Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 53 of 263
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believe the people did not understand it and that it was misrepresented
to them. For instance, the inane argument was made that the adoption
of this amendment might operate to do away with the homestead exemption
and exemptions in favor of religious and charitable institutions.
A new resolution, S. J. R. No. . proposing another constitutional
amendment, is now pending before the Legislature. It is so clear in
its terms that no such arguments can be made against it as were made
before. In my judgment, it should be submitted to a vote of the people.
If it carries, it will not only place property on the tax rolls for State
taxation but for local as well; and it will enable the Legislature to
place a fair rate upon intangible property, low enough not to encourage
concealment and yet sufficient to result in substantial collections both
for the State and local units of government.
In the meantime, however, I recommend that it be provided by
law that no note, bond, mortgage, or other intangible security shall be
collectible at law in this State unless it first be registered with the
county clerk. Of course, only a nominal fee should be charged for this
registration service, but the property will then be accessible to local
authorities for assessment purposes.
The law now provides a penalty for failure to render property for
taxation. I suggest that a statute be enacted requiring district judges
at each term of the district court to charge the grand juries to investigate
failures to properly render property for taxation.
If these steps are taken, in my judgment, those who conducted the
organized fight against adoption of the classification tax amendment will
then be ready to join hands with all of us in urging its passage in order
that a fair rate may be levied against this character of property.
A problem of increasing magnitude in Texas is that of effectively
stamping out tax evasions made possible by the technical construction
of revenue raising laws or by the absence of any statute. Consideration
of the innumerable leaks in present tax laws would unreasonably extend
my recommendations to this legislative body. I do earnestly recommend
that you consider the report made by the Senate Tax Program Committee
printed in the Senate Journal of February 21, 1935, wherein they have
pointed out simple remedies that will in many instances greatly increase
the revenue of the State.
For example, I call your attention to Article 7070, of the Revised Civil
Statutes, purporting to tax gross receipts of telephone companies. This
article provides for the filing of reports "showing the gross amounts
received from all business within this State .....in the payment of
charges for the use of its line or lines, telephone or telephones, and
from the lease or use of any wires or equipment." A casual reading
of the article would lead one to believe that the gross receipts tax is
levied upon all the receipts of such companies. Indeed, I have no doubt
that the Legislature at the time of the passage of this article intended
to levy such a tax on all the gross receipts. Actually, however, the
receipts to be taxed are limited to "charges for the use of its line or
lines, telephone or telephones, and from the lease or use of any wires
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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/m1/53/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .