No More Toll Roads No more toll roads should be built. As then Gov. Shivers they cost taxpayers three times ‘as much as free public roads. The state should seek to buy the toll roads already built and operate them as free roads. Passenger Trains One of the most pernicious trends in . state government has been the law requiring the Railroad Commission to let railroads discontinue passenger runs on their showings they are losing money on passenger service on a given strip of road. The roads do not want passengers, freight is more profitable: but they have a duty, as common carriers, to afford the public this. service. Pres ent law encourages them to make their passenger service so lousy people will fly or walk. Discontinuation follows as a matter of course. Rep. Jerry Sadler, Percilla, introduced a bill four years ago convenience and necessity” for “proof of financial loss” as the ruling consideration in such passenger train discontinuances. This is the nub of the matter; under such a rule, the 167 passenger train discontinuances between have been made much more difficult; we might still be able to take a train between Houston and Austin. Other plans for requiring railroads to maintain an adequate proportion of passenger trackage are being discussed. Whatever method is adopted, the railroads must be required to restore passenger service to its former graciousness and popularity. The Co -op Issue Under special interest pro visions of the state law reg ulating rural electric co-ops, a co-op taken into a city limit can only “continue” to serve its cus tomers at the time of annexation and can only serve persons in rural areas who are not receiving private power. This denies indi vidual customers the right to choose where they get their elec tric power; manifestly it gives the private power companies a well honed competitive blade against the co-ops. The law should be im partial between the two kinds of electric power companies. PHONE RATES: AN ABSURDITY BOW WILLIAMS Automobile and General Insurance Budget Payment Plan Strong Stock Companies GReenwood 24548 624 LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish Ilts Poll Taxi Cities and towns in Texas and Iowa, the only two states which do not have state public utility commissions, are quite at the mercy of the utilities when they present their demands for rate increases. The utilities have their rate experts, data covering many counties or many states, their St. Louis lawyers; the town council, unable to hire enough legal staff or research people, has to ask questions and hope for straight answers from people hired to outwit them. The companies marketing the various utility staples of home life, phones, gas, electricity, water, are free styling in Texas without e f f e c t ive regulation. Telephone calls within the state cost Texans much more than telephone calls the same distance across the state lines, because the first are unregulated \(what town can regulate ond are regulated by a federal rate agency. In unincorporated rural areas, phone rates are set by the companies without any countervailing pressures from the public, since there is no town council to grant or deny the franchise For these reasons we favor a state utilities commission with rate-setting powers. \(There should be three public members and one In the much less desirable alternative, state law should require intrastate long distance phone rates to be comparable with interstate rates, as other states have also done. ‘Original Cost’ The most important issue in public utility rates is the basis on which the utility profits are to be computed. Since a utility is by definition a monopoly and noncompetitive, nobody argues it should set its own rates \(although the phone company does so for rural areas and intrastate Texas sumers’ interests have usually ar The Lion and the lien fn union, there is strength. The fable of the Lion and the Oxen illustrates this lesson very forcibly. As long as the three Oxen stayed together, the Lion dared not attack. But the king of beasts’ sowed dissension and jealousy amongst his adversaries, and they separated. It was then easy for the Lion to attack and destroy them one by one. In Sun Life, also, there is strength. When you beco me a policyholder of this great international company, you become one of a group of farsighted men and women –the holders of two million policies and group certificates in 25 countries who protect their families and themselves against an uncertain future through the medium of life insurance. Why not MARTIN ELFANT discuss pow , WI elsereace 201 Centuty Building Houston, TWIN problows with ow Woe 04 40.4 you mat be SUN LIFE OF CANADA mew op obileseles. 0 Over $110 Million Insurance In Force JwAriti,44/e4 29e INSURANCE COMPANY P. O. Box 8098 Houston, Texas Utilities: A Question of Who Is Sovereign gued that the company is entitled to its rate of return computed as a percentage of what it “originally cost”what it actually has in the business. On the other hand, the private utility interests have argued that they are entitled to profit on the basis of what it would cost them if suddenly they had to replace everything they have. This they call “fair value” \(or pre s e n t, or replaceinent fact that they do not have to replace their equipment in such a way, and that when they do have occasion to replace some of it they are allowed p,rofit on the basis of what they pay for it tinder the “original investment” doctrine, does n o t disturb the thinking of the attorneys of the private monopolies. Atty. Gen. Will Wilson, when on the Texas Supreme Court, held \(“Railroad Cmsn. et al v. Houston Natural Gas Corp.,” March 21, the “original cost” theory. “It is to be regretted that the legislature has not been more specific,” he wrote in his opinion; we agree. The legislature should define the basis for monopoly utility coinpany income to be original cost, less depreciation, thereby exercising its authority to in courts and municipalities on this question. Giveaway to Utilities Highway commission chair man Marshall rcrrtriby has charged that the new state law requiring the state to pay for