The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Vol. 52 TEXAS, FEBRUARY 25, 1961 15c per copy No. 47 Daniel Withdraws Payroll Proposal I AUSTIN The big news came out of the governor’s office as the legislature finishing its seventh weekheard testimony on issues ranging from equal rights for women to outlawing of switchblade knives, debated on the butterfat content of milk, and poised itself for some important tax measures which will reach the House floor possibly by mid-week. Gov. Price Daniel abandoned his payroll-earnings tax, which he admitted had created little enthusiasm in either house, and pitched a campaign for a general broadening of selective sales taxes. He warned that neither a general sales tax nor a personal income tax could pass the legislature, and immediately launched into a series of talks with ‘t .enators and representatives to push his alternate plan. His selective sales tax proposals, recommended earlier by his finance advisory commission if the payroll levy was not successful, would place new or increased taxes on beer, soft drinks, restaurant meals, cosmetics, car and boat parts, household appliances, liquor, and wine. In his most vigorous ptonouneement this session, the governor attacked the major oil and gas companies for advocating “sitdown strikes on all taxes except those which do not touch oil and gas companies.” He directed his criticisms principally toward William Abington and Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Assn., spokesman for the majors, for opposing his recommended three percent increase in the natural gas production tax. “H any segment of the industry should be co-operative and grateful,” the governor said, “it is the major oil companies and gas pipeline companies for whom Mid-Continent is the chief spokesman, because their own reports show increased profits for 1960, with some reaching all-time highs. DALLAS The head of the Dallas citycounty civil defense commission, Col. Jahn Mayo, under whom the commission has recommended various right-wing political readings in the name of civil defense \(Obs. “There is something wrong at SMU.” As reported on a society page of the Dallas News this week, Mayo told the Dallas Federation of Women’s Clubs’ past presidents’ institute that “Much of the brainwashing is going on in our colleges. There is something wrong at SMU.” He called attention to a discussion at SMU Feb. 13 at which some speakers had said that the communist party in the U.S. is “practically defunct and really irrelevant to the important problems facing the country,” and that “An anti-‘communist has no positive goals, such as furthering the “In fact, some of the very companies represented by Mr. Abington are responsible for much of our state’s deficit because some of the major oil companies flooded this country with excessive imports of foreign oil, and because the gas pipeline companies have tied up in court receipts from the gas severance beneficiary tax,” he said. “When they talk about taxes they pay, these lobbyists should tell about the $4 billion worth of irreplaceable natural resources that they produce and sell each year. They are gone forever, and for the same reasons that they rightfully receive a 27% depletion allowance on their federal income tax, this state is rightfully entitled to an adequate severance tax. “Thus far, I have asked only for a one-year increase in the natural gas tax. It is a reasonable recommendation, and I hope industry leaders will re-examine their position and lend their co-operation instead of their opposition,” the governor concluded. General sales tax advocates argued that Daniel’s retreat from the payroll tax has strengthened their stand. Rep. Wesley Roberts, conservative from Seminole, took the House microphone several times during the week to praise a sales tax and ask for action on his tax referendum now in committee. The Citizens for a Sales Tax organization also ‘got in some healthy b’.aws. Chairman Tom Sealy of Midland called a selective sales tax increase a “hodgepodge” and said “a really equitable broad-based sales tax will assure our etonomic growth and expansion in this atomic age.” Rep. Ben Atwell, Dallas conservative, said he would be ready early in the week with a “‘broadbased excise tax bill” carrying a levy of two percent which will raise approximately $120 million annually. He said the measure will conform to Daniel’s recom democratic process. He is willing to destroy communism at whatever price, even if it means destroying democratic procedures.” Mayo ‘ said these statements are examples of brainwashing. “Communists want to make you feel guilty you are an American,” he said. “They discredit patriotic organizations, they downgrade civil defense and preach co-existence; they would destroy the United States’ security agencies. They want the United States to give up the atom bomb, to make no more tests. “They say the communist party is small and doesn’t mean much; that communism is different in America and Russia, but communism in Dallas and communism in China is the same,” the civil defense director said. Mayo confirmed to the Observer late last year that federal funds and free federal CD literature are involved in the Dallas commission’s program. AUSTIN Spokesmen for some of Texas’ largest oil and industrial firms appeared before the House labor committee this week to denounce proposed safety legislation as an unwarranted burden. Their theme was the same as in previous yearsthiat it is impossible to legislate safety and that the workers, not the machines or management, are at faultbut the vigor of the cross-examining attack from committee liberals was a new element in this running legislative fight. Industry’s ally on the committee was obviously 23-year-old David Spring, who tried to parry the liberal thrusts with points of order. Under debate was House Bill 36, co-authored ‘by Charles Hughes of Sherman, D. Roy Harrington of Port Arthur, Joe Cannon of Mexia, and Bob Eckhardt of Houstm. The bill would create an occupational safety division within the State Industrial Board with power to fix safety rules tailored to the needs of each industry in the state. Conceding that many large industries in Texas have excellent safety programs, Hughes said that most accidents occur in small industrial plants that do not have such programs and need state regulations for worker protection. He said that approximately 1,000 workers die in industrial accidents in Texas