said a moment ago, my legal friend here is coming up later, I hope—at least, he is listed to come up, and I would like very much for him to speak on that point, since he can give you the legal angles better than
Mr. DONDERO. You understand, do you not, that what is just and equitable will be a question for the States to decide and not the Federal Government?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes; I understand that.
Mr. REES. Dr. Thompson, of course your complaint hinges on the question of inequality, does it not?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes.
Mr. REES. And that involves the 17 States in the South you have mentioned, does it not?
Mr. THOMPSON. It involves most of the 17, with the possible exception of West Virginia.
Mr. REES. Does it involve Kentucky?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes; although I do not have the data for Kentucky.
Mr. REES. The reason I mention Kentucky is because a learned gentleman here yesterday from Kentucky suggested that so far as that State is concerned they were very well satisfied with the situation down there as between the colored race and the white race, and that the colored teachers were receiving salaries comparable with the white teachers and that the facilities were satisfactory. He is superintendent, or was superintendent of schools in the State of Kentucky. The reason I even mentioned it is because I thought that most of the difficulty is within a comparatively few States and in a comparatively smaller portion of the population.
Mr. THOMPSON. No; to give you one illustration of that: In the State of Kentucky there isn't a single State-supported institution.
where a Negro may graduate or take professional work, although they have passed some sort of tuition law by which you pay a little something to a Negro who goes out of the State, but by no means is it an adequate substitute for exclusion from the University of Kentucky.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, I understand that Kentucky will give you a bonus if you will leave the State for an education? Mr. THOMPSON. Yes; but the bonus is not sufficient. [Laughter.] The CHAIRMAN. Now, I understand there are one or two short witnesses to be heard this afternoon.
Mr. GIVEN. Chairman Palmisano and members of the committee, we appreciate your courtesy very much in extending the time to hear the State superintendent of Arkansas, who has to leave the city this afternoon, Mr. W. E. Phipps.
STATEMENT OF W. E. PHIPPS, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
Mr. PHIPPS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I was told just a moment ago that I was to appear immediately after noon. I am glad to appear at this time so that I can catch a train, and if you will pardon me I will read from a manuscript here just a little brief that I have prepared, in order that I may get through more quickly than if I speak to you extemporaneously. I do not like to use a manuscript but I think it will save time; and then when I have completed it, if you wish to ask questions I will attempt to answer them for the State of Arkansas. I am not attempting to give testimony for the entire Nation, since you have had that in the preliminary statements, and as I understand it, I will give a few facts pertaining to my own State. None of the shortcomings of the State of Arkansas that I mention will be given in the light of destructive criticism but will be of a constructive nature, to point out the needs of the State in order that we may better conditions there.
Arkansas has never been able to provide an adequate school program for its children. If such a program is to be provided, Arkansas' maximum contribution must be supplemented with additional financial assistance from some other source, presumably the Federal Government.
Just as inequalities exist among localities with respect to their abilities to support an acceptable educational program, so do similar inequalities exist among the States. Arkansas is unfortunate enough to be one of the States that ranks low in its ability to support an educational program.
Arkansas has made an effort to maintain an acceptable educational program, but has been handicapped by certain factors which it is powerless to overcome. Farm products are shipped out in large quantities as raw materials to out-of-State factories. Arkansas' lifeinsurance, fire-insurance, and tornado-insurance premiums are nearly all paid to companies in other States. For instance, I personally carry $28,000 of life insurance, and only $2,500 of that is carried in a home company which was organized more or less as an experiment. I went into it while it was a mutual affair as a stockholder, in order
that we might see what could be done at home. I think that represents about the percentage of premiums that are sent out of the State.
Our timber has been cut largely and taken away to factories. The bauxite from near Benton has been mined and taken out to be manufactured. Perhaps the amount that we get for it-3 cents-comes back to us, and I pay $3 for the same thing in the aluminum to be used in our kitchen.
Those are just examples of what is happening in our State, and I name those things because, in coming to you with this plea, we are basing that plea upon the ground that we are not coming merely as beggars; we are coming asking for some of the things that we consider our own. My insurance premiums are taxed in other States. The products that are manufactured in other States, the stockholders in those factories, the shops themselves, are taxed there. We have no way of taxing them. There is no great wealth in the State that can be taxed. The greatest wealth we have in the State of Arkansas consists of the boys and girls there.
