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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
October 20, 2010     Hays Free Press
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October 20, 2010

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Page 4A THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "7he girls involved made some bad choices. The boys made some bad choices [but] teenagers are kind ofprone to making bad choices." -- San Marcos attorney David Watts on the acquittal this month of a former Lehman High School student charged with sexual assault. Hays Free Press October 20, 2010 EDITORIAL COMMENT The light at the end of the tunnel T n light of this newspaper's merciful policy of | calling a politicaltruce the two weeks before .i.any election, it is absolutely without chagrin that I put my final two cents in and close up these festering files. I'm glad it's almost over. I'm not everi worried about the outcome. I think that the honest, diligent foils amongst us will survive - especially those candidates with that tea-party-loathed "experience," like Doggett and Rose. They've proven themselves over and over and voting against them would be like shooting your- self in the foot. It's just not prudent to clean house with a blow torch. An interesting fact which I discovered while perusing the voter's guide, though: Of the 10 incumbents running completely unopposed, five of them are Democrats and the other five are Republican. How's that for balance? And as involved asI feel that I am in the whole political scene, when I printed out November's sample ballot last week, it was nine pages long with names of candidates I didn't even recognize, running for offices I was totally unfamiliar with. And although I had been watching Ray Bryant's tenacity in his bid for County Commissioner, I had only a vague idea that we were going to be voting on candidates vying to head commissions with oddly nondescript monikers like Agriculture, Raikoad (which, ironically, has nothing to do with wains), and the General Land Office (not to be confused with the specific land office). And while we're at it, it looks like we're in the market for a surveyor, a comptroller, a sheriff and a couple of different clerks. And judges and justices? Jesus, there's a jillion (sorry, I just liked the alliteration). But, hon- estly, there are 17 open slots on our courts - from supreme to criminal to civil- and it seems like it would be judicious to get to know a bit about these candidates in light of the fact that they're going to be making deci- sions about your life on all kinds of levels. Which leads us to the State Board of Education which is in the process of making decisions about our children's education. Reality-challenged Ken Mercer has once again publicly decried evolution by writing an op-ed piece in the San Antonio Express News stating: "For example, have you ever seen a dog-cat, or a cat-rat?" What? Then, to keep those late-night talk show jokes about Texas coming, in response to a question on his stance regarding compre- hensive sex education at age-appropriate levels, he spouted: "We want kids to be aware of what's out there, but we do not want a 'how to' manual." God, I just shudder every time he opens his mouth. Luckily, we have Rebecca Bell-Metereau at the ready. Level-headed and pragmatic, this Fulbright Scholar will be the ballast the State Board of Education needs. In this specific race, Bell-Metereau is a no-brainer. Onward and upward, which leads us to our wispy gubematorial race which has been a head-scratcher from the get-go. We have accrued a mammoth debt. Environmentall Texas is trashing our planet on par with entire countries around the world. We rank fourth in teen pregnancies nationwide with the highest high school dropout rate to match. I won't even venture into the cronyism and sub- standard ethics oozing out of the govemor's rental mansion. Perry's closetful of skeletons is so bloated he isn't even trying to keep them cloaked anymore. AndWhite just stands there grinning like a country boy even though, with the hand he's been dealt, he should be feeling armed and dangerous. We all know that it's time for Perry to just "glt on down the road" and join the ranks of all the fat cats and bureaucrats that he's been making richer and more undeserv- ingly influential these past 10 years. And to start picking up his own tab for that $10,000-a- month mansion he's lounging around in. White has the smarts and the integrity to make this state a better place for all of us and we just need to give him the oppor- tunity to do it. I guess it's hard to get out of the shadow of Mr. Charisma's swaggering bravado when you are, honestly, just an intelligent, decent man with a plan. So, finally, this is it. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take a look at the campaign signs in your neighbor's yard. Open up a dialogue, get information and talk about issues that concern you. Check out the voter's guides in the Hays Free Press and the Austin American Statesman. Early voting has already begun and will run seven days a week through October 29. Through it all, though, you need to keep in mind that there's a straight path which leads from the marble steps of the nation's capitol to the granite steps of our state and county courthouses, to the wooden steps leading up to your front porch. This election effects every single one of us. Use your voice. i , / r / ,I I 0 Nothing would be best " othing exposes the soul of our political system quite like the debate over the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year. Remember a few short months ago, when Republicans were howling with moral indignation at the massive federal deficit? They pointed out, quite correctly, that the debt would have to be paid by "our children and grandchildren." Remember that? Well, evidently, they themselves don't remember. The Bush tax cuts conservatively account for $300 million of our current deficit (which is hovering between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion dollars). And the red ink generated by these tax cuts, which were un- necessary and budget-busting fo begin with, is projected to increase massively in the years to come. Simply ending the Bush tax cuts would reduce the deficit by 15% in one swift stroke - an enormous saving, with no cut in government services. So the Republicans are all for letting the Bush tax cuts expire, for the sake of our kiddos and their kiddos, right? Of course not. Taxes must never be raised, according to Republican orthodoxy. Tax increases are al- ways bad for the economy, they in- sist, in spite of all evidence to the GOD AND contrary. But the Bush tax cuts are even more sacred to