FO E c , :—‘ ‘.’ HE PEOPt 4, i 1,iil in iiiii -1-: illg1215111nr itiinii ,…._ ._.–7 _———–,1:-”a I ——-.———= —::7-___ z. -.-sz,_ -N…..,'”…._____ _ 11/ c–… III …… — …, ,…..,’ ….——- TEXAS s ERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1986 Vol. 78, No. 20 -,Ise,,, ”, Na v , I, October 10, 1986 Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Valerie Fowler EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Kathleen Fitzgerald WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Richard Ryan POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE: Dana Loy EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerr ville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy bridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, Louis Dubose, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hop per, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, TOM Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A journal of free voices 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 power ful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their 01171 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. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager Stefan Wanstrom Office Manager Joe Espinosa Jr. Publishing Consultant Frances Barton . Development Consultant Hanno T. Beck The Texas Observer paid at Austin. Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23, two years $42, three years $59. One year rate for full-time students, $15. Back issues $2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #105, Austin, Texas 78705. 2 OCTOBER 10, 1986 EDITORIAL Eating Up the Seed Corn THE WAY things happen in the Texas legislature, it’s almost enough to make you believe in Goethe, Karl Marx, and the old 19th Century march-of-history crowd. Here you have a basic problem of economics: on the one hand, you need money to pay the bills, and on the other you have a bunch of ol’ boys with a let-’em-eat-cake approach to government service, i.e., cut out government services and there won’t be any bills. And then you have the moderating hand of big business, in coalition with educators and community organizations, which in these times of economic strain needs state investment in human enterprise just to keep the gears turning. And so, amid much posturing and debate, a modified budget reduction bill and a temporary tax bill are passed. And so the old wheel of state government turns one more revolution as if greased by economic inevitability. It’s almost enough to make you believe in the idea of progress. But not quite. Every tiny step forward is actually two steps back. Look at the final conference committee report on the budget to come out of these special sessions. There were no cuts in the budget of the state highway department. There were fund transfers to the general revenue fund, which , amounted for some revenue loss. But this was more than offset by gains from the increased sales and motor fuels taxes. While higher education institutions and other state agencies were made to cut their personnel and services, the highway department came out ahead. Compare this to the budget of the state Department of Human Services. After threats of even greater cuts, that department suffered a nine percent reduction in funding. Not only does this reduce a budget, which, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, is less than the department budget was in 1974, but it comes at a time when a great many more Texans need the services provided by this department. On August 11, J. Livingston Kosberg, chairman of the board of the Texas Department of Human Services, addressed the Texas Senate, meeting as a committee of the whole, in an effort to spare his department drastic budget cuts. In an impassioned speech, he told the senators: “I respectfully submit to you that this is the worst possible time to cut our department’s budget. Let’s face it when the economy goes `bust’ across the state, unfortunately it means that business goes ‘boom’ at Human Services. “In the month of June, we witnessed an average 15 percent increase across the state in AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children] caseloads, compared to June of ’85. Some beleaguered counties showed as much as a 27 percent increase. In the same month, the caseloads for food stamps increased an average of eight percent, compared to June last year, with some counties seeing as much as a 17 percent increase. My own Harris County witnessed a 14 percent increase in food stamp cases. “Our offices are besieged in the Permian Basin, in the Panhandle, in the Valley, across our farmlands, and in our major cities. I do not exaggerate, nor I am sure do I surprise you, when I tell you that the poverty situation worsens with each passing day. Of the six poorest metropolitan
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