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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

April 21, 1928

I haven't sent any memorandum to Senator [Wesley] Jones [Rep., Wash.] on the flood bill. General Jadwin and I made some notes on it and I think that the General was going to confer with the Senator relative to the notes which we made. As I said the other day, except for the administrative feature, the bill as it passed the House is no improvement over the bill that passed the Senate, and so far as the expense is concerned it is a more expensive measure. I have noted a tendency on the part of the dispatches that go out from Washington now to refer to this as the $325,000,000 Jones flood control bill. That is a very extreme euphemism. The bill as it is drawn would cost nearer $1,500,000,000 than $325,000,000, and all for the purpose of doing what the best engineering advice I can get indicates could be done for about $300,000,000.

I don't know whether the conferees can agree on a bill which I can approve or not. I hope they can. I want to have a reasonable flood control bill. I don't see any reason why one shouldn't be passed by the Congress and laid before me for my approval. I have very little difficulty with the people that live down in the region that is to be benefited. The main difficulty seems to come from those that do not live in the region, but who own property down there which they wish to sell to the Government. There are a good many features about the bill as it passed the House that I regard as very objectionable. I have tried to indicate those to Senator Jones with the hope that they may be amended.

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The tax reduction bill, as I understand it, to be reported to the Senate is fairly satisfactory as to the amount. I think it is a mistake from my point of view to repeal the automobile taxes. We had already repealed 40 per cent of them. We might reasonably look to that source of revenue for the expenses which the Federal Government is incurring in road construction. Road construction by the Federal Government, of course, is a new proposition. It is done especially for the benefit of the automobile owners. I think it would be ultimately for their benefit to have revenue accruing from that source, which would be applied for that purpose. I recognize, however, that the kind of taxes that are to be levied, and the sources that are to be looked to for revenue, are peculiar ones for the Congress to determine, so that my main concern is for a bill that doesn't deplete the revenue too far. Of course, that is one of the advantages of the automobile tax. It is a pretty certain source of revenue, which wouldn't be reduced very much if there should be a considerable reduction in taxes on incomes and corporation profits. But I think that the amount they have set is fairly satisfactory. It is a little too high, but if the Congress is discreet in the amount of appropriations it makes in other directions I should say that it was not so high that the Treasury couldn't meet it.

Source: "The Talkative President: The Off-the-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge". eds. Howard H. Quint & Robert H. Ferrell. The University Massachusetts Press. 1964.

Calvin Coolidge, Excerpts of the President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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