Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 13 of 61
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the tax rate on the homes and the lands of this State. Let us tap
new sources of revenue. Wealth escaping taxation can be seen on every
hand. For illustration only, I mention a few familiar commodities.
Between these two extremes of big enterprises and small institutions,
we have plethoric coffers of boundless wealth. for tax purposes, untapped
and unused. Let us first illustrate with our oil production. We
are now, and have been for some years, producing approximately ten
million barrels of oil a month in Texas. This oil is worth, except when
the Legislature is in session, about $1.50 a barrel. That will aggregate
in a year $180,000,000 worth of oil. As a matter of equity, that oil
belongs to Texas and she ought never to have relinquished her legal
rights to it. These wells are rapidly draining Texas dry. Ought not
the State at least as a minimum, get 5% of this stream of gold flowing
out of Texas ? This within itself will produce as revenue for the State,
nine million dollars a year. Now for one or two small illustrations:
The people of Texas are spending annually for amusement, $30,000,000;
for chewing gum, $2,000,000. This money goes mostly into the fat
purses of institutions out of the State. They do business in the State,
protected by the State laws, and therefore ought to help in a substantial
way, support the State. "Let us get the money where it is, and spend
it on the children where they are."
TEXAS MUST PAY FOR THE ADEQUATE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
If Texas is honestly in the market for this adequate educational system,
and this system is perfected and put on the market, then Texas
monev must pay the bill. Texas cannot have an adequate educational
system without paying for it. It will cost money. Real money. The
coin of the realm. It has been conservatively estimated by scholarly
statisticians and educational engineers, that the State can purchase
an adequate educational sysem by investing annually fifty dollars in
each of her scholastic students. California spends $60 per elementary
child, $90 per high school child and $100 per junior college pupil. We
are able to do what California does. Her resources are not as great as
ours. In proportion to their taxable wealth, thirty-six States are
spending more per capita for education than Texas.
Suppose, however, we see if we can buy a good school system for
fifty dollars a child. Now if we make that investment, I believe the
State should pay half of that and the local units the other $25. Suppose
we take a look into the State treasury and see what the State is
doing. Now for the year ending August 31, 1922, there came into the
State treasury from all sources $28,453,149. Out of this money'the
State paid for higher education, that is, for institutions not classed as
a part of the common school system, $6,104,185. During this same year
the State paid out for the operating expenses of our public free school
system, $18,643,529. If we had 1,300,000 students, the State spent
last year per child to educate it, the sum of approximately fifteen dollars.
This was approximately $10 short per child on the part'of the
State from the amount necessary to buy for that child an adequate
school system. In justice to the State, however, it is proper to say
that of the $28,453,149 collected by the State from the people, that
$24,747,714 was spent by the State for education. This left in the
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/13/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .