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Amerikoa, which means ‘place of the four winds.'” And that brings Valdez to the cinema and manifest destiny. “I feel this enormous responsibility not only for myself, but for my people to declare our humanity before the world … For me, the big screen and the TV screen are mirrors where I see the reflection of my own face,” he said. ” [T]he manifest destiny of America wasn’t simply to chew up Texas and Nevada and kill Indians. Maybe that’s what they thought, but the real destiny of the United States is different. The real manifest destiny is to reveal to the world what the continent is all about. We’re going through a transformation, which is going to be very good for the United States because the United States is dying, decaying from within. The only way it can continue to survive is to recognize that America doesn’t end with that line between San Diego and Tijuana, between Nogales and Nogales, El Paso and Juarez.” The evening ends with congratulations from Superbarrio Gomez and from the audience. Valdez outlines future projects: a film based on the Mayas \(just in time for 1992 and the triumph/angst of the 500th anniversary of Encounter of Two Worlds, an operatic film that will take him to Germany and Czechoslovakia to discover Europe, and La Bamba II an idea that came to him while walking the streets of the Mexican capital looking for inspiration and stories of hope. 0 DIALOGUE Continued from page 2 appropriate. Texas needs to come to the realization \(and U.S. Southwest including here to stay and will win. Why? Simply because we have the numbers in population. Roy Barrera proved a conservative Hispanic can do well. He was as unknown and inexperienced as Dan and look hOw well he did. Can you imagine how well Dan will do? Quite simply, I predict he will be the next AG because he is a highly qualified moderate Democrat of the type palatable to the general voting public. So come on, you guys at the Observer, stop whining about the Doggetts, the Bryants and so forth, concerning the AG race. Sure those guys are great, but the time has come to share the political pie. Please give Dan a break and get off his back! Arturo S. Gaytan Seguin Fairness In Taxation In the January 26 Observer, Allan Freed “Best Lodging Location for Fishermen & Beachgoers” Group Discounts P.O. Box 8 Port Aransas, TX 78373 Send for Free Gulf & Bay Fishing Information man writes, “The root of social progress in this state begins and ends with the tax structure.” This is a strong statement; yet even those who would doubt it can certainly agree that, especially due to the Edgewood v. Kirby decision, Texas tax revenue must increase. Let us ask these questions what tax would be the most effective way to raise money for state education spending? And can this tax bring to Texans any more fairness or justice than the current system, thus beginning the reform called for in Freedman’s editorial? Some writers in the Observer appear to assume, without argument, that a state income tax is the best possible choice. Yet if the tax structure is crucial to this state, as Freedman says, perhaps some serious examination i s s called for. We want a tax that does not bear disproportionately on the poor. Texas’s heavy sales tax, which hits the poor hardest, has done incalculable damage to the state’s economic vitality by making goods and services artificially expensive. And as Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby has pointed out, the property tax is also regressive. The only tax that would actually burden the poor less, and the rich more, than a graduated income tax, would be a tax on land values. The land-value tax would be more effective because land ownership is even more concentrated in the hands of the few than is income ownership. We also want a tax that is easy and cheap to collect, while hard to avoid. In this case, the income tax ranks low compared to many alternatives. The cheapest tax to collect would be one where the collection process is already in place; either a sales tax, a property tax, or a tax on land values. To prevent avoidance, the tax on land values is best because no one can conceal, carry away, or otherwise hide land. We want a tax that has some relevance to the government service provided in return for it. In this case, a tax on land values is the only plausible candidate. When the public sector puts up a nice new school in my neighborhood, it doesn’t make my salary rise but it makes the land values in the areas surrounding the school go up. Since the public sector produced these increases in value it has every right to collect and “recycle” them. We want a tax that is in some accord with the taxpayers’ “ability to pay.” Adam Smith first enunciated the ability to pay principle, and economists from Smith himself all the way to Modern ones like Ravi Batra have seen that an asset tax, not an income tax, most closely adheres to this principle. Thus we would; for Texas, look to a levy on personal property, or buildings, or land values. We want a tax that does not discourage productive effort or distort economic decisions. Economists such as Samuelson have pointed out, even in their introductory textbooks, that there is only one truly nondistortionary tax the tax on land values. Because the supply of land is fixed, it has an inelastic supply curve and so the tax cannot be passed along to interfere in unexpected ways in the rest of the economy. A tax on land values might also cause wheeler-dealers to think twice before engaging in the “land flips” that the Observer has discovered among corrupt , S&L officers and others seeking to inflate the price of land. Neither a state income tax nor a sales tax can produce a nickel of revenue from persons who own lands in Texas but live out of state, or out of the country. Such persons need never leave their mansions, yet still they draw millions of dollars out of Texas every year. The land-value tax offers a way to derive revenue from such persons, instead of taking the entire amount from Texas workers. Based on a January 1990 report by the State Property Tax Board, I estimate the revenue from a 3 percent annual land value tax would be between $7.5 billion and $12 billion. Anybody interested? Hanno T. Beck Columbia, Maryland 20 MARCH 23, 1990