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PAGE TWO SEN. BILL MEIER, the Euless Republican running for attorney general, stood at his desk on the senate floor on the opening morning of the recent special session and dipped his hand into a box of sawdust. Reminding his colleagues that it was then-gubernatorial candidate Buddy Temple who called Attorney General Mark White the Pinocchio of Texas politics, Meier accused White of engineering anti-Clements sentiment in the legislature and orchestrating the Midwestern State University lawsuit against the state in an attempt to embarrass the governor. “Whatever issues we talk about, school funding, prison reform, repeal of the property tax,” the Democrat-turned-Republican drawled, “I hope we’ll be careful to follow the sawdust trail of Pinocchio.” Carl Parker, the portly senator from Port Arthur, responded: “Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general leave a smutty trail through big business, big oil companies, and big banks. They’re willing to sacrifice the next generation for the next election.” The schoolboy bickering was appropriate, I suppose, since it was partisan politics rather than property-tax emergencies that brought the legislature to town for five $60,000 days in May. The governor called the special session for a lame reason to begin with, and even that excuse evaporated with a delay in the Midwestern lawsuit challenging the legislature’s 1979 action lowering the state property tax rate from lOg to .0010 per $100 of assessed value. Senate Democrats accused the governor, who promised four years ago $1 billion in tax relief, of using the special session as an election-year gimmick. “The governor is calling a special session to repeal a tax so it looks like he’s delivering billions of dollars of tax relief,” Austin senator Lloyd Doggett charged. “It’s his last desperate effort to deliver on a promise he’s done nothing to deliver on yet.” Still, the governor, just as in last year’s legislative session, got what he wanted, asking lawmakers to repeal the dormant property tax .and provide an emergency allocation to the colleges that had relied on the tax for construction money. Doggett, Parker, Sen. Oscar Mauzy and Reps. Wilhelmina Delco and Stan Schlueter made token efforts to create a new fund for school construction, but to no avail. Two days after the session opened, lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment to be submitted to the voters Nov. 2 to repeal the 100 state property tax. They also approved a bill giving the 17 state colleges and universities that received the proceeds from that tax a one-shot $134.5 million appropriation for immediate building needs. THE COLLEGES, of course, aren’t satisfied without any guaranteed revenue source something like the Permanent University Fund now reserved for the University of Texas and Texas A&M. As it now stands, the nonPUF schools would have to come to the legislature every two years for money for their building programs. They will no doubt be lobbying next session for a share of the PUF or some other form of guaranteed financing. Though the school “crisis” could have waited until January, the prison situation was closer to a real emergency. Building for years, it came to a head on May 10 when the Board of Corrections, informed about a burgeoning prison population that violated U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice’s federal court order against overcrowding, halted new admissions into the court system. State corrections director W. J. Estelle, Jr. came to Austin asking for $85 million from the special session to begin a $630 million building program to house the population, including a $45.5 million “down payment” for 15 new 1,000-bunk units to be built on existing prison sites. Estelle told lawmakers that Texas prisons, which now house 33,000 prisoners more than any other state will house 54,000 inmates by 1985 if the population continues to grow at its current pace of 500 more inmates per month. TETDBSERvER The Progressive Biweekly Vol. 74, No. 12 7,=:”7′ June 18, 1982 Editor and Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editor: Joe Holley Associate Editor: Lyman Jones Staff Writer: Ruperto Garcia Washington Correspondent: Bob Sherrill Research Director in Washington: Katharine C. Fain EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, New York City; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana, Tx.; Susan Reid, Austin; A.R. Tehachapi, Ca.; Alfred J. Watkins, Austin. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, John Henry Faulk, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon, Greg Moses, Janie Paleschic, Laura Richardson, M. P. Rosenberg, Bob Sindermann, Jr., Paul Sweeney, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Grant Fehr, Bob Clare, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Ronald Cortes CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Ben Sargent, Mary Margaret Wade, Gail Woods Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. The Progressive Biweekly 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. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Business Manager: Frances Barton Advertising, Special Projects: Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer postage paid at Austin, Texas. years, $56. One year rate for full-time students, $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from Microfilming Corporation of America, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. Copyright 1982 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. 2 JUNE 18, 1982 POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.