The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on March 11, 1968 · Page 1
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 1

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Blytheville, Arkansas
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Monday, March 11, 1968
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NH Tm - BlyflievllHi (Ark.) Courier News - Monday, March 11, Ittu til*;, IXBi Shocked Senator Charges Overcharges \ By NOEL GROVE | Then came the sentence i n ^WASHINGTON (NBA) - i|j, e report: "The comparison Ii£ a single, simple sentence on J | )0 j/,vocn jiric-j changes and unit page 114 of the President's 19-jj a jj W C0 sts suggests that pub- 6£ Economic Report, a western j )je lltj . itics |, avc n ot passed the senator found company to e n d j fii|] belle [j t O f improved prcduc- 1hV-!oneliness of the long - tis -j , ivitv on Io iheir customers." ta}ic£ runner. :FOI>. years, Sen. Lee Metca has insisted that privately owned power companies charge too Much for electricity. And o n tjiis issue, the Metcalf office lias stood pretty much alone on Qftpitol Hill. Sen. Lee MctcaU j tivity on to Iheir customers. In (lie language of the aver- I age resident who pays his electric bil! eacli month, it means Vhal electricity is getting cheaper to produce, but not commensurately cheaper to buy. The discrepancy means increased profits for someone. How much profit, and for whom. Metcalf has been asking. President Lyndon Johnson, whose previous concern about electric bills includes turning off White House lights would appear to be getting curious himself. "At least, It maKW us respectable," grinned Vic Reihe- mcr, Metcalf aide who co-authored the book "Overcharge," and with the senator has been hacking away at privately owned power companies for years. Investor - owned utilities as opposed to the smaller, municipally owned systems.—supply the bulk of electric power in the United States. Yet while they claim to be part of fr«« enterprise, Senator Metcalf has made a crusade out of asserting they operate with much of the sanctity of governments. "Investor - Owned Utilities (I. O.U. s as Metcalf calls them) have the right of eminent domain, just as governments do," says the Montana Democrat. "They have boundaries, just as' stales and nations do, and they have a'complete monopoly on Iheir essential product i n their territory. "Utilities and governments alike are empowered to require public payments, through rates or taxes. Neither governments nor I.O.U.S go broke. They just adjust Ihe taxes ... or the rales." As a result of overadjust- inents, many investor - owned clcclric power companies are enjoying profits well - above the 6 per cent rale of return generally allowed, according to Federal Power Commission figures. According to Metcalf, the sting of such profits to the consumer is not only that his overcharge dollars are lining the pocket of a perhaps distant utility investor, but that some of the contributions made out of those profits may not agree with his politics. It was his own curiosity about these contributions, the senator claims, that first led him to studying the power companies. "In analyzing my election to the Senate in 1960 I realized I had been knocked around badly during tbe campaign h y t h e power companies, so my staff and I decided to find out where they got the money to attack us. "Well, we found out they got it from profits from their consumers, many of whom are my friends...and including me. pay for power usage in Mon tana, too, and my own mone; was being used to attack me "The more we got to looking into tliis, the more we realiz cd this wasn't just in Montana It w« I nationwide pattern." "This Is one of'the most important problems in America," insists Metcalf. But for a nation, that often tunes its primary concerns to tlic pitch pf its pocket-1 book, the American public has! shown a remarkable apathy, j The enormity of the overpricing of electricity, according to Metcalf's office, is attributed to ,ie general lack of public know- edge about utility economics. Even the state power conunis- ions, responsible for regulation f utility rates, are inadequately taffed and versed in utility ate procedures and, therefore, unable to argue effectively when a utility asks for a rate taxes. Even after subtracting! higher federal taxes (whienj Increase. Interlaced with the fog «ur ... o .._. rounding utility operating ex - private power companies pay ) tensive publicity program. It I from, the differences i.i <„ M includes supplying small news - j ues, he says, the private com-1 papers with free proprivate|panics' rates are still higher Solid, or Skip-Row? £ By Bo Gibson sDo you plan (q plant your ablton solid, 1 'or use one of Ihe sjtip - row practices? -Cotton, farmers in Arkansas aiid other cotto;» growing stales, rip doubt, will, plant more cotton to skip - row patterns in 1868 than in the past two years. Reasons such an increase siems c er t a i n are due to changes made in the 1968 cotton program over the programs i n effect in 1966 and 1967. One rjiajor reason is the voluntary diversion feature of the program is not as attractive as fSr the past two years, and more cotlon is expected to be planted. Another important rca- stm is that rules for measuring cotton in skip.- row patterns Have been changed to the rules in effect from 19C2 through 1965. lUnder the "new" rule an al- Ititment acre of cotton c a n be skip - rowed in a two to one jj&ttern (two rows planted anc q~ne row not planted.) and occupy one and one-half acres ol land. In areas where soils and climale were favorable this pj-aciace was profitable. • Accordingly, skip-row practice gained in popularity during the four"years, 1962 - 1965, when it was'permitted without penalty. Now-that (he penalty has been removed there is speculation as tb how much increase will occur in skip - row planting. '.'.This practice was followed on 13 percent of the United Slates planted cotlon acreage in 1962. l|y 1965, the proportion has in- dreased to 22 percent of t h e Ration's 14.2 million acres planted. The penally imposed in 1966 against skip - row cotton caused the percentage figure that year to drop to four per cent o{ the tytal cotton acreage. The extent of the skip - row practice during the permitted years varied widely by p r o - (Jucing regions. Skip - row pat- t£rns in 1965 were most widely used in the west and least used in the Southeast. That year over half (52 percent) of Arizona's 347,000 planted acres was grown in skip .- row pal- terns. For California, the major western cotton producing gate, something over a third $8 percent) of Ihe acreage was skip-rowed. The percentage for Sew Mexico, the least impor- $nt cotton stale in the west, fas 19 percent. ithe practice of skip-rowing was quite widespread in Texas where two - fifths of the nations' Cotton acreage was planted in 1865. That year 31 percent of the Texas cotton crop was skip- rWW.-Byway 'of contrast; only fix percent of Oklahoma's cot- ton acreage was planted in such a pattern.. Among delta states the practice was most popular in Mississippi, accounting for 27 percent of the state's 1.5 million acres in 1965. The percentage- lor other states were Louisiana, 13; Arkansas, 10; Missouri, five and Tennessee, two. In the Southeast the percentage of cotton acres planted to skip - row patterns in 1965 were as follows: Alabama. 10; Georgia, eight; North Carolina, two; and South Carolina, two. It seems likely that the practice will be most widespread in 1968 in those areas where it enjoyed earlier popularity. This is simply because they gain more from 'skip - row planting. Many of the extension economists agree that production responses from various skip - row patterns vary by soil types and locality. Keep in mind yield response of skip - row cotton is not as stable from year to year than solid planted cotton. Some soils that have excessive slalk may be the best land to use this ! skip-row practice on. Soils, that I grow short stalk cotton m a y produce better in solid planted than on skip - row planted. We think the heavier the soil, the less likely skip - row cotton will he profitable. Or, the sand- I ier the sojl, the more likely skip row. will pay. The further north one goes in (he cotton belt, the less likely skip - row will pay. One who makes poor soybear yields can more likely profit from skip - row cotton. (Assuming beans are-your best alterna live to cotton.) This is true for two reasons. The idle land taken up by th skipped rows could not be verj profitable if planted to beans and a belter crop of soybeans can be made the following yeai on this land due to the Httl understood value of rotation. Nearly every farmer in thi county will agree that soybeans yield better after colton, that they do following beans. Skip - row cotton also offers more to the farmer with soy bean cyst nematode land. Skip row takes more land out o 1 beans for a year. All farmers now know that land rested one year out of beans will greatly re duce cyst nematode darnage to beans the following year. Bilbrey and I think you _wil see more skip - row cotton h North Mississippi County this year than ever before. We also think most will be planted, two and one. (Two rows cotton and one row skip pcd.) COME IN TODAY' BONT CLOWN AROUND with your INCOME TAX BOTH FEDERAl AND STATI April 17 is closing Inl Why worry and stew wh«h BLOCK will do your tax at such a small cost! Get your tax in NOWI S«« your neareit BLOCK office TODAYI Wt guor«nr» MCvrat* preparation *f tvtry MX rtlwrn. If, w« mali» flny trreri that <oit yen «ny p«n«lty «r taltttll, wtll p«y lh« ptnplly «r inUf«lf. Am*ric*'t Largest Tix S«rvic» with Ov«r 2000 OHicM 419 WEST MAIN STREET Phone .TO 3-M," HOUKS: Wcekd*y« « In J; *»t. ( to R i No Appointment Ntcestary power editorials, supplying speakers for service club gallierings and other measures aimed at making Reddy Kilowatt look like a cross between Cupid and'Mary Poppins. Municipally owned p o w e plants as compared with private power, Metealf points out, often charge rates half that of the private companies, besides plowing part .of their revenues back into the city operating budget and cutting down local than necessary, Metcalf legislation aimed a ( making utility practices a.mat- ter of public record was introduced in the Senate this session. Basically, the Utility Consumers' Council Act of 1968 would require-utilities to provide certain information about their operation to the state regulatory commissions. It also calls for establishment of a Utility Consumers' Council w h i c h would represent the interests of consumer* wh«n understaffed state commissions are .faced with a new rate increase. Cost of setting .up the n.ew council is not a factor, the senator claims, because even a 1 per cent rate decrease would elicit a $40 million savings annually in the federal government's giant utility .bill. ' If, however, the investor-owned utilities carry the power and influence in public affairs that the Montana senator claims they do, his bill would appear to have slight chance. At least one former congressman blames power companies for ending his career on Capitol Hill after he opposed them. "They've poured money Into a lot of campaigns," said William McFarland, formerly of Texas, now retired in Washington. "J wouldn't give Metalf's bill the chance of a one-legged man at a pants-kickin'." Whatever the outcome, the constant "Metcalfian" pressure apparently has not affected a power company in his own oa;liwic!c. Montana Power, which enjoyed a 17;07 per cent rale of return in 1967, has now requested permission for a new increase in rates. "I guess," sighed the senator, "Vic and I will have to write another book, and call it "Son of Overcharge." SAFEWAY There's a real thrill in getting more for your money. And there's no. better place to do this than at Safeway. Here you find low prices every day plus a marvelous selection .of specials each week. You can plan to save money on every visit. Nice thing, too, is that everything is guaranteed to please — or money back. It's a lovely deal! SAVE iS STAMPS EVERYDAY! Pies Bel-air Assorted Flavors Just Defrost and Eat! Save a Big He! French Ice Creasn Mr. C Frozen. Our Low Price Snow Star, Assorted Flavors t , . Save He Bel-air Big Bay Dessert White Blossom Time, New! and Wheat, Mrs- Wright's 8-O*. . Tin 1-Lb., 2-0*. Loaves More & tee BONUS BSNG0 WINNERS! BLYTHEVILLE WINNERS You Ssve lOc Lb.! j Fully Cooked Smoked Picnics • 6 to 8 Lbs. Weight Range. 'Safeway Low, Low Priced! William 0. Meyers, Jr., R. R. 4, Blytheville Irene Tramel R. 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