10.31.12

The definition of hypocrisy

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Had Enough Yet?, Public Schools, Teachers at 9:46 am by wcnews

Austerity for thee, but not for me. Via the DMN, Audit: Texas governor, AG, land commissioner boosted staffs as state workers’ overall numbers shrank.

As the state’s workforce in areas such as education and protective services was shrinking last year, some agencies led by elected officeholders were growing.

Texas agencies shed about 3,200 workers in the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, a reduction of about 2.1 percent, a new report from the state’s auditor shows. But the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office and the general land office — each run by a Republican elected while touting the virtues of shrinking government — added workers.

Aides to Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stressed Tuesday that each remains below hiring maximums set by the Legislature.

That’s right do as I say, not as I do. There’s more.

Former state District Judge Scott McCown of Austin, who runs the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, said he doesn’t begrudge successes by Perry, Abbott and Patterson at getting a few more employees.

“They needed more staff and had the clout to get them, while human service agencies had the need, but not the clout,” McCown said. [Emphasis added]

“You can’t achieve the same efficiencies in public services as in many businesses because the job is fundamentally different,” he said. “You can’t eliminate staff and more efficiently remove a child from an abusive home. Someone has to walk that child out the door hand in hand.”

The Department of Family and Protective Services, which includes Child Protective Services, lost 112 employees last year, a decrease of 1 percent. CPS is struggling to retain caseworkers and has had to pull workers from Dallas and Houston to manpower-shortage areas such as Austin and Midland.

Other major departments absorbed much bigger reductions, including the Texas Education Agency (down 24 percent), the Juvenile Justice Department (13 percent), Parks and Wildlife (5 percent) and the Department of Aging and Disability Services (4 percent), Keel’s audit shows.

[...]

Gary Anderson, president of the Texas Public Employee Association, said lawmakers and the governor “have absolute control” over general state government but not over public universities, colleges and school districts, which have other sources of income than the state.

Agencies for the most part “continue to meet the mission,” even with fewer hands, said Anderson, whose group calls itself the oldest and largest state employee group and not a union. “There are some problem areas,” he said, citing the prison system’s inability to retain guards, especially in the booming oilfields of South Texas, where they can easily double their salaries.

It’s pretty clear that these three “small government conservatives” only want everyone else’s agency to go through austerity. As Kuff points out today, they’ve had no problem taking in out on public educaiton, Eight billion dollars.

That’s how much is needed per year to make public education whole.

[...]

All this came from direct testimony – the state had not had the chance to cross-examine Moak as of the writing of those stories – so there will likely be more of these depressing numbers to come. The Moak, Casey website is a pretty good resource for following the trial on a blow-by-blow basis. Here’s an interesting tidbit from their embedded Twitter feed: “Moak: from 10-11 to 11-12 school year, 26.5k fewer teachers and staff while Texas schools added 44.5k students #schoolfinancetrial #txlege”. With numbers like that, what happened next should not surprise us.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Perry, Abbott, Patterson.

Link to report, A Summary Report on Full-time Equivalent State Employees for the Quarter Ending August 31, 2012.

10.30.12

They have to take it from you

Posted in Around The Nation at 1:04 pm by wcnews

First a cartoon.

What I tell my clients about Nov. 6.

He [Mitt Romney] wasn’t grinning at Obama. He was grinning at you. He might have put on a granny cap. You are the prey.

Now that may sound extreme, but think how the top 1 percent makes its money. It’s not so much from economic growth any more. That used to be true 40 years ago. But in the 1970s, productivity stopped going up, and up, and up — that’s not just true for the U.S. but other high income countries. So if the rich get richer, there’s only one place to get the money: They have to take it from you.

It’s how the world used to work before the industrial revolution. The strong took from the weak. For the past 40 years, that’s one way the rich have gotten richer, even as economic growth has slowed.

The middle class is disappearing, slowly. It is sure to stay around for our lifetimes, but it’s disappearing. But while the economic growth has slowed since the 1970s, it’s not stopped. There’s no reason why the middle class should be in decline.

I mean, the money is going somewhere, right?

Well, it’s going to the 1 percent, or the CEOs, or the Romney types. And there are two ways they get it. First, they cut “costs.” And that means they cut wages, health, and “staff,” so people run faster, like squirrels in cages.

But if they cut costs, then no one can buy anything, right?

That’s true, so the top 1 percent lends you the money: and that’s why you find yourself using all that plastic and paying interest rates of 20 to 25 percent.

Why should the job creators create jobs and compete with China when they can make a lot more lending money to you?

But here’s the worst part: The more they cut your wages, the more they look on you with contempt. Now that may sound extreme, too. But look at the video where Romney talks with his backers about the “47 percent,” people who he regards as freeloaders if not bums. These are the working poor. Romney and his friends have cut their wages so far they don’t make enough to pay taxes. Then as you hear the clinking of cocktail glasses in the video, Romney rails at these people as bums even though he and his friends are responsible for not paying them a living wage.

The 47 percent are “losers.” But he and his CEO friends don’t think you’re any less of a loser for making $10,000 or even $30,000 a year more. That’s the single most important thing I have come to know from suing and taking the depositions of some of these people. If you didn’t know, let me tell you: They regard you with contempt.

I don’t think the Romney types are evil. But they have to take their money from you, and they feel uneasy about it. So they justify it to themselves by telling each other at country clubs that people like you are losers.

I believe that if there is a Romney victory, the “culture” of many companies will change. It will be no holds barred. There are still some constraints about taking money away from people. But if those constraints don’t entirely disappear, they will be much weaker. People who used to be fired for taking four sick days will now be fired if they take just two.

It may seem like a small change, but it’s big enough so that someone like you may find yourself in my office or in some lawyer’s office in Ohio. “Is there anything I can do about this?”

I’ll give you the answer now: No. So remember the grin. Don’t embolden the predator. You are the prey.

That’s what’s at stake in this election.

Endorsements – Paul Sadler, Matt Stillwell, and Ken Crain

Posted in Around The State, Election 2012, Williamson County at 10:32 am by wcnews

Here’s Democratic US Senate candidate Paul Sadler’s closing argument ad, it’s pretty good.

Click here to view the video.

He’s trying to use his proven ability to work across party lines, which his opponent Ted Cruz is unlikley to do.

There’s more information on Sadler’s endorsements from Kuff, Endorsement watch: The scoreboard for Sadler, and the Texas Monitor, Sadler’s Final Pitch.

In the final weeks of his campaign, Sadler has gained the critical wind to become a serious candidate for the United States Senate against Tea Party extremist Ted Cruz. In his final pitch to Texas voters, Sadler is reminding them of his bipartisan record and mainstream agenda.

Major newspapers from across the Lone Star State are endorsing from newspapers across the Lone Star State. His two debate performances have boosted his social media presence and gained a lot of buzzwith the press. Meanwhile, his opponent’s party is flopping with the extreme stances its candidates are promoting. Cruz has failed to distance himself from the rape comments made by Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock.

Today he launched his latest campaign commercial, “Texas Honors,” which highlights his exemplary career in the Texas Legislature while calling out Ted Cruz for his anti-Texas policy agenda.

Also the Statesman has endorsed Democrat Matt Stillwell over Tony Dale in HD-136.

Texas House, District 136

An insurance agent who lives in Northwest Austin, Stillwell’s deep concern about the future of public education motivated his run for the Legislature. He says he’ll fight for public schools if elected and will do what he can to roll back punitive, high-stakes testing. He also understands how seriously underfunded the state’s roads are and how cuts to roads and highways, along with cuts in other areas, have not reduced spending or tax burdens but merely shifted costs and debt to towns and cities. He focuses on fiscally sound, gimmick-free remedies that would benefit District 136 in the long term.

Check out Matt’s web site here.

The Williamson County Sun Endorses Ken Crain.

Ken Crain has conducted his career in the Navy and as an attorney in Georgetown in a measured and humane manner He is honest and decent. He says of the 12 assistant DA’s at the district attorney’s office, “If elected I will try to retain as many as possible. With each one handling 100 to 300 active cases, it would be a tragedy to lose these people.”

Crain believes we need to be tough on crime but smart, too. Ideas he proposes include a “no-refusal” DWI policy that would allow blood to be drawn in suspected DWI cases that would identify riot only alcohol content in the blood, but prescription and illegal drugs; this would “cut down on jury trials” because of the clarity of the evidence; a work-release program for first-time offenders that would allow jail prisoners to keep their jobs while serving, say, a 60-day sentence (only jail time and work time would be allowed); and an open files policy for the DAs office, which would allow defense attorneys to see evidence that might help their clients.

