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Choice Is Income or Sales Tax, Holleman Says SAN ANTONIO Texas labor’s President Jerry Holleman laid out labor’s claims on credit for social progress in Texas and aims for the immediate future ; delegates in convention here took his ideas and others and produced a program for everything from fair employment practices to a public defender system. Progress “depends on new ideas, new issues, and the redesigning of old’ issues,” Holleman said. Labor has done its part with new ideas, he said; and he had some more. Water development has “floundered pitifully” because authority is scattered among dozens of boards and authorities. A central commission worked for Texas highways, and Texas needs “a central authority, a Texas Water Commission,” empowered to make and effectuate decisions on water projects and issues and financed, “if necessary,” with a water-user’s tax, he said. Air pollution is occurring in low lands around Texas plants, he said. Along the Gulf Coast one encounters “a burning, smarting haze and through watery eyes you sense the monstrous pollution that has contaminated the very air we breathe.” He called for a program to clean the air in the “pockets of contamination” before the problem becomes as serious as the smog in Los Angeles. People alive today have caught speckled trout in the waters near the base of the San Jacinto, but no more. “Restore our streams and rivers to the things of beauty and health they once were. Our air and our water are our most basic and most valued natural resources. To pollute them unnecessarily DANIEL PATS LABOR ON BACK SAN ANTONIO In declining an invitation to speak to the Texas AFL-CIO convention in San Antonio because of “conflicting engagements,” Gov. Price Daniel urged labor and business to serve “all the people” and told labor they were doing so “in many programs for the general good.” Political observers may wish to reflect on whether this has a bearing on Daniel’s plans about running for a third term. Ina letter addressed to Holleman, read to the convention, Daniel said, “I appreciate the cooperation you have shown in many programs for the general good of our state and our people, especially the fight against the general sales tax. Taxes should be levied in proportion to the ability to pay, and right now the interstate corporations and gas pipeline companies are not paying their proportionate share. You have also supported improvements in our public schools, a better water development program, industrial safety, attraction of new industry, highway safety, and other programs designed to bring about greater prosperity, progress, and pursuit of happiness in this state. “I especially appreciate,” Daniel continued, “the part that organized labor has played in keeping peace and cooperation between management and labor in Texas. There are few states in the union that have as good relations, as few crippling labor disputes, and as much understanding in this field of labor-management relations. This is good for Texas. It attracts new industries and many citizens who want to work under pleasant and friendly conditions.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 November 20, 1959 is an evil that is visited on all our people now and for times to come.” Holleman said he took his family to a state park and was tempted to turn around and go to his own backyard when he saw it. “I know of any number of private pastures that arc better kept than that state park.” He criticized the legislature for spending only $270,000 for 54 state parks while at the same time appropriating $100,000 to build a Confederate monument is Mississippi. “We are without words to describe our reaction to this kind of thinking. Texas must quit living in the 19th Century.” He demanded adequate appropriations for state pages. Some state buildings are in pitiful disrepair, doors sagging, windows rattling, . paint peeling, the plumbing and electrical systems inadequate, pine floors almost worn through, he said. With such predicates, Holleman turned to raising enough money to finance an expanded state government. ..”… if we are to bring our state up to the level our people deserve, we must find new major sources of tax revenue. The time has come for us to give serious consideration to a personal income tax. The only other major tax source that has been advocated is a general sales tax, and if we are not extremely careful we will find ourselves responsible for Texas’s lack of progress because of our opposition to a sales tax and our failure to advance any other tax that is adequate for the need. We must not paint ourselves into that corner.” He criticized the sales tax: “… makes no allowance for the personal problems of the individual … bears even more heavily on poverty than on wealth … does not take into account … a pitifully small old age pension … compensation check … family sickness … disabling injury … the number of mouths to be fed … An income tax takes all these things into consideration and makes allowances for them. It is an