Tunnell A Matter of Three Billion . Dollars Austin The handling of the state’s spending budget for the next two years has been unusual in the House of Represenfatives this year. As Rep. Hosue appropriations committee, and the conservatives of the House see it, they have passed out a bill that is strictly limited to the money available without any new taxes, and this is the way the matter should be gone about. Governor John Connally, however, has proposed a bill that entails $45 million* in new taxation ; naturally he would have liked the House to consider his budget, but the fact is that they did not. The House appropriations committee had made all its decisions before Connally made his budget speech. The day after that speech, the House bill was plopped on every representative’s desk. In effect it was the same budget recommended earlier by the legislative budget board, with a few exceptions: the House bill struck out two-percent merit salary increases, cut down funds for the Texas water commission, and proposed to shift legal work done now by 76 lawyers for various state agencies into the legal purview of Bill Heatly’s close political ally, Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr. Then, last Wednesday, with only one serious attempt to amend the bill to include a segment of Connally’s higher education proposals, the House passed the Heatly-supervised budget. This was a victory for House Speaker Byron Tunnell and at least a temporary setback for Connally. Why did Connally not fight for his recommendations at this stage? A group of House liberals met privately at lunch and resolved to seek Connally’s support in delaying consideration of the Heatly bill and amending it to comport to Connally’s ideas._ Connally told them he would not back this move. He chose to ride with the Tunnell team, relying on assurances given to himas they were given, privately and publicly, to the Housethat if the legislature provides the new revenues, additional spending will be written into the *All figures in this story refer to twoyear periods, specifically the biennium of .ears 1964 and 1965. money bill later. wolf, hoping that it’ll eat them last.” “Later” means either by the Sen Rep. Paul Haring, Goliad, has an ate or in conference committee. The historical park, Fannin, in his disconference committee is the panel of trict. The budget omitted maintenance House and Senate members that “adfunds for it. When he agreed not to justs the differences between the two try to amend the bill to restore therri, houses.” It is appointed by the speaker he says, he was assured they would be of the House and the lieutenant govrestored. Rep. Jim Nugent, KeiTville, ernor. Connally is represented as dea candidate for speaker against Tuntermined to fight for his program if nell, has a 350-bed institution in Kerrnecessary ; the question is when, and ville Which the state hospital board whether it will be necessary. wants converted from a tubercular This turn of events has a number hospital to a mental hospital. The of implications. Broadly, it meant House money bill contains no approthat the House as a whole delegated priation for this institution. Without to five appointees whom Speaker Byobjection, the House has approved the ron Tunnell has not yet named the -change in the institution’s purpose, power to propose, for the House’s but restoration of funds for it now simple rejection or acceptance, how depends on the Senate and the Houseany new revenues shall be spent. For Senate conferees. some liberals in the House, it means that their home-district appropriations may depend in part on their going along on other things, such as higher college tuition, which they might not otherwise approve. For example, Fort Worth liberals found the Arlington state college budget for library books so sharply cut in the Heatly bill, they declared, and the team member handling the bill agreed, that Arlington would lose its accreditation as a four-year college if more money was not provided. Don Gladden and Hugh Parmer of Fort Worth said Heatly told them they would have to agree to vote for the money bill to get his assurance the funds would be added later. Angrily speaking of “extortion” and “a naked display of power,” they tried to add funds on the floor and lost, 43-94. The two liberals from Galveston, Don Brown and Ed Harris, found the appropriation for the Texas A. & M. maritime college in Galveston com pletely cut out of In a related connection, members of the Rio Grande Valley delegation, defending against charges from Rep. Lindsey Rodriguez, Hidalgo, that a routine bill of his was delayed because he had not pledged to Tunnell for speaker, denied that this was the reason for his chastisement. They said he had .boasted in , their districts he had passed legislation when they had not been able to. There was also a report that Rodriguez had reflected on the honorableness of some of his colleagues. March 21, 1963 11 the billan omis sion, confirmed by a 71-64 floor vote, which Rep. Charles Wilson, Trinity, called “blatantly punitive.” Wilson quoted to the House a saying, that “There’s a lot of people that go along with the In this context, an exchange between Carl Parker, Port Arthur, and Heatly on the open microphone is of interest. Parker had circulated a petition urging Jim Cotten, Weatherford, chairman of the constitutional amendments committee, to hold a hearing on the equal rights for women proposal, which Heatly is sponsoring in the House. Parker charged that Cotten told three members who signed the petition to take their names off, or their legislation before his committee would not fare well. \(Cotten, who was not present at the time, replies that he never makes charges behind a to tell Parker that he’d been busy on the appropriations bill, but that if Parker wished, they could cut out the appropriations for Jefferson County welfare and for Lamar Tech in Parker’s district so they could get to equal rights for women quicker. Parker said this proved his point, that power in. the House is being used to squelch dissent.* It may not be inapposite to mention that team spokesmen for the
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