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. oC ss 14 The Texas Observer Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 459-6577 … 1 ‘,maw. au I .., .;.miim:.:i: … .i .,i 4 : k. …… … …. “…”’… ‘ EARTH SHOE STORE 474-1895 1610 Lavaca Austin, Texas 78701 TEXAS WILD The Land, Plants, and Animals of the Lone Star State by Richard Phelan, photographs by Jim Bones Texas Wild, a book as beautiful and extraordinary as Texas itself, explores region by region the land, the plants and the animals of the Lone Star State. From mountain desert to swampy woodland, from rolling prairie to the semi-tropics, Phelan and Bones celebrate in words and pictures a land of unique and dramatic diversity. Highlighting the geography and the natural history are fascinating tales from the state’s colorful past. “Intelligent, readable, informed, informative … covers a tremendous lot of material with a grasp that indicates solid knowledge and research … such an overall and unchauvinistic treatment of physical and natural Texas has long been needed. John Graves “A splendid tour … this is excellent armchair travel.” Publishers Weekly 64 pages of full-color photographs, 100 drawings, 8 maps, 8 3/e” x 103/4″, oversize format. GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe Austin, Texas 78705 Please send Texas Wild at 525.00 per copy. remittance enclosed charge my account Name Addre’s City Please add appropriate salex tax & 75,1 postage per copy. State Zip favor of food stamps, and most Texas counties stayed with surplus commodity distribution until late 1973. But regardless of the mode of delivery commodities or food stamps Texas has regularly ranked among those states providing the smallest percentage of their poor with food assistance. Many of those eligible for food stamps in Texas and elsewhere do not participate in the program. The reasons most often cited are lack of transportation and the distance to food stamp agencies, the voluminous, impersonal paperwork involved with eligibility certification, and the inability of many households to come up with the cash to purchase food stamps. Two reforms that could go a long way in removing these obstacles to participation are contained in renewal legislation already introduced in Congress. Under current regulations, food stamp applicants must provide itemized, verified lists of family expenses. A replacement of this inhibiting obligation with a standard deduction formula has been proposed and seems certain to be adopted in some form this year. Standard deductions would cut out a great deal of red tape and reduce the opportunities for error in the calculation of benefits. The other significant reform, the elimination of the purchase requirement EPR would allow thousands of people unable to afford stamps now to receive nutrition assistance, and reduce the possibilities for vendor fraud and financial abuse. Although conservatives rail against EPR as a giveaway, it would retain the system of benefits based upon income, and households would only receive their “bonus value” \(the difference between the household allotment and the Shrewd compromise Last fall, only a heavy, nationwide lobbying campaign and election-eve nervousness kept Congress from executing major cutbacks in the program. Regressive regulatory changes attempted by the Ford administration were successfully blocked by a lawsuit until the election. The Carter administration will introduce legislation to establish standard deductions and eliminate the purchase requirement. To make the food stamp renewal package more palatable on Capitol Hill, however, the White House will, in the interests of economy, call for the reduction or termination of benefits for an estimated 7 million of the current 17.1 million food stamp recipients. Preliminary assessment of the administration’s position shows it to be a politically shrewd compromise that would cut benefits to upper-income participants and slightly reduce or not affect benefits for lower-income families, while simplifying the program for all. Administration support of EPR and standard deductions are thought to give -the reform measures enough respectability to pass Congress this year, but their defeat is by no means out of the question. Both the House and Senate agriculture committees are more conservative in the 95th Congress than in the 94th. Senate agriculture committee chairman tive, has introduced his own renewal bill and is a vocal, die-hard opponent of EPR. \(Texas senators John Last fall, only a heavy, nationwide lobbying campaign and election-eve nervousness kept Congress from cutting back the food stamp program. sit on the agriculture committee, are not claimed as sympathizers by food stamp The House continues to perplex reformers, and the loss from its agriculture committee of five food stamp supporters is not very cheering. Last year, the committee spent eight weeks and a record 38 sessions drafting a bill that ultimately passed by a narrow, two-vote the committee does not promise to be any easier this year. Three Texans serve on the agriculture sidered a swing vote, and a letter-writing effort by food stamp recipients in his district to line him up for reforms like EPR is underway. De la Garza represents some of the poorest people in the country and the passagd of EPR could benefit his constituency tremendously. Neither Hightower nor Poage have been friends of reform in the past and are not expected to change now. Overall, the 24member Texas delegation is about evenly divided in thirds; eight for, eight against and eight swing votes on food stamp reform. So, the food stamp battle is soon to be joined. In Texas, where as many as a million and a half poor people are currently uncertified for food stamp assistance, the outcome of the votes on standard deductions and the elimination of the purchase requirement is of more than passing interest. Zy Weinberg is a freelance writer living in Austin.