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House Committee on Saving Taxes

Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on Saving Taxes:

An Inventory of House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes Public Hearing Audiotapes and Transcript at the Texas State Archives, 1959-1960, 1962

Organization History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials

Texas_House_of_RepresentativesOverview

Creator:  Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Committee on Saving Taxes
Title:  House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes public hearing audiotapes and transcript
Dates: 1959-1960, 1962
Abstract: The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes, appointed during the 56th and 57th Texas Legislature, was given the charge to investigate ways to reduce costs and waste in state government and to devise operational plans for all state departments, agencies, and institutions to provide economical and efficient services to the public. Records of both committees are audiotape recordings of public hearings at which primarily state agency personnel testified, held during 1959-1960 and 1962, and one transcript of the hearing held on March 4, 1960. Each agency’s staff was asked questions concerning the agency’s operations, current expenditures and revenue generated by the agency, and what cost-saving measures could be implemented at the agency itself and throughout state government. The audio recordings described in this finding aid have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Quantity: 0.45 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

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Other Formats for the Records

A description of original records referenced in this finding aid is available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/70061/tsl-70061.html.

Transcripts of some or all of the hearings from the 57th Legislature are available from the Texas Legislative Reference Library.


Organization of the Records

The records are organized into two series:


Agency History

The Texas House of Representatives appointed a Committee on Saving Taxes during each of the 56th through 59th Texas Legislatures (1959-1966), with each committee having the same charge but completely different membership. The committees were charged with investigating ways to reduce costs and waste in state government and with devising operational plans for all state departments, agencies, and institutions to provide economical and efficient services to the public. The impetus for creating these committees was stated in the enabling resolution for each committee, which noted that the cost of government for the state had risen 740 percent since 1944 and was fully paid for by Texas citizens’ taxes. As part of its functions, each committee was given the power to call public hearings at which representatives of state departments, agencies, and institutions would be compelled to testify.

The House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes created in 1959 by House Simple Resolution 152 (56th Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session) had five members appointed by the Speaker of the House. The committee began its work upon the members’ appointment on October 1, 1959 and was to continue until the convening of the 57th Legislature on January 10, 1961. Committee members were Representatives Wesley Roberts (chair), Robert E. Johnson (vice chair), Charles Lee Ballman, George Cook, and James Cotton. Public hearings are known to have been held by the committee from October 1959 to at least April 1960. The committee was to report to the House of Representatives before the beginning of the next legislative session on the matters charged to it, though it is not known where the report may exist.

In 1961, House Simple Resolution 140 (57th Legislature, Regular Session), referring to the previous committee’s report as having demonstrated the necessity of continuing that committee’s work, authorized the appointment of seven members to a new Committee on Saving Taxes: Representatives George L. Preston (chair), Maco Stewart III (vice chair), J.W. Buchanan, Jake Johnson, Raul L. Longoria, Olen Petty, and Vernon Stewart. Working under the same charge, the committee held public hearings to gather evidence. The committee’s report and recommendations to the House of Representatives focused on education and on highways and roads, with proposed legislation to achieve greater cost efficiency for each area. Whereas education cost the state 45.4 percent of each tax dollar, the committee’s proposals were estimated to produce savings of $6,600,000 per year by consolidating small high schools and grouping county school superintendents by area. It recommended reallocating revenue from the State Available School Fund to the Foundation School Fund, revising the formula for and frequency of determining distribution of funds to school districts from the Available School Fund, and that the Texas Commission on Higher Education study the need for new state colleges and universities. The committee advocated that a separate interim committee be formed to study the education recommendations and that a subcommittee be formed to study a teacher merit salary plan. Beginning in March 1962, a subcommittee on highways held meetings with Texas Highway Department State Highway Engineer Dewitt C. Greer and other department staff to identify areas where operational changes would effect revenue savings. Hearings at which members of the public were invited to testify were held in Amarillo and San Antonio concerning routing of highways in those areas. A subcommittee on Public Welfare and State Hospitals and Special Schools made recommendations concerning child support enforcement, eligibility standards for public assistance to single mothers and their children, and cost-saving measures for state hospitals and special schools. The committee recommended that an efficiency expert be employed to study all state government departments in regard to duplication of effort among them and quality of service to the public; that function was eventually to be fulfilled as a permanent state agency when the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission was established in 1977.

In 1963, House Simple Resolution 585 (58th Legislature, Regular Session) appointed a new Committee on Saving Taxes, with Representatives John Allen (chair), John E. Ned Blaine, Gene Fondren, Gene Hendryx, and Horace Ben Houston Jr. as members. The committee was reappointed in 1965 (House Simple Resolution 394, 59th Legislature, Regular Session), with membership consisting of Representatives R.H. Dick Cory (chair), Raleigh Brown, Don Cavness, Bill Satterwhite, and J.M. Red Simpson. Both committees were to report their findings to the House of Representatives before the next regular session of the legislature. While the report of the committee of the 58th Legislature is available, it is not known where the report for the committee of the 59th Legislature may exist.

