`THE ONLY WAY 1 WANT TO WIN HOUSTON Dynamic liberalism is the only answer to the “Johnson-favorite son dilemma,” said Albert Pena., Bexar County’s forthright liberal county commissioner, in a speech before the quarterly meeting of the Harris County Democrats. “Personally,” Pena added, “I believe that debate on favorite sons is premature. I believe first we must decide what we stand for ; and then we must fit our selection of favorite son to a strong liberal platform, and not conform the liberal platform to the wishes and dictates of the favorite son.” Pena said that in any debate about favorite sons, it was equally important not to forget what happened \(at the las, Fort Worth and San Antonio. To forget these things, he said, would be forgetting “the greatest Democrat in the state of TexasMrs. Frankie Randolph.” “And, if it is inevitableas some people seem. to thinkthat Johnson will be Texas’s favorite son, then I say that Senator Ralph Yarborough should be chairman of the delegation. In either case, Mrs. Randolph is the liberals’ choice for national committeewoman in 1960.” Congratulating Harris C o u n t y Democrats on sending a liberal delegation to the 1959 legislature, Pena AUSTIN The log jam on taxes, now almost a six-month pileup, is caused by the dominant role in Texas politics of the great oil and gas lobby of the Eastern majors. The impasse is not between legislators and legislators ; it is between legislattrs and the lobby. The teamwork between Carr and the gas lobby is too overwhelming to disregard and explains, citizens, why a tax bill has become so hard to write in 1959. Solutions that touch the major oil and gas companies have not been acceptable to the Speaker. The “compromise” committee Carr appointed has been a sham, a sop to public opinion, a phantom conjured to take the Speaker off the spot. Cornposed of eight supporters of the Governor’s package and eight sales taxminded conservatives \(six of . them members of the oft-repudiated House Murray of Harlingen, the “swing man,” the committee had ostensibly been trying to work out a compromise, but oil and gas fumes have hovered over the gathering to such an incredible extent, no compromise was ever possible. Bo Ramsey, the man Carr appointed to head the revenue and tax committee, has consistently opposed ANY tax on gas pipelines, regardless of what else the tax bill contained. Ramsey, it may be recalled, was the chairman of the House conferees who, when dealing with the Senate conferees in the first called session, felt compelled to consult with Carr before making any decisions. . Liberal Bob Eckhardt said he asked Ramsey if he would take a two per cent severance tax on pipelines. No. One per cent ? No. Any fraction ? No. Regardless of what else the tax package contained, Ramsey would not take any tax that fell on the interstate pipelines of the major companies. THE CONSERVATIVES were willing to delete a one per cent tax on pipelines and put it on producers. In later floor debate, Max Smith, veteran San Marcos conserva said he hopes Bexar County will follow suit next year. Pena recalled how he and Ed Ball, a lawyer now with the United Steelworkers, campaigned for Harry Truman and Alben Barkley in Houston in 1948. After the victory it becamepopular again to be a Democrat, Pena recalled. “Democrats came out of the woodwork, the private clubs, the country clubswe had Democrats everywhere, where before we couldn’t find them. “Shortly after the great Democratic victory in ’48, Mr. Sam Rayburn condescended to speak here in the ColiSeum, but at a segregated meeting. Ed and myself and other liberal Democrats sat in the segregated section as a protest against Democrats’ inhumanity to fellow Democrats. And I have been protesting. ever since.” Pena offered greetings from the Bexar County Democrats and the “hometown of our favorite son, Adlai Stevenson,” who in 1952, for the first time in San Antonio politics, delivered a speech on the West Side in that city. PENA SAID he was a liberal Democrat and that his concept of liberalism was derived from the philosophy of Sen. Paul Douglas and based on a sincere belief in freedom, a passionate desire for justice and tive, repeated this publicly : he would not buy a one per cent levy on pipelines but “because we need the revenue,” he would sponsor a one per cent tax on producers. Frates Seeligson, San Antonio conservative and oil and gas producer, took a slightly different stance. He said he thought he could go along on a package that contained $123 million in sales taxes and $50 million in business taxes including the equivalent of a two per cent pipeline tax. Later, Seeligson said he had decided he couldn’t go on the package after all. He’d take a pipeline tax but only when coupled with a general sales tax. Whichsince the House has repeatedly expressed its opposition to a general sales taxwas the equivalent of saying he doesn’t want a pipeline tax. The disagreement that has precluded a tax solution : liberals want any natural gas tax to fall on the interstate pipelines of the majors, and conservatives want any natural gas tax to fall on producers. Why the conservative militance against a pipeline tax ? The lobby knows that once such a tax is tested and found constitutional, future legislatures will feel pressure from producers wanting relief from their present seven per cent production tax, transferring more of the burden to the major companies through their pipeline subsidiaries. One begins to wonder about the independence of Speaker Carr’s team when liberals come out of “compromise” meetings and report that one of Carr’s boys objected to a tax plan “because TMA wouldn’t buy that,” and another offers an alternative with the statement, “Jim Yancy \(TMA THE GENERAL SALES tax is not deadit is embalmed ; it was never alive. The issue : Is Texas going to start deriving tax revenues from the monolithic oil giants, the absentee owners of the state’s vast natural resources, or continue to finance tragically inadequate budgets with regressive sales taxes, illegal franchise taxes, and taxes on Texas oil and gas producers? equal rights and opportunities for all people under the universal brotherhood of man. “Freedom … is liberation from everything undemocratic … It means freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom from want. The fourth freedom freedom from wantis a positive affirmation of … equal rights in education, hospital, and medical care. Freedom for all working men to organize into labor unions for better working conditions and decent wages … to engage in political parties of your choice … Freedom from discrimination and segregation in all public and quasi-public facilities.” Justice, said Pena, meant equal justce for all, regardless of race, color or creed. “Equal justice for the working man, the farmer and small businessman.” The Deniocra0c Party must affirm and fight for a strong statement of principles and a platform based on liberal concepts, Pena urged. It should shy away from the “moderate” or middle of the road view. “You are either liberal or conservative … There cannot be a moderate view on the rights of labor because we might lose some of our business contacts. There cannot be a middle of the road attitude on civil rights for fear we may lose some of our friends in East Texas.” The corporate lobbyists may be able to escape this time ; the price they will pay is the loss of about 30 or 40 House members who stretched themselves on the rack for them. In 1961, with a liberal House of Representatives to combat, the lobby will find itself in a new and unfamiliar atmosphere. L.G. WASHINGTON Although many observers talk of Lyndon Johnson’s political astuteness and invincibility, he has actually had several bad breaks during his legislative career. One of the worst was durng the Natural Gas debate, when he had everything lined up, and. then that famous $2500 “gift” to South Dakota’s Case hit the headlines. Johnson now is having troubles with the Senate liberals because he strikes what they consider a pose of “responsible statesman” on important legislation proposed by the President. Johnson insists he is not going to make “issues” just for the sake of political advantage. Cynics suspect it’s something less lofty; every lawmaker has special favors he seeks from The White House. There is no argument on one point ; Johnson and President Eisenhower have played it cozy for several years. The President refers to them both as “members of the Cardiac Club.” They like each other and get along well together. In fact the Senate liberals say “too weir. But the Republican National Committee and the Nixon wing of the GOP do not like Lyndon. Now, in what he must consider a superb, example of ingratitude, they have decided to “give him the business.” Johnson is to be a major Republican target for the next month or two. It began with Thruston Morton’s characterization of the 86th as the Pena reproved the Harris County Democrats for failing to endorse State Sen. Henry B. Gonzalez for governor when he ran in 1958. He said he was a little weary of hearing the same arguments against a strong civil rights stand after 10 years “These reasons … Now is not the time … it should be a slow process … the people are not quite ready … let’s take a moderate view, a middle of the road viewanything but the right view.” A failure by liberal Democrats of Texas to take a strong position on liberal principles fails “the natural liberal coalition : organized labor, the Negro and the Latin-American, the farmer, the small businessman and the independent liberal … It fails to elect dedicated liberals to state office such as J. Edwin Smith \(who ran for Suzalez. Think about this. Can you imagine how far advanced the liberal movement would have been … yet many liberals sat on their hands. “Many liberal groups found many reasons not to endorse these two liberals directly. We will never elect liberal candidates that way.” PENA AGREED with the prediction of the late Maury Maverick, Sr., that one day Texas would become overnight a liberal state but, he said, “it is going to happen only after liberalism is clearly defined by liberals wthout equivocation, evasion or fear of controversy.” Pena said he wanted to work for a liberal victory in 1960 on the bases of a strong liberal platform. If Texas goes liberal, he said, “our liberal friends in the North, East and West will be encouraged to drop the re actionary South as Truman did in 1948.” This, he said, is his pattern for victorynot perfect, but “the only way I want to win.” A.H. “won’t do” Congress. Then Vice President Nixon said Johnson was “to blame” for the defeat of Admiral Strauss. Now the GOP National Committee, with a double-meaning observation, refers to Johnson’s “full NapoleoniC retreat” from Democratic social welfare programs. Lyndon doesn’t like the needling, but so far shows no inclination to fight back by going liberal. Democratic National Chairman Paul Butler says simply that he does not think a Southerner, or even a Southwesterner, is likely to be nominated because of the civil rights issue. Butler is by no means alone in voicing this statement. A group of 16 Northern civic and welfare organizations have virtually challenged Johnson not to stand in the way of a strong civil rights bill, or simply concede that he is too sectional in his viewpoint to run for national office. Johnson, of course, does not reply to his critics. Neither does he alter his course. He is still pushing his federal “racial conciliation service” proposal. One NAACP representative said recently,. “Conciliation is nice and we’re for it. But when a man has his foot on your throat I want somebody to make him take it away so I can stand up and talk to him. It’s hard to conciliate from that position.” ROBERT G. SPIVACK THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 July 4, 1959 The Cause of the Tax Logjam Lyndon Hit Coming, Going
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