are not of universal interest. All this talk about money the arts bring in I think from a business point of view the money would be better invested in sports. That would have a much broader basis of support.” Barrientos argued against Whaley’s amendment, saying, “If we’re going to do something with AFDC, let’s do something worthwhile.” He then asked Whaley if he would support other increases in AFDC funding in addition to his own. Whaley answered by complaining about money going to “people who do those fancy dances.” Rep. Ron Wilson, chair of the Black Legislative Caucus, addressed the House to say he appreciated Whaley’s concern for AFDC. He went on: “This amendment has been trotted out against the arts a number of times. The arts programs are spent on children who live in lower income areas in the state. These are meaningful programs. . . . It’s one of the few valid sums we have.” Rep. Tom DeLay, in speaking on behalf of the amendment, told Wilson he thought it was a paradox that he [DeLay] was supporting an AFDC increase while Wilson was opposing it. “It’s not a paradox at all,” Wilson answered. “It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. . . . I imagine the increases here [in the arts budget] are similar to increases in highway funds. Maybe we ought to take some of this money from highways. You want to join me in an amendment for that?. . . It seems that they [DeLay, Fox, and Whaley] have come out with a newfound sympathy for these kids. There are seven amendments that would provide substantial funding for those kids. We need to help kids with AFDC, but we don’t need any blood money.” Whaley’s amendment was tabled by a vote of 105 to 38. Aside from the battle for a substantial AFDC funding increase, led by Rep. Larry Evans, there were only minor skirmishes involving proposed amendments to other line items in the budget. Rep. Barrientos trotted out a clay puppet \(modeled after Mr. Bill of television’s to illustrate the effect of not providing substantial increases in state employee funds. To an accompaniment of shouts of “Oh, no, Mr. Bill,” Barrientos pulled the arms and legs off the puppet and stabbed it with a pencil to show how state employees would suffer. His call for a $70 across-the-board increase for lower-level employees lost by three votes. \(“I had five more votes,” he later told the Observer. “Three were in the bathroom and two were having coftried several tactics to raise teacher 8 MAY 20, 1983 salaries but had to settle for a minor increase. Rep. Evans began his efforts to increase AFDC spending by proposing a raise from the Appropriations Committee recommendation of $42 per month per child to $72 with the money coming from a decrease in funding for specific line items in the budget appropriated for repair, renovation, or construction. Evans explained that it was not his purpose to take funds from construction but that it is “reprehensible to spend money on construction in this state when children in the state go hungry.” Evans estimated that it would take $124.2 million to raise the AFDC level for the biennium, plus $31 million more for medicaid.’ \(See TO, Speaking on behalf of the proposal, Rep. Rene Olivera pointed out that the amount proposed by the Appropriations Committee was $10 million less per year than is being spent for the current biennium. $72 per month is only half of what is needed for bare subsistence as defined by the Texas Department of Human Resources. The following afternoon, Evans introduced a series of amendments in an effort to increase AFDC funding. The first called for a $60 average monthly payment funded by a 13% decrease in repair, construction, and renovation funds for a new library for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, for new construction on the Texas Tech Health Science Center, for a new State Capitol parking garage, and for unobligated state purchasing funds. Evans told the House it was time to “put bread before bricks.” He said none of the items was included in the Governor’s recommended budget, none of the items was considered critical or court-mandated by the Legislative Budget Board, and that the 13 % cuts would be restored as funds became available. He also pointed out that state AFDC payments had not gone up in fourteen years while inflation had increased by 150%. Rep. Jay Gibson of Odessa assumed the role of Evans’ chief adversary during this second day’s debate. He claimed the 13 % cuts could not be made because they were based on binding contracts. Evans countered, “On November 2, the people spoke loudly on Proposition 2 [raising the AFDC ceiling]. We’d be going back on a contract with the people of Texas.” Gibson’s motion to table Evans’ amendment passed 75-66. Evans returned with an amendment lowering the AFDC amount to $57 and taking smaller cuts out of the listed line items. He lost this vote 76-68. Following debate on higher education costs, Evans offered his third amendment for the day, calling for $54 AFDC payments and 11 % cuts in only the parking garage and unobligated state funds for the Travis Building in Austin. Once again he was opposed by Gibson. “Mr. Gibson worries more about roof repair than about children,” Evans told the House. “As long as we continue to trap children in inescapable poverty, we’ll have to build more prisons and more mental institutions.” This amendment was also defeated. Evans, looking tired and angry, walked away from the podium. Minutes later he submitted his fourth amendment of the day. It proposed $48 in monthly AFDC payments with funds drawn from the parking garage and unobligated state building funds. Gibson opposed the loss in parking facilities. Rep. Bob Barton, D-San Marcos, asked if this was a vote on people versus parking lots? This time Gibson’s motion to table the amendment was defeated, and the amendment passed 84-63. A tired Larry Evans accepted congratulations from his colleagues. Evans later told the Observer, “Of Rep. Larry Evans Several attempts to kill Evans’ amendment on points of order finally brought a ruling that the non-specific nature of Evans’ proposals to raise funds from construction items was in violation of the Calendars Committee rule. Among those working to squelch the amendment was Republican Dallas Rep. Bill Ceverha. “The people who vote to lower AFDC money are the same people who deny family planning money and who deny childcare money,” Rep. Debra Danburg had noted prior to the appropriations debate. Evans did not give up. He told the Observer he intended to offer another AFDC funding-increase amendment on the following day. “The mood of the House is to increase the AFDC funding levels,” Evans said. “I’m an eternal optimist. I think it will pass.”
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