_ The Governor Is In a Somewhat Delicate Position * * Observer Notebook Daniel’s Firm Commitments on or “Governor Jim Hogg, who was a constant target of the special interests, called these gentlemen the ‘Knights of Congress Avenue.’ In a speech at the old Opera House in Austin, Governor Hogg said: ‘Let’s have Texas, the Empire State, governed by the people in Texas; not Texas, the truck-patch, ruled by corporate lobbyists.’ “-Gov. Price Daniel, midsummer 1959 * * * Once again, in the Texas House, the Knights of Congress Avenue have triumphed. At the expense of the average citizen of Texas, in naked defense of the wealthy interests which hire them, they have inspired the first general retail sales tax in history to pass the House of Representatives. We wonder what Price Daniel is thinking these days. He is basically a decent man ; even his political enemies respect him for this. There are chapters in his political past which are proud and will endure. He was one of the Immortal 56, who fought W. Lee O’Daniel to the bitter end and defeated the sales tax of 1939. He remembers those days. He often speaks of them. His greatest failing, which, after all, is the greater failing of our culture, has been his inability to prevail over those Knights of Congress Ave It will be highly interesting to watch the vote in the Texas House this week on the corporate income tax. We shall publish next week, in fourteen-point bold face print, the names of those estimable representatives who voted for the two per cent tax on Texas poverty last week and against the corporate tax, which primarily hits the Eastern-based oil and gas majors. This will be the most significant vote of the entire session. No better test could conceivably be devised of devotion to the Eastern lobby vs. devotion to the people of Texas. Rep. W. S. Heatly, well known to most legislative observers as an extravagant caricature of an early eighteenth century Tory, laid out the case this week : “We can hold appropriations down sufficiently to get by against any more tax bills because we don’t need them.” In other words, as the Spilmans, Ehrles, and other eighteenth century Tories doubtless agree, it is not only good lobby savvy to saddle the average wage earner with 90 per cent of Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. APRIL 29, 1961 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Bonnie Dugger, Contributing Editor nue whom, in moments of crisis, he has vilified and exposed as only Hogg and Allred before him. In the next several weeks Daniel will face the greatest decision of his political career. Will he approve a general retail sales taxeither by actually signing it or by not signing it at allor will he fight back, as chief executive of the state of Texas, with all the prestige and power at his disposal? For the issue, as Daniel well knows, is not merely one of a general sales tax or no general sales tax. There can be no argument, on intellectual Galbraithian terms, for a sales tax now. The conservatives and the lobby are still in sufficient control to block an adequate appropriations bill at every turn. Their play in future sessions, in order to block equitable taxes on the interests, will be simple. First the exemption on food and medicine will be abolished ; then the levy will be increased to three per cent, or perhaps four, or perhaps five. There is no dignity in a sales tax. In a state like Texas, from which the Eastern majors have been drawing our natural wealth for years on end, a sales tax is shoddy and obscene. It will become the focus of the entire organized robby on future appropriations. Gov. Daniel has fought two recent campaigns for governor on the issue of a sales tax. It has been the litmus test of his whole state political career., The central issue of his campaign against Jack Cox in 1960 was the sales tax. In 1958, even without the backing of the organized liberal community, he outlined his position in clear, straightforward terms. His political prestige is now at stake. If he allows this tax to become law, it will not only be a mockery of the great public service he performed, along with his 55 other colleagues, in 1939. It will be a mockery also of his career as governor, and of his commitments to the people. We wish him the courage of his past, and the vindication of his own political honor. W.M. the tax burden for the next two years, it is also sound lobby tactics to make damned sure, if other taxes threaten, that the very people hit by a sales tax don’t have a chance at a proper social return on a reasonable appropriations bill. And this, dear readers, is what masquerades in our beloved province as “conservatism.” C24. atien y e Rep. Criss Cole of Houston, a blind war veteran, persuaded the House state affairs committee to amend the anti-sit-in bill of Rep. Lloyd Martina kind of boondocks McCarthy and race-baiter who tells us the measure is not “discriminatory”to make sure that blind persons with seeingeye dogs cannot summarily be evicted from a business. It is not surprising, of course, that seeing-eye dogs take precedence over human beings in our culture. The challenge now, however, is to find a blind Negro with a seeing-eye dog to lead the next demonstration. Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: Mrs. IL D. Ran dolph, 419 1/2 Lovett Blvd., Houston 6, Texas. From the El Paso Herald-Post: Strange things happen in Austin. This week the House voted in favor of a sales tax, 76-62. We give praise to the 62 and we wonder what happened to the 76. However, three out of four of El Paso’s representatives voted for the people. As may have been expected, the fourth, Ned Blaine, voted against the people. Texasdoes not need a sales tax. Texas needs only a governor and legislators who will vote a tax on oil with which to run the state. The oil will not be here forever. It does not return once it’s shipped to New York, say. The bill now before the Senate in the legislature is an attempt to fool the people. The tax is two per cent and will rob the people of about $120 million. The bill was written by Charles Wilson, a pretty boy of 27 from Trinity. Obviously, he doesn’t know much about state taxes and cares less. Of course, the bill is not fair. It makes exemptions of food, medicine and farm machinery. Why should farm machinery be exempt? The national government pays the farmer plenty. There is also an exemption for newspapers. We would rather not have it for The Herald-Post. It seems to us that Texans as a whole would have as much sense as El Pasoans and elect four out of five representatives who won’t raise their cost of living. It’s about time Texans started paying special attention to electing their legislators. In El Paso that goes for Ned Blaine and State Senator Frank Owens, neither of whom cares anything for the people. Texas is a great state. It is tops in many ways. One of those ways is the stupidity of many of its legislators. * * * Irony of the Week Division : Ed Drake, the former Dallas County Democratic chairman who has skittered over to the Republicans whenever the moderates got too moderate or the liberals too liberal in his “own” party, told a meeting of Dallas Democrats this week that Democrats will have to follow “a party loyalty line” to get Blakley elected. Drake is Cowboy Bill’s campaign manager in Dallas County. * * * Texas Observer Ltd. announces this week a contest among members of the Texas House of Representatives for four coveted awards : TMA Man of the Year, TMA Rookie of the Year, Pipelines Man of the Year, and Pipelines Rookie off, the Year. Nominations will be welcomed, but the final choice will be made by an impartial panel composed of Willie Morris, Bob Sherrill, and Ronnie Dugger. Winners will be chosen on the basis of thoroughness, zeal, effectiveness, friendliness, and dogmatism. Voting records will be analyzed, and lobbyists Jim Yancey of TMA and William Abington of Mid-Continent Oil and Gas will be asked to provide a roster of those who have been helpful and co-operative this year. The four winners will be announced in three weeks. They will receive copies of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, H. L. Hunt’s Alpaca, and a free subscription to the AFLCIO newsletter. * * * Over 800 Baptist students representing 55 Texas colleges raised their opposition to racial prejudice and pledged their support of desegregation of educational institutions last week. Only two students voted against the resolution and several others abstained. The resolution, passed at a meeting of students, officers, and leaders of the statewide Baptist Student Union, described racial tensions as’ “a cause for great concern for Baptist students.” It said: “We regret that we as Baptists .. . have too often failed in our interpretation of the Christian Gospel in regard to the problem of racial discrimination in the college community. Wait and See THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7c Arat
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