Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 13, 1976 · Page 60
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June 13, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 60

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 13, 1976
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GAZETTE-MAIL Understandable Pressure Rednecks and Rocks A critic of our city recently wrote to give us her assessment of the level of civilization in these parts. Hopelessly redneck, she said, or something to that effect. She was writing from Boston, where it is the practice of.white people to go into the streets each dav and throw rocks at black people. There are 35 regulatory agencies in the federal bureaucracy, and there's cause to wonder whether they're :more a menace than a protection to the-public. Here are some of the complaints: ^-Unnecessary delays; a classic example is the procrastination of the Food and Drug Administration which took 11 years to rule on the percentage of peanuts that must be in peanut but- ·ter. ·; ^-Overlap and duplication: makers of some pesticides must meet requirements of three agencies--the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. ^Public participation: there's reason to believe that an "imbalance of advocacy" gives the regulated industries more access and input to the regulatory agencies than individual citizens and public interest groups. ··Agency independence: a big question is how agencies can be better insulated from the industries they regulate, and one proposal that seems to make sense is tighter controls on outside contacts and restrictions that would curb the practice of moving directly from government agency jobs to regulated industries, and vice versa. An effort to correct these ills and return the agencies to their i n i t i a l purpose of protecting the public, in- Sales Tax Not Needed With a surplus in excess of $100 mil- .liori" already collected this year by the state treasury, we trust all the candidates responsible for cudgeling the .West Virginia taxpayer will think seriously about easing his burden. It is true that West Virginians aren't being keelhauled by state tax officials. Still, with so grand a surplus .would it be against the law to reduce "state taxes?. Both gubernatorial candidates have pledged to remove the 3 per cent sales tax on food-a pledge, incidentally, demanding the legislature's approval. But the huge surplus the state with annual regularity has been accumulating over the past several years suggests that not only the sales tax on food but all sales taxes could be removed. In 1974-75, the consumers sales tax -produced $109,486,253. For the next fiscal year it is estimated to produce $123 millions. Neither figure is far removed from $100 million and the state's surplus, remember, is above that amount. The state wouldn't suffer a total loss in revenue were the consumers sales tax wiped off statute books. Sums saved by the taxpayer would be hot dollars. They would be recirculat- ed almost immediately. In addition, sales would rise in border areas. Both these developments would yield the state's business occupation tax added millions. Economies to the state would result in the elimination of em- ployes, system, equipment, and other appurtenances needed to supervise the sales tax. (Businessmen, too, would be spared expense and time.) Eliminating the consumers sales tax would make West Virginia almost heaven. stead of the industries they're supposed to regulate, is contained in a bill introduced by Sen. Robert C. Byrd, DW. Va., and Sen. Charles H. Percy, R- 111. The legislation is known as the Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, and hearings have been under way before the Senate Committee on Government Operations. Under the Byrd-Percy proposal, the 35 regulatory agencies would be broken down into five groups--banking and finance: energy and environmental matters; commerce, transportation and communications; food, health and safety, and unfair or deceptive trade practices: labor, housing, government procurement, and small businesses--with the president required to submit a reform plan each year over a five-year period from 1977 through 1981. "It is the purpose of this act," says the Byrd-Percy bill, "to require over a period of five years the president to submit at least once each year, and to require the Congress to act upon, a plan designed to eliminate unnecessary or harmful regulation because such regulation has led to inflationary consumer prices, a reduction of competition in the providing of important goods and services, and o'ther economic inefficiencies which distort and disrupt the operation of a free enterprise system without correspondingly benefiting the health, safety, or economic welfare of he nation." Such reforms have been attempted before, but always have ended up in the same kind of red tape and inertia that plague the regulatory agencies, with plenty of hot air but no action. 'But I don't Think f know him"* Jenkin L. Jones A Lick and a Promise (r) Lou An/teles Times The cute new U.S.