unpleasant tax, as all taxes are unpleasant, but it is a more human tax, a tax that remembers that taxpayers are people. “At this time, it may well be that a personal income tax is even more unpopular in the public mind than a sales tax,” Holleman said. “Without the proper educational program being carried on, I doubt that an income tax could win out in a contest between the two …. It is time that we, as responsible citizens of Texas, give serious consideration to this grievous problem and make our definite choice between the two.” Labor’s Programs Gain Earlier in his speech, Holleman said Texas labor has made progress in social legislative fields but not much yet in labor legislation, about which, however, he was optimistic. He recited various programs labor has favored which have been advanced in. the public debates. The Governor, he said, has made an industrial safety law a part of his program. “Before anyone else had the courage,” labor favored a corporate income tax, and most agree the issue is not whether “but when.” Labor long advocated conveying dead bank accounts and unclaimed dividends to the state: “It is a part of the Governor’S program.” Labor, Holleman asserted, provided “the main push” for legislative salaries and “It is generally conceded that this will be adopted next year.” In 1958 labor proposed abolishing capital punishment, which received unanimous approval in the House criminal jurisprudence committee In 1959 and “should be come law within the near future.” “We proposed the adoption of a criminal code wherein there would be more justice and equity in the penalties for crimes in Texas. This proposal is now one of the major items in the platform of a candidate for attorney general,” whom Holleman did not name. Labor’s opposition recognizes the minimum wage law issue as “one on which they are at a great disadvantage.” A study commission has been established on ad valorem tax valuation, he said; progress has been made in party registration; public access to the beaches is protected by law; more money is available for state vocational rehabilitation. A labor department is recognized, he said, as needed. Labor has advocated the same work protections for domestic farm workers as for braceros and this has become formal federal policy. “Five years ago,” Holleman said, “we proposed a research program for converting salt water to potable water. The argument now “The betrayal of American working people by a combination of reactionary Republicans and Democrats by ‘the adoption of the Labor Reform Act of 1959, the Landrum-Griffin Bill, is the major political event of 1959,” said the labor convention. “We declare that Texas working people will hold the Democratic Party leadership responsible for this miscarriage of justice if they continue to award committee chairmanships and party honors to those who have betrayed their trust.” Jim Pierce, staff consultant in the civil rights committee, cracked open the issue of segregated locals by proposing that they be thrown out of the state council if they do not remove their segregation requirements. This brought heated rejoinders from Sabine area spokesmen for white locals. “We have a lot of words,” Pierce said of the state unions’ civil rights program, “but it hasn’t been implemented. It’s words! Let’s do something on civil rights.” Negroes go on doing janitorial work while whites are hired in at the gate, he said. “People who call themselves trade unions believing in democracy are limiting their membership to white people, and Negroes wanting to belong to labor unions form their own unions or they scaband I don’t blame them. People say ‘Sure, I believe in democracy, except in my local union, I don’t want any niggers’.” Dan Fells, Port Neches, said, “I think things are going smooth. I think that the colored people are going forward … not all one year. We belong to unions. You forget those things and get the desire to go boom boom boom!then you’re gonna tear up those unions … You’ll just have half a council, and you can’t afford to do that.” A delegate from Waco said Negroes cannot carry a bricklayer’s card. “What can we do?” he asked. “We’ve got to clean our own house first,” he said. “We can say to these locals, either abide by our constitution, or,” Pierce said, “we’ll do to you what we did to the teamsters’You’re not suitable’.” A white delegate rose to say he had been thinking about what the Negroes on the committee had been saying about their situation. “If I were a colored man, my feelings would be just exactly what their feelings arethat they’re be is where they shall locate the plant. We sounded the alarm when our educational television channels were about to be quietly stolen for commercial use, and as a result, the press and the public rose to the defense of this priceless, irreplaceable asset … These are more important to future generations than our Texas tidelands. Four years ago we proposed a new minimum base wage for public school teachers. It was two years before the Texas State Teachers’ Assn. joined us in advocating this minimum