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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
May 15, 2013     Hays Free Press
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May 15, 2013

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Hays Free Press THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "She knew I was going to figure out she's a bad kid and not worth investing in and just bail on her. It took about a year for her to figure out that l wasn't going anywhere." -CJ Legate, Big Sister of the Year on making a connection with her "Little" Page 3A A: CAPITAL procedural deadlines for legis- lation began to hit last week, ending the forward progress and the hopes of more than half of the 6,000-or-so House bills and Senate bills filed by Texas lawmak- ers since November 2012. And while the main state budget bill for fiscal years 2014-2015 stayed apparently motionless in a con- ference committee of five Senate members and five House members, a number of bills survived votes and passed through their respective originating chambers. For example, the House on May 8 approved House Bill 500, legislation that permanently exempts busi- nesses with gross revenues of $1 million or less from paying the mar- gin or "franchise" tax. The current exemption is set to expire next year. The Legislature enacted the tax in 2009 to offset a reduction in residential property taxes. Other bills filed this session attempt to do away with the tax entirely. Primary author of HB 500 is Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, chair of the powerful House Com- mittee onWays and Means. Hil- derbran, who said the legislation would spell $667 million in tax relief to Texas businesses, pointed out that HB 500 also: Extends the exemption to businesses grossing more than $1 million annually by creating a guar- anteed $1 million deduction. Ensures that the cost of goods sold deduction "is offered to most businesses equally" by including those engaged in rental, auto repair, transportation, real estate and medicine. HB 500 is awaiting deliberation by the Senate Finance Committee's subcommittee on Fiscal Matters. Car sticker bill advances Legislation by Senate Iurispru- dence Committee Chair Royce West, D-Dallas, would combine automobile registration and inspec- tion stickers into one sticker. Interim research that provided groundwork for West's SB 1350 suggests that a one-sticker system would reduce fraudulent inspec- tions and save the state money. If the House passes SB 1350, Texas will join 27 other states that have enacted similar laws. Ed Sterling works for the Texas PressAssociationandfollowstheLegis- laturefortheassociation. 000 W~u know, there's not a whole lot at gets me all riled up. OK, ~ aybe hypocritical vegans who "~-~ "-'"" "'-'"~ ~HtlW~N~!~ FROM THi: cuss me for eating beef and then walk away in their calfskin boots. And maybe pet owners who believe they should be able to take their dogs anywhere they like but neglect to get them vaccinated or clean up the mess the pooch just deposited on a public beach. Seeing photos of slimy, spine- less terrorists and killers in the me- dia for weeks after committing their cowardly acts really chaps my hide. Oh, yeah, certain healthcare practi- tioners who try to pull fast ones and healthy teeth really make my fur fly. You know, I might not be as laid back as I thought. Lots of stuff gets me hot under my sweaty collar. Last week, on a day that I usually spend relieving stress by driving a tractor or dozing in a hammock, I was coerced into visiting our timeshare out at Canyon Lake. Oh, it wasn't a plea- sure trip; we had to attend an "owner's meeting" with a representative of the new owners of our resort. Timeshare owners were asked to come out and see improvements at the resort and give our valuable input. When I say we were "asked," I should saywe were hounded constantly by solicitors calling our home phone and occasion- ally our cell phones. There's a limit to the number of times I can politely say"we're not interested," and after a rather nasty phone conversation one afternoon after I had returned from a deceitful dentist appointment, I thought these badgers got the mes- sage. I soon learned these "account repre- sentatives" continued to call the house during the hours I was away at work or during supper when I refuse to answer the phone. Maw is a bit more civilized than me, and these solicitors figured they'd have a better chance chatting with her than with her redneck hus- band. Finally, after months of pester- ing calls and negotiating, we agreed to accept their offer to visit the resort. They would give us $140 just to at- tend, and in return, I would give them a piece of my feeble mind. Hey, I've done dirtier jobs for a hundred bucks. This should be a lot easier. As soon as we got to the resort, I felt my blood pressure rising like a cheap thermometer in a roasted duck's butt. Our "personal account representative" informed us that he wasn't going to try to sell us anything. He just wanted to review our account and provide us with information and advice. We had attended several meetings with resort representatives before and endured endless sales pitches before, but this jolly fellow assured us this meeting wouldn't be anything like that. He sounded sincere, but so did that fellow who sold me a beach house in White Sands, New Mexico. After about two hours of touring new condos and hearing rhetorical rigmarole, this guy tries to sell us an- other timeshare. All that chatter about not trying to sell us anything flew out the window like a fat man's fart. I knew walking into his office he was a sleazy salesman, and no matter what he told us, I knew dang well he would try to sell us something. He spruced up his spiel, providing us with all the advantages and benefits of owning an additional timeshare, but he met his match that day. I informed him that he can put whipped cream on a pile of horse crap and even place a cherry on top, but it's still a pile of horse crap. The flabby tim-tam man called in his manager, a fellow who resembled a hideous hybrid of a possum and a weasel, to double-team us, pressure us into buying another unit, but I was wearing a pair of cowboy boots, one for each fraudulent fanny. They, along with everyone else in the