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By Three Votes Natural Gas Levy Killed for Session Conference Committee at Odds; Veto Threat Tax Impasse Seen AUSTIN House and Senate conferees were to meet over the weekend in one final effort to resolve their differences, but the likelihood of a compromise solution on a tax bill seemed all but futile. The regular session ends at midnight Monday. For the second time in five days, the House Thursday thwarted an effort to concur en toto with the Senate version of HB 334. Sentiment against a compromise resolution which originated with Gov. Daniel and was backed by Speaker James Turman and House tax conferees was so strong that it was withdrawn only minutes later. The compromise would have “requested” the House conference delegation to confront the senators with a package .: a “Pennsylvania sales tax” with exemptions on food, feed, and medicine, and a $10 deductible on clothing, and the two-factor corporate franchise tax which earlier passed the House. A feeling of futility has now enveloped the Capitol, and veteran legislators believe the regular session is dead. The Senate amendments to HB 334, which is the Senate tax bill, would raise $340 million for the biennium through a two per cent general retail sales tax with certain exemptions, an increase in the natural gas production tax from seven to eight per cent, and a continuation of the temporary franchise tax increase of two years ago. As the Observer goes to press, four developments could occur: 1. The conference committee could remain in deadlock and the House, in the last hours before Monday midnight, could vote to concur with th,e Senate-passed 1006011/0001111111111110001110001110111 SENATE ELECTION The Tower-Blakley Senate runoff takes place after this issue goes to the press. Next week’s issue will have a detailed analysis of the returns. P00111011111111111111/1110111001111110114116001 tax; this would almost certainly draw a veto from the governor. 2. The governor would have a choice of vetoin,g the tax bill, signing it, or letting it become law without his signature. 3. The conferees could come up with some last-minute tax plan for House consideration Monday. 4. If the conference committee remains in stalemate, the House might once again defeat a motion to concur with the Senate version, which would be tantamount to a House veto on the Senate and which would kill the session. Conferees from the House are Reps. Hallman, Wilson, Murray, Korioth, and Hinson; from the Senate, Sens. Lane, Hardeman, Creighton, Fuller, and Reagan. After Gov. Daniel’s strongly worded statement \(“If the House sends me that tax bill they are after the House refused for the first time last Saturday to concur in the Senate bill, the conference committee met in five sessions this week. The senators steadfastly refused to accept any of the proposals made by the House conference group, including several variations on the sales tax theme coupled with certain taxes on business. They refused a deductible sales tax, the “Pennsylvania sales tax”, a gas pipelines tax, and a shift in the franchise tax as embodied in the Senate bill to place greater impact on interstate corporations. Charles Ballman of Borger, chairman of the House tax committee, reported to the House Thursday afternoon that the House conferees had offered the Senate conferees “no less than three plans with a sales tax base” along with certain business taxes and the senators had refused each time. He said they would keep trying. Ballman told the House the only concessions the Senate conferees said they would accept were a minor “bookkeeping” bill and a change in the allocation of tax revenue from the available school fund to the minimum school fund. “They’ll agree to tax the school children of Texas but not industry,” Ballman said. In a long and somewhat heated exchange with W. S. Heady, conservative from Paducah, who wanted to know when the House would have an opportunity to vote on a tax bill, Ballman said he believed some kind of sales tax was necessary, but that it should be balanced “with enough business taxes so that the burden will be shared at least equally by business and the people.” He said Gov. Daniel had pledged himself to veto, the Senate version of HB 334. Townsend, a moderate from Brady, made his motion to discharge the conference committee. An accompanying motion would have had the House concur with the Senate tax bill. “The Senate isn’t going to budge,” Townsend said. “Now is the time to concur.” He said he was hopeful the governor would not veto the bill after both houses had passed it. Tony Korioth, liberal from Sherman, warned that a vote for the Townsend motion was a vote for the Senate bill and a special session. Pointing to lobbyists in the gallery, he declared, “The boys upstairs there don’t want any kind of business tax. I can understand why they don’t want itthey don’t want anything.” James Nugent, Kerrville conservative, moved to table the Townsend motion to discharge the House conferees. “In my country,” he said, “when you send a man AUSTIN By being postponed for further House consideration until Monday, the last day of the regular session, Rep. Bob Eckhardt’s tax on dedicated reserves of natural gas was stymied this week. Proponents of the pipelines-taxing measure, however, believed the closeness of the vote, 64-61, augered well for its chances in a special session if Gov. Price Daniel chooses to endorse it. Supporters of the tax bill, led in floor debate by Eckhardt, Franklin Spears, Jim Markgraf, and Max Carriker, argued that natural gas is underpriced and undertaxed