base.” On the labor front, Holleman said the fight will go on for better unemployment and workmen’s comp and prevailing wage laws. He promised redoubled efforts for a state labor law providing election procedures for intrastate employees. And he proposed “a major effort to try to correct the shameful misapplication of the prevailing wage law by the Texas Highway Department.” Holleman also spoke again for higher old age pensions and aid to the needy. ing discriminated against, that I’m not allowed to do what I should be,” he said. “But all you’re gonna do is just tear up what you got to this time. I’m not against your cause at all … but I wouldn’t sacrifice my local union to advance your cause too fast, you see?” Chairman Jim Sharp of Amarillo argued against a motion from the Sabine area to carry on with last year’s report only. He had some other things he wanted taken up, he said, including freedom of religion. “A lot of our school boards require that our school teachers sign an affidavit believing in a Supreme Being,” he said. “The atheists” got freedom of religion going in the first place, he said. “I am a Baptist. Where are they going to stop? Why can’t a school board require you to .be a Baptist to teach in the schools?” Overnight a subcommittee produced a report on which the divergent panelists unanimously agreed. When it was read to the convention it was accepted without debate. Texas AFL-CIO advocated repeal of the poll tax, abolition of capital punishment, equal rights for women, state and local fair employment practices legislation, trial by jury, “a truly free press,” and integrated convention facilities, as before. They want to make bombings of public places and lynching federal offenses. They favor elected public defenders with enough assistants to defend accused citizens who cannot hire competent lawyers. They would return to labor the right to bargain collectively unhindered and favor free speech as peaceful picketing. They endorsed “complete freedom of religion unfettered by meaningless oaths and pledges.” On the white locals, they stated, “We recommend that our membership look closely at their agreements, by-laws, and constitutions and remove from them any provisions which discriminate against, or deny membership on the basis of, race, creed, religion, or national origin.” To back this up, AFL-CIO recommended civil rights committees in each local and instructed state officers to issue monthly civil rights .bulletins or newsletters to members. Reiterating support for a corporate net profits tax and dor On decreasing passenger train service he said: “Texas, as a Republic and as a State, gave free to the Railroads 32,153,878 acres of public lands in order to encourage them to provide the service that our people needed. During the past nine years the railroads have discontinued almost 200 passenger trains in Texas .. . on the pretext that passenger trains arc losing money … Freight hauling is more profitable and the railroads want to only retain this most profitable business. Passenger trains are fast disappearing from our land. We must require our railroads to consider public necessity as the prime gauge. … They have had their cake-32 million acres of itnow they want to eat it too.” The report of the labor executive board, read by SecretaryTreasurer Fred Schmidt, was tame next to Holleman’s speech. “Labor accepted a broad responsibility to represent not only its own members before the Legislature but also tried conscientiously to speak for the best interests of all our citizens,” the report averred. mant funds legislation, Texas labor added a plan for taxing all private bottle clubs and members thereof, with the revenues allocated to old age pensions. They recommended a personal income tax with “no complicated forms … to be based on a percentage of the federal income tax paid by the taxpayer. Such a procedure would make this tax graduated and based on ability to pay.” Also favored: workmen’s comp and unemployment insurance increases and changes; a state labor agency; repeal of right-to-work as the No. 1 test of whether to support legislators; minimum wages in all contracts for construction with public funds; adding welfare and retirement benefits to the prevailing wage idea; lower interest rates; urban renewal; union men using union labor in home repair; using U.S.A.-made materials in all construction work; improvement of state care for mentally retarded children, “a major project”; abolition of the bracero program; a minimum wage for farm workers and minimum working standards for migrants; congressional investigation of border “commuters” \(about which more the family farm operator; the food stamp plan to use surplus food for the needy; use of surplus .food for promoting peace; workmen’s compensation for farm workers; $4,800 a year for legislators; tuitionless and feeless higher education; loan shark regulation; state regulation of public utilities; making political subdivisions liable for damages to citizens; a teachers’ tenure law; special session for teachers’ pay and establishment