Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 42 of 263
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groups keep well organized, well financed and intelligent, paid representatives
at the scene of legislative battles to protect their intersts. The
great masses of the common people have no protection other than that
which you and I afford them.
The levying or increase of taxes affecting any particular business
or industry, or any class of citizenship, is bound to arouse antagonism.
Indeed, the very suggestion in a message by the Governor or in a bill
introduced by a member of the Legislature is sure to draw the fire of
criticism and opposition. You and I must be prepared to face it.
Earnestly and sincerely I urge that all of us dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly
to duty, remembering we are here to represent, not some particular
industry or some geographic section of the State, but the best
interests of Texas as a whole. We simply must make an intelligent approach
to this, the greatest problem of government-equal and uniform
taxation. It can only be done if we divest ourselves of selfishness, partisanship,
bias or prejudice and labor honestly, diligently and courageously.
In discussing and suggesting various tax levies in this message, I want
you to bear in mind that my only desire is to be of assistance, if I can,
in straightening out injustices under our present system; and in the hope
that thereby we can give needed relief to the average man, the home
owner, the farmer, the harried business man.
Graduated Chain Store Tax
In determining the type of revenue raising measures which must be
passed by this Legislature to secure revenue sufficient to carry on the
government, and to insure State cooperation in the problem of relief, this
Legislature should not be unmindful of the mandates expressed by the
people of Texas in the Democratic elections last year. In that election I
believe the people expressed themselves overwhelmingly in favor of a real
chain store tax. I commend it to your consideration.
It is my belief that a chain store tax should embrace certain fundamentals.
In the first place, it should be designed to include all of the
principal chains in Texas without reference to whether they are engaged
in the business of selling gasoline, lumber, food products, or other articles
for retail distribution. In the second place, I believe it should be based
upon the cardinal idea of ability to pay. Finally, I believe that the rates
should be high enough to compel foreign chains to pay into the State
treasury sums adequate to discharge their proportionate share of the
responsibilities of the State government.
It is not my policy in submitting such a bill for your consideration to
interfere unreasonably with the operation of the local chain store. Primarily
the legislation should be designed to compel the foreign chain, now
escaping taxation, to contribute its part toward the financial upkeep of the
Practically all of the big chains are foreign chains. Therefore, a
graduated chain store tax, increasing according to the number of stores
and the amount of gross revenues, will secure the desired end-that is,
needed revenue and, at the same time, tend to equalize unfair competition
between the great foreign chain stores, with their tremendous capital, and
the little home owned stores.
A bill prepared by the State Tax Commissioner will shortly be introduced.
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Allred, James V. Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939, book, 1939; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3899/m1/42/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .