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Pho to by Vic Hin ter la ng Governor Clements At the Inaugural Ball, Austin, 1987. into the business of relieving small mammals of their skins, for one thing. These people are getting their money from somewhere, even if it’s not from oil royalties. And judging from the gala group that toasted the new governor’s inauguration, they have money to burn. One thing is also evident: very little of their money goes to support state government. Consider the study that came out last month that compared the tax burden of the rich in Texas with the tax burden of the poor.` The state’s richest pay 1.5 percent of their income in state and local taxes, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington-based away 6.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes. As one goes up the income scale, from lower-middle to upper-middle to rich to very rich, one finds a smaller and smaller percentage of income going to state government. While this is true of many states, Citizens for Tax Justice found that only Wyoming and South Dakota have more regressive tax systems than Texas. The state’s heavy dependence on the sales tax instead of the income tax means that the wealthiest people here are essentially getting a free ride. And at the same time, the federal government has dropped the rate of taxation of the upperbracket rich from 70 percent to 50 percent and now to 38 percent. If these are hard times for millionaires, government seems to be doing all it can to help. There are two things going on when one begins to talk of an income tax in Texas. Nearly everyone’s first urge is to grab for his wallet. We sense a pickpocket in our midst. For those people who may have spent the grocery money on emergency day care, or those who wait for their firstof Tthe-month paycheck to clear the bank before venturing to pay the rent, the absence of a state income tax makes life that much more manageable. It is truly one less thing to worry .about. But people know, also, that there are wage-earners, and dividend-earners, who don’t pause a moment before parting with a few thousand dollars to make their life more luxurious, and that they have the means to help fund a government that makes life more tolerable for the less fortunate. And that’s the second thing that is going on: people recognize that under the present order of business, it would be the lower and middle classes that would get soaked, not CONTENTS FEATURES 1 The Inaugural Gala Dave Denison 5 Lives on the Line Bill Adler 8 Court Reform Amy Johnson 10 Rehnquistification of Texas James C. Harrington The People’s Lobby Rebecca Lightsey Annmarie Jensen Rebecca Harrington Lin Team Ken Kramer John Hildreth Willie Chapman Gara LaMarche Carol Barger Pages 11-15 DEPARTMENTS 4 Dialogue 15 Political Intelligence 22 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 16 Folk Art Mishandled Julie Ardery: 19 Folk Art Demands Advocacy Pat Jasper and Kay Turner Afterword: 23 Repellent Notions Gregg Franzwa THE TEXAS OBSERVER