Senate Passes Appropriations; Same as Before A Women’s Rally Against Sales Tax AUSTIN One observer likened the anti-sales tax rally in Austin Monday night to a meeting of the early Christians in the catacombs. It was an apt analogy. Less than 200 anti-sales taxers turned out, but they were full of fervor. Rain forced them out of Wooldridge Park and into a catacomb-like environmentthe basement of the Austin public library, across the street. Hot-humid air poured in the grass-level window, makeshift hand fans made crinkling noises, the “Bohac Sisters” from Ranger Patricia and Therisa on the accordions, Monica on the drums, Adolph Shupac on the electric guitar; all of them sub-teenschurned the air with “San Antonio Rose,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, “The Pennsylvania Polka,” \(which turned out to be A collection was taken in a straw hat”for something for the women to spend working on the lobbyists,” said Mrs. Minnie Fisher ‘Cunninghamand $90.86 was taken in. Then the crowd settled down to reason and to Rep. Bob Eckhardt. “The sales tax program has been pushed by an extremely effective Madison Avenue-type lobby,” said Eckhardt. “It is the most extensive and effective lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen. I must take my hat off to them. The lobby has grafted onto its usual beef-and-bourbon approach to the legislature a true grassroots appeal to the people, spreading two basic myths. Two Myths “The first myth is that there is no other tax from which $300some-odd million can be raised The second myth is that this is the fairest tax. “As to myth Number One, it Is the only way to raise that much money if one is unwilling to take on the major lobbyists in Austin. The only real lobby that has ever opposed the sales tax is just the plain voting people back home, and they take a long time to get mobilized. “How is it that the state has moved so radically from four years ago, when it seemed impossible to pass a sales tax, until now, when too many people are talking about it’s being the only way? The same pattern of attack has been followed as was followed by Gov. W. Lee O’Daniel when he tried to push through his transactions tax act. “First, the sales tax lobby selected a great and moving cause this time it was education. O’Daniel took old age pensions and told the people the only way to pay for old age pensions was a transactions tax. But that backfired; the people simply wouldn’t buy a transactions tax. Instead, we passed the first decent level of taxation on gas, oil, and .sulphur. Paid Citizens “When you call an organization ‘Citizens for Sales Tax’, you think of volUnteers. But Tom Sealy, a very competent attorney from the Permian basin, who has represented the oil industry very ably, was paid $25,000 for serving as a citizen in this group, and Searcy Bracewell, attorney for Gulf Utilities, was paid $20,000 for serving as a citizen. “Also, I am reliably informed by a gentleman who was just a bit sore at not getting the job that $150,000 was contributed to the Citizens for Sales Tax organization by one major oil company.” As for the second myth, about its being the fairest tax, Eckhardt said: “The sales tax has just twice the bite on the $3,000.. $4,000 income as on the $10,000and-over income. How can anyone call that a fair tax?” Referring to the widely publicized campaign promises of the governor, the lieutenant governor, and many members of the legislatUre to oppose a sales tax to the bitter end, Eckhardt said, to heavy applause: “I contend a political commitment is just as binding as a business commitment.” Pep Talk Don Yarborough, Houston attorney who ran a strong race for lieutenant governor and is rumored to be readying for another campaign joust, was introduced by Mrs. Lillian Collier as scheduled “to give us a pep talk,” and that’s about what it was. Yarborough said : “I am absolutely thrilled to see this wonderful turnout . .. Every single person here is a leader of our state. . . . . We will be bragging to our children and our grandchildren that we were among those who stood against the sales tax. . . . The legislators who fought the battle of the Alamo in the regular session will now be among those who will fight the battle of San Jacinto in this sales tax fight. remind all of our politicians that there is a great difference between compromise and surrender. We don’t want to compromise within the framework of a sales taxit is non-negotiable. . . . There are literally hundreds of thousands of people in Texas who are hungry. This is a fight on behalf of those who have not had a place in the sun up to this time.” Mrs. Cunningham, one of the grand dames of the Texas Democratic Party, wearing