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February 25, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-02-25

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Page 4-Saturday, February 25, 1978-The Michigan Daily
~beMihian aIaiI
Eightyv-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. XXXVlII, No. 122 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

On lobbying in

Washington

Raiding the city's

budget

HERE IS ONE thing people in Ann
Arbor complain about more than
the weather - the roads. The streets in
our little town as we noted last week,
are in pitiful, or should we say pothole-
full, shape.
Wisely, a week and, a half ago the
Council agreed that city taxpayers
should be consulted as to whether they
would be willing to bear an additional
tax burden to repair the roads. Although
no figure has been agreed upon, a
proposal will appear on the ballot in
this coming November's general elec-
tion. As we also explained in our
previous editorial, this is a step in the
right direction.
Yet another positive step was taken
last Thursday night, when the Council
agreed unanimously to direct City
Administrator Sylvester Murray to
examine the city's budget ap-
propriations and try to scrape $1.5
million off the top to repair the crater-
pocked roads.
The step was in the right direction
alright, but the boot with which it was
taken is somewhat muddied by what
Mayor Albert Wheeler has termed
"fiscal irresponsibility."
The city should, by all means, search
its budget to make sure that there is no
excess money laying around city hall
unused. But by charging Murray to
find a particular amount of revenue -
$1.5 million, the Council unanimously
agreed to, in effect, force the Ad-
ministrator to change some of the
budget appropriations that were
previously ironed out by the Ad-
ministration and the Council in June of
this year.
At that time,' the people who sit
around the Council table were patting
themselves on the back, boasting about
how "lean and mean" the budget for,
this fiscal year was. We agreed. The
budget was very austere. Many depar-
tments were denied as much as one-
third their budget requests.
Just how does the Council expect the
Administrator to rehash the budget
process undertaken a full eight months
ago and somehow dig up a pre-
ordained and considerable sum to fix
the roads?
'Might'Council expect Murray to raid
some previously unspoiled territory,
like the federal Community Develop-
ment program? The Republians at
City Hall have stated publicly in recent

months that they think it would be
alright to reallocate the city's share of
such funds to repave the streets.
The Republican position, which we
fear could become in part a reality, is
unwise and unjust - although it is con-
sistent with the reckless manner in
which the party's representatives have
handled the ever-dwindling supply of
federal funds given Ann Arbor for
community development.
U nder federal guidelines set up for'
the Community Development
project, the city is legally bound to ap-
propriate these revenues for the
"maximum feasible benefit for the
poor" and to stem urban decay. At the
end of each fiscal year the city must
prove that it has followed the federal
guidelines in order to qualify for
money for the next fiscal year.
Clearly, filling chuck holes in the
city's streets does not specifically
benefit the poor, nor does it fight urban
blight. This is especially true in light of
the fact that there is not enough money
in the Community Development fund
now to rehabilitate city houses, aid day
care centers, or benefit a bushel full of
other projects Council has allowed to
go unfunded.
Hopefully, Murray will take the
federal guidelines into account when
combing the budget and will be as
judicious as possible in filling the
designated $1.5 million quota. _
If he cannot find that $1.5 million
without cutting severely into other un-
derfunded city projects, we are con-
fident he will inform City Council that
they should instead place their road-
repairing hopes in next November's
ballot question.