building and halfway across the lake, heard my humble opinion of their deceitful sales tactics. I took these con men to the woodshed, and walked away with $140 and a feeling of satisfaction, but I began thinking about those older cou- ples we saw waiting to meet with their "representatives," elderly folks who may not have the clear eyes to recog- nize a sham or are too frail to stand the pressure of a hard sale. Would they succumb to the strong-arm tactics of these buzzards? I doubt anyone associated with that sales office will ever contact us in the near future, but I'm sure they will continue to call other timeshare owners across Texas in an attempt to lure them in coming for a visit. As a sentinel perched high in his Crow's Nest, I will keep my eyes peeled for all charlatans who prey upon my neighbors. Hopefully, this column will reach others who own timeshares and inform them what's in store for them if they attend an "owner's meeting." lust remember what my Cherokee ances- tor, Chief Smelling Bull, once said: "Man who speaks with forked tongue drools on big belly." Translated into modern Redneckese, it means you can put chocolate icing on a cow patty and call it a cupcake, but it's still a big o1' pile of crap., From reports, the entrance was what one imagines of a drug lord who isn't used to waiting for a table in Guadalajara. Only this was in Washington. Stepping out of the elevator, a wedge of body guards shoved people out of the way, one pinning a camera- man against the wall. "You don't have jurisdiction here," the cameraman protested. But of course, the National Rifle As- sociation sets his own rules. Mr. Big had come to lecture Congress last January. Wherever he- and you- may be, you will get out ofWayne LaPierre's way. Doesn't matter if a vast majority of Americans don't buy what he shills. He will meet his quota on Capitol Hill. Of course, what he does is hardly unusual. The NRA is one of any number of entities that comport themselves as their own branches of government, and whose officials govern their own protectorates. It's all about money. Speaking of acronyms: More and more Americans are coming to know GEO, as in GEO Group Inc., the Flori- da company that runs more than 111 for-profit prisons and penal facilities. forlawmakers the economy, that prison cells are good Nobody elected GEO, but know that it has power beyond the founders' imagining, even that of Thomas Jef- ferson, who warned about the "aris- tocracy of our monied corporations." Power? GEO has power over thou- sands of prisoners' every breath. Recently a GEO executive, Thomas Maybe it makes sense to privatize Wierdsma, was found civilly liable for trash hauling, or streetlight repair. It "outrageous behavior," including at- doesn't make sense to privatize life-or- tempts to pressure U.S. Immigrations death matters (See Hurricane Katrina). and Customs Enforcement officials to But when bigness is next to godliness, deport his immigrant daughter-in-law too many policy-makers simply bow to when her marriage to his son soured, the GEOs of the world and proclaim, '~t You know: "Half of our prisoners are your service." federal. I'll get ICE on the phone." Big oil, the pharmaceutical indus- Don't expect these developments try, big insurance, all have managed to hurt GEO's business. With $1.48 to engorge themselves while blunting billion in revenues last year, it has the public interest when it comes to reached Halliburton-esque critical policy. For one, Americans would be mass, profit- and power-wise, paying less for over-the-counter drugs So much liquidity has the company if pharmaceutical makers hadn't pre- that it offered to plunk down $6 million vented the government from negotiat- for naming rights to Florida Atlantic ing prices under Medicare reforms. University's new football stadium. Each of these players serves much That idea was nixed after a pub- like Russia or China in the IJ.N. Security lic backlash. Rest assured, GEO will Council.Whatever a body might wish to find good ways to spend that money, achieve, they carry a one-vote veto. possibly convincing state and federal Unelected. Unaccountable. Grover Norquist has the pledges of most Re- publican members of Congress, along with governors and state lawmakers, to do what he says, which is to never raise revenue for any purpose. How did Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform gain its power? Silly ques- tion. As a lobbying arm funded by corporate interests like big tobacco and big oil, it spends millions to elect candidates who kiss Norquist's ring and to smite anyone who backs away from the no-new-revenue pledge. The group spent $16 million on the last election. "Conservatism, my foot," said Bill Moyers about Norquist's hold on politi- cians' souls. "It's all about the money." And so we return to the unelected sheiks of the gun cartel, their flow- ing gowns, their gusher-style fiscal resources. As in the sand-blown Third World, politically they control whole provinces. They are the law, because they have the guns, and the money. And who will stand in their way? Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE Let's hope it puts water in Lake Travis but not on the game. -Pam Kaye on "Ominous clouds on horizon before Hays softball playoff game" My REBEL PRIDE just keeps growing! Well done Meagan! (Class of HHS 1971) -Rebecca Sue Thames Beck on "Hays sophomore pole vaulter Meagan Gray wins silver medal at State UIL meet" What a brave young person. I'm wondering who the genius is who told him he couldn't. Our kids should be free to express themselves as they see fit. - David Salazar on "Lehman student not allowed to run for prom queen because he's male" You should run for prom king. I bet you would still win! - Yvetter Perry on "Lehman student not allowed to run for prom queen because he's male" IMANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy Slovak-Barton Sports Reporter Moses Leos III Features & Education Editor Kim Hilsenbeck Staff Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Haile Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer ADVERTISING Tracy Mack Debbie Hall CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Melinda Helt Distribution Pete Sizemore Contact Us: FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640 ( I