a purple and pink flowered hat, apologized to the crowd for advertising re . freshments and then not offer ing any. “But we who are from the country had heard or read that the lobby always supplies the refreshments,” she smiled, “and they let us down.” Sen. Doyle Willis, Fort Worth, stepped to the microphone and said: “Remember the Alamo and Thermopylae had no messengers of defeat. There are many more here tonight than were at some of the meetings when Senator Yarborough was fighting his way up. This is a good crowd. Ultimately we’ll triumph. “You can anoint a sales tax with oil, but it is still a tax on the poor.” Mrs. Collier: “Thank the Lord for one senator who will come out with us. Before this is over, we’ll have 31 good senators.” While Willis was the only member of the Senate to show up, the House was represented by Lloyd Guffey, Dan Struve, Roy Harrington, Jim Markgraf, Bill Rapp, Ted Springer, Ronald Roberts, Scot Bailey, and Gus Mutcher. The Bohac sisters and Adolph struck up “Blue Hawaii,” and the sticky-sweaty, cheerful Christians broke up their revival meeting and walked into the night, ready to meet the lobby lions that paced the capitol corridors. AUSTIN While the House tax committee was hearing bills to provide the money, the Senate passed the same appropriaproved on the last night of the regular session and the House sent to the Senate a bill embodying the $810 teachers’ pay raise. The Senate expects to act Monday, if possible, on the teachers’ salary increase, which has been approved by its education committee. It took only ten minutes of debate, mainly on whether Columbus Day should be restored as a state holiday, to re-approve an appropriations bill which draws on the general revenue fund for $253 million. The vote was 20-3. The total is $20 million less for the biennium than the appropriations measure sent out of the joint conference committee earlier. The House, by a 140-1 vote with only Wade Spilman of McAllen dissenting, sent to the Senate the $144 million pay bill which will hike the yearly base pay for teachers with bachelor’s degrees from $3,204 to $4,014. A successful amendment by Rep. Truett Latimer of Abilene, which carried 69-67, would reduce the prospective salary boost for superintendents and principals by almost $7 million. Further amendments by Rep. Reed Quilliam of Lubbock for a “stair-step” increase and by Rep. Jack Woods of Waco for applying more of the increase to higher salaries for “experienced teachers” were defeated. A bill to authorize the federal governmeint to establish the national seashore area on Padre Island was introduced by Sens. Bruce Reagan and Robert Baker, but because the issue was not included in the governor’s call for a special session, it was not referred to committee. Entertainment? Sirs: Your “Thoughts on an Institution” by Chandler Davidson prompts an account of school board doings here in Port Arthur. Last year, Port Arthur’s Thomas Jefferson High School’s 1,800 students placed three semifinalists in the National Merit examinations. By contrast, Pittsburgh’s Mount Lebanon High School’s 1,200 students placed seventeen semi-finalists. Did Thomas Jefferson’s Poor scholastic showing impel the Port Arthur Board of Education to corrective measures? Recently, the board announced purchase of time for telecasting football games. Although Texaco will pay the board for sponsoring the broadcasts, the amounts of money involved were not stated. I wonder whether the Port Arthur board and Texaco feel that football broadcasts will improve Thomas Jefferson High School’s scholastic standing? As in most places, possibly 50 of Thomas Jefferson’s 1,800 students actually play football. To the rest of the students as well as to the public, football is merely one other form of entertainment. Does the Port Arthur board feel that entertaining the citizenry is their major function? Samuel Schiffer, 3700 Franklin Ave., Groves. Texas Campgrounds XIV AUSTIN Bend, Texas, is a fishing town at a bend in the Colorado River before it enters and becomes the Highland Lakes. It was flowing under the bridge a coursing reddish brown. An old man in the store said “It’s been on the rise onto a week now. Rained all over, plum up to the head at Colorado Springs.” He said a week before he had caught catfish weighing 18 and 22 pounds under the bridge, on trot lines. Ranchers along the river there let in campers and fishermen for fees. We happened into a place where you leave your $2 in a tin box at the cattle gate. The river bends wide into a bluff; we camped across a rocky plain from it, under some elms that grow in a most puzzling way. Rising on a hump above the river, some of their limbs take off at right angles down