Close Compromise in Week’s Tax Work sums. This is a compromise getting together. We’re attempting to send over a bill to the Senate without abdicating our responsibility.” Sandahl and his associates calmly steered the substitute through a nest of hostile amendments, losing onlyuntil the first vote on the entire package early Thursday morningon amendments in the sales tax section reducing the three percent tax on restaurant meals over $1 to two percent, exempting food entirely, and exempting medicine and drugs, farm machinery, and utilities used in agriculture. One of the crucial debates of the 57th legislature, on the gas pipelines tax, again involved Eckhardt and his arch-antagonist, Will Ehrle, Childress conservative. “This bill has been worked on by many people and analyzed thoroughly by the attorney general,” Eckhardt argued. “It’s the solution to taxing gas pipelines.” Ehrle offered an amendment to the Eckhardt tax. He charged that the original proposal was not a pipelines tax, but a production tax. “This substitute,” he said, “levies a franchise tax on the occupation of transporting gas through pipe * Here are the 71 House members who voted for the Sandahl substitute Friday morning. The bill would levy a $5 deductible sales tax of two percent with exemptions on food, medicine, drugs, farm machinery; flat two percent on construction materials and power-driven objects: two percent on restaurant meals; a natural gas pipeline tax; a franchise tax revision to include interstate sales terminating in Texas; a 50 percent increase in drivers’ license fees; and transfer of one percent of permanent school fund to available fund. The names listed in boldface are those who voted against the Sandahl Substitute in the earlier vote early Thursday morning, but who changed their votes Friday: Speaker Turman, Alaniz, Bailey, Ballman, Barlow, Bass, Bridges, AUSTIN The House stifled an attempt by a group of conservatives to whittle its committee-approved $380.7 million appropriations bill, sending the measure to third reading by a 16-vote margin Tuesday and then postponing final consideration on succeeding days to take up taxes. A motion at the very start by B. H. Dewey Jr. of Bryan, vicechairman of the appropriations committee, was approved by 7065 and foreclosed debate and amendments, prevented the carefully arranged plan of the conservatives to trim the bill by some $27 million. But after advancing it to third reading by a 77-61 margin, the House balked on Dewey’s motion to suspend the rules for immediate final passage, which needed four-fifths and got only a 68-68 tie. Ready to present the substitute were Reps. Wade Spilman of McAllen, Terry Townsend of Brady, Don Garrison of Houston, Ben Barnes of DeLeon, and J. Collier Adams of Lubbock. “Some of us are getting tired of the gestapolike tactics ramrodding this through,” Townsend told the House. The bill is identical to the appropriations measure passed by lines. I’ll be honestthere’s a serious question of constitutionality on this tax I’m offering, but there’s the same question on Mr. Eckhardt’s.” “I’m going to talk on this substitute as if it were seriously offered,” Eckhardt rebutted. “It might be called the 1961 version of the methane-ethane amendment offered in the Senate on the severance beneficiary tax in 1959 and authoredby his own admissionby Mr. Ehrle. That was the amendment that only left the smell in the gas tax. It’s said in the Senate that no bill can stand two Hardeman amendments. In the House, no gas tax can stand one Ehrle amendment.” He charged that Ehrle’s amendment would place a burden on interstate commerce and would be unconstitutional. Ehrle countered that his proposal was just as constitutional as Eckhardt’s. In one of the key votes of the 57th, Eckhardt’s motion to table Ehrle’s amendment carried, 93-51. Eckhardt, making a plea against questionable amendments because of “the sensitive area in which we are moving,” accepted an amendment safeguarding producers against a tax in case the whole measure were declared un Buchanan, Caldwell, Cannon, Carriker, Chapman, Cole of Houston, Cole of Greenville, Collins, Cotten, Cowles, Dewey, Dungan, Eckhardt, Gladden, Glass, Green, Hale, Haring, Harrington, Haynes, Hinson, Jamison, Johnson of San Antonio, Johnson of Temple. Jones of Austin, Kennard, Kilpatrick, Korioth, Lack, LaValle, Leaverton, Longoria, McGregor of ‘El Paso, Mcllhany, Markgraf, Mullen, Murray, Mutscher, Neimeyer, ‘Pearcy, Peeler, Pieratt, Preston, Price, Rapp. Also Richards, Richardson, Roberts of Hillsboro, Sandahl, Schram, Smith of Beaumont, Spears, Springer, Stewart of Galveston, Stewart of Wichita Falls, Trevino, Ward, Watson, Wells, Wheatley, Whitfield, Wilson