Sponsor Says College Property Tax Designed to Meet General Expenses
Foley, Cambridge Legislator, to Make "Hell of a Fight" for His Measure
Self composed and naive in the face of violent opposition to his proposed service tax on educational property, Representative James J. Foley of Cambridge told the CRIMSON yesterday that his plan was designed "just to meet the general expenses of the city."
The legislator who would initiate a levy of ten percent of the current tax rate, stated that he had heard no report from the committee which held a hearing at the State House yesterday, but said that when it is brought up before the legislature he is "going to make a hell of a fight from the floor."
In answer to Treasurer Henry L. Shattuck's contention that "Harvard brings millions of dollars into Cambridge," the representative complained that 41 percent of the land in his district was exempt from taxation. Reminded that the presence of the University had raised property values adjoining it, he said, "no doubt prices of land used to be high, but the influence of the Cooperative society at both Harvard and M. I. T. has cut them down."
So certain were political observers at the Capitol that the bill had not a chance of passing the Legislature that even Foley did not appear optimistic yesterday. His only comment was, "I can't tell."
Obviously awed by the "array of talent" which turned out on Tuesday to voice disapproval of the measure, Foley consoled himself with the enthusiastic support of his constituents. He said that "100 telephone calls make me think I'm right and that Cambridge is satisfied with the proposal."
Asked whether the bill had been introduced on the suggestion of the city of Cambridge the tax sponsor replied, "No, I introduced the bill on my own." Foley denied that the excise was aimed to wipe out a deficit in the city treasury.
To the charge of the Very Reverend Francis Doland, S. J., president of Holy Cross College that "Catholic institutions would have to fold up and go out of business," if the bill were enacted Foley hinted that it was no business of colleges outside of Cambridge. "I don't think that state institutions would close up, anyway."
Under the previsions of his bill, Foley explained that taxable property assessments would jump $20,000,000. On the same point University officials took pains to stress that under terms of a voluntary agreement concluded with the city in 1928. Harvard's share was $7,400 a year on land worth $72,000.