the hill toward the river. The wind isn’t strong there; a few floods couldn’t turn them, yet one of the elms bends its whole trunk to the river. Another grows perfectly upright, divides and then one of the large trunks makes a rounded right turn and grows to the river. After a while of trying I said to my boy Gary, now aged eight, “I begin to suspect we’re not going to catch a fish.” “But Daddy,” he replied, “you know nothing is really impossible.” Before we could find out he cut his foot with a hatchet. * Between San Saba and Lometa, Highway 190 crosses the river. We tried the dirt road under the bridge, but the bank was too overgrown down there, so we drove down a road to a rancher’s house. For 50 cents he let us through. Passing a deep hole where they do the serious fishing, we camped at “the shoals,” as the rancher calls the broad place. The river was still flooding, but in normal times it’s two or three feet all the several hundred feet across. The rancher, a Mr. Broiles, paid us a visit after a while. An owl hooted, and he imparted to Gary the lore, “They say when an owl hoots in the daytime it’s gonna rain.” As we left he showed us his pet fawn, “Baby-face.” She got caught in a fence; the Broileses feed her milk out of a baby bottle and let her run free \(it would be has big black eyes and stems for legs, a soft fawn-brown skin speckled white, with a bar of brown down her spine, and a flipping tail. The old man let Gary feed her out of the bottle: our Celia, who is three now, stood behind him peeking timorously as the fawn sucked, Gary petting her with his free hand. I never saw children so rapt and happy. On our tenth anniversary Jean and I made another circuit out ofAustin. In San Antonio, McNay and Witte; then the Old Gray Moss Inn near Helotes for steaks; then a rustic fishing cabin at Medina Lake, a green bedstead, gaudy red and black oilcloth over the table, the bare bulb hanging from the knotted cord, the enamel pots, skillet, eggbeater, coffee pots, and the curtains decorated with red roses and red cooking utensils, bellying out in the breeze. Rain came sudden, not more than fifty waves of it, and then stopped; the birds resumed their songs, the drippings from the leaves falling on the tin roof and an upturned bucket in haphazard place and timing. Through the sounds there was the silence one feels when all the sounds are nature’s. Garner State Park has become a joke to the people living nearby. ”Ain’t hardly standin’ room weekends,” said a butcher in a supermarket in Hondo. We passed it by; and passed by, too, commercialized campspots along the Frio River toward Leakey. At a filling station one of the natives told us a place to go where the people weren’t. “The other night it was so crowded at Garner,” he said, “a man got up in the morning and reached for his pants got one legsomebody else had the other. You go out where I’m tellin’ you you won’t wake up with somebody in your breeches!” I won’t tell you where the place is; if you like quiet in the outdoors you’ll find your places on your own. Fifteen and twenty years ago my father and mother used to take my brother and me to Concan and Leakey; you could camp and fish most anywhere. Now most of the land is fenced and posted; you have to ask around to find a way in to the water. We paid $1 for camping and fishing rights along a mile of the river where only two or three other families had been let in. We swam half a mile downstream, slept under the great kneed cypress trees, had hot coffee in the drizzling morning. The Frio is still a good river because it is too shallow and rocky for power boats but deep enough and fresh for swimming and fishing. We drove, then, toward the Sabinal. “I love these humpy hills,” Jean said. We passed into Vanderpool, at the foot of Sabinal Canyon, and plunged up into it on the gravel road winding through the brush. The road switches back and forth across the creek; but for a few houses there are no signs of humanity. Mid-way up the big tooth maples lift their graceful branches to block the daylight. The road we joined, Highway 39, runs down the valley of the Guadalupe, a blue sheet flowing down its broad course. On the roads to Fredericksburg they were selling their succulent peaches by the bushel, and a rough Irish lady showed how she candles her eggs for sale. The burnt gold fields glowed in the strange rainlight. R.D. Prohibit Billboards And Gather Bonus? AUSTIN Should Texas prohibit billboards adjacent to new interstate highways and thus reap millions of dollars in additional federal support? The question was answered with a resounding no by the 56th legislature, which buried in corn.
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