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By MICHAEL HOLMES
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN - Eliminating state government jobs, making certain college
professors teach full loads and renewing drivers' licenses every 12
years are among ideas that would help Texas save $1.2 billion over the
next two years.
Those are among 428 penny-pinching proposals Comptroller John Sharp will
make to the 1997 Legislature as lawmakers look for cash to fund
government and, perhaps, fulfill Gov. George W. Bush's wish of providing
property tax relief to homeowners and businesses.
The cost-cutting recommendations follow the fourth top-to-bottom audit
of the state bureaucracy since 1991.
Sharp said Wednesday that the Legislature has enacted enough proposals
from the three previous audits to save $8 billion in six years.
``There are always incredibly strange things that government does that
can be fixed,'' Sharp said.
Among key cost-cutting recommendations:
- Trimming 1,720 current state employees from the payroll, and
eliminating funding for 6,600 ``phantom bureaucrats'' - state jobs that
are on the books but not filled.
- Extending from four to 12 years the period during which a Texas
driver's license would be valid and streamlining its renewal. A higher
one-time fee would be good until age 60.
- Lowering state funding to colleges and universities where teachers
don't spend sufficient time in the classroom.
- Charging prison inmates for health care.
- Reducing the number of local election dates each year from four to
If all recommendations were enacted by the Legislature, Sharp said
savings would total $3.5 billion over the next five years.
The savings are being proposed at the same time the governor is pushing
to provide relief from the $10 billion a year levied in local school
property taxes. Property taxes make up the bulk of funding for public
schools in Texas.
Last month, Bush proposed easing property taxes by $1 billion, to be
paid for by lower state spending and higher-than-expected government
Sharp said Wednesday that the state treasury is on course to wind up
with a cash balance of about $1.4 billion.
Add to that the $1.2 billion in savings proposed by the audit plus
expected revenue growth over the next two years, and providing at least
some property tax relief might be easier.
Enacting his savings proposals, Sharp said, ``makes it an awfully lot
less painful'' for lawmakers to approve some measure of property tax
Bush, a Republican, said he welcomed Democrat Sharp's money-saving ideas
and predicted lawmakers would give them close scrutiny.
``I look forward to working with the Legislature as it develops a
balanced budget that funds our priorities while offering the taxpayers
significant relief,'' Bush said.
The audit called for eliminating a total of 8,320 of the 261,000 state
Sharp said the 1,720 layoffs could be accomplished through early
retirement incentives, attrition and other measures. The 6,600 empty job
slots should be abolished, he said.
Many state agencies use the ghost workers to give them more budget
flexibility, Sharp said, allowing them to shift money into other
programs. He said the number of ghost workers had risen 55 percent since
``State government already costs Texans enough, without phantom
bureaucrats adding to the tab,'' he said, estimating those savings at
Sharp said modern computer technology allows issuing a lifetime driver's
license, with free-of-charge renewals every 12 years, that would save
money for Texas motorists and government and not jeopardize public
The audit proposed a one-time fee of $85 for drivers aged 18-24, and
slightly less for older motorists, to obtain their license.
Over the years, motorists who remained in Texas would save money over
the $16 fee now charged for renewal every four years. For example, it
said, an 18-year-old paying the $85 fee would be covered for 42 years,
compared with the $176 he wold pay under the current system.
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Dec. 5, 1996 - Pecos Police discovered three broken windows in
downtown Pecos about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday upon responding to a burglar
alarm set off at Fonville Jewelers, 204 S. Oak St.
Investigator Orlando Franco said that one officer was only a few blocks
away when the alarm sounded, and as he turned to respond, he saw the
lights of a vehicle leaving the scene.
Owners reported Wednesday night they could detect nothing missing from
the show window, but will have to do an inventory to determine if
anything was stolen, Franco said.
Richard Crider and Oscar Rodriguez replaced the window this morning.
The vandals had apparently already broken out the glass front door to
the Texas Employment Commission office at 214 W. Second Street and a
picture window on the building across the street, formerly the American
Insurance Co. offices.
Texas Employment Commission's broken front door was replaced this
morning, but the window across the street still had a curtain hanging
out between shards of glass.
Franco said that a blunt instrument appears to be the weapon used;
possibly a rock.
Police are investigating the incident as criminal mischief.
It's the second incident in the past several months of windows being
broken out in the downtown area. American National Insurance, Pecos
Insurance and Needleworks were among the downtown buildings hit in the
Sept. 12 incident.
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By MARK BABINECK
Associated Press Writer
LUBBOCK - The party of Abe Lincoln is poised to take another step toward
recovering from the Civil War, just in time for the 21st century.
A smattering of voters from one of the Texas' most conservative regions
could install the first Republican majority in an Austin legislative
chamber since Reconstruction.
Nominally, a runoff victory Dec. 10 by Republican state Rep. Robert
Duncan over Democratic ex-Lubbock mayor David Langston in their special
election battle for John Montford's Texas Senate seat would be one for
the record books.
Practically, no one knows quite what to make of it.
``I'm not sure an observer is going to be able to tell much of a
difference,'' said state Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, the
chamber's highest ranking Republican who this fall was named chair of
the powerful Finance Committee by Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock. ``I
don't know how you can be any more successful with the governor's agenda
than we were the last time. I think it's going to be very much a session
like last time.''
The ``last time'' refers to the 1995 assembly that featured the dulcet
tones of Bullock, Republican Gov. George W. Bush and Democratic House
Speaker Pete Laney, who orchestrated the session in three-part harmony.
On Tuesday, Bush said a Republican majority in the Texas Senate would be
important for the party, but not necessarily decisive for policy making.
Bush was among a legion of high-profile Republicans at a luncheon
Tuesday on behalf of Duncan in his race against Langston, a Democrat who
resigned as Lubbock's mayor to make the race, in next Tuesday's runoff
The election covers a district that spreads over a wide area of West
Texas, including far northern Reeves County. Fewer than 20 voters in the
county are eligible to participate in the election, for which early
voting concludes on Friday.
If Duncan wins, the GOP would have its first legislative majority since
Reconstruction. Duncan and Langston were the top vote getters in a Nov.
5 special election, although Duncan enjoys a large financial advantage.
The Texas Senate traditionally has granted the lieutenant governor broad
power, which could be endangered if the majority party isn't his own.
``I do believe it will be easier to get a conservative agenda through
the state Senate in the long run,'' Bush said of a majority GOP Senate.
However, Bush said he doesn't believe that scenario would alter his
congenial relationship with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock.
``I think (a GOP majority) is important to show people who have worked
hard in the Republican Party that we're making good gains,'' Bush said.
The Nov. 5 general election left the state Senate essentially with a
15-14 GOP advantage and two open seats. A Duncan victory would ensure a
If Langston wins, the focus shifts to Democrat Jim Turner's East Texas
district. Turner is leaving for the U.S. House, and the parties could
engage in a winner-take-all scrape there to determine the 31st and final
Like Turner, Montford parlayed his powerful tenure into something bigger
and better: Texas Tech's lucrative chancellorship.
The lieutenant governor's traditionally powerful role as president of
the Senate comes from the chamber's own rules, not the constitution.
``The Republican majority could have a really determinative impact on
the operation of the Senate,'' Democratic Party spokeswoman Anne Marie
Democrats still would hold a majority had Turner and Montford not
departed in the middle of their four-year terms. Now, each has left his
party exposed to the GOP in regions where Republicans have winning track
Four top Senate Republicans, including Ratliff, met with Bullock
following the election to discuss committee chairmanships. The
rendezvous upset Bullock, though both sides since have tried to put a
congenial face on it.
``I think we either did a bad job of conveying what we were trying to
say or he misunderstood what we were trying to say,'' Ratliff said.
``It's certainly water under the bridge. I don't perceive anything
lasting coming of it.''
Duncan, a two-term Lubbock legislator who has concentrated on tort
reform and higher education funding, finished slightly ahead of Langston
in the general election.
``The reason why a Republican majority makes a difference rests in our
ability to make state government leaner and more responsible to Texas
and Texans,'' he said.
Duncan and Langston, both attorneys, are battling to represent Lubbock,
Big Spring, about half of Odessa, a third of San Angelo, a smidge of El
Paso and scores of West Texas communities in between.
Langston, who once worked for former Democratic U.S. Rep. George Mahon
in Washington, urges voters to remember the party he credits with the
existence of Texas Tech, its companion medical school and Reese Air
``I'm concerned about representing the people of West Texas,'' he said.
``I'm not seeking to represent the Democratic Party, the Austin lobby,
special interests or anyone else.''
Langston points to Duncan's representation of insurance companies before
the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission while serving on the House
Insurance Committee as an unethical conflict of interest.
Duncan, who had raised more than $250,000 compared to Langston's $50,000
according to the most recent reports, has received large sums from out
of district, something Langston has criticized.
Duncan's camp rebuts that he's worked for a streamlined insurance system
and has voted for bills the industry has opposed. Duncan submits that
his foe hasn't received any out-of-district support because no one is
willing to bet on him.
Texas Tech political science professor Irwin Morris, who specializes in
legislative issues, believes Bullock's iron-fist Senate control indeed
``It's quite possible that if the balance of power does shift to
Republicans, then you may have a situation where the Lieutenant Governor
is not provided with the traditional powers usually accorded to him,''
Morris said. ``You could see a significant decrease in his institutional
Despite the threat, Ms. Kilday agrees with Ratliff that Bullock will
remain key to the legislative process this winter, regardless of party
``One can never overlook the force of Bullock's personality and his
statewide name recognition,'' Ms. Kilday said.
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Dec. 5, 1996 - Things will be kind of "nutty" on Friday at
Security State Bank, when growers and bakers gather for the 1996
Reeves-Loving Counties Pecan Show.
The show has been set to begin at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the bank and
will feature the best pecans and pecan food entries.
Entries were shown and judged by variety and judging was held Wednesday,
for Friday's public viewing.
Plaques were awarded to the Champion Pecan Entries in each variety
division. Rosettes went to the Grand and Reserve Champion entry. First,
second and third place ribbons were awarded in each variety division.
Pecans must have been from the exhibitor's 1996 Crop and entries were
accepted from Reeves and Loving Counties only.
Each entry consisted of 45-50 pecans of the same variety. Mixed
varieties were disqualified.
Rosettes will be awarded to the Grand and Reserve Champion food entry in
adult and youth divisions. Also, a rosette will be awarded for the "Best
Use of Pecans" and "Best of Show" overall.
The two divisions are adult (19 and older) and youth (0-18).
The classes are breads, candy, pies, cookies, cakes and miscellaneous.
Pecans must be an ingredient in the recipe and pecans for food exhibits
do not have to be grown by the exhibitor.
The entire recipe must be entered for judging. In the cookies and candy
divisions, individuals will enter a sample of two dozen.
The recipe must be submitted with each entry.
The annual event is hosted by Security State Bank and jointly sponsored
by Pecos Chamber of Commerce and Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Dec. 5, 1996 - Ten children will have a brighter Christmas,
thanks to members of the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission who took it
upon themselves to buy gifts for the "Giving Tree" at First National
In their Tuesday night meeting, the commission voted to ride on a fire
truck in the Christmas Parade, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13.
Then on Dec. 20 they will distribute turkeys to needy families.
The second meeting of December was scheduled for Dec. 17, but due to a
conflict with the Planning and Zoning Board Meeting set for 6 p.m. that
day, the council will hold a business meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 20, just
prior to the turkey delivery.
Sara Matta is president of the commission, which advises the City
Council on matters of interest to youth and plans monthly activities of
benefit to the community.
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PECOS, Dec. 5, 1996 - Individuals wishing to register to take the GED
exam have until Friday to do so.
GED testing, the final ones under the current system, will take place
beginning on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.
"They have three choices in taking the exam, they can come in on
Saturday morning, or Monday or Tuesday evening," said Michelle Workman.
The current GED requirements will change in January of 1997.
"The test itself will be the same, but the actual passing requirements
are what is going to change for the coming year," said Workman.
Currently individuals were required to make a 40 or above to pass a
certain exam, Begining in January, the new requirement will be that they
have to make a 40 or above on the exam, but have a combined average of
45 or above in order to receive the GED.
"This is all the exams combined, which includes five of them," said
In other words, individuals will have to earn a higher score on each
exam to make their average higher and to receive the GED diploma.
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Roadway improvement is now the focus of a study that once included a
proposed north-south interstate highway.
The Texas Department of Transportation is asking members of the public
to help chart future highway improvements in corridors south from
Lubbock to I-10 and from Amarillo north to the state line.
Six public workshop meetings will be held across West Texas, including
one next Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center,
5200 E. University Blvd., in Odessa.
The workshop meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and are expected to last
about two hours.
They are a key part of Phase 2 of a study which has already identified
five corridors but determined that construction of a controlled access
freeway with frontage roads from Lubbock to I-10 and Amarillo to the
Oklahoma Panhandle is not cost-effective.
TxDOT will spend $1.5 million to determine routes to be improved and the
order in which the improvements should be made within each corridor.
The corridor runs from Lubbock to Lamesa, through Midland-Odessa to I-10
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HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - Longtime cross-town rival newspapers, The Hobbs Flare
and the Hobbs News-Sun, have become sister papers, Sun Publishing Corp.
The company said it purchased the weekly Flare on Tuesday from Golden
West Free Press Inc. of Kermit, Texas. The Flare, published Wednesdays,
has a circulation of about 4,000. It will now be published by The Flare
Inc., a Sun Publishing subsidiary.
Sun Publishing also owns the News-Sun, which has a daily circulation of
Golden West Free Press Inc. will retain ownership of its other weeklies,
the Jal Record and the Winkler County News at Kermit.
Rick McLaughlin was publisher of The Flare. No new publisher of The
Flare has been named, and McLaughlin declined comment on the purchase.
Although owned by the same company, News-Sun Publisher Kathi Bearden
said the two Hobbs newspapers will remain independent and be run
Instead of being printed in Kermit, though, The Flare will now be
printed on the presses at the News-Sun.
Agnes Kastner Head founded The Flare in 1948 after a dispute with the
News-Sun. The News-Sun publisher at that time, Tom Summers, refused to
run advertising for Mrs. Head's husband, who was running for Hobbs mayor
and eventually won the office, the News-Sun reported Wednesday.
After Mrs. Head's death in 1992, her family sold the newspaper to Golden
West Free Press Inc. in 1993.
Her son, C.J. Head, said the family approves of the sale to the
``I think the paper will improve,'' he said.
And The Flare remaining independent of the News-Sun, he said, would
retain his mother's goal of a second voice in Hobbs.
The Flare is named after a Phillips Petroleum gas flare that Mrs. Head
said guided her to Hobbs one evening several years before she began the
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By RON FOURNIER
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Settling on his second-term national security team,
President Clinton today chose U.N. ambassador Madeleine Albright to be
the first female secretary of state and Republican Sen. William Cohen to
be his defense secretary.
A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also
said Clinton had decided to name Anthony Lake, his national security
adviser, to be the new CIA director. Sandy Berger, Lake's deputy, will
move up to the top spot.
