Observer Notebook Those Who Break The Ground We would add this note for those who, like us, have been torn in the deepest corners of their consciences to make a fair and intelligent choice in this race. The emerging liberal movement in Texas will not be able to withstand, these next several weeks, the stress of internal belligerence and discord. We urge the long view. Only folly and disaster will emerge from a sustained within the liberal camp. Logic and good sound sense dictate a tolerance and an understanding which reputedly are the wellsprings of liberalism. The enemy, need we be reminded, is elsewhere: in Tower’s neanderthal platitudes, in Blakley’s selfish and self-interested conservatism, in Wilson’s colorless and unexciting drive for high position. We must not for one moment forget the beliefs we share and the goals we have fought for together. * * Tough luck, Miller ! Too bad, Garrison ! A vote like that must be embarrasin’. Was it subversion? Why not espouse That Walter investigate the entire House. * Governor Pat Brown of California proposed in January a $150 million program to buy new state parks and AUSTIN The Texas State Board of Education played to a packed house in Austin this week. Action centered around the Bremond case, with plaintiffs asking that the state board order the Bremond school board to quit renting a building on the Catholic church grounds for use as Elementary No. 2, and to make nuns teaching in Elementary No. 2 quit wearing religious garb. The state board members heard testimony for two hoursall of which they were familiar with through the transcript of the earlier hearing before Education Commissioner J. W. Edgarand then they voted the way they ‘ were going to vote when they arrived for the meeting. And what a confused vote it was! Edgar was right, they said, in restricting religious instruction in the school and in ordering the Bremond board to cover up the cross on top of But they ruled he was also right in not going any farther than he did, 141 COAL 6AS 1.0W expand existing ones \(15,000 new camp sites, $25 million for quadrupling picnic and day-use facilities, $25 million for historical restorations, funds for museums and 30 interpreing $25 million on Southern California beaches, $23 million in the bay area, $22 million in the mountains and deserts, and $24 million in the northern redwoods. Meanwhile, Texas, which is very much like California in some ways beaches, forests, millions of people continues to spend $250,000 a year to maintain, operate, and expand its state parks, and of course, to acquire new ones. * The sit-ins have worked in many Texas cities. The stand-ins against “No-Negroes” theaters near the University of Texas are helping, to set a pattern for country-wide demonstrations. Why have there been no “kneelins” in the Texas churches? A very few congregations have integrated ; most of the assemblies have adopted pious statements about Christian brotherhood; but most of the white churches are still closed to Negroes. Church segregation is just one more aspect of the outmoded separations based on white men’s rationalizations of the enslavements and exploitations of the Negroes. To end it, if there is no moderate way to end it, all people have to do is go into the churches and kneel down. because they hadn’t given him any policy to act on. Why speak of policy at all ? Edgar had no policy to go by on anything he did ; that is, no policy except the Texas and U.S. constitutions, and his own good common sense. The state board had at least the former to guide them, if they chose. Finally the board, in an outburst of super-caution, ruled itself out of the caseperhaps. “This is properly a matter for the courts or the legislature,” it said. But what if the case isn’t taken to court and isn’t passed on by the legislature, what then ? “Well,” said W. W. Jackson, chairman, “in that case it can be brought back here and we will set the policy.” To his everlasting credit one member, Ray Holbrook of Texas City, tried to act, tried to convince his fellow board members that they constituted a quasi-judicial body with the power to act in such matters. He moved that the board go all the way in separating church and school. Hip, motion didn’t even get a second. B.S. AUSTIN There may have been a miscalculation. Liberal members of the Texas legislature have assumed they can defeat a general sales tax this session, even the “$50 deductible” variety. In fact, however, a majority of the House do not seem to have committed themselves against such a tax. Liberal leaders in the House are worried. “It all comes to this,” said one: “the amounts of money we need are simply fantastic.” And another : “We are in a more dangerous situation than we ever have been before.” Ten years ago in Austin, liberal legislators had to spend most of their time fighting the conservatives over how much to spend. Conservatism simply meant, those days, stinginess ; refusal to help the needy ; refusal to support adequate schools ; refusal to care for the mentally ill. Engaged in such elementary disputes, the liberals in 1951 made only token fights over taxation. They won the first gas tax battle, but they had to accept many selective sales taxes which bore heaviest on the very needy Texans they were trying to help with the spending. Today in the legislature, conservatives and liberals do not divide primarily over spending. The conservatives now understand, too, that without