An Oilman Debunks Tidelands AUSTIN Charles E. Simons, executive vice-president of Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Assn., debunked the Texas tidelands this week as “disappointing.” “The oil industry has spent over $900 million in off-shore exploration in Texas and they are a long way from getting it back,” Simons said. In extemporaneous remarks in the HaleAikin Committee of TwentyFour, meeting in Austin. the oil executive said “even in cases where preliminary exploration was promising, the results were disappointing. It is the considered opinion of the oil industry that the Texas coast does not offer the same prospect for oil as Louisiana.” Concerning the area between the threeand ten-mile limits off the Texas coast now in litigation, Simons said the public school fund does not stand to suffer even in the event of an adverse ruling because ,”the greatest potential off the Texas coast today is beyond the tenmile limit.” Simons, chairman of the subcommittee on finance. discussed the tidelands in ,defending his panel’s report advocating discontinuance of state ad valorem taxes that provide textbooks for the public schools. Simons said that by withdrawing completely from the field of ad valorem taxation, “the state would make additional tax resources available to local school districts.” Committee member Mrs. L. E. Dudley of the Texas Federation. of Women’s Clubs asked if the state could afford to lose this source of revenue in view of a possible adverse court decision on the tidelands. Simons’s clarifying remarks on the unimportance of the tidelay s ensued. His proposal for en .ing completely state ad valorem taxation was approved by the committee by a vote of eight to six. Hale-Aikin Group Divided UPI Photo Joe Hill Is Helped Up And Out THE JOE HILL CASE off my person. I was again repelled.” Then Hill said, he mounted the stage by a chair and tried to approach Jacobsen but was dragged away. “Having a heart affliction,” he said, “I was by that time in a pretty bad shape, unable to respond, had I desired to, to the command to get on my feet, made by my armed captors, acting apparently under the orders of Jake Pickle.” He again asked to be arrested but was ejected from the convention hall instead. Pickle and Peace Returning to the convention floor later in the afternoon, Hill told the Observer: “Why, they pushed me outa there just like I was a tramp. They wouldn’t 1 e t me speak against it \(the Johnson resolugonna speak against the resolution while we were in recess. I thought they were gonna kill me they dragged me 40 feet.” Hill said that the Bexar County sheriff, Owen Kilday, expressed his deep regret over the episode, as did police chief George Beichsel. “The participation by the police in the convention was requested,” Hill said, “by Jake Pickle and John Peace. The chief told me that he was wholly unacquainted with convention procedure … He felt he should have been better informed as to the precise intention of those seeking police attendance.” Hill said that the police were using the methods of the police state “to suppress even an effort to exercise the right of free speech.” “An armed policeman stood guard over the floor microphone,” Hill said during a visit to the Observer’s Austin offices. “T h e chairman had a cutoff switch on the podium. The delegates were gagged. Roll call votes were sum the people are familiar with the economy of the state?” “No, I do not,” came the .reply. “Well,” said Mrs. Still waving her hand in the direction of Simons and Wells, “I trust the people and they don’t trust the people. I guess it just boils down to that.” The pay raise proposal was passed by a vote of 10 to 6. Voting against it were Simons, Wells, Eugene Fish of Palestine, a banker, Brooks Harmon of Odessa, a lawyer, Sen. Floyd Bradshaw, Weatherford, and Rep. L. DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi, vice-chairman of the committee. The across the board pay increases averaging $600 per teacher would cost the state an estimated $68 million a year, Hale said. Education’s Future Longest debate the second day involved Simons’s proposal that the legislature continue the practice begun last year of transferring one percent of the permanent school fund to meet current operating expenses. Judge Ramey condemned the proposal as a “shortsighted” effort to “nibble into the state’s savings account” at the expense of future generations. He said the permanent fund had increased from $150 million to $378 million in the last nine years and that income from interest had tripled to a current annual figure of almost $13 million. “If we permit the fund to increase similarly in the next nine years, we may well have an annual income of $30 million and in marily denied, for at the close of the convention it appeared the Governor had by his compromises, the gag rule, the armed goons, lost the support of many who had become saddened and disillusioned. “… the next short step is for them to put the pistols, with which police goons were equipped, into the action for which they were designed.” He blamed “the little group of office holding politicians, who ran the show with the aid of a large corps of police armed with pistols, blackjacks, and handcuffs.” “No despot, be he Stalin, Hitler, or some of the domestic variety, has been guilty of more reprehensible conduct than that displayed at the San Antonio convention …. When the ‘Conservatives’ operate