Recently, Michigan Student
Assembly President Jon Lauer
and Directress of Student
Organizations Michele
Sprayregan travelled to
Washington D. C. as part of a
delegation of students from
Michigan State University and
Central Michigan University
to lobby in favor of the con-
troversial tuition tax credit
plan. What foliows is a partial
account of the pair's activities,
written by Michelle
Sprayregan. At right is the text
of a statement delivered to the
House Ways 'and Means
Committee by John Lauer.
Business hours in our nations
capital? Don't expect them to be
nine to five, Work goes on "until
the work gets done." It's not sur-
prising to find legislators and staff
still going at seven p.m. It makes
one think about what we pay
them and what for.
As voters and taxpayers,
respectively, we elect and pay
our representatives in Congress.
Do we get anything for all that?
AFTER SPENDING a week in
Washington, D.C. lobbying for a
tuition tax credit bill, one can
only answer an unqualified yes.
Saying that we lobbied for a'
tuition tax credit bill may be
misleading. There are actually as'
many as four distinct tax credit
proposals in Congress right now.
Our efforts in lobbying concen-
trated on trying to persuade the
House Ways and Means Commit-
tee to allow the full House to con-
sider the issue.
Themain idea behind all of the
tuition tax credit proposals is to
provide students and their
families with some form of in-
come tax relief based on how
much tuition they pay yearly for
their education. The credit would
be available to a wider spectrum
of students than is served now
through federal student loan and
grant programs.
There is a complexity of in-
terests at stake on the tuition tax
credit question, and that is where
the old adage, "politics makes
strange bedfellows" comes to the
fore. For example, as one
proposed bill stands now, a tax
credit would be granted to
anyonee paying tuition from
elementary school on up, regar-
dless of the individual's income
level and segardless of the
school's status as public or
private. So we found ourselves in
league with a combination of
parochial school leaders, racial
equality spokesmen and ultra-
conservative politicans (not a
side we are used to, we might
add).
INTERESTINGLY enough, we
were alligned with both the ex-
treme right wing of the
Republican party, as represented
by Senator William Roth of
Delaware, and the extreme left
wing of the Democratic party as
represented by Senator George
McGovern of South Dakota. Both
legislators support the tax credit
bill for ideological reasons, Roth
believing in a reduction of gover-
nment bureaucracy and spending
and McGovern believing
education to be a high priority not-
to be granted exclusively to the
very poor or the very rich.
Over the course of our week, it
also became evident that com-
promise is the essence of survival
in , Washington. Somewhere,
things must be cut out of a bill

that would cost the Treasury $4.7
billion in lost revenue.
We lobbied for four full eight to
ten hour days among
Congressmen from all parts of
the country and all political
pesuasions. All had time for us,
and we cannot over emphasize
the warm reception received in
their offices. They thanked us for
taking the time to come to
Washington, they listened inten-

Mr. Chairperson, honorable committee mem-
bers, it is an honor to have the opportunity to
speak before this committee today. I feel it both
my duty as a private citizen and a representative
of a large constituency to address the issue of
tuition tax credit legislation and alternatives.
Our country is founded on a belief of a represen-
tative system of government. The system works in
part because the average citizen cares enough not
to relinquish his duty of choosing his represen-
tative. I come before you because I believe the
system necessitates that the individual express
his or her beliefs in the proper forum and to show
that democracy prevails due to electorate par-
ticipation.
1 ALSO COME before you as a student from a
renowned institution of higher learning. As the
student body president of the University of
Michigan, I represent the 33,000 students of the
Ann Arbor campus. While there is no one group
that stands for all student views, it is a fair.
assumption that a large number of students across
the country hold the same views that we at the
University of Michigan do. In addition, parents of
college students have a great stake in legislation
of this nature. Many directly feel the financial
pressure in paying the expenses incurred during a
college education. Students do appreciate the
financial burden their parents undertake and as a
result there are few students who do not contribute
to help defray college expenses. Thus the student
is concerned with tax credit legislation because
either (s)he pays for his/her own college expen-
ses, or because their parents do. Parents are con-
cerned for the same reasons; either they pay for
their child's tuition or else they watch the har-
dships that their child endures while trying to in-
dependently meet spiraling educational costs. The
constituency I spoke of earlier, therefore, has
broadened to include many thousands and
perhaps even millions of interested voters who
would benefit from this proposed legislation.
There is widespread support for the tax credit
approach because it is a broad-based legislative
effort aimed directly at the taxpayers, without in-
creased federal spending and bureaucratic en-
tanglement. The latter is of particular concern to
students. At present, the nature and complexity of
financial aid applications actually prevents some
students from receiving aid. Many parents feel,
for example, that their completiontofethe Parent
Financial Statement (Section U of the BEOG ap-
plication form) is an invasion of their privacy.
This sentiment, which is not confined to any in-
come bracket, and the resulting refusal of the
parent to completethe statementbautomatically
disqualifies the student from the benefits of this
grant program.
THERE IS also a great deal of concern about the
efficiency of the financial aid administrative
structure. My own experience with financial aid
programs has not been a pleasant one. I applied
for aid for this school year by completing the
BEOG application in January, 1977. However,
though the answer is %ainfully obvious, I still have
not yet heard whether I will receive financial aid.

