ISD: Lie, Cheat, Steal

North Forest Independent School District in the Houston area is nearly bankrupt, having lied about student enrollment numbers, mismanaged the taxpayers’ cash, and cheated untold numbers of children out of an academic future. The response from the teacher union rep: worried that people might lose their jobs. That they haven’t already is part of the problem.

San Antonio Voters to Weigh $415 Million Tax Increase

The Bexar County Commissioners Court voted earlier this month to present  San Antonio area voters with a $415 million venue tax increase measure on the May ballot.  While it would fund lots of nice-sounding goodies, increased hotel and rental car taxes have been proven to reduce tourism.

Illegal Or Unpopular

State Sen. John Carona gets it right in a news story, where he is quoted as saying the state’s transportion agency "may well have crossed a legal threshold" when it enaged in a $9 million program to convince Texans to stop worrying and learn to love the TransTexas Corridor. The senator from Dallas should have stopped there.

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.

A Tax On Bad Math Skills

Remember being told that the Lottery would solve our education finance woes? Yep, that was a good one. Now the same band that brought us the state monopoly on games-of-chance want us to feel guilty that the poor and uneducated play the Lottery, and especially the high-dollar versions, at higher rates than more affluent and educated folks. Apparently someone didn’t read the memo that state-funded gambling is a tax on people with poor math skills. Which, of course, means the state has a perverse incentive: keep math skills low so more people will play.

Keeping The Budget Responsible

State Rep. John Otto of Dayton has it right: "Everything we do in Texas with regard to public policy starts and stops with the budget." Too few people in or out of the Legislature understand that, which is why its good to know Otto has been tapped to find ways to limit the growth of government.

Superintendent Candid About Not Wanting to Face Voters

Larry Appel, Dumas ISD superintendent, denounced voter approval for tax hikes, saying "It is much harder to convince them to vote for a tax increase" since most voters don’t "typically have kids in school." But it’s their money.

Dodging Questions

Starting in early December, our Empower Texans PAC began sending a 4-page questionnaire to candidates and incumbents, regardless of party. These were questions culled from the responses a great many of our friends and readers proposed in the fall.

D Is For Dinosaur, Or Dangerous

I don’t know who to root for in this race, but the Democratic Primary out in El Paso is looking to be fun. State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, is calling State Rep. Paul Moreno, D-El Paso, a ‘dinosaur.’ If so, then Moreno could probably be categorized as "Philosophicus Irreleventus."

Giving Us More Gas (Taxes)

Ever heard of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission? Well, they want your money. This quasi-governmental body is suggesting that gasoline taxes be TRIPLED over the next five years. Big Government, not Big Oil,  is already the biggest profit-taker on each gallon of gas we buy, but they have so far only managed to waste our money. So, of course, they want even more.

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.

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