in Texas, that a pipepines levy would help the Texas producer, and that the new approach would avoid the legal pitfalls of the 1959 severance ‘beneficiary tax. Opponents, represented by conservative Will Ehrle of Childress, launched their attack primarily on unconstitutionality. As estimated, the bill would raise $30 million for the biennium, which Eckhardt said would be earmarked to finance the program of InediPril care for the indigent aged, approved as a constitutional amendment in the 1958 general election and just approved by both houses. ‘Let’s Reach Them Eckhardt described the bill as 9. “method by which gas may be taxed in Texas to make that factor making the largest profits bear the burden rather than some 3,500 producers and 50,000 royalty owners.” He said the early gas fields in the state produced gas “which went down to two cents per thousand cubic feet.” Most of the major contracts now in effect were made “when prices were abnormally low.” Eckhardt said the average price of gas in Texas today is 12.4 cents per MCF compared with 14.6 cents in Mexico, 15.1 in Nebraska, 17.4 in Louisiana, 18.3 in Mississippi, 22.2 in Canada, and 27.4 in Pennsylvania. His 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 the present 7 per cent production tax \(which would be increased one per cent under the Senate tax bill which emerged es if they are paying more than 15 cents per thousand cubic feet for their gas. Texas oil of an equivalent BTU value as 6000 cubic feet of gas now pays 13.8 cents in taxes under the 4.6 per cent production levy, Eckhardt said; the gas production tax at its present 7 per cent when the price is 12.4 cents pays only 5.2 cents. “Texas simply is not getting its proper tax return on gas as on oil,” he argued. “It’s quite obvious that gas is underpriced and undertaxed in Texas. “This tax would fall on the dedicated reserves holder, usually the long pipelines, only when the reserves holder pays less than a reasonable price,” under 15 -cents per MCF. “There are 75 trillion cubic feet of gas now tied up under long-term, low-price contracts,” he said, with price ranges from 4 to 18 cents, “but mostly in the neighborhood of 8, 10, and 12 cents.” Without his tax, he said, the stee loses $126 million in taxes. He named four major pipeline companiesEl Paso Natural Gas, Tennessee Gas Transmission, Texas Eastern, and Panhandle Easternwhich hold most of Texas’ gas reserves under low-price con Migrant Legislation Fails to Make It AUSTIN Five bills written with the intention of helping the living and working conditions of more than 100,000 Texansmigrant workers, the largest labor fund of its kind in the nationhave all been killed by neglect in the 57th legislature. To be exact, no bill aimed at helping the migrant worker was passed by the 57th legislature. Volume 53 TEXAS, MAY 27, 1961 15c per copy Number 8 The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Execution Nears -A Visit to Death Row DEATH ROW, HUNTSVILLE PRISON Charles Elbert Williams says he told his trial lawyers he had not committed rape but they did not tell the jury what he said. “I told ’em I didn’t do it. He didn’t say anythin’ to the jury I didn’t do it,” said the 20year-old Negro condemned to death June 3 by electrocution on conviction of raping a 47year-old white divorcee in rural East Texas two years ago. Dan Julian, one of Williams’ two trial attorneys, told the Observer in Crockett that Williams had alleged enticement to them but they did not tell the jury about it be cause there was no evidence and the woman had a good reputation. Death Row Interview Williams, behind the bars in the grey-dark Death Row in Huntsville, has a soft boy’s face with gentle open eyes, a look of lingering grievance in them. There is a twist of petulance in everything he says, as though, if he was younger, he would break out crying. “I want to get out there and live a life what a man should,” he said. “I’m not gonna be around Texas no how. If I get out tonight I’m leavin’ tonight. I can’t I’ve around Texas.” He had not been back from California three weeks, he said, “before somebody started push ing me around.” He told of the Negro policeman in Houston taking $20 to let him go, of the white police in Houston beating him when they suspected him of tire theft. If he got out, he said, “I’d go to work and try to take care of my dear old mother and try to take care of her like she has me.” “I always thought that a colored man should stay in his place. I always thought those people, white people, should stay in his place,” he said. “I think if a colored man want a woman, he should get a colored, and a white get a white.” There is a lot of sex between the races in East Texas, he said he had heard. Did he rape Mrs. Jones? “No sir, I didn’t,” he said. He said she “ca’d me home” three days in 1958 and once when the back seat had clothes in it, told him he could sit up front. He said she behaved suggestively and asked if he was married \(he said any white women,” to which he replied, “No ma’am, never have. I never thought about it.” He said she laughed at this. Then, Williams said, she pulled the car up between two bridges; but “I told her no.” She told him, he said, if he ran she would holler she was raped and they would “come and kill me.” He said he told her this was not fair. She slid across toward him, he said, and he opened the door “clear open,” but he said she reached across him and said if he did that again she would tear her clothes. Then, Williams said, he told her, ” ‘I hate to do it, but I guess I will’.” Afterwards he said, she told him if he told, “it’s your neck,