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through Texas. Biden is “heavily courting” Democratic money men such as Jess Hay of Dallas and Calvin Guest of Bryan, according to Attlesey. Houston liberal leader Billie Carr was quoted as saying that if Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Joe Biden are “the only players, I’ll go with Biden.” 1/ With very little fanfare, Gov. Clements signed into law on April 14 the bill allowing private companies to build and operate minimum and medium security prisons here. He pretended he had never threatened to veto the measure because of his objection that the governor would not be given oversight of the granting of contracts. In reality, there was a good chance his veto would have been overridden. He may have thought it wise to postpone a veto showdown until a tax bill comes up in the legislature. V The state is $1 billion short of cash in the current biennium, but other states outside of the hard-hit oil dependent region are discussing billion dollar tax bills as well. James Thompson, Republican Governor of Illinois, has proposed a $22.1 billion budget for 1988 to be financed by something he is calling “revenue positive tax reform.” By raising state income taxes and sales taxes, as well as gasoline taxes and license plate fees, he hopes to bring in an additional $1.1 billion. The Republican proposes to keep the state’s corporate income tax at four percent and raise the personal income tax from 2.5 to 3 percent, according to Illinois Issues magazine. A California Assembly Ways and Means chairman proposed raising a billion dollars in new taxes for education and health programs in March, according to the Los Angeles Times. But that plan drew opposition from Republican governor George Deukmejian. v Texas ranks fourth in the nation in total square feet of defective bridges. On that basis the state received from the federal government through 1986 a total of $252 million, the fourth-largest total, for bridge replacement and renovation, according to the New York Times. Only New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois had more defective bridges, as measured by square feet. V House Speaker Jim Wright is attracting continued attention for a leadership style that is tough, compared to predecessor Tip O’Neill. Mary McGrory reported in the Washington Post that on the issue of sustaining the President’s highway veto, Wright declared it was Armageddon as far as he was concerned and that he would “never forget” deviation. \(The House voted 350-73 to override with only one Democrat supporting the President. In the Senate, where the veto was overridden by one vote, Phil Gramm supported Reagan; Wright has testified publicly that he wants the President required to notify congressional intelligence committees within 48 hours that he has started a covert foreign-policy operation. V According to a story in the Washington Post, the Harkin-Gephardt supply-control farm bill, crafted and backed by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, has not engendered much support so far in Congress. V Former Cong. Bob Eckhardt of Houston, defeated in 1980 and since then an attorney and lobbyist in Washington, suffered a stroke in early April. Only his speech was affected, and his doctors have informed him that he can expect 90 to 95 percent recovery. v Cong. John Bryant, D-Dallas, a graduate of SMU, has proposed a bill which, as he describes it, “makes it a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year, to pay someone to play college sports. It also provides for a cutoff of all federal funds to any college or university found to have assisted in such corrupt payments to student athletes.” Harsh? Maybe so, but Bryant says paying off college athletes “distorts and cheapens the educational experience and brings disgrace on the institutions involved.” V In a Reader’s Digest profile of him, Gramm explained a provision of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law which requires that Congress provide taxes or compensating cuts to pay for new programs: “This means if you want to pass a mother’s-milk program, you have to kill a hog somewhere else to do it.” V George Bush, Jr., the VicePresident’s son, is playing an up-front role in his father’s Texas campaign for the GOP nomination. Bush, Jr., announced that former Cong. Tom Loeffler and Penny Butler of Houston will co-chair the Bush campaign in Texas. Nor, so doing, was the Vice-President’s son reticent about proclaiming his father’s merits. “He is the best qualified guy to run the government,” Bush, Jr., said. As for the Iran-contra scandal, his father “supported the President’s policies on Iran. That’s his job. He very much believed that it was mighty important for us to establish new ties with the more moderate leadership in Iran.” v Following the forced closing of the Vernon Savings and Loan Assn. despite high-pressure resistance from House Speaker Jim Wright, the Washington Post said in an editorial: “Mr. Wright apparently considers it unfair to close up S&Ls just because they are bankrupt.” V As in the Texas legislature, a measure declaring English the official language has been introduced this year in the North Carolina legislature. A cosponsor of the North Carolina proposal, State Sen. Frank Block, says it would prevent that state from receiving federal funds for certain bilingual education programs. V The implication of Speaker Gib Lewis’s remarks receptive to a personal income tax seemed to be that he would place impediments in the way of House approval of the proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit such a tax. But on April 21 the House voted 105-36 in favor of a constitutional amendment that would ban personal and corporate income taxes unless the are approved by voters. Lewis had said in March: “Personally and philosophically I’m opposed to an income tax, but at the same time I realize I have a certain degree of responsibility for keeping this state going. You have to be realistic about this. You have to be responsible at some time in your life.” Had he changed his position on the personal income tax? “It may be a change,” Lewis said. “Certainly it’s a softening of my position. Reality will make you soften your position.” But, he added, “I think it’s going to take a few years to sell a personal income tax to the citizens.” In response Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby reiterated, “I’m very much opposed to it” but added: “There might be a climate of acceptance.” Thereupon the The New York Times featured the shift in Texas opinion in a story entitled: “Thinking the Unthinkable in Texas: State Income Tax is on the Horizon.” The paper’s Robert Reinhold was told by conservative Sen. Roy M. Blake of Nacogdoches: “I talk about it and nobody dies.” Jared Hazleton, director of the Texas Research League, was reported as saying: “We’ve pushed the existing tax structure close to the limits. The more the sales tax is broadened the more it looks like an income tax in drag, but it doesn’t have exemptions, so the poor pay in higher proportion. People are beginning to accept the fact that the income tax will be seriously considered.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1