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BOW WILLIAMS Ausomobite and General Insurance Budget Payment Plan Strong Stock Companies GReenwood Z-8546 684 LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish the Poll Tax! Over $120 Million Insurance In Force I /1,e Aie INSURANCE COMPANY P. 0. Box 8098 Houston, Texas THE REASONS WHY THE HOUSE SAID NO AUSTIN Hours after last week’s Observer went to the press on Saturday, the House of Representatives insured a tumultous finish to the second called session by rejecting, 81-64, the tax bill agreed upon by the House-Senate tax conferees appointed by Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey and Speaker Waggoner Carr. A closer result had been expected, as several representatives who had earlier supported the Governor’s programReps. Jo Ed Winfree of Houston, Bill Hollowell of Grand Saline, Howard Green of Fort Worth, and Sanford Schmidt of Fayettevillehad indicated they would reluctantly support the conference report, which was 74 percent sales taxes and the rest business taxes. However, the ranks ,of the antisales taxers were swelled by the addition of some of the House’s staunchest conservatives from districts in which live many independent oil and gas producers. Joining the Daniel-liberal group for the first time were Reps. Byron Tunnell and Ben Jarvis, both of Tyler, Ben Sudderth of Comanche, Truett Latimer of Abilene, and three members of the Dallas delegation who had consistently voted on the Speaker’s team: Ben Atwell, Bill Jones and Bob Johnson. Bob Hughes of Dallas, Ben Lewis of Dallas, and Granger Mcllhaney of Wheeler in the Panhandle, who had from time to time supported both sides, also voted “no.” Had these ten votes been cast for the conference report, it would have been approved, 74-71, and the bill would have become law. Governor Daniel the day before announced his “reluctant” approval of the bill as “the best that can be enacted at this time.” Thus the tax bill, behind which Waggoner Carr had rallied his supreme effort to muster a House majority, died because of a split between the major oil and gas companies and the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Assn. The rebellion of the independent oilmen was triggered by the Senate’s inclusion in the tax bill of a one per cent production tax on natural gas after the independents had stood firm with the major companies in opposing the severance beneficiary tax on pipelines. The pipeline tax, approved by the House in the first called session, was defeated in the second session by a 72-71 vote with independents providing the majors with the decisive votes. `No Tax on Gas’ The TIPRO point of view was laid down quite bluntly in the House debates Saturday by Rep. Tunnell, heretofore a sales tax advocate from Tyler in the heart of the East Texas oil field. Said Tunnell, “I have more producers per square inch in my district than any man in this House.” Apparently addressing his remarks only to House conservatives, Tunnell continued, “You asked us to stay with youthe cry was ‘no tax on gas’when the House was considering the severance beneficiary tax. And we did.” Gazing toward the right hand side of the gallery where the gas lobby habitually sits, Tunnell said, “There are telegrams in this House today urging us to vote for this bill, and the same man who sent the telegrams is the one who said, ‘no tax on gas.’ There are good men in this House, and what I’m about to say about one of them isn’t intended to be derogatory. He is a good friend, one of those who said, ‘no tax on gas’I can hear his voice ringing nowand yet he now wants us to vote for this bill with a one per cent production tax. That man is Wesley Roberts” \(conservative from Lamesa, member of the revenue and tax committee, and prominent floor leader on Speaker Raising his voice, Tunnell said, ” `No tax on gas’ when they’re talking about a severance tax; they enlist the aid of my producers. But now, when the bill contains a tax on producers, the same man sits in the gallery and does nothing to help.” Tunn .ell’s remarks summed up two hours of the most explicit debate on the tax question since the session began in January. Scime old timers called it the finest sustained flow of oratory they had ever seen. Fourteen speakers paraded to the microphone to give their reasons for and against the conference report, with the 81-64 vote flashing on. the board minutes after the last one, Tunnell, sat down. Among the new recruits to the opposition was Rep. Jack Woods, Waco conservative, who provided an interesting variation on the Tunnell theme. Said Woods, “I have little to add to the fine words of Mr. Tunnel. I, too, am for a general sales tax. But I am not voting ‘no’ just to hold out for a general sales tax. I respect the opinions of the House, repeatedly expressed on that question. Frankly, I intended to vote for the bill, but yesterday I got indoctrinated. I saw the organized lobby at work. I saw professional businessmen in Waco respond to calls from I know not who in Austin, and they sent me telegrams urging me to vote for this bill. It is a sad day when the organized lobby can manipulate professional businessmen in Waco and produce a flow of telegrams in here to a representative. … I’m going to vote ‘no.'” Another response to the shifting pressures in Austin materialized in the address in support of the conference report by Hollowell, a heretofore staunch backer of the Governor’s program. “I have voted for the severance beneficiary tax on natural gas every time it’s been before this House,” said Hollowell, “but I am going to vote reluctantly for this conference report.” Addressing himself to the liberals, Hollowell said, “We started off with 80 votes for the severance tax and the last time it was put to this House, you got 59 votes. You think it’s going to get any better? I tell those of you who are for the severance tax, you are walking into a trap. The AFL-CIO is leading you into that trap. You reject this bill and in the next ses s ion, you’re going to face the last three or four days of August, and they’re going to drop it in your lapa general sales tax or close the schools. You say, we’ll beat them. Have you won yet? You had 80, now you have 59. I’m with you, and I’ll still be with you, but we’ve got to pass a tax bill. If you’re for a general sales tax, you’ll kill this bill.” Such talks produced some odd spectacles in the House: tax committee conservative Jack Richardson grabbing the microphone to publicly congratulate Hollowell, and liberals pausing to shake hands