Page 1


Welcome to Au tin, Zey IJ fatorJ Welcome to Austin, gentlewoman and gentlemen of the Texas legislature. The governor’s coordinating board on higher education has recommended that college tuitions be doubled. The new commissioner of higher education, who is getting paid around forty thousand dollars a year, nearly half of it from secret sources, is glad to come into Texas and lecture our students on how glad they ought to be to pay more for going to school. In this same connection, the catch-word of our state’s beloved big businessmen continues to be, “Damn the students full speed ahead!” to maximum profits with minimum taxes. Again the students must rise up and testify, picket, march on the capital, to stop this. If they will, they can stop it, as they have before. It’s good civic training for them, and teaches them how the world works. Let’s take the most charitable view and believe that the power structure keeps coming back with its tuition raises to keep the students’ minds and energies away from really dangerous subjects like sex and Vietnam. Our cities have financial problems; un Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Greg Olds. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Associate Manager, C. R. Olofson. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not them deniably they do. Our last report before we went to press was that Governor Crocodile, wiping the tears out of his eyes, is “weakening” in his dislike of the city sales tax. The legislature would have to authorize this tax. It has wisely refused to do so, under direct assaults, in recent sessions, and we have confidence that it will wisely refuse to do so again. The tax structure of the state is a sales tax structure. In the midst of the war on poverty we finance our state services with head taxes. This structure takes from the people with the least ability to pay the most proportional to their income; that is, it soaks the poor. The way to correct this, to bring the structure into balance, is not novel, untested, or bizarre. It is not communist, socialistic, or even particularly liberal. It is simple to administer, fair, and just: you authorize the cities to pass a graduated city income tax, with exemptions for the really poor. The governor, snapping his jaws shut in ponderous regret, favors a one-cent increase in the gasoline sales tax. Nobody’s kidding anybody. This will not finance the teachers’ desired pay raises. It will not finance continued per-capita increases in spending on higher education. It will not selves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. Subscription Representatives: Arlington, George N. Green, 416 Summit, Apt. 41, CR 70080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 12241/2 Second St., TU4-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS, 087-3119; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St., Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, Adams House C112. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c: prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St.. Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. finance the state’s much-needed plunge into Medicaid, federal-state medical aid for the poor, already adopted by 25 states \(and on which Texas should act at once, scrape us by with more sales tax. The mental patients will still get to see a psychiatrist once a week on the fly if they’re lucky. Texas will continue to be a solidly third rate state, a byriver of the Deep South backwater, a century away from Twentieth Century America. Perhaps by the time you read this the governor will have weakened all the way; perhaps only some of the way. But the legislature need not weaken at all. In fact, all that’s ever been required to knock the sales tax arguments in a cocked hat has been courage. WE HAVE DECIDED, in the retrospect, that Gov. Price Daniel was not justly done by, in this journal, during his fight against the general sales tax. He fought gallantly for taxation based on ability to pay; a conservative, he asked for but “half and half,” half business taxes, half sales; and when he saw the oil and gas lobby and their satellite lobbyists determined to pass a general retail sales tax, he broke his ties with them: in public he berated them as the selfish interests they so obviously were. Governor Daniel did not prevail; the tax was passed. And he signed it; that was his mistake. Had he vetoed it, and then turned to the people’s political movements he had theretofore spurned, he’d have had a political future. But in the retrospect we see Daniel as a resting place, a dry and rocky but welcome island of relief and respite, in the ocean of Texas conservatism from Jimmy Allred to the election, \( our intuition tells ernor. Three-fourths of the legislatures of the states have had the courage to enact a statewide personal income tax. The legislature of Texas has not. Arguing that this tax would be more just than more sales taxes is like arguing that it is better not to double up your fist and hit an old woman in the belly when she’s not looking. Anyone who needs an argument to be convinced that Sales-Tax Texas should enact a personal income tax has something wrong with his heart, his head, or his connections. But if, granting that we should enact a personal income tax, you rejoin, “But we can’t,” that is, if you take the defeatist approach, then we have still another easy out. Representative Eckhardt demonstrated to the legislature a couple of sessions THE TEXAS OBSERVER Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 25 7’211P January 20, 1967