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4-lir Di opt The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1978 Ronnie Dogger, Publisher Vol. 70, No. 17 September 8, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS EDITOR AT LARGE Jim Hightower Linda Rocawich Eric Hartman Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Beth Epstein ASSISTANT EDITORS: Vicki Vaughan, Bob Sinderinann STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Margot Beutler, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Larry Zinn, Jamie Murphy, Karrie Key, Christy Hoppe, Lisa Spann, Matthew Lyon, Helen Jardine, Karen White CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed. Eje Wray, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Doug Harlan, David Guarino, Susan Lee BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Ricky Cruz A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal of free voices. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co.. biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin. Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $36. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock. N.J. 07452. 74OPP'”iF Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Going haywire over tax relief By Jim Hightower “It is critically important that the people of Texas be well informed before they go to vote next November. I hope that each of you will assume responsibility for insuring that the public has the opportunity to make that wellinformed judgment.” Governor Briscoe, making a pitch for his tax-relief amendments before a press group, August 19, 1978 The governor is right, of course. Voters ought to know the true substance of the hodge-podge tax package he and Speaker Clayton have forced on the ballot this fall. They term it “meaningful tax relief,” but Babe Schwartz, the Galveston senator, got a lot closer to the truth one day late in the special session when the governor himself was visiting the chamberSchwartz rose to address his colleagues, took note of Briscoe’s presence, and then told him to his face that his tax relief package is a “fraud on the public and the old shell game.” Other legislators were even less generous in their assessment of the measure, with various ones labeling the governor’s and speaker’s handiwork “a publicity gimmick,” “B.S.,” “a windfall for the rich,” “a cruel hoax” and “a dog and pony show.” During Senate consideration of it, Sen. Carl Parker of Port Arthur stopped by the press table to offer his view, giving it the old raspberry. Rep. Dave Allred of Wichita Falls, voting for the package on the last day of the session, held one hand up signifying “aye” and held his nose with the other. Called by Briscoe at Clayton’s urging, this was a session nobody else wanted, and it quickly became obvious there would be nothing special about it. The major reason was that Clayton and Briscoe had no popular following on this issue. Except for no one cared enough even to show up at Dolph’s and Billy’s tax revolt. Rep. Chase Untermeyer, whose Houston constituency usually doesn’t hesitate to let him know what it thinks, said that he had only two visitors from home and a dozen letters, half of which were from grocery store owners writing at the direction Cover Art: Beth Epstein