^rweta., them . . . This happens to be the classic example used to illustrate legislative irresponsibilities.” Senator Hall then succeeded in getting the previous day’s vote on the tax bill reconsidered by the slim majority of 16 to 15. Eleven senators had changed their votes overnight, seven in one direction and four in the other. Hall introduced a complete substitute package which he said would bring in $151 million in new revenue. \(It included a one percent increase in the general sales tax effective January 1, 1969, an accompanying increase in the auto sales tax, a 10 percent gross receipts tax on private club liquor sales, a one percent increase in the natural gas production tax and a five per cent levy on amusements. \(He accepted an amendment by Schwartz to tute was tabled 19 to 12. Schwartz took the floor and proposed another substitute plan including a one percent increase in the gas tax, an increase in the motor fuel tax, a $3 franchise tax, a ten percent gross receipts tax on private clubs and the addition of cigarettes and tobacco to the sales tax. Schwartz figured the package, which he devised during debate on the senate floor, would raise only about $102 million in revenue. He urged other senators to amend the bill to increase the take. Then senate refused to add any amendments to the Schwartz bill, however. Aikin, a conservative who consistently voted for any tax package which would raise sufficient revenue, rose to speak in favor of Schwartz’ bill. “I have never seen this situation before,” he said. “We can take $138 million out of the appropriations bill and get it certified, if that’s what you want.” Schwartz added, “If we don’t adopt this substitute, we’re back on the sales tax.” Sen. Grady Hazlewood of Canyon, a staunch conservative, blistered the senate in a personal privilege speech. “We have just seen the greatest exhibition of demagoguery in history,” he said. “This has been a disgraceful exhibition. Can there be anything more irresponsible than what we have done the last two days? I have seen more irresponsible acts here in the last two days than since I have been in office.” On Hardeman’s motion, Schwartz’s substitute was rejected 19 to 12. The senate was then once again on the sales tax. It agreed to amend the bill, in changing the effective date back to October 1. The measure was passed 18 to 13. Voting for the bill were Aikin, Bates, Berry, Christie, Cole, Connally, Creighton, Hall, Hardeman, Hazlewood, Herring, Hightower, Patman, Ratliff, Reagan, Strong, Watson and Word; voting against were Bernal, Blanchard, Brooks, Grover, Harrington, Harris, Jordan, Kennard, Mauzy, Moore, Schwartz, Wade and Wilson. But the tax bill had yet to find its way through the labyrinth to final passage. The house refused to concur in the senate’s bill, which raised approximately $76 milllion more than the house version. The bill was sent to conference committee. Meeting privately for only about 15 minutes, senate conferees told their house counterparts that the senate had labored for two days to reach consensus on a tax bill and that it would accept no amendments. Meanwhile, lobbyists went to work on house members to convince them to vote for the senate bill. The beer and gas interests were especially active, for they feared that they might suffer from any amendments to the bill. There were rumors that house conferees were thinking about adding one percent to the natural gas tax to the bill. \(While momentum was gathering in the house to accept the senate bill, Senator Strong attempted to call the bill back to the senate. “I want to kill the tax bill,” he explained. “I voted for reconsideration last week hoping we would get a better shake in conference committee. Now it is apparent we are not going to get it, so I want to rectify my mistake.” The lieutenant governor ruled that Strong’s proposal was a parliamentary impossibility since the bill already On the same day, Speaker Ben Barnes asked the house to accept the senate bill. “I am advised that a majority of the senate conferees report the only tax bill acceptable to the senate is HB 2,” Barnes told the house. “It probably would be virtually impossible to get a conference committee report on anything else.” Rep. Parker argued that the bill was regressive and that the house ought to defeat it and convene a new session to write a more equitable tax. The house then voted to accept the senate tax bill 85 to 59. Speaker Barnes did not publicly support any of the tax bills during the session. Later, however, he commented that he was unhappy with the final bill. Dreading the $300 to $400 in new taxes the legislature will have to find next year, he had hoped that the legislature would broaden the sales tax base this year. He criticized Lt. Gov. Smith for his handling of the senate on the tax matter. Parks, Police and Pork Barrel The legislature, predictably enough, found it much easier to spend than to tax. The $2.6 billion appropriations bill for fiscal 1969 requires an estimated $159 million in new taxes. Total appropriations from the general revenue fund, the state’s major checking account, amount to $490 “million, an increase of $35.6 million over 1968. State spending was increased in almost every area. The bill bears the imprints of many of the most powerful members of the legislature. The eight Republican house members complained bitterly about pork barrel appropriations for powerful legislators’ districts. Conversely, lame duck legislators found themselves with no leverage on appropriations committees. For example, Senator J. P. Word and Rep. Gus Mutscher received an ample appropriation for the Dinosaur Track State Park in their district but defeated senators Bruce Reagan and Henry Wade lost bids for state parks in their areas. Legislators put high priority on law enforcement. They gave the adjutant gen eral, the head of the Texas national guard, $252,000 for riot control, training and equipment; the attorney general, $200,000 for three additional assistant attorneys general and for travel and court costs; and the Department of Public Safety, $3.2 million for ten narcotics agents, twelve intelligence agents, 203 patrolmen and fifteen sergeants. The state’s senior colleges received almost $700,000 for more campus policemen. The bill makes modest increases in the areas of public health and welfare. The Department of Health received a $2.2 million increase, including $1.6 million for rising hospitalization costs in crippled children’s programs. Approximately half of the department’s $23 million budget comes from federal funds. The Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation received a $500,000 boost for its grant-in-aid program. An $11 million fund was provided for the MHMR’s construction and repair program. Some $484,000 of the fund will go for the new Vernon Geriatric Center in Rep. Bill Heatly’s district. Heatly is chairman of the house appropriations committee. The state’s nine schools for the mentally retarded received an addiitonal $2.5 million, $600,000 of which goes to a new school in Lubbock, Lt. Gov. Preston Smith’s hometown. The Department of Public Welfare received a $28 million increase over 1968. The department’s $445 million budget, $325 million from federal funds, includes $29 million for Medicaid and $600,000 in new funds for child welfare services. State employees received an 3.4 percent across-the-board increases, along with merit pay hikes. State college faculty members will share an additional $9.5 million. Apart from salary considerations, public junior colleges received $24 million, only a million more than last year, and the 22 colleges and universities received a total of $211 million, an increase of $10.5 million. The scandal-ridden Liquor Control Board received a hefty $481,000 over its July 12, 1968 3 “74
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