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THE OBSERVER’S POSITION Six proposed constitutional amendments will be submitted to Texas voters during the Nov. 2 general election. The legislature approved three of the proposals \(HJR 1981 regular session; the others were approved during the May, 1982 special session. Also approved during the special session was an amendment to HJR 62. The Observer takes the following positions on the amendments: HJR 1 \(Repeal of The amendment would prohibit levy of any state property tax. It would retroactively validate Property Tax Code Sec. 26.03, which set the state property tax assessment ratio at 0.0001% as of Jan. 1, 1980. The Observer recommends a YES vote, thereby repealing the state property tax, since we believe the legislature’s original reason for halting collection of the tax still stands that assessment, valuation, and collection practices vary widely in the 254 counties. Repeal of the tax should obligate the legislature to seriously address higher-education funding issues for the 17 state colleges and universities without access to the PUF. HJR 62 \(Revising the ceiling This amendment would change the ceiling on state expenditures for aid to dependent children and their caretakers from $80 million per year to a total of $160 million for the 1982-83 biennium. Subsequently, the two-year ceiling would be 1% of the state budget. The method for determining the state budget total would be established by statute. The total would encompass all funds appropriated by the legislature, including federal funds. HJR 62 would eliminate the requirement that state assistance not exceed the amount contributed by the federal government for welfare assistance. The Observer recommends a YES vote. A state as prosperous as Texas can easily afford welfare benefits more adequate than today’s pathetically small . payments. The legislature should have eliminated the welfare ceiling altogether Texas is the only state in the nation to impose such a limit but raising the limit is at least better than nothing. SJR 8 \(Tax exemption on farm SJR 8 would constitutionally exempt farm and ranch equipment \(“implements No dollar limits would be imposed and the exemption would apply to corporations and partnerships as well as families and individuals. Although ‘we’re bothered by the fact that this exemption makes no distinction between the individual or family farm and the huge corporation farm, we recommend a YES vote. Small farmers need all the help they can get. The proposed amendment would add language to Article 16, Section 30, authorizing the legislature to set the terms of water district board members at up to four years. We find no pressing issue involved in this amendment so we recommend a YES vote. HJR 119 \(Abolishing the office of HJR 119 would amend the constitution to let voters in Bee and Tarrant Counties abolish the office of treasurer. If a majority votes to abolish, the duties of the treasurer would pass to the county auditor or other officer who performs auditor’s functions. The proposed amendment would take effect Jan. 1, 1983. The ballot reads: “The constitutional amendment to abolish the office of county treasurer in Tarrant and Bee counties.” This one worries us since the amendment would give control of county funds to a person who is not elected. Tarrant County Commissioner Howard Green TETXDB SERvER Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. The Progressive Biweekly The Progressive Biweekly Vol. 74, No. 20 October 15, 1982 Editor and Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editor: Joe Holley 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, Amy Johnson, 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 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 he reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street. Austin, Texas 78701. 2 OCTOBER 15, 1982 POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.