Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 68 of 263
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public disaster. This however, does not, in my opinion, justify the imposition
of a great burden upon one class of people for the benefit of another
class, to which the group bearing the burden owes no special obligation
apart from that of the general public. In other words, there would be more
justification for a general tax upon all classes of people for the benefit
of one particular group than loading the entire burden upon a particular
2. I am informed by the Insurance Department that this additional
tax upon all premiums will inevitably result in raising the premium rates
proportionately. This would but impose an additional burden upon real
estate, which is already staggering under an unjust and almost unbearable
The argument has been made by proponents of the bill that this Act
should not raise insurance rates. They claim the rates already collected
are sufficient to carry this additional burden without increasing the
These assertions are disputed by opponents of the bill, but even if it
be true that this additional expenditure of hundreds of thousands of
dollars can be paid out of present premium rates, then it but demonstrates
that policy-holders throughout the State are already paying too much
for insurance; and the Insurance Department should certainly look into
the rates at once with a view to lowering them, rather than that the
Legislature should afford even the semblance of justification, as by the
passage of this bill, for raising insurance rates.
3. The record shows that the added taxation feature was incorporated
in the bill during the rush of the closing hours of the Legislature. The
assertion has been made that it was passed in one of the Houses as an
uncontested bill. I do not believe that such a drastic step and such a
sweeping change of policy, as is represented by this bill, should be taken
without mature consideration on the part of members of the Legislature.
Most of the arguments for and against the bill seem to have been made
after the Legislature had passed the Act and was placed on my desk for
veto or aproval.
4. Candor compels me to express grave doubts as to the constitutionality
of this Act. If constitutional, it is, of course, upon the proposition that
firemen are engaged in public duties and that pension provisions are but
a part of the compensation for services rendered in such public service.
If this be true, then there was no necessity for the Legislature to submit
a proposed constitutional amendment, as it did, to authorize the Legislature
to make provision for a pension and retirement fund for school
Conceding, however, that the measure is valid, then the policy of the
bill will invite like provisions for every other character of city employees,
as, for instance, policemen; and even county and State employees.
Our National Government is already dedicated to a general system of old
age pensions. I recommended to the Legislature State participation and
the submission of proper constitutional amendments to authorize the Legislature
to participate with the Federal Government in old age pensions
for all classes. The Legislature responded to this recommendation and
has submitted to a vote of the people the old age pension question.
I very much dislike to pass upon a proposition of this kind which has
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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/m1/68/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .