No Means No

More than 100 school districts around the state are going to be asking taxpayers to hike the tax burden. One area that won’t see a tax hike on the table is San Antonio. Last year voters voters loudly said “no,” and after much debate this summer, school officials decided not to try again.

Freeing Health Care

That individuals find it all but impossible to find health insurance is a function of disfunctional public policy. Tax policy highly favors employer-provided health insurance, further removing individuals from seeing the real cost of the care they receive. It also ties people to their employer in ways that are economically unhealthy.

Buying Nothing

So the new SAT scores are out. After increasing per-student spending more 40 percent since the mid-1990s, SAT scores are exactly where they stood then. It’s hard to know whose getting the worst deal, our kids or our taxpayers. To make matters worse, our SAT scores are falling even further behind the rest of the nation.

Readin’, Writin’ and Diaperin’

Yes, public schools should be mandated to teach math. And safety mandates for local schools make sense. But starting this year, legislators are making schools teach a parenting class to 9th graders. If you wonder why Johnny can’t read, it’s probably because Johnny’s stuck in a class learning about paternity laws.

Watching Waste

Taxpayers in Houston paid for luxurious trinkets as city council members sought to use every penny of their “office holder” accounts rather than put the money back in the city’s general fund. The Houston Chronicle found thousands of dollars were spent on clothing, furniture and overnight “retreats” in Galveston. This may not be waste, fraud and abuse at its worst, but its close. For example, councilmember Melissa Noriega, wife of Democratic Senate nominee Rick Noriega hit the trifecta of waste: outfitting her office with new flat-screen TVs, expensive furniture and self-promoting polo shirts.

Teed Off

Lubbock taxpayers should be a little teed. It seems the company which leases the city’s golf course hasn’t been paying rent, and no one will comment because it is “sensitive and classified information.” Since when did skipping out on the taxpayers become an issue of national security?

Dingus Doofus

West Texas is alight with anticipation that House Speaker Tom Craddick is going to be debating his November democratic party challenger, former Midland city council member Bill Dingus. Should be a good show. You gotta feel sorry for poor Dingus; a Democratic Party spokesman admitted to the Midland newspaper that Craddick has “accomplished several things for the Permian Basin region.”

Quarter Million Dollar Man

This article is short and sweet folks, the Northside ISD school board knows that Bexar County residents don’t want their taxes raised but they don’t give a hoot.

Charitable Czar

Dallas’ homeless Czar is looking to increase the size of his kingdom with a $40 million expenditure. The Dallas Morning News is reporting on a plan that would construct up to 700 homes for the homeless.

New Report Shows Texas Property Tax Collections Have Increased Since 2005

Total property taxes paid by Texans actually rose from 20.3 billion in 2005 to 22 billion in 2007, despite the 2005 school property tax rate cuts, according to a new study. Thus, property tax collections have increased 8.4%, more than the 4.4% increase in state’s population during this period, and now we have the new business margins tax.

Playing The Fiddle

An apologist for the failing school system called today, furious we’ve been picking on the tax-increasing, budget-busting ways of schools that aren’t producing results. The caller, an aide to a Republican state representative, said that “Dallas ISD is doing great things.” The front page headline of the Morning News confirms it: “DISD plan to ease grading standards…” Great things for slackers.

Survey Says: Public Ed Stinks

A new poll from the University of Texas’ Government Department and the Texas Politics project finds Texans are underwhelmed by their public schools. The pollsters asked what Texans thought of the “quality of K-12 public school education.” Result: 49 percent said “not very good” or “terrible,” 44 percent said “good” or “excellent,” and — remarkably — 5% didn’t know.

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