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March 9, 2011     Hays Free Press
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March 9, 2011
 

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Page 4A THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "7 have no idea -- Infomemial magnate Peter Spiegel, who has already lost a $1 million bond and could forfeit $10 million more, on the whereabouts of Prakashenend Seraswati. Hays Free Press March 9, 2011 r'f our state and federal representatives have .college degrees, you would think they would be logical and not let ideology overcome rational thought. But during these times, you really have to question that assumption. Governor Rick Perry has placed "emergency" status on bills that aren't emergencies- most being at odds with what the state really needs. One measure requires women to view a sonogram and listen to a verbal description of the fetus prior to having an abortion. As the state legislators are cutting funds for health care, they are putting more stress on women who have enough emotional trauma in making the decision to have an abortion. The illogical part of this legislation should be obvious. To begin with, who is going to pay for the sonogram? Will insurance companies balk at paying for these sonograms? Suppose the woman, after seeing the sonogram, decides to not have the abortion. Who will pay for prenatal care, the hospital delivery, the child's care after birth? Are our legislators really being logical and rational in their acts? I think not. Perry also is pushing an emergency bill to force local police to ascertain the citizenship of suspected illegal immigrants. There is no description of an illegal immigrant or what constitutes logical suspicion. Why is this such an emergency when there are no "sanctuary" cities in Texas? The 'illogical' battle is also happening on the national level. House Republicans are emphasizing cuts based on ideology rather than on logic. Almost six months into the current budget year, and they are still trying to fiflfill campaign promises based on a year-long budget. Someone should really tell them that we have a high unemployment problem. Most of us know it is illogical to cut job training funds. Seemingly everyone except the House knows we must retrain our unemployed if we want to reduce their numbers. The G.I. Bill created incredible growth in America, so shouldn't we be training unemployed workers to help America begin moving again? Every economist says America needs an educated work force ,- and these workers must be life-long learners. So, what are the state legislatures and the House of Representatives doing? They are cutting the very institutions and programs that enhance education. Funds for educational institutions at all levels are being cut without any direction or discretion. Monies for libraries, the place for a relatively low cost of on-going education, have been cut. Even children are being denied some education that has proven effective over the years. Monies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio are also being cut. How many people started their education with Sesame Street and other programs on public television? How many reading this colunm gain a ~mat amount of knowledge National Public Radio? Slashing these programs is based on ideology- not what is best for America. Republicans may be attempting to reduce spending but they are not doing it logically. If you want to "dumb down" America, just watch what some legislators are doing. You will see some very good examples. jclll~tr.com Tough questions over how the Leg- islature will address a $4.3 billion state revenue shortfall in fiscal year 2011 and a $27 billion projected revenue shortfall in Texas' 2012-2013 budget cycle continued last week. On March 3, Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, chair of the budget-writing House Ap- propriations Committee, invited Comp- troller Susan Combs to come forward and present "a clear description of how we arrived at this point, what our current challenges are and howwe should ad- dress them." Combs, part of whose job is to ascer- tain whether the state has enough funds to pay for expenditures proposed by the Legislature, accepted on short notice. She testified that the Legislature, in fac- ing the current deficit, has three options: deeper budget cuts, delaying spending, and tapping other resources such as the state's $9 billion Rainy Day Fund, or some combination of those options. But, she said, "I cannot certify new appropriations until the deficit is ad- dressed." So, it could be inferred, that un- til the budget crisis is solved or abated, the survival of any legislation that would add to current state fiscal obligations is in doubt. Now, before Combs testified, i~itts said he filed legislation that proposes to transfer $4.3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund into the General Revenue Fund. But even so, he said, deeper cuts to already-cut budgets will have to be considered. Pitts pointed out that many fellow law- makers on the present Appropriations Committee also served on the commit- tee in 2009 when the 2010-2011 budget was drawn up. "In hindsight, it's worth asking if we all should have anticipated a decline much sooner," Pitts said. For the record, Pitts said, Texas' budget troubles stem from a nationwide CgI TAL economic recession and a long series of monthly double-digit declines in sales tax revenue. However, Rep. Mike V'dlarreal, D-San Antonio, interjected that the state's $27 billion projected revenue shortfall for 2012-2013 is attributable not only to a nationwide recession, but also to the state's $11 billion"structural deficit." The strtmtural deficit is a systemic shortfall grown out of the state's 2006 school finance reform plan that cut property taxes by billions of dollars. That, coupled with years of less-than-expected revenue from a business-margins tax the Legislature passed to pay for the prop- erty tax cut, has widened and deepened the budget hole. HOUSE PASSES SONOGRAM BILL HB 15 by Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephen- ville, was adopted by the House on March 3. Among the legislation's many require- ments is that a woman who wishes to terminate her pregnancy must choose whether to view a sonogram and hear the heartbeat of the ferns before a seda- tive or anesthesia is administered and before the termination may continue. According to the official bill analysis, the sonogram must be performed 72 to 24 hours before termination, except in cases where the woman's life is