this year. I appreciate Congressperson Stark's ob-
servation (February 14) that banks just don't like
to get involved with student loans. This is another'
important reason why many students have trouble
coping with and have a general distrust of finan-
cial aid programs.
There are some who argue that a $250 tax credit
will not really ease the burden of high tuition. I
come here representing a State University where
$250 is a considerable portion of the yearly tuition
cost. We have a large number of self-supporting
students to whom $250 might mean the difference
between attending school or dropping out in order
to make the money needed to meet educational
expenses.
To further illustrate the previous point, the tax
credit approach will greatly aid self-supporting
students who are presently being squeezed bet-
ween their desire to attend school and the lack of
funds. I need go no further than my own roommate
to cite an example. Peter Scurlock worked full
time last year while attending school. He earned
approximately $5,000, all of which went towards
his education and incidental expenses. Although
he had to borrow additional funds to complete the
school year, Peter still was forced to pay over $500
in taxes. A tax credit for Peter and the many
students in similar situations would both ease
their financial plightdand save the financial aid
bureaucracy from additional requests.
I MUST stress once again that students strongly
desire that education be given a high priority
status, for higher education is the key to insure the
continuation of'the democratic process into suc-
ceeding generations. I recognize that compromise
may be necessary in order for this proposed
legislation to become reality. And it is reality, and
not radical, liberal, nor conservative theory, that
we as students and as human beings must live with.
Thus, with several pieces of proposed and pending
legislation before us, it has beeni necessary for
myself and my colleaguesinsthe Michigan Student
Assembly to determine what sort of legislation
would be most financially beneficial and socially
acceptable to the students of the University of
Michigan.
The final program should encompass the best
points of each piece of proposed legislation. First,
because funneling funds through HEW an the
existing financial aid programs isn't acceptable,
the tax credit approach should be used.
Preferably, it would be either a $250 or $500 refun-
dable credit. Second, because many students at
the University of Michigan are concerned that a
tax credit that has no income limit would be sub-
sidizing some who can easily afford the costs of a
college education, the program should utilize an
income phase-out that starts at no less than
$45,000. The phase out may be flexible, based on
the number of dependents in college. To reiterate,
I am here to convey to you the interests of the
college students that I represent. I feel that a
program based on the above proposals ;would
satisfy both the needs and the desires. of, those
students. Furthermore, we urge this committee to
allow the full House to vote on this important
issue.

TESTIMONY OF JON R. LAUER
PRESIDENT, MICIIIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WAYS & ME iNS COMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 16, 1978

e ic. t tt 1

EDITORIAL STAFF
Editors-in-chief

GREGG KRUPA

DAVID GOODMAN

Managing Editors
EILEEN DALEY.............gi dr............ University
LANI JORDAN .. ......................... City
LINDA WILLCOX ........ .. .. Features/Projects
BARBARA ZAHS .................. ............ Personnel
KEN PARSIGIAN
Editorial Director .
BOB ROSENBAUM

Sunday Magazine Editors
PATTY MONTEMURRI

TOM O'CONNELL

Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
:ensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
-mit them.

