Speaking in the name of "the taxpayers of America," Virginia Gove. John N. Dalton today persuaded a committee of the National Governors' Conference not to support the creation of a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I'd be very much concernd about creating an additional national holiday without any fiscal pact statement," Dalton, a Republican told governors in an executive committee meeting.
Before Dalton's remarks changed the committee members' minds they had been prepared to endorse legislation pending in both houses of Congress to establish January 15, King's birthday, as a national holiday.
Dalton proposed an amendment suggesting that the governors endose Virginia's existing policy of honoring the slain civil rights leader on January 1, which is already a national holiday.
When Dalton questioned the "financial propriety" of creating a new national holiday, Georgia Gov. George Busbee mentioned that the Commonwealth of Virginia has its own special holiday honoring Robert E. Lee on the third Monday in January. Busbee is not a member of the executive committee.
With no debate governors on the committee voted on Dalton's amendment -- with Dalton and Indiana Gov. Otis R. Bowen voting in favor and Govs. William G. Milliken of Michigan and Thomas L. Judge of Montana voting against.
The tie was broken by Gov. Julian M. Carroll, Chairman of the National Governor's Conference, who voted in support of the amendment.
Wasington Gov. Dixie Lee Ray was apparently not paying attention to the vote. But after Carroll voted in support of the amendment, she joined in endorsing the honoring of King on New Year's Day.