Clinton planned to announce the choices this afternoon. The appointments
of Albright, Cohen and Lake would be subject to Senate confirmation;
Berger's would not.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Defense Secretary William
Perry are resigning. The decision means CIA director John Deutch is
probably out of a job in the second term. He had been mentioned as a
candidate to replace Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, but aides no longer
expect that to happen.
Though the appointments of Lake and Berger amount to a second-term
reshuffling, the nominations of Albright and Cohen are trailblazing.
Albright, whose family fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia
when she was a child, would be the first woman to hold America's senior
diplomatic post. The selection of Cohen, the retiring Maine lawmaker, is
in keeping with Clinton's promise to include Republicans in his
Albright's selection comes amid mounting pressure from women's groups,
who argued that Clinton's re-election was due in large part to his
support from female voters. Both top choices reflect the influence of
Vice President Al Gore, who supported Cohen and who needs female voters
for his planned presidential race four years from now.
Other details about the president's new national security team:
- Albright, 59, is a naturalized American citizen, the daughter of a
Czech diplomat whose family moved from Czechoslovakia to the United
States when she was 11. As U.N. ambassador, she has been known as a hawk
on Bosnia intervention and NATO expansion.
She is considered hard-working and outspoken, a Washington insider who
came from the academic world to the Clinton administration in 1992. Some
question her credentials as a strategic global thinker, and Clinton may
have opened himself to questions on that score.
- Cohen, 56, is a Republican moderate who announced earlier this year
that he was retiring from the Senate after three terms. He rose to
national prominence when he cast one of the first GOP votes to impeach
President Nixon and later played a leading role in the Iran-Contra
He established a reputation for independence in the Senate, a trait he
demonstrated most forcefully in recent years when he became the only
Republican last year to vote against the GOP plan to balance the budget
over seven years.
- Lake, 57, is a reserved New Englander who has eschewed the spotlight
as Clinton's national security adviser. The author of five books on
foreign policy, Lake served in the State Department in both the Nixon
and Carter administrations. Before joining the Clinton administration,
he had been teaching international relations at Mount Holyoke College in
South Hadley, Mass., and raising 28 head of cattle on his farm.
As his name rose to the top of the CIA list, some aides wondered if
Lake's mild manner was suited for the rough and tumble CIA stewardship.
- Berger, 51, worked in Lake's shadow as deputy national security
adviser but won Clinton's respect for his consensus building and
organizational abilities. He is respected for his ability to straddle
the intersection of politics and foreign affairs, but there are
questions about his credentials for molding foreign policy.
Before joining the Clinton administration, he worked as an international
trade attorney and partner at a major Washington law firm. Like Lake, he
worked in the Carter administration - as deputy director of the State
Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1977 to 1980.
Aides said Clinton's thinking has solidified on other Cabinet posts, but
no more announcements are expected this week.
Clinton's decision ends weeks of speculation, as candidates ran hot and
cold with nearly every presidential meeting or telephone call.
Finalists for the secretary of state job included Democratic Sen. Sam
Nunn of Georgia; former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell;
Richard Holbrooke, who helped negotiate the Bosnia settlement, and
Thomas Pickering, former ambassador to Russia.
Finalists at defense included Nunn, Deutch, Deputy Defense Secretary
John White and Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. Clinton also was
said to be considering candidates from the defense industry, such as
Bernard Schwartz, chairman of Loral Corp. and a Democratic donor; and
Norman Augustine, head of Lockheed Martin Corp.
Albright's selection opens up the U.N. seat. Democratic Rep. Bill
Richardson of New Mexico is a candidate. So are some of the also-rans
for secretaries of state and defense, including Holbrooke.
Clinton made his final choices alone in the White House on Wednesday
night after the annual Congressional Ball. He telephoned chief of staff
Leon Panetta, who was still at the ball.
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High Wednesday 73, low last night 31. Tonight, fair. Low in the lower
40s. West wind 10-15 mph. Friday, sunny. High around 70. West wind 10-20
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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