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A maverick column One of the most interesting devel opments in the Texas press is the success of the weekly column by Maury Maverick Jr. in the San Antonio Ex press. Invited to write for the paper by Charles Kilpatrick, the local chieftain of the Murdoch chain, on the theory that he would balance the column of Republican activist Doug Harlan, Maverick turned in piece after piece celebrating, but also joshing, progressives and laying to for his passionately cherished causes. Kil patrick, confronted by criticism from local Democrats that Maverick was too maverick to be the Democrats’ answer to Harlan, took on yet a third column by Bill Crane, professor at St. Mary’s Uni versity. Having thus mollified the Dem ocrats by presenting Crane’s somewhat more conventionally progressive views. the Express is settling down to the fact that Maverick’s column is the hottest thing it has going, and Maverick is bask ing, if one so saturnine can be said to bask, in his newly refreshed notoriety. Whatever else can and should be said about the Murdoch newspapers’ vending of violence and depravity on the front pages, the Australian leaves his local editors substantial autonomy in their own areas, as the establishment of Maverick’s column singularly demonstrates. Grease job Last November Texans voted down a constitutional amendment that would have let local governments subsidize construction of private industrial plants with tax-exempt revenue bonds. This May, after doing a little cosmetic tinkering that purportedly makes the constitutional change unnecessary, the 66th Legislature enacted exactly what the voters had rejected. The new wrinkle that distinguishes Senate Bill 1275 from the defeated amendment is a provision authorizing cities, counties, and water districts to create nonprofit industrial development corporations. These entities serve as a buffer between the governments that set them up and any financial liability arising from default on the revenue bonds by subsidized concerns. IRS regulations give bonds floated by such nonprofit creatures of government the same taxexempt status conferred on city and county bonds. But, because the bonds are technically not government-issued, citizens can’t resort to referendums to oppose their sale. “It must have been a real grease job .. . I don’t even remember it passing,” says Sen. Oscar Mauzy. Mauzy believes the scheme authorized by SB 1275 is probably unconstitutional, but no matter how the bonds are issued, he says, they are a “cheap-labor trick, attracting cheap manufacturers who pay cheap wages.” Gerald Brown, the new director of the Texas Industrial Commission, which has been the main force behind the bond proposal \(Obs., purpose of SB 1275 is to attract new businesses to economically depressed rural areas. But when asked how a device available to all Texas communities could afford an advantage to these areas, Brown admitted “it really could not.” At best, says Republican Rep. Lee Jackson, “Now a small town that has nothing else to offer can offer such a sweet deal that a business can’t refuse . . . [but] in the long run these are precisely the kind of deals which are least economically beneficial.” Brown has requested an attorney general’s opinion on the constitutional question. If the AG decides that the nonprofit corporation gimmick passes constitutional muster, a remark made by the Texas Municipal League’s Dick Brown will stand as the best commentary on SB 1275. “The people didn’t want it,” he told the Observer. “but I guess they’ll get it anyway.” Edward Humes Alan Pogue 13 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SUNDAY Viva, the casually elegant cafe in THE VILLAGE garden. 2700 W. Anderson Ln. fO F Sifili kt r 11x jbZt r 4M6 T.6 G ,4e k_of 1000 West Lynn, Austin, Texas 478-3001 Store hours: Mon-Sat 9:30-7, Sun 12-6 477-3651 THE COMMODORE HOTEL On Capitol Hill Owned by Texans. Run by a Texan. 520 N. Capitol St., NW Washington, D.C. 20001 ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES AUSTINi TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip .\\,\\**1 and Associates E 502 W. 15th Street Austin, Texas 78701 REALTOR Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas Interesting & unusual property a specialty