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March 20, 2013     Hays Free Press
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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? Hays Free Press "Some guys will say they shot twice, but a video may show four or five rounds were expended. -Bo Kidd, Buda Police Chief Page 3A RAGING iMODEP.ATE Thankfully the current re- vival of President Obama's Charm Offensive is not a theatrical production, because the reviews are decidedly mixed. Seeing him furiously pirouette around Washington for the last two weeks like a carnival con- tortionist makes you wonder if he might be secretly setting up a post-presidential career in a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil spin-off. POTUS is reportedly reaching across the aisle in a last ditch at- tempt to resuscitate his budget- ary Grand Bargain, but chances still remain stuck in the Potomac Triangle of slim, none and get the heck out of here you silly, silly man. The Triangle is that unde- fined swamp in D.C. where com- promise is a four-letter word and serious discussion mysteriously disappears amid the scuttled rubble of naA-ve politicians. Right now the gulf between House Republicans and the Oval Office is so wide they can't even see each other due to the curvature of the earth. The ice caps may be melting but only in direct inverse proportion to the polarization oc- curring in American politics. Some folks question the very existence of the Obama Charm School. But it's over in the same wing as the George W. Bush Think Tank. Just a couple doors down from the William Jefferson Clin- ton Marriage Counseling Service. One floor up from the Mitch Mc- Connell Touchy Feely Workshop. Paul Ryan lunched with the president last week, then im- mediately turned around and introduced a budget that calls for the repeal of Obamacare and replaces Medicare with vouchers. Again. Of course, Senate Demo- crats countered with their own budget that actually adds spend- ing over 10 years. Both sides are stuck in a loop larger than the London Eye. Lessons learned from the 2012 election: None. To say Republicans remain skeptical is like implying the surface of the sun is toasty. Or suggesting old white men have a slight edge in papal elections. Finding horsemeat in Swedish meatballs might entail avoiding furniture wholesalers when ad- dressing nutritional needs. Obama's staff claims this offensive charm of his is not new, but part of a long-standing operation. Five Republicans even admitted to being invited to the White House to watch the movie "Lincoln," but all declined. Of course, you know what they were thinking: "Black guy- Lin- coln -- it's a trap!" If only he had screened "Life of Pi." Everybody loves man-eating tigers. Espe- cially Southem Republicans and Vegas magicians. In the immortal words of Rod- ney King, can't we all just get along? Obviously the answer is "No!" We don't do olive branches. This is more about thorny rose stems. The president doesn't seem to get it either. You can buy them lunch, let'em sleep on your couch, wash their poo-poo undies in the sink, throw surprise birth- day parties complete with pony rides and Bouncy Houses, co-sign a loan for their summer home on Chesapeake Bay, but In the end it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing. Vote, that is. Doesn't matter how much schmoozing goes down, unless you find a way to muzzle the home-district pit bulls on their right, you might as well blow those flirty kisses at a brick wall. Save the chocolates and flow- ers for Michelle. Could come in handy, especially after you break the news about moving to Vegas. Five-time Emmy nominee Will Durst's new e-book, "Elect to Laugh!" published by Hyperink, is now available at Redroom.com, Amazon and many other fine virtual book retailers near you. Go to wiUdurst.com for more info on stand-up performances. durst@caglecartoons.com Will Durst is a political come- dian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. Continuing to inch closer to the Legislature's most important act ~ " - the making of a state budget for CAPITAL the next fiscal biennium- the Senate HIfiHL!G~$ Finance Committee approved CSSB 1 on March 13. Some 865 pages in length, the budget tops out at $195 billion, the sum of $94 billion in general appropriations plus federal and dedicated funds. The bill will be debated on the Senate floor this week, and if passed, the document's next stop will be the House Committee on Appropriations. As explained by the Senate news service, once the Senate version of the budget moves over to the House for consideration, "the House will substi- tute its version of the budget, House Bill 1, for SB 1, and the Senate will do the same with its budget plan when it receives HB 1 from the House. At that point, the speaker will appoint five House members and the lieutenant gov- ernor will appoint five senators to meet together in a conference committee. These members will hammer out the differences between the two versions of the budget. Each chamber will vote on the compromised budget bill, and if approved that bill goes to the governor's desk for him to sign into law." Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, said CSSB 1 "reflects our commitment to balancing a fiscally conservative budget without raising taxes and giving your priorities the resources they need to continue building a better future for Texas .... "The increase in funding for programs, including public education and mental health, is within the constitutional spending limit and below the rate of population and inflation growth. Since the current Medicaid program is bro- ken," Dewhurst said, "I am pleased that the budget includes a rider that ensures the Health and Human Services Com- mission would have to seek legislative approval before reforming our Medic- aid program, and ensures any proposed changes are consistent with our conser- vative principles and lowering taxes." MEDICAID PATCH PASSES House Bill 10, legislation providing emergency supplemental appropria- tions to fund Medicaid through Aug. 31, took effect immediately when signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on March 13. "This bill makes good on the 82nd Legislature's obligation to provide additional appropriations for these agencies this session, and also provides the funds needed to undo the defer- ral of payments to Texas school dis- tricts through the Foundation School Program," Perry said. "While this bill is necessary to the continued operations of these essential services, this session gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button, put an end to budgetary tricks and pay now what is due now. Truth in budgeting is good fiscal practice and makes for good government." HB 10, which appropriates some $6.6 billion, plugs a hole created by budget cuts passed by the Legislature in 2011 to head'off a projected budget shortfall then estimated at more than $20 bil- lion. Of the $6.5 billion, about $5 billion goes to the Health and Human Services Commission for Medicaid acute care, about $1.5 billion goes to the Depart- ment of Aging and Disability Services for Medicaid long-term care and $187 million goes to the Health and Human Services Commission for the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). HB 10 also steers $630 million to the Texas Education Agency to administer the Foundation School Program and funds a $1.75 billion installment pay- ment to the education agency at the end of the fiscal year (Aug. 31) to pay the Foundation School Fund entitle- ment -- the primary source of state funding for Texas school districts. The program, as stated by the education agency, is meant to ensure that all school districts, regardless of property wealth, receive "substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar tax effort." SEN. GARCIA TAKES OFFICE New state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D- Houston, received her official full Sen- ate welcome on March 11. Garcia won a March 2 special runoff election to fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. Mario Gallegos, who died Oct. 16. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst appointed Garcia to the body's Government Organiza- tion, Intergovernmental Relations, Jurisprudence and Nominations com- mittees. An attorney and a native of South Texas, Garcia served as presiding judge for the Houston Municipal System for an unprecedented five terms under two mayors. She also has served in elective office as city controller and as a Harris County commissioner. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspmss.com "sservatives, y~oc~nU wondered if tea party Republi- s cared about the little people. u should have heard those in ....... YOUNG" AT-LARGE Washington plead for victims of a federal austerity horror. U White House tours: canceled. ' Colorado s three GOP congressmen were voice-raw over this. They had prom- ised tours to vacationing constituents. Sequestration squelched that. Oh, the humanity. Understandably, and subsequently, these caring lawmakers have no larynx left for truly desperate people in their snowy state. In the face of sequestration, agencies that serve homeless families are poised for cuts from thd Department of Housing and Urban Development for domicile assistance. Laryngitis aside, this is of no concern to fitfully ensconced tea party constituents. Observe the magic of "across the board" cuts so blithely and regularly recommended by those who think gov- ernment can do onlywrong (unless it is invading other countries). Speaking of blithe. That word described most fiscal disservatives as the sequester arrived. Eighty-five billion dollars in auto- matic, indiscriminate cuts? No biggie. A great howl came up, however, with the now-halted release of illegal immi- grants from federal facilities. Then again, just what does "across the board" conjure to you? Does it not involve Immigrations and Customs? And if not, why? Would you, Mr. or Ms. Lawmaker, like your"l Am Utterly, Totally Irresponsible" T-shirt in XL or XXL? Of course, almost from the word "go" for sequestration, the Republican House was quickly trying to figure out a wayto feed the military beast, for we know not a shred of fat lies within. But enough about the absurdity of automatic cuts of any kind. Let us focus on the Insanity of one party's fighting with all its might to defend the nation's most comfortable citizens while the nation's least comfortable try to keep their fingers from freezing. Let's also reflect on tax policies that consciously painted the nation Into a comer of red ink, the architects' knowing that at some point those designer deficits would be, or would appear to be, unten- able. And since no one likes to raise taxes, even if federal revenue as a share of GDP is the lowest since the days of"Howdy Doody" and Roy Rogers-well, the fiscal disservatives pledge to fight any revenue enhancement to the death. What's amazing is that President Obama is simply playing off the tax recommendations of his 2012 rival. Mitt Romney, you'll recall, wanted to close tax loopholes that unnecessarily ben- efited the super-wealthy. Oddly, though he railed against the deficit like a good Republican should (now that Republians don't hold the White House), he didn't intend to use so much as a dime of the revenue raised to cut the deficit. He and Paul Ryan would use the difference to lower tax rates. That old voodoo. Then again, for some it never gets old. Over and over and over again since the days of Reagan, Republican-inspired tax cuts served to facilitate growth- in the na- ti0naldebt. All along that path, the fiscal disservatives yawned. Didn't matter if we were waging wars - plural. Didn't matter if times were good or bad or In-between. It was always time to cut taxes. Under Reagan, a certifiably ambitious revamp of the tax code could have raised sufficient revenue to wipe out the deficit. Not a chance. It had to be revenue-neutral. So, here we are, trillions in the red, and Of course this is the fault of the Democrat in office - for whom deficit spending was the only option to confront one of the saggiest economies sInce the Pilgrims landed. The economy is dramatically better. The stock market is putting up Miami Heat-like numbers. The jobs picture is improving. And now? Sequestration and forever fiscal crises endanger middle- class public-service jobs like those of teachers, first-responders and more. But don't forget those hurt worst: Americans, out in the cold, tour maps in hand. Longtime Texas newspaperman ]ohn Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE Of course the letter should be reinstituted. Transparency is what kyle management is all about. Our city manager is experienced enough to not publish information that is obviously legally sensitive and any questions about an item ADVICE from the attorney can be obtained and I'm sure he will do that. That's what the attorney's job is -- to give advice JUST THAT, - John Atkins on "On heels of Kyle attorney's ousting, Friday letter is back" Mr. Bales proposes answers to a system he doesn't belong to and probably doesn't understand. I suppose, being a taxpayer, he can do that (one wonders what "traditions" are being attacked, unless, of course, he is referring to Hays High School's flaunting the Rebel flag). We can agree the superintendent is overpaid by a mountain. However, I would advise Mr. Bales to stay off the soap box and declare that smaller class sizes don't work.... - Charles Eichman on "Challenges facing new superintendent" Mr. Bales was a former school board president for HISD and is very knowledgeable about all aspects regarding school issues, he always backs his statements with facts~data. I find him to be correct all the time. I taught for 34 years and have always enjoyed his posts. - Claude responding to Eichman's comment (above) MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy SIovak-Barton csb@haysfreepress.com Sports Reporter Moses Leos III Features & Education Editor Kim Hilsenbeck kim@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Haile Clint ounts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com Dioni Gomez ads@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Melinda Hett Distribution Pete Sizemore Contact Us: . news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepress.com 113 Wo Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640