SAO TH YARBOROUGH 0 MV %fa TEXAS THE SMITH VICTORYThe shaded counties are those carried by Lt. Gov. Preston Smith in winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination over Houston liberal Don Yarborough. ing from the familiar ways of doing things at Austin, that the Jester-ShiversDaniel-Connally approach to government no longer suits the needs of the state nor the wishes of a majority of voters. Often he countered Smith’s citation of his 18 years’ experience in Austin by the quip that “the people are the ones who have had the experience,” meaning “experience” in the same context as “ordeal.” Complementary to Yarborough’s hope that Smith was making a tactical error in aligning himself with past gubernatorial administrations and in pledging continuity, more of the same, was Yarborough’s repeated assertion that Smith would be a “weak leader” for the state, one whose administration would produce confusion in Texas. Among the ways Yarborough sought to reinforce his charges of weakness was his continued citation of Smith’s refusing to debate him on television, \(or to speak at all on the air, for that matweak man, feared juxtaposition with Yarborough, the young, dynamic leader of Texas’ new era in government. Yarborough and Stnith had largely avoided discussion of specific issues during the first primary campaign, both feeling apparently that they were frontrunners and that confronting issues might alienate certain groups of voters needlessly. Yarborough in the runoff campaign became a good deal more forthright in dealing with specific issues and came up with a few pieces of original thinking. Among these were proposals that the Peace Corps/Vista concept be scaled to Texas’ social needs, that volunteers go into the ghettos and barrios of the state to work with the poor, the undereducated, the jobless, to do work in mental hospitals and other elemosynary institutions \(as a way of providing better social services without as great a jump in that anyone who wished be tested as to his vocational aptitudes; that committees of business and industrial leaders volunteer for service in enticing commercial ventures to the state; that foreign trade missions be founded to develop new markets for Texas products in foreign nations \(the state, surprisingly, ranks third in exports among the 50 states, Yarborough pointed out, ranking behind only New ment coordinating conference be convened \(“two days after I am inauguofficers “to work out a coordinated plan that will be statewide in concept”; a similar approach would be taken in regards to taxes, a state tax commission being convened to advise on equality of present taxing structures and to prepare proposals for new taxes as needed. Yarborough’s other advocated steps for state government were familiar excerpts from the litany of Texas liberal philosophyreduced auto insurance rates, bilingual education in public schools, tough steps towards pollution control, increasing from 300 to 1,500 feet the limit on dredging near live oyster reefs, creation of a public utilities commission, $1.25 minimum wage, and increased workmen’s compensation and unemployment compensation. Yarborough was, as Smith noted, vague as to his plans for financing the improvements he was calling for.. Yarborough said he does not favor an income tax for Texas, either corporate or personal, nor does ‘he favor increasing the sales tax or removing such exemptions of that tax as the one on groceries. He expressed the hope that his state tax commission might uncover inequities in present taxes \(such rected, would raise additional revenue without the need for new or increased taxes. So far as the Observer is ,aware, Yarborough did not call for a natural gas pipelines tax or other taxes on business or on exploitation of the state’s natural resources. Nor of course did Smith. Both candidates supported the Texas State Teachers Assn. proposed $1,000-a-year pay increase, Smith adding that “if that raise is not enough to insure excellence in public school education, then as governor I will invest more tax dollars to make sure Texas has the best.” Smith likewise did not discuss how he would raise additional revenue for the state. He spoke out against a state income tax and seemed most often to have in mind extensions of the sales tax to raise additional revenue if state spending can’t be held down. He said he believes he favors the Connally proposal to increase the state sales tax to 3% and kill the city sales tax, refunding a portion of the state sales tax revenues to municipalities. Smith, as had Connally earlier, termed the city sales tax an “administrative monstrosity.” Other than that, new taxes were not discussed in the campaign, except for occasional references to liquor by the drink, which was not discussed so much as a raiser of tax revenue as a moral and political issue. Yarborough had Smith jumping a bit on the matter of removing exemptions from the sales tax. Yarborough found this quote attributed to Smith by the Amarillo paper: “I feel that there are several different ways that you could modify the general sales tax. You could change the brackets, as an example, and bring in a great deal of money. You could remove some of the exemptions and bring in a good deal of money, and I think the amount that would be required would determine which approach you would make to solving this.” Yarborough charged that Smith proposed in the foregoing to remove the sales tax exemptions for groceries, farm implements, and medicine. Smith denied he had this in mind. For awhile it appeared Yarborough might make some points with this argument but, in retrospect, it appears most of the voters had June 7, 1968 3
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.