neglected stopped getting a total of $5 million a year in 1960. This averages $200 a child a year. CLEARLY such a summary as this cannot do justice to year-long studies that engage investigators for months and fill several volumes. The first report on welfare, for instance, covered 146 pages, and there have been three more reports. This summary has been chosen to stress the fact that the league’s commitment to economy has not constrained it from adopting partisan positions. The league has advanced many modern ideas for better government and more intelligent servicesfor instance, the burden of its proposed reforms of the state hospitals was the provision of adequate psychological treatment in place of the warehousing theory which still largely prevails in those hospitals. No one doubts or depreciates its contributions to economy in government. But it has also ventured other suggestions subject to political exception. During the last legislature it quoted with apparent approval Gov. Daniel’s proposal to increase college tuition. It advanced, apparently in its own name, the idea of using $4 million from the permanent school fund to pay current Sequels The U.S. Public Health Service an nounced that of the 60 U.S. cities tested for radioactivity in December, Dallas and Austin had the highest levels of radioactive iodine in pasteurized milk. This was attributed to Russian nuclear testing in late November and to freak wind conditions. Apparently pursuant to the Observer’s Dec. 13 story, “A Few Christmas Souvenirs,” the Houston papet*, broke stories on unusual increases there during the freak period, and the Chronicle editorially chastised pertinent officials for having failed to tell Houstonians about it. The Bremond, Tex., public school where only Catholics attended and where Catholic nuns were the teachers has been closed permanently, which forecloses litigation seeking a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against such practices [“Controversy in Bremond,” Obs. Oct. 7, Reporter James Presley did not hear from Gov. Price Daniel in answer to his letter asking commutation of pending death sentences in Texas I “Progress ReGeorge Christian, the governor’s press man. Christian recited Daniel’s position that capital punishment has “served a useful purpose as a deterrent” and said the board of pardons and paroles has to recommend “all clemency to the governor before he can take action.” operating costs of the public schools. On occasion its spokesmen have lent their names to generalized statements warning against higher state spending. \(In June, 1961, Burger said spending requirements had “snowballed” and the legislature had allowed the problem “to get somewhat tions on the state parksaiming generally at more professional park rangers and better management of parks also proposed that 17 state parks be abandoned, including Blanco, a 110acre park beside the Blanco River; Balmorhea, a 48-acre tract situated beside free-flowing mineral springs in the West Texas desert; and Mother Neff, a 259-acre park beside the Leon River.’ In his report to league members in June two years ago, Burger argued quite partisanly against federal aid to education. The league’s executive director wrote, in the league’s official publication: The multi-billion-dollar federal aid-toeducation bill has passed the U.S. Senate and now awaits action by the House. If it should pass, it will not only cost Texas taxpayers just about as much as it will give us in so-called aid, but it will create some real problems and headaches for our state officials. Statements that the bill contains no federal controls are false. It contains some dangerous controls, and there is every intention of adding more as soon as the bill becomes law. . . . No state seems to need or want this federal aid, yet Congress is getting ready to pass it unless public opposition asserts itself with more vigor. In all these matters, the league may be right or wrong, but its apparently invariant objective of reducing the net costs of government makes its proposals for cheaper state services subject to question when they are advanced as objective. IN 1960 the league published a study of the public schools of Orange County, and it now shows signs of turning increasing attention toward local tax situations. A study by the state commission in 1961 gave hintsif it reflected the curiosities and dispositions of the league, itself of what may lie behind this new emphasis. Business pays the bulk of local property taxes. The 1961 study broached four principal _”alternatives to increasing the pressure on the local property tax”: the state paying for local service responsibilities, direct state aid to local government, shared tax programs between local and state levels of government, and “permissive local nonproperty taxation,” namely, the local sales tax and the local income tax. “There is, it appears,” said the commission, “some real interest in permissive local taxation in Texas.” In a little-noticed recommendation, the commission said in 1961 that if the legislature should decide to grant new local taxing powers, it should prescribe, for the localities, “standard provisions as to rates, exemptions, penalty and credit provisions.” In other words, the commission does not want localities to have the power to pass whatever kinds of local taxes they want, but only kinds the legislature says they can pass. What is the future of the state’s own research? The Texas legislative council continues to produce its reports. Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston continues to try to persuade his colleagues to provide research personnel to the key legislative committees. The state tax commission has proposed that a tax study group be made permanent and financed either by an annual state budget of about $50,000 or by the league providing the free staff. More significantly, last week the Senate was considering a bill to establish a little Hoover commission on state government. It was carried by Senator Bill Patman of Ganado. The commission’s work is expected to cost the state $200,000, and there is a provision in the bill that says, “Private funds shall not be used to defray the cost of conducting any of the affairs of the [‘little Hodver’ I commission, it being the legislative intent that only state funds are to be used.” Senator Parkhouse, the chairman of the tax study commission, objected to spending all that money for the state’s study of economy, duplication, unnecessary services, and the organization of the executive branch. Senator George Moffett, Chillicothe, asked what the new commission could do that the Texas Research League ,is not already doing. Senator Patman responded that he thought the state should pay for its own research, rather than letting a private group do so. The Hoover commission bill was adopted by the Senate, 27 to 2. Would such a commission knock the Texas Research League out of a job? The objectives of its work would be pretty much the same, said Alvin Burger this week, but “There won’t be any conflict there. The problems of state government are growing so. It’s big, and it’s important.” R.D. February 7, 1963
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