of Trinity, Woods, and Yezak. the House in the regular session. It calls for $16 million more from the general revenue fund than the appropriations bill approved by the Senate last week. A HouseSenate conference committee will begin meetings to adjust the differences as soon as the House gives its final approval. Elsewhere in the capitol this week, conservative Rep. Paul Floyd of Houston said he will introduce a bill requiring full disclosure by legislators of all companies, firms, and organizations they represent as well as all the retainers and fees they receive. “If we’re going to pass stricter lobby control laws we should pass a stricter code of ethics for the legislature to abide by also,” Floyd said. “There are some members of the legislature who are, unfortunately, on retainers and represent, as attorneys, various organizations.” He warned that if his bill is blocked in committee, constitutional and lost on a minor amendment exempting liquefied hydrocarbons offered by Wayne Gibbens , of Breckenridge. The pipelines levy had its closest call on an amendment by Maco Stewart which would have set up a “suspense fund” to hold revenues collected under such a tax while it was contested in the courts. Stewart argued, “We must be honest and tell the truth to the people of Texas on this matter.” Opponents of the effort were led by Franklin Spears of San Antonio, who said, “If this amendment goes on, it’ll be an invitation to contest the law.” The motion to table Stewart failed, 76-69, but on the direct vote on the amend.. ment itself, in a hushed chamber, the margin was 82-61 against. Beer on the Defensive Beer came in for a difficult time during the two-day fight. Three unsuccessful attempts were made to increase the beer tax, the first by W. S. Heatly, conservative from Paducah, who offered a, whopping tax of $50 million as a complete substitute to the gas pipelines tax. “Everybody’s got some idea of taxing natural gas,” Heatly said. “I want to tax fermented gas. This is a severance beneficiary taxit severs the money from the beer people and benefits the people of Texas.” Referring to Ray Bartram of New Braunfels, a veteran defender of increased taxes on beer, Heatly said, “People in my district drink more beer and whisky per capita than in yours, and there’re two bootleggers down there sellin’ it allSpec Gladden and a one-eyed nigger named Scott Tory.” Red Berry of San Antonio, who will needle Heatly whenever an he will offer it as an amendment on the floor to other lobby control Speaker Turman named Charles Hughes, Sherman liberal, as chairman of the five-man House committee charged with investigating the increased auto insurance rates. Other appointees: H. G. Wells of Tuna, David Ratcliff of Dallas, Will Smith of Beaumont, and Charles Whitfield of Houston. Whitfield told the Observer he will try to persuade the panel “to gather some independent information so we’ll be able to judge for ourselves. So far no real spokesman has come forward to refute these new rates.” He proposed that voluntary cooperation be solicited from qualified professors at the University of Texas and that pertinent information be obtained from various agencies and organizations. A bill to establish a state water pollution control board got a hearing before the House conservation and reclamation committee and was referred to subcommittee. Sponsored by Dick Cory of Victoria, it is a somewhat strengthened version of a measure that died in the regular session. A special 15-member investigative board would be set up and firms causing pollution of streams or water supplies ‘would opportunity presents iself, moved in. “Bill, how come you know so much about those bootleggers?” “I tell you why,” Heatly shouted. “When I was attorney out there I got the LCB to send some men out one night and we raided ’em and took it all to the courthouse. That’s the only way we could get anything done. Spec Gladden’s been over there bootleggin’ since World War I.” Bartram, arguing that beer is already overtaxed, said “I wonder if there’s some way to tax that hot air he’s been spouting up there.” The Heatly substitute failed. Bill Hollowell of Grand Saline tried later in the evening to tax the hops unsuccessfully. Attacking the Austin beer lobbyist, he said, “The q ;tuestion here is, should beer be exempt because Homer Leonard serves catfish at a big lakehouse down here and would entertain me if I let him?” Obie Jones of Austin, rising to the occasion, called Leonard “a gentleman and he lives in my constituencyand I don’t want anyone jumping on one of my constituents.” Later, during debate on an amendment’ by Maco Stewart which would earmark one percent of the sales tax part of the Sandahl Substitute for tourist promotion in Texas, Berry took the microphone to observe: “We ain’t got no horseracing, we ain’t got no legal bars to bring people to Texas. All we got is bootleggers in Paducah.” Evening Debate The mood oscillated between banter and grim seriousness during the Wednesday night and early Thursday morning debate on the Sandahl Substitute. Bill Jones, Dallas conservative, offered an amendment to strike out the sales tax part of the package. “All those who say they’re against a sales tax,” he said, “let’s see how you stand.” Don Kennard, Fort Worth liberal, accused Jones of trying to put anti-sales taxers who were reluctantly going along with the $5 deductible compromise on the spot. “This is the first thing we want to get settled,” Jones said. Shouting to fellow Dallas conservative Ben Atwell, who pushed * * be required to get permits. Stiff opposition came from Jim Yancey of the Texas Manufacturers Assn. and Jack T. Garrett of Monsanto Chemical Company, who opposed the special board. and argued that technical administration be left to the department of health. Cory and other advocates warned that this may be the last chance to avert a federal system of controls. The House education committee recommended that a bill by Sam Collins of Jasper providing special financial aid to segregated schools in sparsely populated areas be passed during the special session. “This is not a segregation bill,” Collins said, “but I want to help the Negro schools in my district.” The measure would provide an additional $378,000 yearly for allotment of teachers on an equal basis to both white and Negro schools. Under present laws, extra teachers are provided for districts with fewer than one student for each square mile. No provision is made for districts that have separate school systems. Rep. Paul Haring of Goliad protested that Collins’ bill would not encourage small school districts to integrate. “I’m just trying to help my Negro students,” Collins said. the wrong button -“Vote No, Jumbo” Jones watched his amendment go down to defeat, 80-56. With nine exceptions, the 56 who voted with Jones were sales tax conservatives. The straight exemption on food was then offered by Jones and accepted by author Sandahl. It was past midnight when the House turned to controversial article seven of the substitute, the two percent tax on utilities gross receipts. The Sandahl compromise team recommended placing a straight two percent tax rate for $16 million. Dick Cory, Victoria conservative, offered a gutting amendment which opponents argued not only deleted the full $16 million in new money but took away an additional $3 to $4 million in present taxes as well. Cory and Bob Fairchild of Center said the proposed tax would discriminate against REA’s and, as Fairchild charged, “po’ country folks.” Spokesman for the Sandahl Substitute charged that the new tax would only hit large industries in rural areas. A ,highly complicated parliamentary situation ensued. Cory won his first vote on a motion to table his amendment, 87-56. Moments later, after a succession of votes on substitute motions, a quick-thinking B. H. Dewey of Bryan moved to table the Cory amendment as finally substituted, which would have left the $16 million tax intact. The vote was 68-68 after verification, and in the first of two crucial tie-breaking votes, Speaker Turman made the margin 69-68. The Sandahl Substitute had reached the end of its day-long journey at least substantially intact. But on the vote on the entire package, a somewhat surprised House saw its work go up in smoke with a 77-62 vote against the substitute measure. Conservative Terry Townsend quickly moved to reconsider and table the Sandahl Substitute, which would have killed it for the session. While DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi stalled for time with a trivial speech at the front microphone, proponents of the measure swiftly worked the floor and warned liberals who had voted against the substitute to oppose the motion to destroy it for the session. The result was a change in 21 votes and an 82-57 negative vote. Flat Sales Tax Too Next day, a weary House returned and spent an entire afternoon tearing to pieces a package plan offered by conservative Tom Andrews of Aransas Pass. It would have levied an across the board one percent sales tax on both goods and services, as well as a gas pipelines occupation tax and a watered-down escheat bill. One exemption after another carried. Finally, a motion by Stewart striking out the entire sales tax section of the Andrews package, in effect gutting it, passed by 89-54. In a week of hard work on a
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.