endan- gered. The physician must describe the results in easy-to-understand language. The legislation also requires the physi- clan to provide a list of agencies offering ultrasounds at no cost m the pregnant woman. House floor votes taken on proposed amendments to the bill closely followed party lines. The final vote on the bill was 103-46. One Republican voted in opposi- tion on the final vote. Freshman state Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston published a news release explalninffv "To me, the issue at stake was not about abortion, but about the role of government in our personal lives .... Although I fully sup- port informed consent, I do not support the Legislature practicing medicine. Conservative legislators have been united against the expanding role of government, and I remain true to that principle." The state Senate passed a similar sonogram bill, SB 16, in mid-February. CURRENT, FORMER LAWMAI ERS EYE RRC In Janu~ when Texas Railroad Com- missioner MichaelWtlliams announced his resignation to run for the U.S. Senate, the door opened for a replacement. Wil- liams announced his bid for the Senate when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek another term in office. Current state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, filed as an applicant to fillWd- liams' unexpired term, and so did former state Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Brimer also is seeking appointment as state insurance commissioner to replace Mike Geeslin who has asked to not be reappointed. Ed Sterling worlcs for the Texas Press As- sociation and follows the Legislature for the Texas Press Association. edsterlingl~xulxemi.oom bserve now the muting of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for president. Many who can't find the Mus- catamck River on a map will wonder. Mitch who? But Daniels is no nobody. As a poly-sci entity, he is much known. He was George W. Bush's first budget direc- tor in Washington. As president, Bush had a nickname for everybody. He called Daniels "The Blade" for how he could cut government spending. So, how did that go? Over two years under Daniels' guid- ance, the $236 billion surplus that Team Bush inherited became a $400 billion deficit. Apparently this is a route to icon ste- ms. Deficits by design, after all, meant canonization for Ronald Reagan. These days we hear much talk about imposing performance standards for public employees. Watch what you wish for, GOP. If we did, it might bar many who served in the Bush administration from all but flagging for road crews. None, to be sure, would present him- self as a fiscal savior. Right now, however, odd circumstanc- es present themselves. The party that got the nation into its horrific economic straits suddenly is getting a chance to do things it fantasized, and specifically because it messed things up so terribly. When the nation invaded Iraq, a grudging Colin Powell spoke of the Pottery Barn principle: If you break it, you buy it. He couldn't have been more prescient. the history of human resources. Wimess this logic: Because GOP national policies so caused state econo- mies to tank, and voters to fume, newly empowered Republican governors are exacting blood oaths against public employee unions. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker believes that the state's dire straits give him a mandate to yank collective bargaining powers away from teachers, health and social workers, and more. In Colorado, on the pretense of saving tax dollars in the bad economy, one of the most Republican school districts is proposing school vouchers. actually a backdoor means of a wealthy district getting wealthier for doing nothing. The district would dish Out 75 percent of what it gets from the state for a voucherized student, this to incentiv- ize his or her bolting from the district. And it keeps 25 percent. By review'. This is done on the pre- tense of addressing a bad economy. But, An odd thing now, however: The understand: That economy is really an economy that free-market, laissez-faire, excuse to do what conservatives always dereg, let-it-ride policies left in shards fantasize. And by review: The economy is in the laps of others, most notably was done in by conservative fantasies Barack Obama and the Democrats, and run amok. millions of unemployed Americans. In November, Republicans seeking And now, after a soured-by-the-econ- to take over Congress rafted against omy off-year election, who is in a posi- the president for anemic job numbers. tion to push for more of what they have Here's a number to consider: House always craved? The Republicans. This is Speaker John Boehner says the Republi- the weirdest performance incentive in can budget will cut 200,000 jobs. This is the solution for a crippled econom Actually, if you are keeping track, we should assume that a job-killing bill is exactly what the COP wants. Look at how economic doldrums have made for high times for fear-mongering reaction- aries in state after state. Jobs? Heck, no. Drive that economy deeper into the tar pits. This tack can only be good for those who blame government for all things bad. Their strategy so far has worked In stunning fashion. Offered as delivering on the impera- tive of school choice, the vouchers are Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.corn COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSlTE "1 did not hear one word of the evidence end have nary a notion regarding the validity of the verdict. I can tell you that male faculty members of schools, male policemen, end males in general live in fear of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct and being absolutely unable to mount a defense. Even if an acquittal is obtained, the men is ruined." -- classroom teacher on =Absent gum sentenced to 280 years In Wison" at haysfreepremkcom "The evidence against Prakashenend Saraswati is overwhelming and irrefutable and the jury recognized that by finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite having many years to prepare for trial along with millions of dollars at his disposal end a huge group of extremely loyal followers willing to do almost anything for him, he could not find enything to overcome the power of three courageous abuse 'survivors willing to stand up and tall the truth about his hon'ific oflmes against children." -- Peter Frouman on "Ab- eant guru eantenced to 280 years in prison" at haystree- press.corn ree MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBUCATION$, INC. 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