-built compact car which I rented at the Twin Cities airport required the touch of a safecracker to work the poorly assembled locks in the trunk and ignition. The rubber molding on the rear door came down right along with the window. The connecting link between the steering wheel and the instrument panel was crooked and the knob on the windshield wiper control came off in my hand. I drove across the Minnesota River bridge in a black mood. » BUT AS THE afternoon proceeded my mood improved, for it became apparent that in all essential functions this was quite a good little car. It cornered well, ., rode adequately, passed trucks without too much trouble and the gas needle lingered on the full pin a gratifyingly long time. In terms of engineering the car was a success. But someone had put it together with a pitchfork. Much has been written about the "dehumanizing" assembly line, and a recent survey among auto assembly workers indicated that 75 per cent of them disliked their jobs. Some of this may come about because . many union shop stewards dilate forever upon what rotters the bosses are-a ploy that puts the union in the heroic position of being the worker's only shield and buckler against exploitation certainly, this . doesn't do much for employe morale. But perhaps a more fundamental reason ·is affluence;People with rising eijpecta- tions are simply less tolerant of dull or unpleasant jobs. The situation was different back in 1911 when Henry Ford invented the assembly line. It was a much worse place to work than a modern assembly line, badly lighted, badly ventilated and the breaks were short. Yet workers, many of them recent European immigrants, were delighted with the unprecedented S5-day wage. Absenteeism was rare. Today it is said that you are lucky if you don't get a car made on Friday, when many of the regulars are already off fishing, or on Monday, the hangover day. The situation with one major manufacturer got so bad a few years ago that dealers began to quit at an alarming rate because they were tired of completing the assembly of the cars. IN BRITAIN the situation was even worse, since the all-powerful unions got into the habit of calling wildcat shutdowns every time a foreman tried to discipline a sloppy worker. Once-famed "British workmanship" became a mockery. The repair of errors increased prices and exports shrank. The government finally had to come up with massive infusions of tax money to keep major plants open, and it will sell you the once-proud $5 pound sterling for under $1.80 in an effort to get your order. The Germans, who used to work a lot harder for less, have now been bitten by- expectations, too. That fine German car that the TV adds show as hand-fitted and polished by devoted craftsmen costs between $8,000 and $25,000, while the old bargain-basement Beetle is now so dear on the American dock that a plant fjll be built in Pennsylvania. But the Japanese haven't yet gotten the word. They still labor conscientiously on assembly lines just as noisy and fast as ours for half the wage. There are only two answers. We could go for sharply higher import duties if we don't mind risking the regulatory tariff war which could stagnate all international trade and perhaps bring on a worldwide depression. Or we could improve the quality of American workmanship. *· THE CUSTOMER, alas, is still king. No | amount of pickeUline agitation or union' hall oratory can alter the fact that he can be angered only so many times before he carries his business elsewhere. j Those fast trips which many buyers of American new cars make from the showroom to the shop can be hurtful to the United Auto Workers. The assembly line is a lousy place to work--noisy, dull, repetitious and spiritually unfulfilling. Unfortunately, the line is also efficient. There's more buggy for the buck. No one has yet figured out how to make automobiles in a leisurely, creative and tun way and still be able to pay wages that will make labor happy and to deliver the product at a price the average citizen will accept. Ironically, many of America's lick-and- dash factory workers are young men "trned on" by the consumer movement and righteously angry at thrown-together producets of American industry. When I get in the market for a new small car, in view of my generally happy experience after a couple of hundred miles in that Twin Cities rental, I might even buy one of that make. It depends on how much time I want to spend with pliers, screwdriver and glue. The beauty of the Byrd-Percy proposal is that it contains an automatic action clause that in effect puts the specified regulatory agency out of business if no comprehensive regulatory reform legislation has been enacted by the specified cutoff date. This is the kind of pressure the bureaucrats and their lobbyists should be able to understand and we hope Congress acts promptly on this long needed regulatory reform. It's Here Today, Gone Tomorrow We h e s i t a t e d to s p e a k out six months ago when we thought we noticed a trend. Now we're sure. Teenagers are discarding the formerly fashionable "disreputable look" in favor of less repellent clothing and hair styles. Now is the time for middleagers to worry. Anyone with an eye for human conduct could see adults gradually adopting the hair and clothing styles of the young. Today, a good many stock brokers and pipefitters sport the kind of hair for which they once despised the kids. And. alas, it is going out of style. Vendor's Law West Virginia has a new vendor's law: businesses based inside the state, when they bid on state business, will receive a 2 per cent preferential break. If a West Virginia business's bid is not more than 2 per cent greater than the bid of a business based in Ohio, the home state business wins the contract from his home state government. What's wrong w i t h that? If West Virginia government won't take care of West Virginia businesses, it's not very likely Kentucky's government will. What's more natural than West Virginia's government favoring interests which pay part of its costs and certainly a larger part than competitors located beyond state borders? But if West Virginia's preferential treatment law is such a stunner, why doesn't every state reap its many rewards? That raises another question. Supposing all states did have this law, wherein would any particular state benefit? All states don't have the law. Penn- sylvania, for example, doesn't have it. But Pennsylvania does have a law designed to cope with West Virginia's preferential law. Pennsylvania's law simply disqualifies any vendor with a West Virginia based manufacturing plant from getting any Pennsylvania state business, and West Virginia Purchasing Director Ben Rubrecht has been notified by his Pennsylvania counterpart that Pennsylvania's law is e f f e c t i v e at once. Vendors representing manufacturers here needn't bother to bid on any Pennsylvania state business. No matter how low they bid, they won't win. Pennsylvania's law discriminates even more against West Virginia businesses than West Virginia's law favors West Virginia businesses. T h e m o n t h s a h e a d w i l l r e v e a l whether in the long run this state's preferential treatment law helps or hurts this state's business and industry. The last word on the subject, our guess is. has yet to be spoken either by other states or by West Virginia lawmakers. Fanny Seller: Affairs of State The state's surplus could be as much as $125 million or S150 million by the time Gov. Moore calls a special session of the legislature, so the big fight will be over how much of it to spend now. There have been denials by Democrats, already put on the defensive, that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Rockefeller asked them to save the surplus until next year. IT'S NATURAL, as politics goes, for Gov. Moore to want to spend all the money he hasn't sent to the legislature, just as it's natural for Democrats to want to have a cushion for the first Democrat administration in eight years. (That's supposing, of course, that Republican nominee Cecil Underwood won't win.) Senate President William T. Brotherton Jr., D-Kanawha, says he wouldn't quarrel with the idea of sitting down with both Rockefeller and Underwood to discuss the state's affairs. Brotherton said money is needed by the Department of Highways, but he doesn't know if it's $46 million as Moore requested, or some other figure. Roads need to be improved, and Brotherton says maybe they should be taken out of politics so the legislature can do what's good for the state. "I'd be willing to listen to (Commissioner) Bill Ritchie to find out what is actually needed," he added. Rockefeller, the Senate President added, recognizes the road problem and wants them taken care of. R o c k e f e l l e r campaigned on that issue. »» HOUSE SPEAKER Lewis McManus. D- Raleigh, says he favors giving roads S46 million, and thinks the House will go along with that figure. But beyond roads and up to a Sl.OOO pay raise for teachers. McManus said. "I don't want to fritter money away." The pay raise would cost S39 million. The first eleven months of this fiscal year--which ends June 30--the state has collected $109 m i l l i o n more than estimates. When collections for June are calculated, the surplus goes up to $120.4 million. But Moore indicated last month that he thinks S14 million will expire at the end of this fiscal year which he could add to the S120.4 million. Then he anticipates another S14 million won't be spent out of the fiscal 1976-77 budget, which he'll likely want to spend since he already asked the legislature last May to let him" do that. This gives Moore about S150 million, although the legislature flatly refused in May to appropriate anticipated expirations. »· THE ARGUMENT won't be the same for half of the S28 million in total expirations since the S14 million from the current fiscal year is going to end up in the general revenue unused soon after June 30. I t ' l l no longer be a n t i c i p a t e d , and should Moore call a session in June as legislative leaders have speculated, the legislature will be facing different ball game. There's already some feeling that more than one session will be called--with the second one closer to the general election-. because it would be to the Governor's advantage to have the legislature sitting around so he can blame it for doing nothing. On the other hand, the taxpayers might think they deserve to have a refund on their taxes if.'the state can afford to let millions of dollars sit around for .months. · SHORTS-A u s u a l l y r e l i a b l e source says $150.000 was spent to have big cards i'ol. JO. A... 49 Chnrlfflnn, iff ft lirfinia Sunday Gazette-Mail printed with Gov. Moore's picture to send out with motor vehicle license plates this year. There reportedly are still some cards--which also have Bicentennial information on them--in the Department of Motor Vehicle's warehouse. The supposition is that they were to be part of Moore's campaign for re-election if the Supreme Court had allowed him to run. Motor Vehicles Commissioner Ralph Sleele was too busy last week to return my call, or I would have asked him about it ... There are a lot of rumors going around the Capitol about which department heads will stay on if Jay Rockefeller wins. But a spokesman for Rockefeller. Gene Hover, says there hasn't been any decision on any positions, and won't be until the day after election, if Rockefeller is successful. The Rockefellr headquarters has gotten close to a dozen calls from persons wanting to apply for positions, but that too will come after the election, Hoyer says . . . ^ PRESS RELEASES about Dunbar-Institute