AUSTIN Gov. Price Daniel asked Texas farmers Thursday in effect to do without some farm to market road improvement projects for two years while the governor tries to balance the ailing general revenue fund. A proposal to let the general revenue fund keep $15 million a year that is now used for the farm to market road program is one of Daniel’s major pills in a two-year plan to cure the fund of its ailments. But it is hard for the Farm Bureau and the county commissioners association to take, Daniel found out in a committee hearing. A bill by Rep. Will L. Smith of Beaumont sets out Daniels plan. It would let the general fund keep the $15 million a year for two years. It would try to make up that loss to the road system by broadening the uses to which the farm to market bond assumption fund could be used. Right now, the bond assumption fund is used to pay off county road indebtedness, assumption of road bonds, and construction and improvement of farm to market roads. There is no provision for spending for “maintenance” of rural roads. FUND-RAISING DINNER FOR U.S. SENATOR HENRY B. GONZALEZ March 7-7:30 P.M. PAN AMERICAN CLUB 1705 N. Main, Houston GONZALES WILL SPEAK Folk Singers Entertainment $3.00 Person $5.00 Couple Tickets Available at GONZALEZ HEADQUARTERS 3914 S. Main JA 9-5516 Pol. Adv. 1′ “1.6.T -use: Legislative Developments PRICE ATTACKS LOBBY Migrant Children Raising Work Age \(Continued From Page mendations. Rep. John Allen of Longview has introduced a general sales tax, and Jack Connell of Wichita Falls is carrying a $50 deductible sales levy. Rep. Maco Stewart of Galveston will drop into the hopper in the next few days a broad tax measa tax on sales at the wholesale level and a tax on corporate income. He predicted it would net more than enough money to retire the deficit and provide additional. necessary funds. The bill will be co-signed by Rep. W. H. Miller of Houston, who has himself introduced a “Texas business excise tax,” to yield $104 million a year. Meanwhile, important activity centered around the liberal House revenue and tax committee. The escheats bill was given a favorable report in subcommittee and will likely be passed on to the floor shortly. Rep. Bob Eckhardt’s $40 million a year tax on dedicated reserves of natural gas, which the Houston representative describes as “soundly constitutional,” is still in a subcommitee composed of liberals Ted Springer, Max Carriker, Sam Collins, and Eckhardt, and conservative Wilson Foreman. Rep. George Hinson’s production tax increase is before a subcommittee of conservatives Dick Slack and Jim Cotten and liberal George Preston. T h e Spears-Cannon franchise tax is also still in subcommittee. Other developments this week: The House constitutional. amendments committee gave a favorable report to Rep. Red Berry’s racing amendment . . . A constitutional amendment that would abolish the Texas court of criminal appeals was favorably reported out by the Senate constitutional amendments panel . . . The Senate passed and sent to the governor for signing one of Daniel’s major water proposals, giving the water development board power to make loans on storage dams up to $15 million . . . The law which made a husband immune for punishment if he killed a man found in adultery with his wife was repealed by the Senate. In House floor action, Rep. John Huebner’s bill setting up job classification for state agencies was passed to third reading 123-31. Huebner said he would postpone the vote on final passage until early in the week . . . The first of the Hale-Aiken measures for school improvement was passed, providing for a required attendance of 180 days a year and lowering of the compulsory age to * Daniel’s reasoning, as he set it out to House revenue and taxation committee members Thursday, is that the state’s farm to market road system is in better shape now than at any time in history. He said the highway commission has pushed a “crash program” of “going from mud to pavement” and could absorb a temporary loss of maintenance funds to allow the state to balance its books, Daniel’s pet money project of the 57th session. But Bob Lilly, legislative director of the Texas Farm Bureau, said Daniel’s prescription ignores some symptoms. “Thirty-two per cent of the farmers in Texas are still in the mud,” Lilly said. “They need farm to market roads. And I understand there are 50,000 miles over which school buses must travel that are unpaved.” As Smith explained the farm to market road expenditures, the ‘bond assumption fund consists of approximately $43 million dollars, from its one-fourth of the gasoline tax revenues. From this are taken $1 million to cover county road indebtedness and $7million of road bonds assumptions. That leaves something over $35 million limited presently to farm to market road construction and improvement, but which Smith would expand to include maintenance in his bill. Smith’s original bill would make the change permanent. But he offered a substitute making it apply for two years only. It is designed to cut the need for new taxes during the next two years by $30 million. Lilly said the bill’s effect is to “eliminate $15 million a year from the farm to market road system.” He said a similar bill, by Rep. Richard Slack of Pecos, maintains the rural road program as is, but takes the $15 million a TILE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 2 Feb. 25, 1961 six. Rep. Jack Woods of Waco led a successful movement to strike out a provision raising the age at which a student may legally quit school to 17. In bearings, Rep. tEckhardt’s bill requiring judges to be present when confessions are signed went to subcommittee after some rough sledding before the House criminal jurisprudence panel . . . Sen. Grady Hazlewood bitterly criticized the state insurance board’s “safe-driving plan” for more than an hour before the Senate insurance committee, which later sent to subcommittee two of his bills to revise the plan The Senate finance committee and the House appropriations committee heard testimony from Texas educators. Ralph Green, director of the commission on higher education, warned that the legislative budget board’s recommendations are “entirely unrealistic” and if more funds are not appropriated “we will fall apart.” Chancellor Logan Wilson of the University of Texas said salaries are still inadequate and that “the relative position of Texas education has improved but little insofar as our national comparative position is concerned.” The Senate constitutional amendments committee killed the women’s latest efforts to achieve “equal rights.” Death was achieved by passing El Paso Sen. Frank Owen’s amendment cancelling Bryan Sen. Bill Moore’s proposal. W.M. year from the fund which finances the construction of major highways. Lilly said expanding the bond assumptiOn fund use to maintenance doesn’t solve the problem. “If you say bond assumption money can be used for maintenance, you hurt the construction and improvement plans. If you don’t, you lose $15 million you would need for maintenance. One way or the other, you’re going to hurt some road plan by $15 million,” Lilly added. Ralph Hall of Rockwall, county judge and past president of the Texas county commissioners’ association, agreed. “We are fearful that adding the Word ‘maintenance’ to the bond assumption fund will just get us ‘maintained’ out of some construction money,” Hall said. “We recognize the deficit problems, ‘but this would not be the way to solve them.” Committee chairman Rep. George Hinson of Mineola named a subcommittee headed by Rep. Menton Murray of Harlingen to study the Smith and Slack bills. Murray scheduled a Tuesday meeting, at which time Farm Bureau and county commissioners’ representatives plan to expand their objections. Other members of the subcommittee are Reps. Slack, Max Carriker of Roby, Sam Collins of Newton, and Charles Wilson of Trinity. Daniel said his budget-balancing measure was not a “try to hurt road funds. “I’ve been a supporter of farm to market roads as long as I can remember knowing the term,” he said, “and I certainly don’t want to , hurt the program. “But under this two-year program, we wouldn’t cut out any of the conversion of mud to pavement.” He said the fund transfer bill would only affect an improvement.” AUSTIN The only member of the House labor ‘committee who publicly questioned the soundness of the reasons offered for raising the minimum age for agricultural workers was Mrs. Myra Banfield of Rosenberg, who said she was often required to work in the fields until Christmas time when growing up, yet graduated from high school at 16. “Yes, I guess it was hard,” she said, “but I wouldn’t trade my background for any I’ve heard of.” She also said that if more children today had to work like that they “might appreciate” luxuries. This was her response to the testimony of Mrs. Ruth Graves, representing the state AFL-CIO, that Latin American children average only three and a half years of schooling, compared to seven years for Negroes and 11 for Anglo-Americans the difference arising from the fact that most migrant farm workers are Texas Mexicans and their transitory existence makes schooling difficult. At present children up to the age of 12 must get court permission to work in the fields. House bill 203, sponsored by Eligio de la Garza of Mission, would make 14 the minimum age for working without a permit. The original bill called for a 16-year minimum, but it has been dropped back to 14 to conform with the Senate bill. The purpose of the bill is to keep migrant children out of the fields and in the classroom, something that is not easy to do even with a law on the books to help, said Mrs. Graves. Of the 33,600 migrant children in Texas last year who followed the crops with their families, 12,500 were of school age and 1,197 of them worked illegally, that is, below age but working without a permit. Accusation AUSTIN Rep. William Heatly of Paducah, one of the leaders in the fight against the horseracing amendment, told the Observer this week that he has again been threatened with re-districting. This time he said the threat came from Rep. Jake Johnson, a San Antonio colleague of Rep. V. E. Berry, who sponsored the horseracing amendment. At the marathon committee hearing over the bill, Berry himself told Heatly that “some country boys” might need re-districting. Johnson denied his statement was a threat. Their versions of the run-in varied, but both agreed that words began to warm up in a discussion with liquor as the topic. Johnson’s version: “He said there was a crooked sheriff up his way in league with the bootleggers. When he mentioned his home, ,somebody in the group asked him how many lived in his district. He said 35,000 to 37,000. I said, ‘That’s not enough. Somebody will have to give your district some attention.’ When I said that he got real excited and said ‘I’ll remember that, Mr. Johnson.’ “I was just stating a fact. The figure the re-districting committee is working with is 54,000 for Col. Egon R. Tausch, executive secretary of the Migrant Labor Council, warned that between 1959 and 1960 there was a 19 percent increase in the number of school age children touring with the Texas migrants. He said that to some extent the increase is attributable to the fact that there was a 50 percent increase in the use of mechanized cotton strippers and pickers. “With mechanization, migrants have a harder time finding work and there is a tendency to make the children’s earnings swell the family till,” he said. “Even so, the average migrant last year earned only $900.” Mrs. Graves said she often hears it argued that the migrant family needs the cildren’s income. “I suppose the same argument was used to keep child labor in industry,” she said. “But now we know ‘better. Now we would be horrified to learn that 12 and 14-year-olds work in Gulf oil refineries. Why al m’t we horrified to learn they are working on farms?” B. L. Jones, a Lubbock farmer, said he was in favor of keeping the children out of the fields, but he wanted the responsibilities and penalties directed at the parents and crew leaders rather than the farmers, who, he said, are largely helpless to enforce any such law. Another Lubbock farmer, James F. Davis Jr., said the educating of the migrant children in his county posed a “serious problem,” because “in the fall, our county has more migrant kids than any county in Texas, and they just flood our schools. Our teachers can’t speak Spanish and 99 percent of these migrant youngsters can’t speak English. For three months even our own regular students can’t get anything done because of the confusion.” B.S. and Denial a legislator’s district. I’m in complete accord with Berry about his horseracing legislation, but I don’t care whether Heatly votes for it, against it, or goes to the la’trine. I’m really sorry I got him all excited, because Bill’s getting old and he gets excited easily.” Heatly’s side: “Jake Johnson Mold me that he is on the re-districting committee and that if I vote against the racing amendment he would personally see to it that . I was re-districted. There were several there that heard it. Berry was there. And when Johnson said that, Berry said, ‘Now remember, I didn’t make the threat.’ Rep. Jack Crain of Ringgold substantiated Heatly’s description of the exchange. Heatly said it isn’t the matter of re-districting that concerns him, but the direction it takes. If his district is pushed just 30 miles to the north it will go into the home county of Rep. Will Ehrle of Childress, and a showdown fight will ensue. Heatly fears his re-districting foes are eyeing that northward push. As for his battle against the racing amendment, Heatly says that will continue, threats or no threats, and he predicts “100,000 opposition letters will hit this House before the vote is taken.” Governor Defends Plan
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