Columns/Opinions

Wed
11
Mar

Senate bills aim for tax, debt relief

by Ed Sterling

A trio of powerful state senators, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on March 5 jointly announced the filing of legislation they coauthored to cut taxes and pay off state debt. Patrick, who presides over the 31-member Senate, Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Senate Business & Commerce Chair Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler; and Senate Finance Vice Chair Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, each delivered brief statements. Patrick said the state constitution limits spending to no more than the growth of the Texas economy and appropriations intended to cut taxes or reduce state debt also count against the spending cap. e legislation, in the form of a bill and a joint resolution, if passed and signed into law, would allow voters to decide whether or not to exempt tax cuts and debt payments from the state’s constitutional spending limit.

Wed
11
Mar

American need to learn how to be active citizens

by Lee Hamilton

Solving problems in our democracy requires bringing different points of view together, talking face-to-face with others who may differ with you, and learning that these differences can exist without personal animosity. e question usually comes toward the end of a public meeting. Some knotty problem is being discussed, and someone in the audience will raise his or her hand and ask, “Okay, so what can I do about it?” I love that question. Not because I’ve ever answered it to my satisfaction, but because it bespeaks such a constructive outlook. Democracy is no spectator sport and citizens are not passive consumers. I’m always invigorated by running into people who understand this. But that doesn’t make answering the question any easier.

Wed
04
Mar

Lynch mobs brings shame to two Texas towns

By Bartee Haile

The March 3, 1910 trial of Allen Brooks, a black man in his sixties charged with molesting a three year old white girl, was interrupted by a Dallas lynch mob hellbent on dispensing its own barbaric brand of justice.  According to the Handbook f Texas, the last word  on all things Texan, therewere 492 lynchings in Texas between 1862 and 1930. Most were carried out in the dead of night far from prying eyes, but more than a few  illegal “executions” tookplace in broad daylight before thousands of spectators. On the day of the trial, Sheriff Arthur Ledbetter secretly brought Allen Brooks back to Dallas from McKinney, where he had been sent for safekeeping. With everyone in law enforcement expecting trouble, the police commissioner put the entire force at Ledbetter’s disposal. But the sheriff, confident his 150 deputies were a match for any mob, asked only for a couple dozen officers

Wed
04
Mar

Senate panel passes legislation to fund state highway

The Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 25 tentatively approved two pieces of legislation that would take a portion of various motor vehicle related taxes and dedicate that money to road and bridge construction and maintenance.  Senate Bill 5, enablinglegislation, and Senate Joint  Resolution 5, which wouldput a constitutional amendment  on the November statewideballot, are meant to  help cover the shortfall in thestate highway funding program.  According to Senatedocuments, the two measures  work together to dedicatea portion of the motor vehicle sales tax and other taxes associated with vehicle use, but not the gas tax, to TxDOT so the agency “can  reasonably predict and planprojects six to 10 years into the future, to replace congestion and to preserve our system.”

Wed
25
Feb

Dallas love triangle ended with murder in 1941

By Bartee Haile

On Feb. 23, 1942, the estranged wife of a Dallas newspaper columnist went on trial for the fatal shooting of her husband’s not-so-secret lover. Back in 1979, D Magazine talked a former employee of The Dispatch into reminiscing about Dallas’ gone but not forgotten tabloid that drove the establishment nuts and kept its readers entertained. No one had to twist Al Harting’s arm, however. He liked nothing better than to relive those wild and crazy days as a reporter for The Dispatch.

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Wed
25
Feb

Governor gives lawmakers his state budget priorities

By Ed Sterling

On Feb. 17, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State address during a joint session of the Texas House and Senate and released his recommendations for the two-year 2016-2017 state budget. In his 43-page Governor’s Budget document, Abbott said he aims to: “Constrain the size and growth of government. Reduce agency spending. Suspend, reduce, and eliminate unnecessary taxes and fees. Ensure government supports job creation and is accountable and transparent.”

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Wed
18
Feb

Consideration forgotten

I remember 10-15 years ago, when during night time events at Clifton High School, the loop in front of the school was used mainly by the elderly and handicapped drivers, and the main parking lot across the street used by all the rest – all out of consideration – there were no signs at that time. 
 
Wed
18
Feb

Abbott joins other governors in urging against veto

Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 12 announced he had joined a coalition of 24 governors in signing and sending a letter to
President Obama that urges the nation’s chief executive “to reconsider his threat” to veto legislation approving the
Keystone XL pipeline. “With one stroke of a pen, you have the power to give thousands of Americans the shot at a good-paying job that will help them provide for their families and get ahead  in a tight economy,” the letter says. 
 
Wed
11
Feb

Can a regular Congress occur?

There is no single solution to Congress’s problems, but it’s hard to imagine Congress can get past its dysfunction without adopting the regular order.
 
 
Wed
11
Feb

Senate panel hears testimony on funding needs

AUSTIN — Last week, the Senate Finance Committee began groundwork for its budget- writing duties with public hearings on four consecutive days. Led by Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Grapevine, the 15-member panel heard testimony from the offices of the governor, comptroller and attorney general. Input also was received on state pension funds, courts and payments on state debt.
 
 

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