Page 14


erals are critical because the burden of payments is placed on the consumer. The governor’s main revenue-raising proposal is an expanded 3% sales tax with rebates to the cities in place of their optional 1% sales tax. Added to the roll of taxable items would be cigarette and tobacco products as well as services such as telephone calls, haircuts, parking, laundering and dry cleaning. The legislature may choose simply to raise the state sales tax to 3% while maintaining the optional city sales tax. Rep. Ben Atwell, Dallas, chairman of the house revenue and taxation Committee, has introduced such a measure. It easily could pay for the state’s new expenses for the coming year, but many legislators who approve of the sales tax in theory would rather wait until next year to raise the sales tax. Connally has estimated that the state will need an additional $400 to $500 million in new taxes during the next biennium. Some informed sources say Barnes is leaning toward a flat increase in the sales tax this year, but the speaker told the Observer he favors none of the tax measures introduced. He said he expects to see major changes in the governor’s tax bill once it reaches the house floor. It was scheduled for consideration this week after this issue of the Observer was closed. Rep. Don Gladden, Fort Worth liberal, has introduced a bill that provides for corporate and personal income taxes as well as increases in the tax on beer, on oil production, and on natural gas production. The measure is not expected to survive a hostile revenue and taxation committee. Rep. George Hinson, Mineola, is sponsoring a bill that would raise $14.5 million by imposing a 5% entertainment tax on admission charges for most ath letic events, theaters, contests, and exhibitions. While Connally’s tax bill would put intrastate telephone calls under the sales tax, it would lower the telephone gross receipts tax by $3.2 million a year. Connally argues that the telephone tax should be lowered to bring it into line with taxes on other utilities. Sen. Bill Patman, Ganado, has been the most vocal critic of this measure. “To single out a single monopolistic industry for special treatment is almost unbelievable,” he said. Claude Gilmer, a former house speaker Dana Wilson Joins Staff Dana Wilson, a senior student at Southwestern University, G e or g etown, has joined The Texas Observer as a summer intern on the editorial staff. Miss Wilson plans a journalism career upon her graduation. She was born in Fort Worth and reared in Mississippi. and now a lobbyist for the Texas Telephone Association, told the house revenue and taxation committee that the telephone industry did not request the lowering of the tax, and that the industry would prefer not to be included in any of the state’s new tax plans. The Committee of Governing Boards of the state’s 22 senior colleges has recommended doubling tuition at the colleges. The Legislative Budget Board recommended an appropriation for the colleges that is $46 million less than the administrator estimate they will need. The tuition increase would bring in an estimated $21 million a year. Administrators say the increase is needed to prevent “serious damage” to higher education. This is the first time the college heads have requested such a hike. Three tuition bills have been introduced in the house. HB 19 by John Treager, Seguin, would double tuition at both junior and senior colleges and raise fees for out-of-state students. He said he will run with the bill only if other tax measures fail. Rep. Curtis Graves and Lauro Cruz, both of Houston, have introduced a bill that Would charge tuition on the basis of the federal income tax rate a student’s parents pay. If a family falls under the 28% income tax rate, tuition would be $50 a semester. Students whose parents’ incomes are taxed 48% or over would pay $400 a semester. A third bill by Rep. Grant Jones, Abilene, would charge tuition on a semester hour basis at double the present rate. Sen. Chet Brooks, Houston, said he will filibuster a tuition bill if it reaches the senate, and says he feels there are “many senators” who would join him in that. Some legislators and aides have been wearing “Stop Tuition Hike” buttons left .over from an earlier anti-tuition campaign. “The state’s policy should be directed toward making education more available rather than less available to its citizens,” Brooks says, “and I look forward to the day that Texas will provide tuition-free education, at least at the junior college level.” The house appropriations bill calls for approximately $700,000 for “additional campus security” at the state’s 22 senior colleges and universities. Texas Tech would receive an additional $69,000, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, and the University of Houston, an additional $50,000 each; smaller colleges would receive lesser amounts. D.W., K.N. The Iffy-Bitty Bottle Bill Austin My startling expose [Obs., May 24] of Governor Connally’s plot to bankrupt liberals and other heavy drinkers has apparently succeeded in alerting thinking people everywhere to the threat posed by liquor-by-the-drink legislation’ Yet the very magnitude of the conspiracy has made it difficult for some of our slower citizens to grasp, and our enemies are crafty as they are treacherous. Reacting to the groundswell of enlightened opposition, our governor, in a stroke of evil genius, now seeks to stun us into helpless confusion by introducing legislation whose provisions are a monument to madness. I refer to the Itty-Bitty Bottle Bill. Until now the threat was a simple and straightforward one. Liquor-by-the-drink, while in many respects desirable, would ‘Modest as I am, I confess to experiencing an inner thrill when my . mere appearance at Scholz’s or the Split Rail brings the crowd to its feet, everyone cheering and waving their unsacked bottles. My friends, I am but your servant!. double or triple the cost of on-the-town boozing by banishing the old brown bag. Thousands of people foolishly voted Yes Bill Helmer in the mixed-drink referendum because they didn’t realize this. Myopically, they were able to see no further than the big juicy carrot of “mixed drinks” being dangled before their eyes. Like bait in a trap, the mixed drink can be obtained at the cost of calamity, and only when it is too late will the victims come to know what evil lurks in the hearts of men! Especially the men of the Texas legislature which, as the Observer has often warned, abounds in scoundrels, blackguards, and rascals of every description. The exhilarating prospect of mixed drinks has blinded many people to Con The writer is an Observer contributing editor. nally’s chief reason for proposing a liquorby-the-drink law in the first place. Did anyone ever think he wanted to modernize and civilize the law so a man could, as the Good Lord clearly intended, get in out of the hot sun and order himself a cool, relaxing daiquiri or whiskey sour? 2 Great garbage, no! He wanted to wring extra money out of every poor soak in the state by taxing not only the bottle, but every drink poured out of it. The power to tax is the power to destrov! 3 BUT NOT EVEN the Establishment politicians can shove mixed drinks 2Had the Good Lord not intended man to drink, He would not have created distilleries. I have even heard some people credit Him with inventing their favorite cocktails. Personally I consider such claims to verge on irreverence, but I do consider the Margarita to be divinely inspired. 3Yes, indeed. If it weren’t for the prohibitively high taxes all of us could, under federal law, grow our own marijuana and carry submachine guns. June 21, 1968 3