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800-424-2463 Call Toll Free If l. Chuck Caldwell’s 1731 New Hampshire Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009 From $29 up. Best buy in D.C. LUNCH ON THE RIVER OR THE BALCONY BRUNCH ON SUNDAY! … and Sandwiches, Chili, Tacos, Chalupas, and restaurant baked desserts. Haagen Dazs Ice Cream and fresh yoghurt. Soup and salad bar. 11:30 am until 5:00 pm Monday thru Sunday. 224-4515 the greenhouse Above the Kangaroo Court Downtown Riverwalk 314 North Presa San Antonio, Texas bond funding of local water projects that meet state standards. As Sen. Grant Jones of Abilene, a partisan of the plan, was at pains to emphasize during Senate debate, this is only a commitment of “up to” half a billion dollars. The Senate sponsor, Ed Howard of Texarkana, also said frequently that this is “not dollars,” it’s just the state’s credit. On a conservative two-for-one leveraging principle, this feature of the plan would underwrite a billion dollars in local water-project debt. By hiking the permitted interest rate on state water bond issues from 6% to 12%, the plan would enable the state to issue $118 million in water development bonds and $100 million in water quality bonds that are now unissuable because of prevailing interest rates. \(The higher permitted rate is also authorized for veterans’ land, park, and student loan bonds It is from the enabling legislation, however, that one gets the most nearly understandable idea of what the plan’s sponsors are up to. In this legislation \(passed assuming the people will appriated $40 million to let the state resume participation in water projects until the unissued bonds can be sold. The law creates a “storage acquisition fund” with which the Texas Water Deor enlarge “any existing or proposed water storage project,” and it may also acquire these projects. The italics have been supplied. The board may use any such project it has developed or owns “to store unappropriated state water and other water acquired by the state.” It may then also sell “any unappropriated public water of the state and other water acquired by the state that is stored by or for it”; it may release “all water owned by the board.” Although this language has been overlooked by the state press, it appears to create a state water superagency with the power to manufacture and control vast waterworks. The only limitation the Observer perceives in the language is itself doubtful of meaning: “The board shall not compete with any political subdivisions in the sale of water when this competition jeopardizes the ability of the political subdivision to meet obligations incurred to finance its own water supply projects.” Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 459-6577 Compared to the implications of the language empowering the bureaucracy, the plans’ advocates have been bland, indeed, in making their case. With Clayton on the floor at the time, Sen. Howard, presenting the plan to the Senate, said it “dedicates a portion of state revenues for a purpose that’s important, and that’s water.” There is “an increasing demand for water” that will be more and more difficult for local entities to satisfy. The money flowing into the water assistance fund from the state’s “excess” will in turn be directed, \(presumfor local communities \(“front end monfield control program; and the storage acquisition project, Howard explained. A Blank Check? During the regular session Carl Parker quipped, “If the legislature wants to understand this thing to pass it, it’s not going to pass this session.” Sen. Lloyd Doggett of Austin called it a pay-now, plan-later proposition. “Maybe you ought to have a plan before you commit to spend a billion dollars for it,” he said drily. “They do have a plan, senator,” Howard retorted. “What is it?” “Senator,” Howard said, “they’re as before.” During House debate Clayton said there is a state water plan, but he neither described it nor brought it forward for the public to see. The Texas Department of Water Resources has compiled a list of “major water resources projects” scheduled through 2004, but this is not a plan. “Do you have any idea how much money will go into this fund in the next ten years?” Parker asked Howard. “No, senator, I don’t.” “How they gonna plan a long-term water project if they don’t have any idea how much money is comin’ into the fund?” Parker asked. “When somebody goes to so much trouble to get somethin’ that’s worth next to nothin’ there must be a bug under the chip somewhere.” Sen. Ray Farabee of Wichita Falls, who took a lead in fighting features of the Clayton Plan in the Senate, pointed out that the current Comptroller had just come up with $150 million extra, and the declaration of the expected surplus “is just really up to the Comptroller. . . . He has very broad discretion. . . .” By dedicating half the “excess” to water in advance, Farabee said, “You’re gonna be tying your own hands in the future and tying the hands of future senators and members of the House.” Not knowing the sums involved, Farabee said, the legislature was “shooting in the dark.” He sought to eliminate the dedication of the funds to water, a dedication he said would leave the appropriations in the hands of the Comptroller or the water board. Sen. Kent Caperton, Bryan, arguing that the legislature should control legislation, asked, But the Senate stood by the dedication, 17-12. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17