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Fade Out for Movie Tax Austin Sen. Ralph Hall’s proposed tax on dirty movies got as far as the Huntley-Brinkley evening news \(the duo speculated that if Texas has as many X-rated films as Washington has, it could finance state government for did not make it into the final tax bill. The Senate voted 21-9 in favor of a $1 tax on “dirty” and “underground” movies. Hall cited “Midnight Cowboy” as an example of a film that would be taxed. At one point, Hall suggested that the commissioner of education act as the state censor in deciding which pictures should be penalized. “I don’t want J. W. Edgar going to dirty movies all day long,” Sen. A. R. Schwartz protested. He suggested the job be given to the governor since he has experience. \(Preston Smith owned a After some light-hearted debate, the censorship job was given to a “younger man,” the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chet Brooks of Pasadena was the only senator to speak strongly against the proposal. He called it “idiotic” and “hypocritical,” as well as “unconstitutional.” Like many other taxes introduced this year, the movie tax fell by the wayside when the House refused to concur. The measure that finally survived both houses did not include the movie tax, but many senators felt they had made up a few points lost on the food tax issue by at least coming out for decency, and against freedom of expression. Giving up on Story’s suggestion,the conferees’ deliberations are interrupted by five scantily clad baby dolls who descend to the tune of “Which Side Are You on Boys.” The girls have brought five boxes of peanuts, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. MEATLY: Homer, you shouldn’t have. BEN: I never saw so many interesting ways to serve peanuts, Homer. The Texas Peanut Association, under your leadership, is to be commended. I, a dynamic, new leader, commend you. Homer, I like you personally and I am crazy about peanuts, but I don’t think the Senate will buy any tax bill without a peanut tax. HOMER: Then I’ll buy the Senate. BEN: Not on your tintype. We must be reasonable. The damned newspapers have been blabbing. HOMER: Screw the goddamn papers. Think of the good peanut climate in Texas. STORY: I’m sort of worried about the political climate. Mumbo and the girls leave singing a capella, “I’ve Got Music, I’ve Got Rhythm.” The conferees sit in silence until Ben Beantax bolts atop the table and says: BEN: I’ve got it! We’ll increase the tax on toilet paper 300%. MEATLY: I like it. A broad-based tax if there ever was one. STORY: Do you think we can sell it to the public? BEN: Don’t worry about them. We’ve had a running love affair for several years. BEN: The Senate, I can deliver. But the House . . . will they go along? MEATLY: Don’t worry about the dumb-dumbs. They never say no to Knott! All solemnly shake hands and sign the conference committee report as the lights dim. ACT I, SCENE III True to his word, Ben Beantax and the Senate approve the conference committee report with the active support of the corn cob lobby. As the curtain opens in the House of Representatives, pandemonium has broken loose. Fuzz Pigg vainly tries to seat the members who are furiously battling the House leadership. Grave Curtis and Babbitt No. 62 are shoulder to shoulder. A new day, a new day. SPEAKER: The chair lays before the House the conference committee report on HB 4, and Mr. Meatly moves that the House concur. refuses to lay before the chair! SPEAKER: You are an irresponsible rabble. Do you want to destroy the good peanut climate we have in Texas? here. We want to be beloved back home. If we pass this tax bill, we’ll … we’ll .. . tax on toilet paper, you will . WIPED OUT. CURTAIN End of a Traumatic Session Austin Legislators at last worked out a tax bill enough of them could agree on. It raises by one-fourth of a percent the state sales tax; extends the sales tax to beer and liquor; raises the cigarette tax by 41/2c a pack \(to tax 50c for three years, to $3.25 per $1,000 of assets; then, after three years, drops the rate back to $3; revises the franchise tax formula to include a corporation’s imports into Texas, except for food and prescribed drugs; raises the natural gas production tax from 7% to 71/2%; and imposes a 5c tax on drinks served at private clubs and airliners travelling over the state. The House accepted the tax bill by 106-34; the Senate, by 24-5. Ill tempers continued almost to the last. Several House supporters of Speaker Gus Mutscher sought to take some of the heat off their leader for his championing of the beer industry and its wishes to avoid increased taxation by asserting in personal privilege speeches that the Senate’s leader, Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, had accepted financial support from the beer lobby. This angered Houston Rep. R. C. Nichols, who called Mutscher “the biggest whore I know of.” Within the hour two motions castigating Nichols were prepared this in a body whose members have been timorous about formally censuring Land Cmsr. Jerry Sadler, who had misrepresented facts to the House and laid his hands on one of its members. Nichols hastily recanted his phraseology, but not his sentiments, apologizing to the membership and to Mutscher personally in the speaker’s office. The resolutions against Nichols, one calling for censure \(prepared other calling for his expulsion \(authored by thereupon pulled down. The Legislature also approved a two-years appropriation bill. Gov . Preston Smith signed both the tax and spending bills, then opened the call to certain measures which lawmakers might consider passing in the remaining few hours. REP. FRANCES Farenthold, Corpus Christi, finally won passage of a resolution she authored in the first called session, then reintroduced during the second, reprimanding Commissioner Sadler for misrepresenting facts during testimony on April 9 before the House Governmental Affairs and Efficiency Committee \(saying that he had a contract with Platoro Ltd., being put to him on April 28 by a House subcommittee; for advising, on April 29, representatives of Platoro not to cooperate with the House; for barring, on July 29, Sepbember 26, 1969 9