with Woods and Tunnell. `A Sop’ With all this, the debate’s high point was probably provided by Dallas’s Bob Hughes, who made a quiet, urgent plea for rejection of the conference report. His indictment of the tax bill left conservatives grumbling and liberals startled. Said Hughes, “I have probably cast more bad votes than any man in the House, depending on how you view these issues. I voted for 727 in the regular session; I voted for the Hinson bill \(the severance worked in a compromise coalition; and now, at the end, we have this bill, which the House rejected 60 days ago.” Hughes quickly ran through the bill: “boat motors … a poorly component parts … unfair; private clubs … discriminatory and inept; utilities … an alleged business tax that is a tax on every family budget in the state. “We have seen in this House two warring campssome believe you should spare business and let the little man pay the bill; some want business to pay it all and let the people enjoy the services of the state free. Somewhere between these two theories is a tax structure we have not even touched. … This bill is a sop to both sides that does not do the job.” He got an ovation when he sat down. Both sides realized the decision hinged on the “swing vote” in the middle, and all oratory was directed at that group. No one directed remarks to the hard core of gas taxers on the one hand or sales taxers on the other. Following Hughes to the microphone was his Dallas colleague, Rep. Tom James, to endorse the opposite view. “I’m going to vote for this bill though it hits my district hard. It hits boats, and we have a big boat company. It hits air conditioning, and we’re pretty well air-conditioned. It hits corporations, and we’ve got a few of those. It hits producers, and we’ve got plenty of them. But it’s not a question of whether we’re going to do what’s best for the people back home but whether we’re going to do anything at all. It is not a perfect bill but it is one on which reasonable men can agree.” The debate opened at 10 o’clock Saturday morning with Rep. Menton Murray of Harlingen explaining the bill on behalf of the House conference committee which he chairmaned. “No use kidding ourselves,” he said, “there are two groups in the House, those who want a general sales tax and those who want a severance berieficiary tax. Both groups have tried to sell their view to the House and failed. Let’s face it, the only way we’re going to get a bill is one that doesn’t have either one in it.” Murray was questioned on the microphone about the gas tax. Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston, author of several plans to tax pipelines, said, “This gas tax seems to fall wholly on. the producers. Did the conference committee consider the relationship between the price of gas between producers and pipelines?” Murray replied, “we considered your severance beneficiary tax but didn’t get anywhere with it.” “Well,” said Eckhardt, “I wasn’t speaking necessarily of a severance beneficiary tax, there are several ways of taxing pipelines.” Murray responded, “We didn’t need to go into that. I’m not going to argue with you. I’ll answer your questions about the bill itself, explain the bill, but I’m not going to argue with you.” “If the speaker doesn’t want to say what his thinking is on the subjectwe weren’t there, the press wasn’t therethen I guess my questions are at an end,” said Eckhardt, abandoning the microphone. `Hurt The Least’ Concluding his explanation, Murray admonished the House to “forget about those two controversial features. Get a bill that hurts the least number of people. I think many of you who have opposed this bill three months ago can accept it now as an alternative, and just as an alternative.” Murray then moved that the House accept the conference report. Rep. Mauro Rosas, El Paso liberal, offered a substitute motion that the House reject the report and appoint new conferees to work out another solution with the senators. Said Rosas, “With all due respect to the House conferees, Imust say the report they signed is substantially the same as the report of last session-70 percent sales taxes. This is called a compromise. In the name of compromise are we to compromise our duty? We have heard much about broad based taxes this one is so broad based it amounts to a general sales tax with selective exemptions.” Rep. George Hinson of Mineola, House sponsor of Gov. Daniel’s tax program which drew liberal support, rose to make a plea against the conference report and in behalf of Governor Daniel who had “reluctantly” endorsed it. Hinson said he couldn’t go along with the Governor on the bill, but he respected the Governor’s opinion. Addressing the liberals, Hinson said, “many of you who have criticized him for his statement of yesterday should consider the position he is in. … As our great Governor, it is his responsibility to see that the schools open and the other services of the government are provided for.” Hinson then attacked the conference report as “not the right solution,” and said he was going ,to vote against it. Joe Ed Winfree of Houston made the closing arguments in behalf of the report. A member of the Daniel-Hinson team and a supporter of the Hinson package in earlier sessions, Winfree was one of the House conferees. He had praise for Governor Daniel, Speaker Waggoner Carr, and every member of the conference committee except Frates Seeligson, whom he omitted in reviewing the individual contributions of the conferees. Of the Speaker, he said, “I have been practicing law for 50 years and I know people and if ever a living human tried to do the right thing, it was Waggoner Carr, and I salute you.” Winfree paused, regarded the unresponsive members, and continued, “I have always said this House is the salvation of our state. But I want to say now that the senators worked ably and conscientiously. … We came out of there with a good bill. It is a good bill minimum of $315 million for the next biennium. In other words, if you vote for this tax bill, you will have the money.” Rounding out the speaker’s forum on the conference report Joe Chapman, Sulphur Springs Bristow of Big THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 8 July 18, 1959 NOW! life insurance protection for your family during vital years… 74,t all premiums returned ft4t dividends *es . this is now possible through modern life insurance planning with the SUN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA, one of North America’s leading life companies. 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