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This is Texas today. A state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and as companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers and toxic wastes, to mention a few. 4 t ‘go vf v. . ,:ii 9 ,1 4 1l a 4.$ riark*41 t ,,1 , A N ri p e -41 4 i-z -v ., , v z, ,,,,,,,.. ref4,’ \\7– Ve WC47` ‘0: ‘qei:t, ..Sk ” \\’ te l t i i , 4\\41 tW; . ‘ 11141 11 : ‘ Ale : , 2, , li’ IF ‘4447 v VO,D. _ , . “A Poir BUT 4 ” DO NOT DESPAIR! ,;;I r dmi ,THE TEXAS -11,1 server 1 TO SUBSCRIBE: Name Address City State Zip $32 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $32. 307 West 7th, Austin, TX 78701 I did always vote against making it unconstitutional to have an income tax. I just always thought that [a vote to prohibit an income tax] was ridiculous and angry. And it always lost. Are you going to actively work for the Women’s Political Caucus? Are your going to try to Well, I’m not going to be their lobbyist or anything. But I’m going to try to get us back on a sound footing and work on the development of candidates and campaigners for the purpose of addressing some of the needs that need to be addressed in the state. Do you think women candidates would make that much of a difference? Yes. The kind we’re going to bring up certainly will. How do you envision the next session? On education in particular. Well, there can be a statutory fix. Some of us were working on one. It, too, would have been harsh. Harsh because of the gap between the revenue promised by Senate Bill 351 and what is actually available? Yes. Because of money. What we were working on would have kept the 351 goals in there. Because 351 is really a lovely equitable system. But [the proposal under study during the special session] would have asked for a constitutional amendment to allow us to move money from one school district to another. It also would have provided that only those districts whose tax base is more than $280,000 per student, and those adjacent to them, would have been affected. Instead of having every county a county education district, we would have just made cooperative education units out of as few as we could get by with … And we would have allowed people to vote in their cooperative education units if they wanted to, to combine for a full dollar and a half [in order to] stop raising taxes. And if they failed to vote to do that, we would have empowered the commissioner to simply consolidate as many school districts as he had to in order to get the tax base. And we would have had a proviso that should we ever pass a constitutional amendment that allowed the transfer of school taxes from one school district to another, that the consolidations would be undone. I hated to do that because I think that consolidations should be made on a basis of what is good education, rather than funding. So there had to be a proviso. What you’re talking about is an elaborately constructed mechanism to try to get around both constitutional prohibitions and legislative blockades. That’s right. That’s right. Which is ridiculous. My biggest regret is that I’ve been allowed to serve four years as chairman of the House Committee on public school finance and have never been allowed to chair the House Committee on Public Education. There are so many things that we need to be working on in our schools that would enhance both for the children who attend them and the teachers and other people who work there. And provide better quality of education for all the children of all the people. But first we have to get a stable system for funding the schools. One of the things that is wrong with our public schools right now is that it has been years since they’ve had a stable funding mechanism. We’ve added money to them but we’ve always kept them on kind of a short leash. Who do you see saying the right things?Bullock tried with the income tax? Do you see anyone leading on the tax issue at the state level? I don’t know if it’s leadership or not. I don’t know if this business, well, sometimes you can tell people and they won’t hear until they’re ready to hear. It’s kind of like reading readiness. When a child’s ready to learn to read, that’s when they learn. I’m wondering if that’s what we’re getting into. If that’s what the governor and lieutenant governor and other people are doing now. If they are trying to run a reading readiness program on tax structure. And wait for the public to lead? Well, to wait for the public to realize that not everybody’s carrying their fair share. You know, here are people whom make $20,000 a year and live in a $20,000 house that’s now on the tax rolls for $60,000, screaming: “I don’t want an income tax, I don’t want a state income tax.’ Probably they’d pay less if they had an income tax to pay than if they pay all of those ad valorem taxes. Do you ever look at what has happened in California as what might happen in Texas? Well, I sure think it could. But I don’t think it will. It’s hard to kill optimism in an Ernie Glossbrenner. I think the Legislature and everybody in elected office need to trust the people more. I believe, I really do believe, that if you’re honest with folks and tell them the truth, that they’re just as smart as the members of the Legislature and they will understand just as well. And I don’t think it costs you your job. But we won’t know until we run that tax structure by them. I think that people get much angrier with little games that we play when we say that we increased fees and didn’t raise taxes. I represent, I’ve always represented, a district with a population that has not had a lot of formal education. But there are a lot of pretty smart cookies there. And they know that there is no difference in increasing taxes and increasing fees. So the optimism in you sees candidates running honest campaigns telling people that here is the situation and this is what we’ve got to do or it’s going to get much worse. Or coming up here and doing it and then going home and hitting the luncheon circuit and saying ‘This is what we had to do.’ We can pretend that this is the Texas of 1960 if we want to. But then we will not be able to make state government work.