I cannot say that I am a native of Arkansas, as some of the people here have said. I am a native Southerner, and I love the South. I listened to the gentleman here talk about Louisiana. That is where I was born, in southern Louisiana. I understand the things that he has said. Nearly all of those things are true for Arkansas that he has stated relative to the colored race in Louisiana. My early schooling came in Louisiana. I moved from there to Texas and attended public schools in that State. I also attended college there. I came back to Oklahoma and served an apprenticeship as a teacher and then moved to Arkansas to give my services to that State.
I feel that we have gone just as far as we can at home to provide for the girls and boys of that State. Arkansas is one of the poorest States of the union, with respect to taxable wealth and income per child of school age. In 1932 Arkansas ranked forty-fourth with respect to wealth per school child and forty-fifth with respect to income.
It has been suggested that a defensible national minimum program of education calls for an expenditure of $60 per unit of educational need. Studies have shown that Arkansas would be unable to meet such a program even if it put forth as much effort as those States which made the greatest effort. In fact, one study showed that it would have taken 116 percent of Arkansas' tax resources, to have supported the defensible national minimum program in 1930.
There is a constitional limit on general property tax in Arkansas of 3 mills for State school tax and 18 mills for local school tax. The full tax of 3 mills is levied for State pnurposes, supplemented by special taxes which in 1935-36 equaled 2.2 times the revenue from the State millage tax. For local school purposes a total of 87 percent of the State's assessed valuation had the maximum of 18 mills levied against it.
For the past 2 years the State has supplemented its school funds with a retail sales tax. The recent general assembly extended this tax, allocating 50 percent to the schools and 7 percent for free textbooks.
Mr. DONDERO. Let me ask you whether you attribute that condition to any fault of the people of Arkansas, or is it just because of the natural topography and geography of the State?
Mr. PHIPPS. I do not attribute it to the fault of the people. There are various causes, as I set out to start with, and I could have gone on and enumerated others. The wealth is not there. The natural resources that are there are being taken out to be taxed in other States, and I attribute it largely to that.
Mr. DONDERO. This bill would help your State?
Mr. PHIPPS. Yes.
Mr. DONDERO. Are you in favor of this money being turned over to Arkansas without any Federal restrictions?
Mr. PHIPPS. Yes, sir.
Mr. DONDERO. Do you think we ought to impose any restrictions? Mr. PHIPPS. I think there should be no restrictions. I favor the bill as it is. In fact, the study made recently in the State showed that in order to have an acceptable program in some of the school districts it would be necessary to levy a tax heavy enough to take 116 percent of Arkansas' taxable resources.
You have asked as to whether it is the fault of the people or not, and I have answered that in the negative. I think there never was a better people than those in Arkansas. I went there by choice. In other words, I would say that I think the Lord could have made better people but he did not. [Laughter.]
Mr. MASON. Would you also say that the purpose of this bill is to improve upon that stock? [Laughter.]
Mr. PHIPPS. I would say so, that it is to improve upon the native ability that our Creator gave us there.
Mr. FLETCHER. Why do you need this legislation passed in the interest of Arkansas? What are four or five of the outstanding reasons why you need it?
Mr. PHIPPS. I will answer all of that, but I wanted to finish this little brief first. I am trying to set out here the need; this brief is based on the need. I do not know whether you want me to go over this statistical data here. I could if it is necessary, I could. if necessary, leave it. It is to go in my biennial report and is too long to read all of it here. I shall give a few facts from it and shall be glad to put it in the record. This is the statistical data for Arkansas for 1935-36, the term just completed. The facts are all there, data pertaining to the schools of the State.
Now, as has been stated, there is a constitutional limit on the general property tax in Arkansas of 3 mills for State school tax and 18 mills for local schcool tax, making a total of 21 mills that can be voted on property in Arkansas. The 3 mills has been levied by the State for years. At the present time the local districts are levying all the way from a few mills on up to 18, and 86 percent of all the property in Arkansas has levied against it 18 mills for local school purposes. In addition to that, we have levies of almost every imaginable type of special tax. We have a severance tax; we have a tobacco tax; we have a beverage tax; we have a slot-machine tax, and we have a sales tax, recently encted.
Mr. DONDERO. You say you have a tax on slot machines?