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Roy Bedichek, nationally known Texas naturalist and one of its better writers, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Austin May 21. He was 81. The end came at midday, shortly before he planned to take a trip into woods to study birds with his friend of half a century, J. Frank Dobie. Bedichek had within the week completed his latest book, tentatively entitled “Speaking of Noses.” He signed the contract for its publication just this week. The day before his death he . went swimming at Barton S in g s with his grandson, John Bedichek and two days earlier had attended a dinner party at the home of John Henry Faulk. Dobie said “he wanted the end to come as it did. We often talked about the art of living and the art of dying.” “Bedi,” for forty years the director of the Texas Interscholastic League, wrote his first book, “The Adventures of a Texas Naturalist,” after he was 70 years old. He followed with his award-winning “Karankaway County,” and “Educational Competition.” Born in Illinois, he moved at the age of two to the Falls County, Texas, town of Blevins, which his father named. He is survived by his widow, a son, Bachman Bedichek and two daughters, Mrs. Jay Carroll and Mrs. Alan Pipkin. Notes on Now–and ’60 Daniel Counsels, Defends, Attacks ‘Bedi’ Dies Suddenly \(The Governor’s public defense of, his tax program in his hourlong address to the legislature consisted of three principal divisions an explanation. of the types of proposed taxation, an attempt to impress upon the members the need for speed, and attacks on bank and corporation arguments that succeeded in impeding substantially the same program in the regular session. The Observer here reprints porSomeone has said that in this life there is nothing sure but death and taxes. Even taxes are not sure until majorities of the minds of the legislators agree upon them. In my message to the Regular Session on January 21, and in a subsequent message on. March 10, I strongly urged that the deficit be disposed of as an emergency in order that we might begin the next biennium with a balanced budget. At this date both have become emergency matters. Unless our tax measures are finally approved by a two-thirds vote in each House, their earliest effective date will be 90 days after the adjournment of this session, which would be Sept. 15. It means that for every month of delay in the effective date of the tax measure, the ultimate tax bill must be $6,666,000 higher in the the total amount added to the tax bill for the next year. Furthermore, the deficit itself is costing the State and its special funds more than $1,200,000 per year, or $100,000 for each months its retirement is delayed. In addition, a special 30-day session of the Legislature costs at least a quarter of a million dollars … Any person or organization advocating a second special session o’r a third special session simply advocates a result which will increase the total tax bill for next year another 7 to 14 million dollars. We should pay our debts and meet our present commitments before considering any new programs which call for additional expenditures. I strongly favor some of these new programs, such as enactment of most of the Hale-Aikin public school prothem again to the Legislature until we have paid our debts and our obligations under present laws. The Deficit Since the deficit for the current year is not a recurring matter, I again recommend that it be handled as a separate matter and not be included within the recurring annual tax bill. I submit to you as emergency matters three bills which would retire the deficit. They are the Comptroller’s Bookkeeping Bill, H. B. 53, as passed by the House in the Regular Session; the one-year increase in the franchise tax, H. B. 238, as passed by the House in the Regular Session; and the Abandoned Property Bill. The Abandoned Property Bill of the Regular Session was, I thought, fair and just. It was the uniform law heretofore adopted by many of the States and recommended by the American Bar Association, the Commission on Uniform Laws, and the Council of State Governments. On the other hand, I am convinced of the sincerity of many members of the House and the attorney for the Texas Bankers Association who argued that a judicial proceeding would be the safest means of protecting the rights of all concerned. Therefore, I recommend that a law be enacted requiring annual reports of these accounts to the State Treasurer, and giving the Treasurer and the Attorney General the power and authority to publish notices for the owners and simplify judicial proceedings in line with present laws. By meeting these objections made by many members and others in good faith, I believe that the opposition to this bill will be narrowed down to the very, very few who simply want to hold and use money that belongs to someone else or to the State under present laws. In order to be certain that my tax recommendations are high enough to care for all needs to be considered this session, I have based them upon the higher budget contained in the appropriation bill passed by the House in Regular Session, a total of $337,000,000. I have recommended a tax program of $161 million for the next biennium, or a tax bill of approximately $80 million per year. Gas Tax 1. I recommend the natural gas severance beneficiary tax as submitted at the Regular Session, at the rate of 5 percent of value instead of 3 percent. In this connection I recommend that the present 7 percent production tax on natural gas be reduced to 5 percent. This would make the new production tax and the severance beneficiary tax the same, each at 5 percent for the future. This change was suggested in conferences with legislators during the interim, including the author of the bill in the Regular Session. I think the suggested change is good, because producers have been bearing the heaviest portion of the natural gas tax load in this State long enough. The severance beneficiaries, who have tied up practically all of the natural gas available in Texas under long term contracts and dedicated reserves, bear the lightest total tax load of any industry in Texas. Fifty-three percent of the Texas gas produced and sold moves into other states where it is taxed from 3 to 9 times as much as we tax it in the State of production. This adjustment in the natural gas tax will bring in an additional $36 million during the next biennium. It would leave the total tax on gas produced in this State at the 10 percent which I previously recommended. This will be only 1 percent higher than was put on gas production when, because of another emergency, the production tax was set at 9 percent for one year and 8 percent for the next year. Our State needs are greater now than they were then, and far more gas is now being produced, at greater profit than when the tax was at 9 percentall of it on the producers. This would leave the total gas tax in Texas at less than half of the present production tax in our chief competitor State of Louisiana. In that State, gas production