Page 3


House Fumes, Postpones AUSTIN The Daniel-liberal coalition in the House, thwarted twice again, fumed angrily this week, waiting for the general sales tax to arrive from the Senate. The sponsor of the House general sales tax, Rep. Charles Wilson, conditionally turned on his own legislation as “compromising.” The House postponed until Mondaywhen the Senate tax bill probably will have reached themcorporate income and natural gas tax proposals. At the same time, immediate consideration of the Eckhardt natural gas tax on pipelines received 69 votes, evidence that it has replaced the unconstitutional severance beneficiary gas tax in the thinking of the more liberal half of the House. Rep. Tony Korioth, Sherman, also received 57 votes for the consideration of his corporate profits tax exempting all businesses with net income of $20,000 or less. He said credit would be allowed for state property taxes, and all the revenue would be allocated to the public school program. The business franchise tax, which Korioth’s corporate tax would replace, is, said Korioth, based not on ability to pay but the simple fact that businesses exist. Rep. Wilson argued for the corporate profits tax on grounds that it is fair, “a balanced companion for the sales tax,” and that postponement of a vote was actually avoidance of the issue. When the House postponed the bill 7457, Wilson snapped, “See you in Rep. Bob Eckhardt, Houston, tried to bring up his tax on certain major gas pipelines immediately after Korioth’s tax was postponed. Texas producers. Eckhardt said. get only 12 cents per thousand cubic feet of gas, compared to Louisiana producers’ 17 cents. Four lame pipelinesEl Paso Natural, Tennessee Gas Transmission, Texas Eastern, and iPanhandle Eastern hold 75.6 trillion cubic feet of Texas gas under longterm low-price contracts, he said. Without his tax, Eckhardt said, the state loses $126 million in taxes. Eckhardt’s tax would require pipelines which buy Texas gas at very cheap prices to pay the difference between the present producers’ tax and a one-cent tax per thousand cubic feet. It would not raise producers’ present taxes, nor the pipelines’ taxes if they are paying more than 15 cents a thousand cubic feet for their gas. It would, he said, tax the pipelines “which are making a big profit getting their gas cheap.” The revenue would be allocated to the cost of medical care for the indigent aged. Last year, he said, the four named companies produced 15 per cent more gas than before and made 8 per cent higher profits. If the House does not tax them, he said, it will have defaulted its responsibility to the Senate. Under questioning from Rep. George Hinson, Mineola, who carried the governor’s severancebeneficiary natural gas tax in 1959 \(since declared unconstitustitutional provisions appeared in versions subsequent to the one Hinson introduced. The courts held that the attempt in the 1959 bill to tax pipelines “downstream” from production was a burden on interstate commerce, Eckhardt said. His bill taxed extraction at the point of production only, he said. “Earnestly working with those hardt said, “I think we’ve got all the constitutional bugs out of the bill.” Rep. Truett Latimer, Abilene, moved to postpone without discussing the merits of the bill. Eckhardt closed: “Let us today work on something which will affect the far distant future, which will decide whether a great amount of resources from now on will be taken from the natural wealth of the state rather than from the pockets of the consumers of the state.” The bill was postponed 72-69. Afterwards the three losers of the day were interviewed. Wilson said: A special session is now certain. “I further think that the worst thing that could happen to the state would be \(for tax without getting these other taxesbecause the only justification for passing a regressive tax measure is to feel that the end, the appropriations bill, justifies the means, and right now we’ve got a compromising means and no end.” As of now, the sales tax “won’t raise enough money for medical assistance to the aged, for a school teachers’ raise over $500, for any more money. for higher education, or to give the Department of Corrections what they need,” Wilson said. Korioth said: “The big issue now is whether to concur or not to concur in Senate amendments to House Bill 334,” that is, to the Senate’s tax bill. “If we win the battle, we get to conference and might could get a good bill. If the conservatives can concur in Senate amendments to H.B. 334 here in the House, then they’ve won.” Eckhardt said: The gas bill came up at an inopportune juncture after one postponement, the members wanted to get on with the suspension calendar, and with the Senate bill coming out, the impetus for postponement was strong, but “I had to try it.” “I think we’re in for a special session. I don’t think that a tax School Board Firm On ACLU Denial property sign the same non-cornmtiNst oath that teachers, school employees, and trustees must now , sign under state law. Butler proposed the new regulation. Mrs. White objected: “I am against this because freedom of speech is such a precious heritage and too important to be tampered with at all, especially bya school board, who should set an example that all may follow. I am not willing to accept the judgment of one citizen, or one group against another group, as to whether they qualify as good citizens. It seems to be a fad now by some groups to accuse the last three presidents of the United States of not being gocd Americans.” Bang went Mrs. Frank Dyer’s gavel, as she ruled Mrs. White out of order. Mrs. Dyer, insurance saleswoman for a subsidiary of Tennessee Gas Corp., told Mrs. White that the board was not discussing “who is a good American and who is not. You are trying to say that you are for good Americans and the board is not. We are discussing a matter of general board policy about the renting of school facilities.” Mrs. White was not through: “That may be, but I don’t see what the difference is between renting to George Roberts and C. J. Bracken Lee and to the American Civil Liberties Union. They all seem to be controversial.” When questioned about the speech by former Utah Governor Lee, a Birch Society defender, in a school facility, Mrs. Dyer asked what was wrong with that? Malin, while he was here, ad vised the ACLU chapter not to bill that doesn’t have something file suit against the school board. on gas in it will escape the gov This is probably because the ernor’s veto,” Eckhardt said. .. ACLU has a similar case en route R.D. to the U. S. Supreme Court now. HOUSTON The wrangle this week in the Houston schools concerns Supt. John McFarland’s denial of the use of a school auditorium to the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Ben Levy, writing the board at MCFarland’s suggestion, asked for such permission. J. W. McCullough, Jr., a post commander in the American Legion, was ready with his answer. He was indignant that such a bunch would ask to use a school building. He read from a 1952 Legion publication which accused ACLU members of being communists, slackers, draft dodgers, and intellectual cowards. He moved that permission be denied them. Joe Kelly Butler, president of the Oil Well Production Maintenance Co., a drilling firm, proposed, instead, “that it be the policy of this board not to allow the school auditoriums to be used by an organization we have information concerning their activities not in keeping with the feeling of the people of Houston.” Mrs. Charles E. White, the only liberal on the board, was having none of this, but to no avail: five to one, the board agreed. Patrick Malin, national ACLU head, spoke elsewhere in Houston without incident. Meanwhile, many school patrons began wondering how the board was going to gauge “the feelings of the people of Houston.” A special meeting was called to reconsider. In the staccato 30-minute reconsideration, the board voted for a rental permit for school yOU 1111 c Ar ecicW*** oleo SIi$Sa$ to THE TEXAS OBSERVER Name Address City State Send $5 to The Texas Observer, 504 W. 24, Austin, Texas