Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 98 of 263
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Government that Texas has money in the treasury to meet its
one-half of the total monthly payments beginning November 1st.
Second. We should permanently finance the old age assistance program.
In order to meet the emergency, I recommend the following:
A. The $430,383.00 now set aside in the permanent old age assistance
fund, out of the 15% of the total collected, should be transferred to the
available old age assistance fund. You will recall that this 15% allocation
was made in H. B. No. 26, passed before the liquor regulation law. Thereafter,
the liquor bill allocated all funds collected thereunder exclusive of
the one-fourth going to the available school fund under the Constitution, to
the old age assistance fund without specifying that 15%' of same should
go to the permanent old age assistance fund. It is quite possible that the
present law could be construed so as to place this $430,383.00 in the available
pension fund, but the Commission feels, of course, that it should be
done with clear legislative authority.
In addition, I am advised by the Attorney General that there is a serious
question as to whether the Legislature could set up such a special
fund under the Constitution. It seems to me in view of the urgent necessities
with which the State is confronted, the best interest of the people
would be served by transferring this sum of money to the available
B. The general fund still operates under a tremendous deficit. The old
age assistance fund is confronted with a similar deficit, and we cannot
afford to issue so-called "hot checks" to our needy old people, since such
warrants would have to be discounted; and it is the duty of the State to
see that they are paid in cash.
I recommend the transfer of three million dollars from the cash surplus
of the highway fund to the available old age assistance fund.
This Legislature last year appropriated three million dollars out of the
general fund for the Texas Centennial, and that Centennial, more than
any other factor, has contributed to the cash balance which the highway
fund now enjoys. I am advised by the Comptroller that at the close of the
fiscal year, there was a net increase in gasoline tax collections over the
preceding 12 months of $4,040,234.00. In my judgment, it is no more than
fair that the highway fund, greatly increased by added Centennial attractions,
should in turn contribute to the urgent need of the aged citizens
of our state.
This Legislature, or any future Legislature, may well provide for a
return of the highway funds so used when the old age assistance program
has been adequately and permanently financed.
This recommendation I make as a matter of emergency and not as a
matter of permanent policy. Under normal circumstances, I am opposed
to diversion of highway revenues for other purposes, but in the face of
the crisis which now exists in old age assistance, I am firmly convinced
that the general welfare, and particularly that of our aged citizens during
the coming winter months, is of greater importance to the State than
any highway program which might necessitate the immediate expenditure
of the funds before they could be replenished.
We now approach the second problem, that of financing by taxation
payment of old age assistance to all persons entitled to same under the
provisions of existing law. Again, we must face the facts. The people
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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/m1/98/: accessed February 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .