The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Vol. 53 TEXAS, APRIL 1, 1961 15c per copy No. 1 Supreme Oath Bill Endorsed byPanel House Coalition Wins Tax Battle AUSTIN With several unsympathetic members absent, the House state affairs committee this week favorably reported the supreme being bill to the House floor. The vote on the measure, which would require all public school and college teachers to take an oath acknowledging the existence of a supreme being, was 7-6. Because the bill, HB 548, has a high number, there may not be sufficient time for it to reach the floor this session unless chief sponsor W. T. Oliver of Port Neches seeks a suspension of rules. Suspension requires a two-thirds vote. “I don’t know yet exactly what we’re going to do,” Oliver told the Observer Thursday. He said he would confer with the 30 cosigners and “go along with a majority of them.” Could the bill pass the House? “I certainly think so, yessir,” Oliver said. Opponents of the bill on the 21man state affairs committee had estimated they had eleven or twelve votes, enough to keep it bottled up in the committee or to re-refer it to a hostile subcommittee. Their main concern, however, was to have enough opponents present at each meeting of the panel to prevent any move to report with a majority of proponents present. Monday night, after a hard tax fight which lasted all afternoon, state affairs met for its regular bi-weekly session. “I was in my district making a speech,” Rep. Ronald Roberts of Hillsboro said. “Six members of the committee who didn’t like the bill weren’t there. “There they were all gone and up right in the middle of a hearing on another bill,” Roberts said. “We just let our guard down that’s all we did. We’ve stayed down here at committee meetings to the wee hours some nights to prevent this type of action taking place. “I feel strongly enough on this,” he said, “to stake my legislative career on it. I’ll fight it on the floor.” He said the proponents were offered a milder substitute merely prohibiting the teaching of atheism in classrooms, but the offer was refused. “They continuously hounded certain members of the committee who are against it of the political dangers involved,” Roberts said. Joe Cannon of Mexia said he had stepped back to the speaker’s office and heard what was going on at the committee table through the loudspeaker system. He hurried back for the vote. “The chairman just waited until enough people had gone either to telephone or to the tax committee hearing or home. It’s quite obvious a majority of the committee was against it. “I don’t think the supreme being is going to approve of that kind of tactics,” Cannon said, “and he doesn’t need them.” H. G. Wells of Tulia had ,gone upstairs to the tax hearing. “They waited until a minority was in the majority,” he said. Neil Caldwell of Alvin said he “left early to attend a meeting held by several members of the legislature relative to several major issues. “The bill that was being considered by the committee was one I had some familiarity with,” he said. “I felt I could in good conscience be absentnever dreaming this subcommittee report would be forthcoming. The regular subcommittee reports that night, as is the custom, had been made at the start. If I could relive that evening, I would have stayed until 6 a.m. and cast my vote. Then the bill would have \(Continued on Page Dobie Jammed By Birchers; Probe Sought HOUSTON Members of the John Birch Society, seeking revenge for J. Frank Dobie’s calling them “fools,” jammed a telephone switchboard here this week at the Southwestern Savings Association where Dobie was signing copies of his latest book. Dobie was unperturbed. “I refuse to be disturbed by the barkings of the members of Character Assassination, Anonymous,” he said. Since the Observer’s report on the John Birch Society last week, it has received information from all points in the state about the activities of this secret, far-right organization The Observer welcomes any information about the Society. “If the John Birch people had their way, according to the pronouncements of their chieftain, Robert Welch, then one could say without any reservation that Russia had conquered the United States, not so much physically as mentally and spiritually.” Dobie signed 400 copies of his books as the guest of Rex G. Baker Jr., president of the Southwestern Savings, who called Dobie “the greatest living writer” on Southwestern life. Also in Houston, U.S. Rep. Jim Wright said he would call for a congressional investigation of the Birch Society although “I know this will make me their target.” Wright was only one of several with the same goal in mind. In Washington, Sen. Thomas H. Kuchel, California Republican, also asked for an investigation. of the society, which has called Eisenhower a card-carrying communist and called for the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. But Kuchel’s fellow Californian, Rep. Edward W. Hiestand, said he was a member of long-standing. AUSTIN A $42 million tax bill got through the House this week after two days of debate, including a revised version of the Spears-Cannon franchise tax which had been defeated by nine votes earlier in the session. A coalition of liberals, moderates, and Daniel men were successful almost at every turn in sending to the Senate a diverse measure with amendments taxing air-conditioners and jukeboxes, changing certain bookkeeping methods to close loopholes and provide additional money for the embattled general revenue fund, establishing a new gift tax, raising license taxes on compact cars, hitting inter-state corporations under a new franchise formula, and channeling bonuses and delay rentals from the permanent to the available school fund. House conservatives, choosing to contest the deficit-retiring measure both in part and in toto, picked Ben Jarvis of Tyler, Ben Atwell of Dallas, Marshall Bell of San Antonio, and Will Ehrle of Childress to fire the mightiest salvoes. After the shifting sidebattles over damaging amendments, the winning coalition was victorious by 22 votes on engrossment Monday and by 25 on final passage Tuesday. By far the closest and most crucial fight of the two-day debate centered around the $8 million franchise tax, sponsored principally by Franklin Spears, San Antonio liberal, after revisions in the ing corporations to deduct longterm indebtedness and the value of a manufacturing plant. Crowded galleries watched as the conservatives won their only important victory on Spears motion to table an amendment by George Preston, Paris, which would have stricken the franchise tax from the bill entirely. The voting was close, and it took a verification to confirm that the Spears motion had lost, 74-72. Realizing that the Preston amendment would be a’major blow to the entire tax bill, liberal and moderate floor leaders clustered about the clerk to find out how wavering members had voted, then sent Spears to the front micro phone with urgent requests to stall the final vote on the Preston amendment itself while they worked the floor. Shift in Votes The young San Antonian, visibly angry, proceeded to deliver perhaps the most forceful speech of the session. “There. has been -talk about penalizing industry,” he said. “We’re not penalizing industry. Every state in the union except two has a multi-factor base such as this. You’ve got no problem with the corporations with all their property and sales in Texas. They pay 100 percent of their capitaland that’s three-fourths of the businesses in this state and 33,000 corporations. “One-fourth of them have an advantage only one other state gives. It’s an advantage that should be rectified so that the multi-state corporation will be paying on the same par. You can vote against this bill if you want to favor the large interstate corporations and penalize further the domestic corporation. It’s an unfair proposition to create and maintain this inequitable tax advantage.” Closely Fought Senate Race Into Homestretch AUSTIN And then there were 65. At last count, the senatorial race had declined to that stillclogged number, from its peak of 72. Actually only 71 names will appear on the ballot, which more than two million Texans are eligible to mark this week, because one of the minor candidates backed out in time to have the secretary of state erase his name. Others have subsequently withdrawn. As the candidates came pounding down the homestretch, one could tell from the noise that it wasn’t a neck-and-neck race, but there was too much dust to tell who was ahead. In a real achievement, the Baptist General Convention hunted around until it actually found one issue on which all of the Big Six Could agreefederal aid to education. Thai. is, they all favored one facet of the program, withholding tax funds from church-related sch ools. The Convention, which polled the candidates on this point, added, however, that Gonzalez saw nothing wrong with giving tax aid for the transportation of children to parochial schools. Reports of campaign contributions began to trickle into the Senate secretary, and a preliminary tally showed Will Wilson receiving more than any other candidate, $9,695, with John Tower close behind, $9,637, and Blakley next with $8,562. On the expenditures list, the output of Tower, Wilson, and Blakley accounted for threefourths the total. Jim Wright Speaks Congressman Jim Wright, in El Paso, praised the appointment of that city’s mayor Raymond Telles as ambassador to Costa Rica, said it was a healthy step away from appointing diplomats as a political reward and toward appointing them on ability. He said he wanted to “abolish the mink and limousine atmosphere of U.S. embassies in countries where many of the people are barefooted.” The El Paso Herald-Post endorsed both Wright and Will Wilson as “best.” Referring to the Capehart housing scandal at Fort Bliss, Wright said he favors less government construction for military personnel and an increase in housing allotment to let the military people find their housing within the community. In Fort Worth, his hometown, Wright said he would fight to the last to block President Kennedy’s order to halt B-58 production at the Convair Aircraft plant as soon as present orders are filled. In Dallas, Wright said on a television show, “I was a Democrat in 1952 and in 1956 when Sam Rayburn was looking all over Texas for Democrats while others in this race who now call themselves Democrats could not be found.” This was apparently a reference to Blakley, who backed Eisenbower in those campaigns. But as to his position within the Democratic Party, Wright said: “Texas wants a senator who will not he dominated by extremes but will make up his own mind on the various issuesnot representing any one segment. “Above all, I believe Texans will prove that they are not going to let this Senate seat be controlled by any majority, whether it be of the right or the far left.” Aimed at the far right was his statement in Houston that he will call for a congressional investigation of the John Birch Society, a secret society whose members say they are only trying to rid the world of socialism. Avoids Extremes Wright said: “In the extreme left are the remnants of a philosophy which sprang up in the .depression of the 1930s, teaching that enterprise is evil and business is basically bad. . . . Their only solution is to socialize. “Yet another segment of the economy at the other far extreme is a little group so brainwashed by a barrage of one-sided propaganda that they have come to view ,,their own government as their greatest enemy.” He likened the John Birch Society to Hitler’s regime and to the Ku Klux Klan. Republican Tower has not escaped Wright’s wrath for being what Wright called “a puppet who has to rely on ‘the Republican National Committee to send in outside speakers to tell Texans what he thinks.” This was a reference to the recent. pro-Tower visit by Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who this week said he admires many of the people in the John Birch Society. Meanwhile, Wright himself was coming under attack. Liberal candidate Maury Maverick Jr. assailed him for failing to support President Kennedy’s $1.25 minimum wage program and for opposing unscrupulous’ labor leaders when unemployment is’ the real issue. Blakley Amigo Interim Senator William Blakley, the cowboy with solid gold spurs, was riding high with such new support coming in as that \(Continued
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.