NEWS

Why Unions Stink: Yet Another Reason Not To Be Californian

Facing a $16 million budget deficit, Vallejo, California, is filing for bankruptcy. It seems for way too long the inmates have been running the asylum. Or, rather, the “public safety” unions have been draining the city coffers dry. Nearly 75 percent of the city budget goes to “public safety” salaries alone. The city cannot afford and the unions are refusing to negotiate. So their only recourse is bankruptcy. The people of Southlake, Texas, should take note: they will soon be voting to allow their police to unionize which could cost them an additional $10,000 per employee without. And that’s just for now. Southlake, meet Vallejo.

Sanity Check

“Are the Republicans crazy?,” asks Houston’s Steven Hotze in a commentary this week. Not a bad question to ask, considering the growing outcry from small-business owners around the state as they see the impact of Texas’ new business tax taking effect.

Ethically Challenged

An age-old practice in the Texas House is finally being exposed to sunlight, and the practitioners are scrambling to defend themselves. Like johns caught in a prostitution sting, legislators who’ve been putting political cronies on the payroll for lucrative public benefits are defending themselves with the age-old excuse that they were just engaged in an age-old practice.Fortunately, House Speaker Tom Craddick and House General Investigating and Ethics Committee chairman Larry Phillips are promising quick reform.

New Business Tax Too Taxing

Many business are bracing for the worst when they file their new gross margins tax report on June 15. Consider Mesquite-based Alco Glass, which reported a loss of $18,000 in 2007, but will owe $6,000 in margin taxes, which will require them to take out a loan. All told, the business tax is expected to forcibly transfer 6.1 billion from the private sector into government coffers.

TxDOT: Roads No, Parks Yes

Not too long ago the Texas Department of Transportation said it didn’t have enough money to build roads. Plum out of cash. But now comes word from Dallas that TxDOT is spending $20 million to build a 5-acre park. That’s better be one heck of park. And, by the way, the federal government is making them do it.

Big Gun, Little Bang

Unions are unions, whatever they call themselves and whatever their industry. While they might have once served a legitimate function, unions today are drains on our economy and every sector of endeavor. Government is no different. In the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, the police are trying to unionize (they call it implementing “civil service” rules), which requires a public vote this month. Not only will public service not improve, but for the pleasure of turning the police into union thugs, taxpayers will shell out an additional $10,000 per officer.

Who’ll Be A Leader?

Conservatives in Texas are fed up with out of control property taxes, spending that’s going through the roof, and a new business tax created to satiate the demands of growing government.

Austen in Austin?

If there’s such a thing as a one-man think-tank, Austen Furse might qualify. He’s a reliable conservative and excellent businessman with political credentials stretching from Matagorda County to the White House. He’s also the only person to have now publically declared himself as a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant Senate District 17 seat.

No Control For You

Republicans seeking to make substantive policy reforms face as their chief obstacle, all too often, Republican elected officials. These “Republicans” like to say they believe in fiscal restraint and local control – just not when it stands in the way of spending your money. The only restraint they favor tends to be in the form of keeping taxpayers from interfering with spending increases. This makes something of an inconvenience of the 92% of Republican voters who supported a ballot question calling for strict spending limits.

Insurance Bad, Government Good

Breathlessly reported by the Austin American Statesman is a report showing that — gasp — health insurance premiums rates have risen 39.7 percent since 2001. Of course, state government has grown more than 30 percent since ’01 but the Statesman doesn’t seem bugged by that.

School Districts Should Trim Central Office Before Raising Taxes

Edgewood ISD announced this week they are cutting as many as 12 central office positions, though the district says they have 92 more than needed. Other Texas districts should follow – consider that Dallas and Houston ISDs have about 3,000 central office staff while the Catholic school systems in New York and Chicago, each with 100,000 plus students, have between 22 and 28.

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