Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 8 of 61
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Convention, there is no man in the State too big to be a
member of it, and I daresay there is no man so busy that he would not
gladly serve if asked to do so by his neighbors and friends. To say
that the people of Texas are not capable of and that they would not
elect to form a Constitutional Convention of both capable and honest
men, is indeed a sad commentary on both the intelligence and patriotism
of our people.
THE VOICE OF JACOB BUT THE HAND OF ESAU.
It goes without argument that there is a considerable number of
people who do not believe that now is an opportune time to rewrite
our Constitution but, generally speaking, those who pretend to see
danger in the rewriting of our Constitution are speaking in behalf
of the corporate interests of the State, who have not been, under the
old Constitution, paying the government proper tax for the franchise
privileges granted to them. The time has come when privileges should
support the government, as well as property. Those who wrote the
Constitution fifty years ago could not forecast the day in this State,
and they did not attempt to do so, when privileges and franchises
would be worth more than the lands of Texas. Those who are enjoying
these privileges and corporate rights of the State are not now
bearing their just proportion of the burdens of government. Laws
that have been passed during recent years seeking to lighten the burden
on the lands and homebuilders of Texas and place it equally on
intangible and invisible wealth, have been generally declared unconstitutional.
These same interests now come, and in a strange voice
warn the people that if a new Constitution is written, that additional
burdens will be placed on the taxpayers of the State. In this honest
effort to rewrite the fundamental laws of Texas in order that taxes
may be equalized rather than raised, the citizenship of this State should
not be misled by the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau.
GOOD LAWS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
For some years it has been a saying in Texas that all of our good
laws are unconstitutional. This, indeed, is no reflection upon those
who wrote the present Constitution. They had no intangible property
and no invisible assets to consider; they had no lumber industries
or reforestation problems to solve; they had no mining interests and
no deep water ports to discuss; they had, because we were, in the
main, a rural population; no city or public utility questions to answer;
they had no irrigation or riparian rights to demand their consideration;
they had no strike, no boycott, no lockout, no capital or labor
problems to vex them; they had no industrial institutions or minimum
wage laws to consider.
The economic and industrial world has been
made over during the past fifty years and with this growth the
science and service of government and governmental questions have
taken on a new meaning and must be solved in the light of the present
THIS IS ANOTHER AGE OF CIVILIZATION.
What mighty changes have been wrought in this State, on this con
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/8/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .