New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
Budget battleReagan has no 'great expectations'for 1983
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republican leaders attending White House budget meetings say President Reagan seems to have more restrained expectations of the budget victories he can win in Congress this year.
The president is “in some degree tempering his enthusiasms,” Rep. Barber B. Conable Jr., R-N.Y., said Thursday evening after the latest in a series of budget meetings Reagan has conducted with GOP members of Congress.
“He has had a tough couple of years and (now) tends to be more realistic in his relations with congressmen,” Conable said. “He’s a more complex man than he was.”
The Republicans, who have been earnestly lobbying Reagan to moderate his budget course, say the president still has not made any final decisions on the fiscal 1984 spending blueprint he will send to Capitol Hill at the end of the month.
"They (the White House) still obviously don’t have things in any concrete form
yet,” House Republican Leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois said following the session.
House Republicans were able to deliver major budget victories for the president over the last two years by holding their ranks and attracting dozens of conservative Democrats.
Over the objections of House Democratic leaders, supporters of Reagan’s economic plan passed a three-year personal income tax cut, reduced domestic programs by tens of billions of dollars and increased defense spending.
But Democrats picked up 26 seats in the fall elections and they have demonstrated in the early days of the 98th Congress that they will exert firmer control over the chamber.
“I just don’t see on real big critical issues we have any hope of the same type of coalition being put together,” Michel said.
In light of the changed political atmosphere in Congress and projections of budget deficits ballooning from more than
$185 billion this fiscal year to nearly $300 billion by 1988, GOP legislators have been vigorously urging the president to soften his stance on economic issues.
Some Senate Republican leaders, along with some administration officials, have been pressing Reagan to seek tax increases and defense spending cuts to trim deficits.
The president, while not ruling out tax increases, said repeatedly Wednesday night in a nationally broadcast news conference that it would be a mistake to raise taxes when the nation is coming out of a recession.
Michel said that among House GOP leaders, “You don’t find any tax increase advocates.”
In addition, Michel said that if Reagan remains firm in his refusal to trim military spending, he should more clearly “spell out for the American people what our overall military strategy is.... It would help if the president himself would spell that out” in a speech.
Challenge for Gramm
Dan Kubiak may run in special election
COLLEGE STATION (AP) - A 14-year veteran of the Texas Legislature who unsuccessfully ran for state land commissioner last year says it is “extremely likely” he will challenge Phil Gramm for a seat in the U.S. House.
Former state Rep. Dan Kubiak scheduled a news conference here Monday at which he is expected to announce his challenge of Gramm, the College Station Democrat who resigned his seat and joined the Republican Party after being thrown off the House Budget Committee.
It was from that committee post that Gramm spearheaded the campaign for President Reagan's economic package. Gramm resigned Wednesday and is seeking to regain his seat as a Republican in a special election.
Kubiak, a Rockdale Democrat, said he thinks Gramm is vulnerable because many residents see him as a ‘turncoat” and as “the little boy, who, if he doesn’t get his way, picks up his toys and goes home.”
Kubiak said his decision would hinge on commitments of funds to oppose Gramm’s well-financed campaign.
‘‘It’s extremely likely that I’ll run,” Kubiak said Wednesday. “I’m waiting on some calls for some dollars right now."
Gov. Bill Clements scheduled a Feb. 12 special election to fill Gramm’s vacated seat, with a tiling deadline of 5 p m. Jan. 12.
One killed, 23 hurt in gasoline explosion
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Gasoline from a ruptured storage tank gushed “like Niagara Falls” before erupting early today in a window-shattering explosion that killed one man, injured at least 23 others and sent flames hundreds of feet into the sky.
The 12:15 a.m. blast was reported felt 130 miles away. The flames reached 1,000 feet into the air and the fire was so intense that firefighters were forced back from the burning tanks and were waiting today for the fire burn itself out.
As the sun rose, winds that had been blowing the thick, black smoke northeast toward New York City shifted to the west, sending billowing clouds over New Jersey. The flames were visible miles away.
There were reports of looting in nearby Jersey City after the explosion blew out windows downtown.
Top Ingraham, a spokesman for the northeast division of Texaco USA, which owned the tank, said the company had no indication what caused the rupture or the blast. City officials said the fire did not appear to be suspicious.
The fuel “went through the holes ... it was spilling out like Niagara Falls,” said George Gray, describing the scene just before the explosion. “We
all saw the gas. That’s when we decided to run.”
Newark Fire Director John Caufield said the three gasoline tanks which caught fire held a total of 19 million gallons of the fuel.
The body of a badly burned man was found several hundred feet from the burning 10-story tanks, Caufield said. There are 12 tanks at the yard.
Charles Sand, assistant plant manager, said the man was a Texaco truck operator. Another man, not a Texaco employee, was missing, he said, and all other Texaco employees were accounted for.
"It looks like devastation. There’s many buildings in there that have been very heavily damaged, some automobiles that are completely demolished,” Caufield said.
Police said there were about 40 railroad tank cars within IOO feet of the blazing storage tanks, but Caufield said the fire “is not going anyplace.” He said it would burn for several hours.
Tom Norwood, a spokesman for Texaco in Houston, said the facility is a sales terminal where tanker trucks load with gasoline and diesel fuel to make deliveries to service stations. The terminal is in a heavily industrial area five miles from New York City.
Advisers paint gloomy picture
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Reagan's economic advisers have taken off their rose-colored glasses and cast aside their optimism. In fact, they are more pessimistic in their 1983 forecast than nearly all the leading private economists.
During the last two years, the administration has been faulted for being unrealistically bullish about economic prospects.
This year, administration officials simply say they are trying to produce an honest and realistic forecast without worrying about being optimistic or pessimistic.
The forecast predicts an unusually slow recovery — quite likely the slowest upturn from any recession since World War IL As a result, unemployment is expected to stay above IO percent for the rest of this year.
The forecast, which has not yet been made public, was confirmed Thursday by administration sources. The outlook was prepared by chief White House economist Martin S. Feldstein, budget director David A. Stockman and Treasury Secretary
Donald T. Regan to accompany the fiscal 1984 budget plan Reagan will send Congress.
Feldstein, who joined the administration last summer, has been pressing for approval of a more sober outlook so that the White House economics team could regain credibility with the outside world. The economic advisers are now predicting that the economy — after adjusting for inflation — will grow by a mere 1.4 percent on average in 1983, compared with 1982.
By comparison, the first year of recovery from the previous seven post-war recessions have recorded growth rates of 4 percent or more.
Because growth this year is expected to be anemic, the administration is forecasting only a slight decline in unemployment, which stood at a 42-year high of 10.8 percent in November.
The administration’s 1983 forecast predicts the recovery will pick up steam and reach a 4 percent rate of growth, but not until the second half of the year. At that point, the forecast turns more optimistic, predicting that once 4 percent growth is
achieved, it can be sustained for the next several years.
Reagan’s forecasters had come under attack from private economists during 1981 and 1982 for making rosy forecasts that seemed too good to be true. It turned out they were.
The administration came into office promising to promote strong economic growth, increase employment, lower inflation and balance the budget all at the same time. In early 1981, the administration predicted that by 1983, the economy would be growing at a 5 percent clip, unemployment would be down to 6.6 percent and inflation would fall to 7 percent.
The administration exceeded its inflation target, bringing the rate down to 5 percent in 1982. But success on that front was accompanied by a severe recession, a steep rise in unemployment and by far the largest budget deficits in history.
The new outlook suggests the administration now concedes it cannot achieve low inflation and low unemployment simultaneously.
Senate panel calls for changes in PUC
AUSTIN (AP) — A Senate subcommittee has called for major changes in the panel that sets telephone, electric and water rates, saying the Public Utility Commission worries too much about the utilities’ financial well-being and not enough about consumers.
The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs said Thursday the commission suffers from “a massive loss of public confidence” because it has been “lax” in its watchdog role.
At the same time, the three-member PUC issued a report saying utility rates are kept low when companies’ financial health is maintained.
The legislature, which convenes Tuesday, will closely scrutinize the PUC. The Sunset Advisory Commission this week said the commission should be abolished.
The Senate subcommittee, chaired by Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said PUC members should be elected from single-member districts, not appointed by the governor.
Subcommittee members said the PUC’s concern with maintaining high bond ratings for utility companies has cost ratepayers. Financial analysts have ranked the Texas PUC as the nation’s most favorable toward utility companies.
“While Texas utilities and company stockholders enjoy the prosperity, benefits and obvious market advantages afforded by (high) bond ratings, there is significant question as to whether these Wall Street honors are worth the cost to Main Street ratepayers,” said the subcommittee report.
“The commission is currently suffering from a massive loss of public confidence in the exercise of its authority,” the report said.
The PUC report issued Thursday said consumers benefit when utility companies maintain high bond ratings, enabling them to borrow at lower interest rates.
“The single major conclusion of the paper is this: Electric utilities having sound financial condition and with higher bond quality ratings, on average, provide
Century 21 attends teleconferenced marketing session
Mark Boettcher, John Flavin, Carole LaShomb & Mike Norris of Century 21 Norris Realty, Inc recently returned from a three day teleconferenced marketing session in Houston, where they were able to present some of their New Braunfels properties to other Century 21 offices, as well as, buyers and sellers throughout the Untied States.
Through means of a nationwide telephone hook-up, the New Braunfels Realtors were able to speak and listen directly to Century 21 agents in Chicago, I^os Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco,
St. Louis, Denver, Birmingham, and Washington, D.C.. Other Buyers across the country were able to listen in by dialing 1-900-410-2121.
Working with a moderator, each person in Houston was given a limited time in which to discuss his property. Accounting to Carole I^aShomb, who received two offers on her property within minutes of presenting it, “There were 8,000 phone lines listening to us at a time the potential for reaching buyers was unlimited! and, Century 21 is providing these sessions every three months-What a great way to put New Braunfels on the map! ’’
Mark Boettcher observed that sellers of commercial and investment property in New Braunfels and the surrounding area need not wait until the Spring marketing session to put their listings on the market. “Through the contacts I made, I can put a seller and his property in touch with hundreds of Century '21 Brokers and agents across the country, each representing several buyers, within a matter of days, just by getting on the phone and calling them up!”
Properties presented at the session ranged from a 13,000 acre rice farm in Texas, to a gravel operation in Louisiana, to a package
of 40 rental houses in Houston, to a mobile home park in Baton Rouge, to an office bldg. on Padre Island.
John Flavin commented how much he was impressed by the growing sophistication of the commercial agents. “It is clear that Century 21 is no longer just the neighborhood professional in the housing market, ’’ he said.
"History is being made,” added Mike Norris, President of Century 21 Norris Realty, Inc. “You need not sit by and wait for your commercial properties to be discovered. Now the national market of the future is in place at Century 21.”
Tex. Watts 800-292-7690
CANYON LAKE 899-7676
lower cost electricity than financially weaker, lower-rated companies,” said the PUC report.
The Senate subcommmittee said there is a difference between maintaining financial integrity and striving for the highest bond ratings.
The subcommittee report quoted the late Sen. John Wilson, D-LaGrange, who was a panel member as saying, “By financial integrity I mean the utility is in threat of bankruptcy .... Losing an AAA bond rating does not mean bankruptcy to me.”
Wilson, who died last year, sponsored the 1975 bill creating the PUC to set water, electric and telephone rates.
Doggett’s panel also called for legislative changes to ensure rate hearings at the local level, instead of in Austin; limit the amount of construction-work-in-progress costs that can be passed on to consumers; require the attorney general to provide a consumer representative at PUC; and restrict the automatic passthrough of rising fuel costs to customers.
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