A member of a McGovern policy panel which recently released a report on urban affairs strongly praised McGovern Friday for his concern for the problems facing America's cities.
Charles M. Haar, Brandeis Professor of Law, also criticized the Nixon Administration for avoiding the urban crisis, in the Friday interview.
Haar, an official in the Johnson Administration, called the panel's 12,000-word report, issued on October 21, an indication that "McGovern has a group of serious advisers here."
Haar said that McGovern formed the 68-member panel to demonstrate to American mayors his interest in solving urban problems. Unemployment and McGovern's proposed reductions in defense spending had worried the mayors most, he added.
Responding to an administration suggestion that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) be dissolved and its funds given to the states with no strings attached, Haar said that the suggestion denies that the urban crisis is a national problem. Some Federal involvement is still necessary, he added.
George Romney, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, made the suggestion on October 23, admitting his disillusionment with the FHA.
The policy panel's report proposed several major changes in current urban policy:
* an increase in the Federal income tax to provide $15 billion a year to state and local governments to replace the local property tax in public school financing.
* housing allowances to replace public housing projects so families will be able to find housing where they wish.
* encouragement to the states to abolish exclusionary zoning laws.
* diversion of funds from the highway trust fund into mass transportation.