Kiwanis Club activities have been written on Vocational Rehabilitation Center stationery, and the evelopes have been processed through the agency's franking machine . . . Incidentally the periodic memorandum which solicits' contributions from rehab employes for the Education and A p p r e c i a t i o n Committee has been sent by H. Bruce Jeffries, district supervisor of rehabilitation services in the Vocational Rehabilitation Division. The memorandum notes that one of the committee's major events will be the annual E A'din- ner at the rehab center. Suggested contributions range from SI up to $37 . . . Jewell Bailey will remain in her position at the Democratic State Headquarters. Sally Richardson, meanwhile, will be directing volunteer efforts .for the Rockefeller campaign in the general election through the DEMCRATIC Executive Committee in order to set up permanent files for the paty.. .House Speaker McManus is said to be hurt that he wasn't selected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Only persons who were slated by gubernatorial nominee Jay Rockefeller were selected for the eight appointed positions. McManus worked for Rockefeller and contributed S100. . . tor John Gates moved quickly to get rules and regulations out on the Sl.OOO pay raise for state employes. Gates, although low profile, is effective and efficient . . . Del. Phyllis Given, D-Kanawha, says she won't run a write-in campaign, but is thinking of writing a book about things she learned in politics, especially s l a t e s . . . A lot of people around the state have been calling Sen. Warren McGraw. D-Wyoming to urge him to stay in the State Senate. Some even want him to run for Senate president. He's been more interested in the judgeship in his county, but conceivably could change his mind if he's in a Senate leadership position . . . Jay Rockefeller told Democratic county chairmen last weekend he's running with the ticket. . . Roselyn Marland. stepmother of the late Gov. Marland. has taken a job as assistant manager in the Charleston office of Employment Security. She's been back in Charleston about two months, after spending eight months in New Jersey where she was transferred with N. L. Industries. Mrs. Marland had a responsible position with the firm, but she said, she also spent most of her time driving back to Charleston on long weekends where her friends are. She took a C'.it in salary, and even thought about accepting a position in the credit d e p a r t m e n t of a Charleston store at S2.45 an hour in order to get back PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION Chairman Brooks Smith goes on vacation Wednesday. He's going to Ireland . . . Tim Basford. administrative assistant to Acting Labor Commissioner Joe Mills, is joining Civil Service as director of classifications to pay . . . Dona Frum has resigned as receptionist for N a t u r a l Resources Director Sandy LLatimer. She and her h u s b a n d , gubernatorial aide Dick Frum. moved to Spencer and he's commuting to work. Frum is the Republican nominee for prosecutor in Roane County. . . Atty. Gen. Chauncey Browning was the w i n n i n g a t t o r n e y in the Silver Bridge claim since he represented the state which the Claims Court hed didn't owe a moral REPUBLICAN gubernatorial nominee Cecil Underwood was seen walking down the West Wing of the Capitol last week . . . obligaUon to pay $6.a million sought by the Tom Cook, deputy director of corrections. Pontiffs . Virginia Roberts has joined r " . . _ .. the staff of the Board of Regents. Mrs. Roberts worked in the office of Legislative Auditor Encil Bailey the last four years. was elected president of the Southern States Correction Assn.. which just ended a conference in Oklahoma . . . State Audi- Letters to the Editor Column Doubted June 13, 1976 Page 2E Editor: Concerning the article in the paper. "Is Gaboon Viper the Next?" by L.T. Anderson, I'd like to add: Anderson can be sincere but still sincerely wrong. I feel exactly as he does about those snakes; just count this old Baptist out. But there are water moccasins in West Virginia where I grew up near hisand hometown, Hinton, Summers County. This farm is within five miles of Hinton. Dad, now deceased, was an expert on snakes. We first discovered these when we arted to cross behind a swamp near the Upland School on our farm, We made sev- :ral trips back with dad and he had also been familiar with these in Virginia where he was born and raised. They looked like they had their mouths full of puffy cotton and as well as I can remember had a similar marking to the water snake we find here in the creeks. Mr. Anderson, you surely listened to too many biology teachers or read one boot too many. Water moccasin snakes werealso killed on a farm belonging to the Williams near Elk Knob. There is no reason to be- lieve they are not still there. Mrs. Edgar R. Williams. 3683 Spring Fork Dr.. City According to Dr. Ed Michael, professor of wildlife management at West Virginia University, there are no cottonmouth moccasins indigenous to West Virginia. Dr. Michael said West Virginia Is too far north for the snakes to live. The nearest area where cottonmouths are found Is the Great Dismal Swamp In Virginia, Dr. Michael said. Faith Editor: Ms. Seller indicated in her Sunday column Berry Hutchinson. wife of ftayor Hutchinson, will support Cecil Underwood. I understand Underwood feels the roof has fallen in on him and Jay has faith the Lord answers prayers in mysterious ways. B.N. Kissinfer, 833 Daverton Rd.. City

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