Opinion

Wed
17
Dec

Panel sets $7 billion minimum for Rainy Day Fund

by Ed Sterling

On Dec. 11, a Senate-House joint committee empaneled to adopt a sufficient balance for the state’s “rainy day fund” approved $7 billion as the floor for it. Properly titled the Economic Stabilization Fund, the oil and gas tax-fueled pool of money was created by constitutional amendment in 1988 when oil was selling as low as $10 a barrel, causing state coffers to run thin. Calculated at $6.7 billion last August, the fund previously had no required minimum. The maximum the fund may hold is capped at 10 percent of the state’s general revenue during the previous two-year budget cycle.

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Wed
10
Dec

Tough guy attitude: ‘Ain’t gonna hurt none of me’

by Willis Webb

Being raised in a small town where most people didn’t have much, forced many to scrape and scramble to make a living. Pride in supporting yourself and your family was a strong motivation for most folks I knew in my growing up years. Standing on your own two feet was the mantra of that period I am inclined to describe as “hard-scrabble” times. This promoted an attitude, from childhood on, of “Don’t mess with me. I’m the Lone Ranger and I can take care of me and Tonto.” Perhaps that’s a poor example since Tonto often took care of the Lone Ranger, but I digress.

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Wed
10
Dec

Perry directs state agencies to screen employees

by Ed Sterling

Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 3 ordered state agencies to check the employment eligibility of current and prospective employees by using EVerify, an Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Perry also urged Congress to pass legislation “to provide the resources necessary to secure our southern border.” Perry’s announcements come in the wake of President Obama’s executive action on immigration on Nov. 20. At the time, in a national broadcast, Obama said he would take various actions because of the protracted unwillingness of Congress to pass an immigration reform bill that addresses the legal status of millions of undocumented workers employed in Texas and other states by American business owners. A White House news release lists three elements of the president’s executive actions:

Wed
26
Nov

Perry, Abbott react to Obama’s action on immigration

by Ed Sterling
 
President Barack Obama on Nov. 20 announced his decision to take executive action on immigration because Congress has not acted on immigration reform to address the presence and inflow of undocumented residents. “In order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation, these undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and unlawful permanent residents would have to: Have been here 5+ years, pass a background check, pay taxes,” according to information posted by the White House.
 
Tue
18
Nov

BCISD Superintendent’s Report

by Keith McBurnett

I want to start off by saying “thank you” to the community for supporting the recent Burnet CISD Bond Election. After almost two years of facility assessments, planning meetings, community meeting and the actual bond election, it is exciting to begin working on needed renovations across the district. In the months to come, I will be sharing timelines and project sequences. Citizens will be able to track the progress of the bond projects by attending board meetings (held the third Monday of each month) or by going to www.bcisdbond. com and selecting the “Project Updates” link.

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Tue
18
Nov

Spigot is open: Flow of legislative bills, resolutions begins

by Ed Sterling

On Nov. 10, dozens among Texas’ 31 state senators and 150 state representatives, including a few members- elect who won’t be sworn for nearly two months, jumped right in and filed legislative bills in advance of the 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes on Tuesday, Jan. 13. In all last week, 316 House and 170 Senate bills, proposed constitutional amendments and commemorative resolutions were filed. These are samples of the subject matter in those early-filed bills: acceptable forms of voter identification, use of a portable wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, repeal of the franchise tax, property tax reform, minimum wage increase, changes regarding the offense of student hazing, and free pre-kindergarten in public schools. The bill-filing deadline is the 60th day of the session, March 13. By then, lawmakers likely will have filed more than 10,000 bills and resolutions.

Wed
12
Nov

It’s time to take human trafficking seriously

it is a horrifying story, but one that has become all too common. By age 10, a young girl was being sold to men in bars. At 14, she escaped captivity as a sex slave and landed on the streets, penniless and alone, ultimately turning to a pimp who trafficked her for several years as a minor. This happened not in the dark corners of a Third World country, but right here in Dallas.

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Wed
12
Nov

Abbott, Patrick win top posts as Republicans dominate

Winners in the Nov. 4 general election on the whole proved that incumbency and/or running as a Republican continue to be assets when Texas voters hit the polls. Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte lost by wide margins to Republicans Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. In the Abbott-Davis race, the spread was 20 points: 59 to 39 percent. Similarly, the spread in the Patrick-Van de Putte race was 19 points: 58 to 39 percent.

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Wed
05
Nov

One-time volunteer job officiating football challenged fairness

by Willis Webb

Once — JUST once — I was “volunteered” to officiate a junior high school football game. Thank the good Lord I was spared that indignity ever again, but I couldn’t refuse that time. The head coach of those Teague Junior High Lions was one Jack Meredith, my family’s next-door neighbor and absolutely one of the best guys I’ve ever known. Jack went to Stanford Universitywhere he was a three-year starter at end. He married a Teague girl (Norita Keils) and wound up coaching there in both the high school and the junior high. There are much larger staffs these days and most schools, even those Teague’s size, have somewhat separate coaching staffs.

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Wed
05
Nov

Early voting turnouts, Toyota’s move, Ebola-free nurse and more

by Ed Sterling

The Secretary of State’s Elections Division on Oct. 31 posted early voting turnouts for each of the state’s 15 highest-population counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, El Paso, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, Montgomery, Williamson, Galveston, Nueces and Cameron. Of the 8,978,313 registered voters in those counties, 1,715,731 voted early in person or by mail. That’s a 19.11 percent cumulative early voting percentage.

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