each year, that more than 400,000 are injured”nearly twice as many as are hurt in traffic” that “since 1953, when the legislature first began hesitating over this safety program, more than 5,000 people have died in industry,” and “19 people will die while the bill is in sub-committee this time.” Fred Schmidt, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO, told the committee: “This is the twelfth year this bill has been before you. What new can be said, except to update figures? Why is there a complete absence of safety laws in Texas dealing with the technology our workers face? The safety laws we have are out of date, covering such stuff as rope-pulled elevators. In the past we have brought photographs before this committee showing seven human hands cut off by the same machine, and no law can touch it.” Read asked how much the safety program would cost. Hughes said they had “originally thought in terms of about $160,000, but now we don’t think it will be that much. We don’t think that’s too much to spend in an effort to save a thousand lives. We spend $5 million a year on traffic safety.” Read: “We need to be more specific. You’re just guessing. This may run up to four or five million dollars.” Hughes said the “same pursestrings would be on this as are on everything else that goes through the legislature.” The first industry witness, Don L. Haley, safety supervisor of Continental. Carbon, Amarillb, ran into rough weather after stating, “It is quite well known that only two percent of accidents are from faulty machinery, and 98 percent from faulty jdgment.” Eckhardt: “Well, I know of a case where a man was killed the first day on the job in a cottonseed hull plant, because the wheel that sucked the hulls along had sharp claw-like blades and they got hold of him and chewed him up. That machine didn’t have a guard around it, and you know the floor of a plant like that is pretty slippery. But I guess you would call that worker failure, because the machinery was operating just fine. “And you know in lumber mills, those big hooks that come down and grab a log and pull it into the saw sometimes grab a worker and pull him into the saw. But I guess you would call that worker failure, because the machinery waF working just right, and it sawed up that worker just like he was a log.” Haley: “I would assume so.” L. Grossheim, representing the Houston Channel Industries Disaster Aid, said his employers felt that the cooperation of private committees is the only way to police industrial safety. Grossheim said “No safety rule AUSTIN Officials of the department of public welfare, testifying before the House appropriations committee this week, made a plea for more welfare workers to carry on essential services. John Winters, director of public welfare, told the committee the department’s case load per fieldworker is the highest in the United States. “We need relief in the number of employees,” he said. “We desperately need more workers in our child welfare division, more people to help care for those neglected, dependent, exploited children.” Winters said the department requested 88 additional fieldworkers, including 33 in the child welfare division. The legislative budget board granted no increases. “We’re more urbanized,” Winters said, “and there are more abuses in the care of these children in the nursing care centers. We have fewer employees in this division now than in 1947. “The demand is there,” he testified. “We’re overrun with it. Thousands and thousands of children are being abused, living in firetraps under sloppy and nasty conditions, in places where children shouldn’t be allowed to stay. ‘Children with clubfeet and other deformities, or so abused by parents’ that a psychological reaction has been established, in the world ever stopped an accident. We all know that.” Rep. Neil Caldwell: “You mean to say that a rule putting up a guard rail around a dangerous wheel wouldn’ stop an accident?” Grossheim: “Well, I might have overstated myself. But’ generally speaking, rules don’t stop accidents.” Caldwell: “Then municipalities have spent a lot of money foolishly on red lights.” Under prompting by Read, Grossheim also protested that the word “reasonably” is too debatable and sweeping in the bill’s order that “Every employer shall furnish and maintain employment and a place of employment which shall be reasonably safe and healthful for employees.” Rep. Cannon asked, “Do any of your plant regulations include the word ‘reasonable’?” Grossheirn: “They might.” Eckhardt pointed out that the bill would empower state safety officials to go into a plant after an accident and determine and publish the cause. He said industrial communities deserved to know what dangers were present, but that industry has often been reluctant to be frank about its troubles. _lie cited the recent acel- dent in Borger which killed nine workers. Company executives refused to release any information about the accident. Among others who spoke against the .bill were representatives of Tennessee Gas Transmission Co. and Humble Oil. B.S. “are extremely hard to place” in homes, he said. Last year, the de partment succeeded in placing 272. Winters said welfare programs in the last few years “have not grown as other agencies have grown.” He said public welfare “has not been one of the big state spenders, as some people may think.” In 1942, 14 cents of every Texas tax dollar went to welfare. That figure is now six cents, he said. “We’ve actually gone as far as we can on what we have,” he warned. In San Antonio, he said, welfare experiments were conducted with young girls “who couldn’t do a thingwe taught them how to be maids and waitresses, so they could get jobs and make a living for themselves and their families. Weldon Watson, assistant director of public welfare, cited figures showing that Texas is second lowest in the country in expenditures per social case per month. “We spend $1.52. The national average is $4.10. In New York, they spend $11.04,” he said. Rep. Bill Hollowell, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on departments and agencies, said the public welfare department “should be commended for saving the taxpayers’ money.” “We think that’s worth something,” Watson replied. “Frankly, we’re asking to be rewarded for it.” W.M. Safety Bill Fought 1,000 Workers Killed Each Year, Hughes Testifies Wrongdoing at SMU Child Welfare Plea
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