their convention under a gag rule, enforced by armed police, the acts are not conservative; they are elements of the totalitarian state. That is exactly and precisely what happened at San Antonio,” Hill said. The 64-year-old former senator said he had a heart operation six weeks ago. R.D. another ten years, $75 million. “But if we nibble on it and chisel at it, we’ll decimate the fund and with it the future of public school education in Texas. The school lands are not going to produce oil always and I don’t know any other source for our public school funds.” Simons replied that inflation was diminishing the value of the fund and “the value of the dollars that come out are much less than the value of the dollars that went in.” He said the finance committee which approved his proposal had “tried to be practical and use a common, ordinary-day approach. In any event, this action is not irrevocable and can be changed by future legislatures,” Simons said. Simons’s proposal was then put to a vote and defeated, 13 to 2. Stone Wells joined Simons in dissent. The committee then passed a proposal giving the State Board of Education authority to broaden the investment program of the permanent fund to include corporate stocks and bonds to increase the interest yield and to act as a hedge against inflation. U.S. Aid Scorned The proposal to discontinue accepting federal funds for vocational education and school lunch and milk expenses also caused sharp division. Opposing Simons’s proposal, Dana Williams said it would cost the state over $9 million annually if the state endeavored to carry on the programs without federal funds. Simons replied that “I’m more concerned about the bankruptcy of the federal government than I am about the problem the state of Texas would have in raising nine million dollars.” Dr. Edgar then offered a substitute amendmeht that the “state refuse to accept any federal aid for education,” saying his proposal made the issue plain. “This is a principle we’re talking about here. You either believe in federal aid for education or you don’t.” Simons moved to table, and with Edgar voting against his own amendment, the motion carried, unanimously putting the committee indirectly on record as favoring some federal aid. Simons’s original proposal declining federal money for vocational education and school lunch and milk expenses then passed by a vote of 9 to 5. Outvoted, the teachers’ forces moved to strike out the entire proposal. J. W. Nixon, Superintendent of the Laredo schools, said Simons’s pr o p o sal worked a “hardship on the poorer counties of the state that were having a hard enough time getting by even with federal help.” Simons r eplied “We can’t tailor a whole state program to meet the needs of three or four counties.” On an other test vote, the Simons group prevailed 9 to 5 and the proposal became a part of the committee’s report. The Edgar-Williams-Ramey-Still team also was defeated on the ad valorem tax proposal. In explaining his recommendation that the state get out of the field of ad valorem taxation to finance school textbooks, Simons said he “seriously doubted the advisability of the action taken yesterday in your across the board increases for teachers. There are 9,000 Negro teachers in Texas affected by this action and there is no question there is no shortage in this group.” Simons said there was some question about the constitutionality of his proposal since the state Constitution specifically calls for ad valorem taxation to finance school text books, but he added, “Speaking as an unlicensed lawyer, I think the state can get money for school textbooks in places other than those provided in the Constitution.” Mrs. Still led the fight against this proposal, saying “I don’t like the idea of removing a tax source for school textbooks without providing a new source.” Brooks Harmon, committee member from Odessa, asked her if she favored state-wide tax equalization. “I was in favor of that way back when Gilmer-Aikin was being debated but you can’t get the. legislature to pass it,” Mrs. Still said. “Well, I’m for it too,” said Harmon. Simons then turned to Harmon and said laughingly, “You’d better check your signals with us on that.” The vote was 8 to 6 in favor of Simony’s proposal, and the recommendation that the state withdraw from ad valorem taxation was incorporated into the committee report. `The Association’ The final hassle occurred over adjournment. Williams w anted the report completed by Oct. 1st “so we can get it out to the people.” Simons, who is on the drafting committee, said he would not have time to work on the report until October 15th. He said he had a convention he had to attend. Williams suggested to Senator A. M. Aikin, committee chairman, that someone else be named to replace Simons. No vote was taken on this suggestion. Aikin, after consulting w it h various members, set October 15th as the date for the committee to reconvene. The meeting then adjourned. On the way out, Simons was asked by a reporter what convention he. had to attend. “The Association,” he said. “What association?” the reporter asked. “The Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 September 19, 1968 Get a Friend to Subscribe to The Texas Observer Name . Address City State 0 Bill the Subscriber 0 $4 Enclosed Mail to The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin
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