tly, asked questions, and even, in
one case, used some.information
we had given them in testimony
before the House Ways and
Means Committee. The
Congressmen opened their of-
fices to provide bases of
operation for us, and supplied
much valuable assistance in get-
ting around: telling us who to talk
to, and what problems most
bothered the Committee on the
tax credit issue. The legislators
seemed to want to know what was
on college students' minds and
how we felt about the political
process.
AS LOBBYISTS, we went to
Congress expecting to face great
amounts of red tape, but came
home realizing web'adn't run into
all that much. We went expecting
to make very little impact on the
people we talked to, but came
away feeling we had instead
made a considerable impact.
We went with doubts that the
Washington political process
really works, yet we came away
with a renewed faith in the
American system, and the feeling
that democracy continues
because of the citizen's ability to
participate in that system. All
over America there are people
like us who care enough to make
their voice heard through the
mail or in person. We saw stacks
of letters on this issue in many a
Congressman's office. After

viewing that, one definitely must
feel that writing a Congressman
is a worthwhile thing to do and
that such activities do influence
their opinion on issues.
THE IIIGIILIGIIT of the week
had to be my colleague, Michigan
Student Assembly President Jon
Lauer's testimony before the
Ways and Means Committee.
Aside from Kent C. Barry,
President of the Associated
Students of Michigan State
University, Jon was the only
college student to testify on an
issue that directly affects every
college student or their family.
The Committee was impressed
with both witnesses, and though
Jon and Kent were members of a
panel with three other people, all
questions by the Congressmen,
save one, were directed at the
two Presidents. Committee
Chairman Al UNman (D-
Oregon), praised the two as ar-
ticulte and thanked them for their
testimony. The Committee's
questions ranged from having the
witnesses choose between tax
credit alternatives, to whether
they favored an all-volunteer
U.S. army.
We tried to stay away from
what appeared to be the hot
philosophical questions of private
versus public education and
higher versus lower school
education, and instead concen-
trated on practical, college-

related issues.
TIlE TRIP was a success. The
few tangible reminders and prin-
ts we leave in Washington in-
cluded participation in a press
conference with Senator Roth
and Representatives Thomas Cor-
coran (R-ll.) and Lawrence
Coughlin (H-Pa.); appearances
on ABC network radio, KMOX-
TV in St,. Louis and a radio show
taped with Michigan
Congressman Carl Pursell; and
of course, the testimony incor-
porated into the House record.
But the intangible things left
behind and brought home are the
ones that really qualify this effort
as successful.
There is no question we got our
point across. We realize that
while we appeared before
Congress as only a few students,
all opinions were taken into ac-
count by the Committee. It is an
election year, when legislators
are particularly sensitive to
fiscal issues. That point was men-
tioned quite a few times.
In our role as lobbyists, too, we
gained a respect for the energy
that so many government people
put into their. work. Elected
representatives take this status
seriously: they are in
Washington, working hard and
working late fIor all of us.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
A few facts about candidate Ferency

To The Daily:
As follow-uo to the well-done
"Democrat Ferency to ..,Run for
Governor" article by Dennis
Sabo, we invite your readers to
listen to Zolton speak on WCBN
(FM 88.3 radio) Sunday,
February 26 from 3 to 4 p.m.
There will be call-in questions to
the station at 763-3500.

candidates in the primary race,
with State Senator Sander Levin
winning with 47 per cent of the
vote, Zolton with 39 per cent, and
two others splitting the rest. In
that campaign Zolton had been
holding his own, as the UAW was
neutral. Walter Reuther favored
Zolton, while several executive
board members were for Levin.

This year's effort is more
favorable to Zolton. The UAW
and Detroit Mayor Young appear
to be remaining neutral. And the
new state campaign funding will
give Ferency money to combine
an astute media campaign cen-
tered in Detroit with his
traditional state-wide volunteer
support.

more than "wants to see a
woman as his running mate,"
because in the '70 campaign he
stated that Laverne Conway was
his choice,{and in the '74 HRP
candidacy Regina McNalty was
his running mate.
Again we strongly urge folks to
listen and question Zolton on
Sunday, or call our Washtenaw

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