moving utility facilities back ‘off highway rights of way will cost the state $38 million, $34 million of which will go to the private power companies and $4 million to the municipalities. He observed that “utility companies … have benefited by the free use of our rights of way during recent years.” In our opinion, legislation should be ing the 1057 statute, Which is obviing utility cornpanies to pay for the use of public rights of way or to buy their own rights of way. Billboard Litter The commission has called to the attention of the legislature the fact that an extra $5 million is available through the federal-state road program for landowners who will ban billboards from within 600 feet of the right of way. The legislature ought to participate in this first step in a ‘ program to sweep the highways clean of the billboard litter. From “Long Distance Phone Rates Awry,” Obs. 6-20-56: If you reside in Austin and make a call to Texarkana, Texas, Southwestern Bell charges you $1. However, if you go a step further and call the Arkansas side of Texarkana, the call will cost you only 75 cents. \(“Isn’t that funny? asked a long distance operator when If you decide you want to converse With a friend who is in New Orleans, a distance of 523 miles, In the protests against the Governor’s drastic cuts in the requested budgets of the University of Texas and Texas A & M, sight has been lost of the larger need for a first class college and university system, Elton Abernathy, president of the Texas Assn. of College Teachers, says. In a letter to Gov. Daniel, Abernathy wrote: “We are aware of the problems you face as Governor, and have confidence in your sincere devotion to duty. We know that you are trying to strengthen the state government’s fiscal situation without ruinous taxation. We heartily endorse this effort. Yet at the same time, the budget you have recommended for higher education troubles us deeply.” After three years’ study of spending for higher education in neighboring state s, Abernathy said, the Commission on Higher Education recommender -increase for higher education in Texas of $10 million, but Daniel’s budget provides for only $3 million of this, and “the net result LEGAL NOTICE of Intention to Incorporate a. Firm Without Change of Name TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Notice is hereby given that Texas Refrigeration & Engineering Company, 158 Express Street, Dallas, Texas, formerly a sole proprietorship of Frank M. Angus, Dallas, Texas, shall be hereafter conducted by a corporation under. the same name, Texas Refrigeration & Engineering Company, a Texas corporation. TEXAS REFRIGERATION & EN-GINEERING COMPANY. by FRANK M. ANGUS apparently will be that faculty salaries will remain at present comparatively low levels for another year.” Abernathy continued: II . your saving of seven million dollars will cost the state of Texas the following: “1.A large number of capable young professors who will leave the state colleges and universities for better positions elsewhere. Many of these have waited through the fall before deciding to look for other jobs. They are the educated; ambitious young instructors and assistant professors who in a few years will be distinguished educatorsin some other state. “2.Capable faculty replacements who cannot be secured at current salaries…. In many cases we will have to settle for mediocre teachers to fil the positions others have vacated. As a result, for years to come college students in Texas will be taught less well than they deserve. “3.Industries that could be tempted to come to Texas if our universities were engaged in extensive research projects and our colleges in effective teaching …. Even from a cold-blooded financial standpoint, can Texas afford mediocre schools? “Governor Daniel, I and my colleagues are native Texans. We love this state. We know that it is not a poor state. The dismal fiscal picture is only that of the state treasury, not of the state.” Abernathy asked the Governor to reconsider higher education in his budget. On this basis, calls outside cost 12.5 cents per hundred miles and those inside the state cost 26.1 cents per 100 miles. The long distance rates inside the state thus are approximately 115 percent higher than those crossing the state line. Why should it cost Texas telephone customers more to make long distance calls in Texas than outside the state? From “The Phone Company’s Explanation,” Obs. 7-4-56: top Dallas officials of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company answer: “Long distance plant costs less per mile for longer messages than it does for shorter messages. This means that the average cost per “mile on intrastate alls is greater than the average cost per mile on interstate calls. Operating expenses are virtually the same for each message …” Besides that, the company officials confirmed in an interview, the rate on the phone call to Texarkana, Ark., is set by the Federal Communications C ommissio n, while rates on all long distance calls in Texas are set by Southwestern Bell Telephone officials. Prom “State Rate-Setting Proposed,” Obs. 7-11-56: Only two states, Texas and Iowa, have not passed laws regulating rates on public utilities. Officials of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company now set their own rates on intrastate long distance calls and rural calls in Texas. There have been repeated efforts the past few years to pass legislation which would bring public utility monopolies under state control, but none of the bills has come close to passage. Rep. Jack Welch of Marlin has also drawn up a bill which would give Texans in rural areas some degree of control over their telephone rates. It would establish a rural telephone division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. It would give the commission authority to regulate telephone rates in unincorporated towns, to inspect facilities and service, prescribe standards, and hear customers’ complaints. Member of the Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. Douglas R. Strong PIANO TECHNICIAN
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