(Sources include: “House Committee on Saving Taxes – 56th R.S. (1959)” committee overview, Texas Legislative Reference Library website; and the records themselves.)


Scope and Content of the Records

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes, appointed during the 56th and 57th Texas Legislature, was given the charge to investigate ways to reduce costs and waste in state government and to devise operational plans for all state departments, agencies, and institutions to provide economical and efficient services to the public. Records of both committees are audiotape recordings of public hearings at which primarily state agency personnel testified, held during 1959-1960 and 1962, and one transcript of the hearing held on March 4, 1960. Each agency’s staff was asked questions concerning the agency’s operations, current expenditures and revenue generated by the agency, and what cost-saving measures could be implemented at the agency itself and throughout state government.

The first Texas House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes was created in 1959 by House Simple Resolution 152, 56th Legislature, 1st Called Session, with five members appointed by the Speaker of the House. Records of this committee are audiotape recordings of public hearings that according to the labeling on the tape boxes were held on October 2 and 3, 1959, and on February 19, March 4, 12, and 18, and April 7, 1960; and one transcript of the meeting held on March 4, 1960 (which confirms the date for the audio recording of that hearing). Dates are not announced in the recordings. Testimony was heard from staff of the Texas State Board of Control, Texas Prison System, Texas Highway Department, Texas State Department of Public Welfare, Texas Game and Fish Commission, Texas State Building Commission, Texas Commission on Higher Education, Texas Comptroller’s Office, and Texas State Treasury Department. The chairman of the board of regents of Sam Houston State Teachers College (renamed as Sam Houston State University in 1967) and the architect of the college president’s home also presented testimony to the committee. It is not known whether the committee held additional public hearings that are not documented in these recordings.

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Saving Taxes for the 57th Legislature, 1st Called Session, was created pursuant to House Simple Resolution 140, with seven members appointed by the Speaker of the House on August 8, 1961. Records of this committee are audio recordings of testimony by Texas Game and Fish Commission staff and a member of the public, heard by the committee on December 17, 1962, according to the box labeling. As stated by the committee’s report to the House of Representatives, the committee held meetings with Texas Highway Department personnel, conducted public hearings concerning highways and roads, and perhaps held other hearings also not represented in these records concerning education, public welfare, and state hospitals and special schools.

Archives staff have not listened to the entirety of these recordings (originally on seven-inch open reels of ¼-inch tape) to determine or verify all who testified as witnesses to the committees. Transcripts of the committee’s hearings from the 56th Legislature are available at the Texas Legislative Reference Library. Archives staff have not consulted those transcripts to determine what hearings are included.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Due to the fragility of the audiotapes, the digital copies must be used instead of the original tapes. Researchers wishing to access the original audiotapes must contact Archives staff. Access may be granted if the researcher wants to view the physical tape and its container.

Restrictions on Use
The use of legislatively produced audio or visual materials in political advertising is prohibited (Texas Government Code, Section 306.005). In addition, commercial use of legislatively produced audio or visual material is limited (Texas Government Code, Section 306.006).

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements
None.


The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas House of Representatives records of standing committees, 1953-1971, 21 cubic ft. [Restricted] [See Committee on Revenue and Taxation minutes and witness affirmations, 1953-1971.]
Texas House of Representatives Committee to Investigate Expenditures of State Funds records, 1935, fractional
Texas Senate Committee to Investigate Expenditure of State Funds hearing testimony, 1938, 0.5 cubic ft.
Texas State Board of Control records, 1854, 1885-1890, 1909-1979, undated, bulk 1935-1953, 103.47 cubic ft. [Restricted] [See Executive Director files, folder: Committee on Saving Taxes, 1963.]
Texas Sunset Advisory Commission records, 1977-2005, 17.75 cubic ft.
Texas Legislative Reference Library
[The State Archives has not confirmed which hearings are included in these transcripts.]
Transcripts, House Saving Taxes, 56th R.S. (1959), L1836.56 SA94T
Publications
Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Committee on Saving Taxes. Report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas. Austin, Tex.: The Committee, 1962.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the series). Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession numbers: 1987/071, 1987/076

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Publications Clearinghouse of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on January 8, 1987, and by the Texas House of Representatives Committee Coordinator on January 13, 1987.

One tape containing only a recording of the committee in executive session on December 17, 1962, was removed from these records as consisting of restricted information under the Texas Open Meetings Act and returned to the Texas House of Representatives. Another audiotape of that date labeled as being a recording of the committee in executive session and of further testimony of Texas Game and Fish Commission Executive Secretary Howard D. Dodgen was found to be blank and was also returned to the Texas House of Representatives.

Processing Information
Processed by Rebecca Romanchuk, November 2016

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