There has been "an explosion of spending" in the past several years by the U.S. government to aid American cities, but this explosion is not likely to continue, Sen. William O. Proxmire (D-Wisc.) told an audience of about 400 at Gund Hall on Saturday.
At the lecture, part of the Gund Lecture Series at the Graduate School of Design, Proxmire compared the aid that the federal government has given to cities since 1957 with the amount of money that cities themselves have provided for improvement.
In 1957, Proxmire said, the federal government spent only about one cent for every dollar of city funding, but by 1976 this figure had risen to 25 cents of federal money for every city-funded dollar. Estimates for 1978 predict that the U.S. government will spend 47.5 cents this year for every dollar of city funds provided, he said.
"We have to recognize that Santa Claus is about as far as the bottom of his little pack," as far as increased federal aid to U.S. cities is concerned, Proxmire said. In the future, he added. Congress might increase its funding to aid cities in order to keep up with or possibly slightly surpass inflation.
In order to continue to aid the improvement of U.S. cities, Proxmire suggested that the government devote more of its funds to aid low-income city residents. He said that in 1975 more federal funds were provided for high income areas of U.S. cities than low income areas--and even after members of Congress called attention to this fact, spending to high income areas still increased.
Although the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Carter has helped to turn the imbalance around, Proxmire said, Congress should still pass legislation to insure that at least one-third of federal aid to cities would be spent on areas seriously in need of rehabilitation