tax is 2.3 cents per thousand cubic feet, which is about twenty percent on our average price of 10 cents per thousand. True, the LouiSiana tax is in lieu of ad valorem taxes but this is offset by the fact that Louisiana has a four percent corporation income tax based on a three-factor formula and other State taxes whic’h amount to more than our ad valorem tax. The best thing about this new approach is that the severance beneficiaries the gas pipeline companies which are making the most money out of this Texas natural resource would pay their fair ‘share of the tax burden in ‘accordance with the desires of the officials and citizens of this State for many years. This 5 percent of value at the wellhead would amount to less than the gas-gathering tax levied by the Legislature in 1951, based on the average value of gas at that time. That tax was contested in Texas by the long-line gas companies and it was declared unconstitutional. Texas w a s required to refund to these companies over $31 million, but some of the same companies continued to pay this same tax to Louisiana even after it had been doubled. Texas and Louisiana laws were the same, but the long-line gas companies did not treat Texas and Louisiana the same. While they were making our State refund $31 million, they were continuing to pay Louisiana this same tax. If they had continued to pay the Texas tax at the lower Texas rate, we would hive collected from this tax during the past seven years more than $133 million. When the companies finally challenged the Louisiana law last year, after it was raised to 2 cents per thousand cubic feet, the Governor simply called the Louisiana Legislature in special session and put the entire 2.3 cents on production, so that Louisiana continues to receive more than twice as much as Texas from its natural gas. Pure Bunk’ Is there any reason why Texas should continue to be such easy pickings for the gas pipeline companies? … Of course you will hear the argument that any further tax on gas will increase the price of the product and reduce sales and production. That is pure bunk. I have figures for the years we collected the gas gathering tax and the 9 percent production tax. Those taxes did not slow up production on sales. In fact, the biggest increase in total gas production in the last decade was the year the Legislature enacted the gas gathering tax. The much higher Louisiana tax has not retarded production and salesin that State. … Obviously, the time has come for natural gas to bear a fairer share of the tax loadat a rate at least half of that charged in our neighboring and competitor State of Louisiana. 2.I recommend adoption of the three-factor formula for determining the corporation franchise tax on companies engaged in interstate business, in accordance with the terms set out in the report of the State Tax Study Commission. 3.I recommend that the Gross Receipts Tax now levied on public utilities be set at the effective rate now being levied on telephone companies, which is 2.3 per cent. This change would raise $8 million of new revenue per year. Selective Sales Taxes In the field of selective sales or occupation taxes, I recommend: 1.fin increase in the cigarette tax of lc per pack, to a total of 6c, which will be in line with the average tax of our neighboring ,,States, and a tax at the same rate on cigars and other tobacco products, except snuff. 2.An increase in the tax on distilled liquor to the Arkansas rate of $2.50 per gallon. The House of Representatives in Oklahoma has passed a bill providing for this same rate. 3.An increase on. motor vehicle sales from 1.1 percent to 1.5 percent. As far as I can determine, this will still leave Texas with the lowest motor vehicle sales tax of any State. Again, I repeat this is the formula which will maintain a healthy climate for business as well as a healthy climate for individual human beings. The race for Speaker of the House of the 1961 legislature, already involving R e p s. Ben Glusing of Kingsville, Wade Spilman of McAllen, James Turman of Gober and DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi, does not appear headed for an early decision. Each has some support but with 45 to 50 House liberals standing pat and not pledging anyone, it becomes almost mathematically impossible for one of the four contenders to amass the necessary 76 votes. The liberals, weary of voting for a “least of evis,” plan to wait until next summer’s legislative elections clear the air, then bargain for substantial concessions in regard to committee appointments that have so much bearing on the flow of legislation through the lower chamber. Conservatives, their ranks divided over the bitter race between Joe Burkett and Waggoner Carr this session, had been hoping to avoid a long drawn-out race but they haven’t got the votes to force an early decision. Everyone is waiting for a bandwagon and with the liberals abstaining, there isn’t one. Probably not more than 60 pledges are held collectively by the four contenders as of now. Political Intelligence / Under a caption, “Four Senv ators Gassed,” El Paso Herald Post took out after Messrs. Hardeman, Fly, Lane and Weinert for their Tennessee waltz via Texas Eastern. “It will be interesting to see how they vote on the natural gas tax,” bold-faced the Post. The paper added “we are a bit amazed” by LBJ’s role in the affair: “We thought the Democratic leader of the U. S. Senate who says he isn’t a candidate for President knew better than that.” / Austin observers are watch/ ing with curiosity the increased speech-making of Dallas millionaire W i 11 i a m Blakley which might foreshadow a 1960 election bid. If so, there appear two possibilitiesa Governor’s race already getting crowded with conservative candidates or a second shot at a Senate seat. With Will Wilson and Marshall Formby virtual certainties for the gubernatorial raceplus the possible candidacies of Waggoner Carr and a third-terming Price DanielBlakley’s entry into that race would necessitate teeth-gritting reappraisals all down the line. Should he choose to run, probably only Daniel would be unaffected. Blakley would drain off too much of the support ticketed for the others. Wilson can’t . hang around in the Attorney General’s slot much longer, must soon make a move upward or out. From Carr’s standpoint, Wil son may appear harder to beat as an incumbent attorney general than if the two were running for a Governor’s chair vacated by Daniel. Then again, perhaps Blakley is aiming at the Majority Leader, which possibility considering Blakley’s proximity t o Allan Shiversis not as far-fetched as it might sound. Johnson would probably relish the opportunity to roast a “reactionary” opponent immediately before heading for the Democratic presidential convention. / The House Interim General v Investigating Committee report which hit some sort of new low in investigating effectiveness was not so ineptly drawn as a political document. The Committee, appointed by Speaker Carr, took pot ‘shots at Dallas DA Henry Wade, a possible Carr opponent for Attorney General, and at Will