first-rate colleges, a state does not attract first-rate industries ; that maintaining warehouses for the mentally ill is more expensive than curing them with better care and returning them to society ; that the children of conservatives, as well as the children of liberals, attend the public schools. Perhaps because of the failure of the Eisenhower Administration to roll back the New Deal, conservatives in Texas, as in the nation, have reluctantly accepted the new Concensus: Poverty is unfortunate. In an abundant nation, each man is his brother’s keeper. Government has a duty to administer our common decency. The conservatives’ general dislike of government action still limits what the liberals can accomplish in the legislature. For example, the state hospitals are criminally short of psychiatrists. The Observer’s check-up in 1959 revealed that the average mental patient in a Texas state hospital gets about 15 Minutes’ psychiatric care a month maybe. This is murder. Nothing will stop it short of a dramatic, speciallyearmarked appropriation of millions of dollars to hire hundreds of new psychiatrists for the state mental hospitals. The state parks board needs an average of $7 million a year for the next ten years ; it has been getting about one-twenty-eighth of that sum. The governor asked for $55 million a year for the colleges; to make them first-rate, we probably need $100 million a year. But we must deal with the facts. Even holding down legitimate demands, the state’s conservative budget agencies and a timid governor have not been able to reduce the need for new funds below $200 million for the next biennium. What the state really needs is still out of the question. The miscalculation the liberals may have made concerns the personal income tax. Every liberal in the legislature knows that a graduated state personal income taxcomputed simply by taking a flat percentage of each person’s federal income taxis the fairest way for the state to raise the money it must have. In private conversation, a majority of the House will admit they believe this; at least a third of the Senate will concur. In public, however, so far from proposing a personal income tax, many of the liberals have parroted Gov. Daniel’s sloganeering opposition to “either a personal income tax or a general sales tax.” A few of the advanced members have refrained from opposing a personal income tax ; in the current climate of Texas tax politics, they are “way out.” What can explain this curious disjunction between the truth and the politics of the situation ? The people do not understand. The politicians have failed to explain to them and now use their failure to understand as an excuse for continuing to fail to explain to them. The rationalization has run like this : “There are a lot of other taxes we can and should pass before we have to face a broad-based tax. When we have to face that issue, we will run in a personal income taxbut not before.” As a result, as a South Texas liberal said privately the other night on the House floor, “The people themselves don’t want a personal income tax. They would rather have a general sales tax ; they just don’t understand they will pay more, and the rich less. But what am I going to do? They don’t understandnone of them. I can see it now : ‘Why I Voted for a Personal Income Tax,’ in Spanish!” The liberals may not be able to get through enough piecemeal taxes to meet the state’s irreducible needs this time. In. this extremity, since they have failed to prepare public opinion for a personal income tax, the legislature may turn to that for which the lobbyists and conservative dailies have prepared the waythe general sales tax. A great deal depends;’ therefore, on the enactment of enough revenue raisers to get through the present session. When you read about the liberals fighting for another natural gas tax, for an oil tax on the majors, for a tax on the heavy trucks, for a corporation income tax, you can be sure they are merely conducting a holding action against a general sales tax. A few of the House liberals feel that spending is the main, thing and a sales tax may have to be accepted. Don Kennard, Malcolm McGregor, and Charles Wilson are among those who believe more spending is necessary, an income tax is out of the question, and a sales tax may become the only way out. They are willing to tax the poor to help the poorer. To this desperate’ extremity have Texans been reduced by the militant big-business interests of the east! But now if all the holding actions and concessions are to be validated at all, the time has come for sacrifices to be made on behalf of public understanding. A personal income tax must be explained ; it must be attacked, defended, debated. This means someone must propose it. That someone and those who join him in its defense will pay a price. They may never come back to the legislature. If they do not get ,through to their constituents, they almost certainly will not. If they do get through, they will still have a hard fight, for the lobbyists will be after them with money and with misrepresentation. But they, who now break the ground who tell the peoplewho risk themselves for their idealswill also know they are joining a select company in human politics : the men of courage who say first what all the other politicians know and are afraid of. R.D. State Income Tax Passing on a Decision
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