galleries, though the trouble was not up there; it was on the House floor. Cory at last got his motion out: to refuse the bill he and the four other House conferees had signed and for which they and others of the Mutscher team had worked so hard in seeking votes on the House floor. The vote was 147-0, a vote that in subsequent debate about a tax bill often was referred to with suddenly born pride among the House leadership that they would not think of imposing a food tax on the people. Rep. Neil Caldwell, Alvin liberal, first saying that “I would like to call attention to the fact that I wear glasses,” moved that any imposition of the sales tax on food not be accepted by the House in future bills. This was approved by voice vote. Caldwell noted that it had been the House’s previous intention not to bind the hands of the conference committee so as to leave it free for horsetrading “but not to gamble with the grocery money,” a line he credited to fellow House wit Carl Parker of Port Arthur. Rep. John Hannah, Lufkin liberal, moved that the conference committee meetings be open to the press and public. This, too, was adopted by voice vote. Nonetheless, the committee continued to do some of its more meaningful business in private. Representative Smith then moved that the committee be directed not to extend or increase the sales tax at all. Cory moved to table this, successfully, 114-32. John Traeger, Seguin conservative, made a personal privilege speech at this point, lashing out at Hank Brown, State AFL-CIO president. Brown had been quoted as saying he would find opponents for every legislator who voted for the food tax. “As soon as you are through living off the people you live off,” Traeger said to Brown, “bring what is left of that $30,000 [salary] and come on down to Wilson, Guadalupe, Comal, and Kendall Counties,” Traeger’s district. GROCERIES no longer being the issue, the Senate leadership decided at this point to turn the focus to the House’s preference not to tax beer, an inclination stemming from Mutscher’s loyalties to that industry. At a conference committee meeting an hour and a half after the House adjourned Senator Moore, promptly advised the House conferees that “under no circumstances will the Senate accept a tax bill without a beer and liquor tax.” It was at this point that Homer Leonard, the beer lobbyist whom Mutscher is close to, first was publicly attacked for causing the tax deadlock. The five House conferees had, in the 90 minutes intervening between adjournment of the House session and the new gathering of the conference committee, drawn up a new tax plan, not very different from the 8 The Texas Observer previous plan except, of course, no groceries. Since it didn’t have a beer or liquor tax \(except for imposition of 10c a senators would not endorse the bill. “I would say there’s no point in meeting further,” Senator Moore said. “The House has a bill. Does the Senate have something in writing?” Representative Traeger asked. Yes, Moore replied, but not yet in writing. Moore kept pressing for adjournment, saying he would walk out otherwise. Rep. Ben Atwell, Dallas, threw the new bill in front of Moore, saying “There it is, sir.” Senator Kennard thereupon asked that enough copies of the bill be prepared for the Senate, adding that “It seems that often the lobby gets copies of these bills before we do.” Atwell, glowering over his glasses, replied “We’ll get you 200 copies if that’s what it takes.” Sen. Jack Strong of Longview said that No, I Did Not Mea n Groceries San Antonio When Mayor Walter McAllister spoke slightingly at the City Public Service Board meeting of “certain advocates who oppose the sales tax,” a CPSB member-designate raised his hand and asked, “Groceries?” McAllister snapped, “I didn’t say groceries.” San Antonio Light if a tax on vending machines the House proposed in its new bill were deleted and beer and liquor were put under the sales tax there would be a good chance the Senate would accept the new proposal. Cory replied that the answer was no, the House conferees had already signed the new proposal. Moore by this time had walked out of the meeting. After some more exchanges, expressing rigidity as to positions held by the representatives vis-a-vis the senators, adjournment came, concluding 35 minutes of wrangling. FIFTEEN MINUTES later the Senate reconvened. As had been the case in both houses all day the gallery was full. Moore again took up the new theme: that beer and liquor were not, according to the House, to be taxed, and that Leonard “forced a special session on this Legislature.” Moore added that “the beer lobby helped kill” the previous bill. “I saw a beer lobbyist hand a sign to a spectator today saying ‘Don’t Tax Food,’ ” Moore said. Sen. J. P. Word, Meridian conservative, said that beer and whiskey interests pay only half of one percent of state taxes while cigarettes produce 10% of state taxes. Senator Schwartz could endure only about 30 minutes of this. “You can demagogue about beer all day long but you voted a sales tax on food and if you get beat at the next election you have it coming,” he said to his colleagues. This drew long applause from the gallery. “You did nothing about oil in Texas; you did very little about gas in Texas.. .. So don’t demagogue me on beer when the corporations are getting away with murder.” This angered Sen. Wayne Connally, Floresville conservative, who said to Schwartz, “You are the greatest demagogue this Senate has ever seen. . . . I know your kind and what you’ve done to other states . . . you and your AFL-CIO .. . literally have destroyed the economy of Michigan.” Connally went on to blame Gov. Preston Smith for the fiscal dilemma, saying the governor had provided no leadership. Connally urged consideration of a one-year spending bill which would require no new taxes. Strong agreed, saying that the majority of the Legislature wanted a one-year bill and, during the regular session, had asked Smith whether he might veto such a measure. “I won’t tell you,” Strong characterized Smith’s reply. Sen. Chet Brooks, Pasadena liberal, replied to Connally, saying that “If it were not for the AFL-CIO, the people’s lobby, the people wouldn’t even be represented in Austin.” He went on to defend wets and Smith. Sen. Grady Hazlewood, Amarillo conservative, angered at the gallery’s applause for Schwartz, addressed them heatedly for some time, saying a fiscal problem was before the state whose answers would not come easy. Sen. Bill Patman, Ganado liberal, defended Smith and attacked the food tax. After nearly two hours of this the Senate adjourned for the night. THE NEXT morning, the last day of the first special session, another conference committee meeting was convened. The House had a new bill for the senators’ consideration. Representative Cory explained that “we had been placed on notice by the Senate that they wouldn’t take a tax bill without the inclusion of alcoholic beverages.” Also, he went on, there had been objection to imposition of a tax on vending machines. The new House proposal was that beer and liquor be placed under the sales tax but that the excise tax those industries pay. be cut; in other words, the consumers would pay the tax on beer and liquor, and those companies would have their taxes cut on the presumption, it seemed, that sales of beer and liquor would drop somewhat because of the new taxes on those products. As for vending machines it originally had been proposed that a $15 tax be imposed each year on each machine, exempting newspaper machines and those selling items costing less than 5c. This had been altered
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