Republicans, because they disproportionately benefit the richest few- which is, after all, the core constituency of the Republican Party. (Sorry, Christian conservatives, but facts are facts.) It was precisely because of this disproportionate benefit to the rich that Sen. John McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts when they were proposed, back in 2000, before he sold his soul. So the Republicans don't mind saddling our children and grand- children with massive debts, as long as the core Republicans themselves are the beneficiaries of the government's largesse. Let the brats eat cake. They like it better than bread anyway. But the Democrats are much better, right? Actually, no. Not at all. In the first place, the Demo- crats have never paused to worry about who will pay the bill for the deficits. The Democrats practically invented deficit spending under FDR, as a response to the Great Depression. When I was in college (a long time ago), my economics class carefully taught me that the national debt never actually has to be paid back. We need only pay the interest on it. This orthodoxy still prevails among most Democrats. When the Bush tax cuts were originally proposed and debated, the Democrats opposed them. But now, they want to keep some of them, especially those that benefit the middle class. So they are play- ing the same game as the Repub- licans - using our tax money to reward their political base, at the expense of future generations. (At least, they hope the middle class will be on their side at the polls.) So who is looking out for our children and our children's chil- dren? Neither party. They are per- fectly content to pass the problems on to the rug rats. If either side had even one pinky's worth of moral sensibility or political courage, they would let the Bush tax cuts expire. All that requires Congress to do is nothing at all. Nothing is normally what they do best. Watch them blow even this. ACC: Additional Continual Costs common sales tactic with new cars these days is to sell uyers on a "monthly pay- ment." The salesman asks them what they can afford per month, and then draws up the financing to meet their budget. The problem (for the buyer) is that the total cost of the purchase is not the focus and they end up paying much more than they should because they didn't look at the true cost. As vot- ers we are facing a similar situation this November. I'm talking about the critical issue of the proposed annexation by the Austin Community Col- lege (ACC) taxing district. I find it interesting that all of the propo- nents of the annexation (including ACC) are staying away from the "T" word...Tax. Just look at how it appears on the ballot, "Annexation of the following territory for junior college purposes: All of the territory in Hays Consolidated Independent School District." This language is misleading at best and downright deceptive at worst. Why can't they come out and say what it other property tax. That's all I need to know to be skeptical. If we vote yes, we are voting for another tax to be levied on our property. That is the bottom line here. I have two points on which I base my opposi- A JIL'S ....... i tion. The first point is the situation we as Hays CISD residents are already in because of our higher school taxes. Hays CISD taxes are $1.4613 per hundred dollar valuation, Aus- tin residents $1.227, Eanes (West- lake) pays $1.2025..So we already pay 25 cents more than Austin and Westlake homeowners. Plus if this passes we will be in a taxing district that is literally controlled by voters in Austin (Hays CISD has about 26,842 registered voters and Austin about 375,000). This is not the time to allow another taxing district to get its hands on our property. ACC is giving the soft sell that it's only pennies, but that's just a way to get their foot in the door. Look at the other property taxes you pay and tell me what the historical trend has been.., higher, ever higher. Second, private property has been under assault for decades. Stop for a minute and ask yourself, "What do I own that is really mine?" If we don't pay our registration (tax) for our cars we can't use them. If we don't pay our property tax for our home or real estate it can be seized by the government. If a business does not pay tax on its inventory and equipment it can be seized. All of our major property and means of earning a living are already subject to taxation and possible seizure by the government. I know it may sound old fashioned, but I'm will- hag to pay higher tuition for my kids to attend a community college for a year or two so that there is not another tax on myproperty FOR- EVER. Make no mistake about it, if this annexation passes, there will be one more tax on your property that will never go away and will probably always go up. Whether you agree or disagree with me on this I encourage you to educate yourself before voting. There are many web sites up on both sides of the issue, please read as much as you can in order to cast an educated ballot. I don't want us to end up like the person who bought the new car based on the "affordable" monthly payments only to find out later what the true cost was. The difference with ACC is that the payments will never end! COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE I wonder where the idea came from that citizen property taxes were part of a "pool" to fund non-profit organizations? ... I believe in charity, but I person- ally feel that charity is some- thing that is a private consid- eration and should be funded voluntarily. Forced distribution of charity is not charity. -- Ken Swinson on "Brad Pickett is right" at "People have forgotten how and why the City Council came up with the amount of $30,000 to distribute to non-profits who serve our community and its needs. It was based on our estimated population of 30,000 and amounts to $1 per person. This sounds extremely reason- able to me." -- Lila Knight on "Brad Pickett is right" at MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy SIovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer NEWS ROOM Editor Brad Rollins Staff Reporters Jennifer Biundo Sean Kimmons Kay Richter School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Brenda Stewart Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Haile Phil Jones Svea Sauer Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Darryl Jamail Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Ha,am CI.ASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam Diatdbution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Hays County Commissioner Jeff Barton is a minority owner of the Hays Free Press Contact Us: BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397