participation in federal housing programs. In Texas, however, the link is simply missing. Only one housing program has been tried, and it was scrapped, a dismal failure. The project died in the office of then-Gov. John B. Connally. The project came to Texas OEO late in 1966 when the governor’s office applied for and received a grant of $346,241 to build 132 homes and three community centers from materials obtained at Stinson Field, an abandoned air base near San Antonio. It was to be a self-help project poor Mexican-Americans building their own houses with donated materials and expert supervision. “It was ill-conceived from the very beginning,” said one of the OEO officials who processed the application for funds in Washington. “We tried to discourage it,” he said, “but they [the governor’s office] insisted on it.” It should be remembered that in those days a special respect was paid the governor of Texas,and his wishes, because of his close relationship with then-President Johnson. So the money was granted, a retired Army colonel was hired to direct the project, and work began. Four months later, after lots of bickering at every level, the project was abandoned. Six houses had been built. No one in Washington today recalls exactly what those six houses cost, but they probably weren’t cheap. Unspent funds were transferred to OEO manpower activities in Texas. Col. Fred Deyo, director of the ill-fated project, told the Dallas Times Herald that “political fear and bigotry” among Connally’s OEO watchdogs led to the death of the program. In Washington, an OEO spokesman admitted “I don’t think the reasons [ for killing the program] are particularly clear.” Ill-conceived or not, the San Antonio program was a housing program, the only one that the Migrant Division has dared to fund in the state. Ruth Graves, chief of the Migrant Division, and a Texan, says something could develop in the future but nothing is being considered at the moment. Money is short, and no applications for housing programs have been filed from Texas lately, she added. OEO has some fairly successful migrant housing programs in California and elsewhere, but in Texas where migrants are most numerous there is nothing. WHAT, THEN, does OED’s Migrant Division do with its money in Texas? The Educational Systems Corporation of Washington, itself a Migrant Division published a summary of the division’s programs 96 of them in 35 states, eight in Texas. Of the eight Texas programs, most of which include more than one activity, seven operate job-placement type projects, six conduct adult education ?axed: ce Re6o ,tot Austin Texas liberals have their best opportunity in years to begin reforms of the state’s misshapen tax structure, a complex that puts a disproportionate share of the tax burden on individuals and lets business firms off far too lightly. If the liberals and some of the moderates of the Senate will determine to work together during the upcoming special session of the Legislature this summer, they can have the crucial say-so in this vital matter. Also at issue is whether Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes is, in reality, a progressive. If so, he will aid the liberals if the liberals come up with some sensible, long-overdue, and fair business taxes. Perhaps, in the early going of the 30-day special session, we may see Barnes leading an effort to have both houses vote to override Gov. Preston Smith’s veto of the one-year appropriations bill, which was, mostly, Barnes’ and the business lobby’s way of avoiding a tax increase this year. If that effort fails, as it should, then liberals must be ready with their tax program. Otherwise, we shall probably see an extension of the sales tax and, perhaps, a sprinkling of minor business taxes. THERE WAS widespread evasion of responsibility on the question of state spending and taxation in the legislative session recently ended. Governor Smith proposed a taxation program that no one ever took seriously. He then sat back while the Legislature hemmed and hawed and scratched. When the one-year spending plan was resurrected, Smith made no bones in private conversations that he would veto the scheme. But he failed to say so publicly, an irresponsible act. 2 The Texas Observer The legislative leaders, Barnes and Speaker Gus Mutscher, compounded the fiscal failure by permitting lawmakers not to consider a serious tax program. To write a serious two-year budget would, after all, have required a business tax of some impact, since individual Texans are, at last wearying of carring most of the burden when new taxes are required. Three tax increases have been voted by lawmakers in less than two years now, and most of these have fallen heavily on individuals, primarily by extending the state and city sales taxes. It is heartening to see Texas government at last beginning to accept some of its responsibilities in providing services, in not shrinking from spending the vast sums of money that are indeed necessary and long have been necessary. Yet it will not do to continue to burden individuals with the load while corporations get off without meeting their social responsibilities. Texas consumers paid $807 million in taxes during fiscal 1968. The oil and gas industry paid $240 million. And the only general tax on business, the franchise tax, yielded $63 million. This is the present shape of Texas government’s thinking on tax matters. RAISING taxation on oil and gas \(which were taxed at 5.4% of the value of franchise tax, instituting a state income tax \(which 36 states now have, and which provides one-seventh of revenue to Amerlators, particularly the Senate liberals and moderates, should these days be considering. The business lobby, evidently frustrated now by the governor in .its hopes for avoiding new taxes this year, can be expected to work hard for extending the sales tax \(most probably by removing some increase. The lobby people are justifiably worried now; they know that the political climate will not likely permit extending taxation further on individuals not without dire cost to many of the legislators’ and some state officials’ political futures, anyway. 94’d Wevra In this day of intensifying concern about the problems that narcotics pose for society, it seems strange that the federal government would be considering closing a Fort Worth hospital that serves the western half of the country in treatment of narcotics addicts. Sen. Ralph Yarborough thought so, anyway. He won a promise, in March, from Robert Finch, the secretary of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, not to close the hospital until hearings could be held on the matter. Dr. James Maddux, head of the Fort Worth hospital, said he believes information was developed in the hearings that Yarborough conducted that had not previously been available to Finch. Witnesses testified that the Fort Worth hospital and another federal institution at Lexington, Ky., are the only large hospitals in the nation for treating narcotics addicts. Because of Yarborough’s hearings, the hospital is now to remain open. The U.S. political system works if it is manned by dedicated people who have and employ highly developed social consciences. Once again, the people of this nation are in Senator Yarborough’s debt.
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