Local

Odessa City Races Draw Candidates

Odessa residents stepped up to the plate as Monday’s filing deadline revealed a competitive lineup of city council candidates for November’s election.

Taxpayers Got Hosed

Used to be selling your land to the government was a break-even proposition — you got what the government valued it at, or else. But the Austin City Council is much more progressive than that since, after all, it’s not their money. In looking to build a new water treatment plant (not exactly a tourist attraction), the city found land that they valued at $28 million. The owners said it was worth $39 million. The land was on the tax rolls for $5.8 million. So, of course, taxpayers are coughing up $32 million.

Running For Nothing

Never has a better small-government campaign been mounted than the one in Kerr County for the position of treasurer. Republican Ed Hamilton says that if he’s elected, he won’t do a single thing — he won’t even take the $46,000-per-year paycheck. Hamilton says the position is duplicative and could be handled more effectively elsewhere in county government.

Clucking Hysteria

Hysterical pronouncements by politicians can lead to both bad policy and higher costs. You don’t get much more hysterical than Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, who told an audience that simply breathing the air in some parts of Texas places people “as at [much] risk for cancer as a smoker." Cluck-cluck, clucks Cluck.

Dallas News Highlights Random Unfairness of Property Taxes

The Dallas Morning News reports that only 7 percent of homeowners challenged their 2006 appraisals. Although 54 percent of protesters got some relief, Richard Whittle was denied when he challenged the increase of his one-story Garland house by 67 percent to $135,490 in 2006.

Academically-Required Press Box

Abilene school district officials tell the local newspaper that their "New Year’s Resolution" is to increase taxpayers’ debt this May by $85.2 million, or $5,126 per student. This would include spending $2 million on a new press box for the local football stadium.

Lacking Decency

While Texas Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson’s strong views on any number of issues earned him equal measures of love and scorn, he was an honorable man who truly sought to serve the best interests of Texans. He died earlier this week of a heart attack. As the godfather of the Trans-Texas Corridor, he took the arrows and daggers as a part of the public policy debate. But the state’s liberals demonstrate they have no sense of proportion, respect, or even decency, in gleefully proclaiming his passing.

A Billion Bucks And Not A Penny To Spend

Houston ISD managed to get 51% of the voters to impose $850 billion in debt upon themselves a month ago — for the children, of course. But a lawsuit is stopping the district from the getting the cash, under allegations that not all the children are benefit from the billion-dollar spending-spree.

So The Bad Teachers Stay Longer?

The Austin American Statesman’s editorial board is breathlessly writing that “Smarter teachers leave sooner.” Texas is facing a worsening shortage of qualified teachers in science, math and other highly-specialized fields.

It’s Just $900 Million

State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving is at it again. She’s worried taxpayers are being scammed by the mass transit authority in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She must be crazy — taxpayers’ don’t really mind $900 million errors with their money. We work for government bureaucrats, after all.