We like Ken Grain’s maturity and honesty, his willingness to utilize a top-flight district attorney’s staff, the management experience that he acquired in the Navy, his brain power, and most especially, his superior experience practicing all sorts of law over a 27-year career as an attorney in Georgetown. He is by far the most qualified of the candidates in this election, We strongly recommend him as Williamson County’s next district attorney.

Crain’s web site is here.  Be sure and vote, see where to vote early below. Early voting continues through Friday.

10.29.12

Early voting for 2012 General Election continues through Friday in Williamson Count

Posted in Elections, Take Action at 10:59 am by wcnews

Joint General and Special Elections
(Elecciones Generales y Especiales Conjuntas) 

Dates and times for locations:

(Fechas y horarios para localidades de tiempo) 

Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 2
(Del Lunes 22 de octubre al Viernes 2 de noviembre)

7am to 7pm Weekdays and Saturday
Noon to 6pm on Sunday 

Map & Directions

Main Location (Localidad Central):
Williamson County Inner Loop Annex
301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
Branch Locations  (Otras localidades): 

Anderson Mill Limited District
11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin

Brushy Creek Community Center
16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock

Cedar Park Public Library
550 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park

Cedar Park Randalls
1400 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park

Cowan Creek Amenity Center
1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown

Hutto City Hall
401 W. Front St, Hutto

JB & Hallie Jester Annex
1801 E Old Settlers Blvd, Round Rock


McConico Building
301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock 

Parks & Recreation Admin Bldg
1101 N. College St, Georgetown

Pat Bryson Municipal Hall
201 N. Brushy St., Leander

Round Rock Randalls
2051 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock

Taylor City Hall

400 Porter St., Taylor

Mobile-Temporary Locations, Dates and Times:
Fechas y horario de las Localidades móviles temporales:

Monday, October 29

Lunes 29 de octubre
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Highland Estates Independent Retirement Living, 1500 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park

Tuesday, October 30
Martes 30 de octubre
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Seton Medical Center – Wmsn, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock

Wednesday, October 31
Miércoles 31 de octubre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Seton Medical Center – Wmsn, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock

Thursday, November 1
Jueves 1 de noviembre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell

Friday, November 2
Viernes 2 de noviembre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell
First Baptist Church of Weir,  315 FM 1105, Weir

 

TPA Blog Round Up (October 29, 2012)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Uncategorized at 9:14 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges you to take advantage of early voting this week if you haven’t already done so as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the 30 Day finance reports for various legislative races.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is sick of the backwards prevailing attitude of some GOP candidates. Maybe their flawed understanding demonstrates where America’s education system has failed. Legitimacy Denied For Rape and Climate In 2012 Election. And, with permission, is able to share this awesome chart that speaks for itself GOP Rape Advisory Chart – All Inclusive. At the last minute, BossKitty sees significance in the clash between a hurricane and a cold front at election time, God’s Will And The 2012 Election.

The Texas Cloverleaf asks if no paper ballots mean no problem at the polls?

It’s closing in on 10 years since the GOP took full control of Texas. WCNews at Eye on Williamson has a rundown of how things have changed, It is almost 10 years since the GOP takeover of Texas.

Not all Republicans favor rapists… but all rapists — just like all racists — vote Republican. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs gets the breaking news straight from a rapist himself.

Rick Perry has his own Solyandra Problem Libby Shaw tells us about Perry’s high tech investment bust. Unlike the phony baloney Soladra issue, Rick’s little scheme managed to pick 4 losers to back. Read all about it at TexasKaos.

At the local level, Neil at Texas Liberal said that Ann Johnson merits your support and your efforts in Texas House District 134. At a global level, Neil said that global warming may well play a part in the big super storm impacting the United States.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know how shooting a truck full of unarmed Latinos from a helicopter is good procedure for the DPS?

10.28.12

“The full Wilco”

Posted in Around The State, Elections, Williamson County at 5:12 pm by wcnews

People that don’t live in Williamson County just don’t understand what it’s like here. Granted Wayne Slater went in to “test the water”, but he got “the full Wilco”, shall we say, when he showed up and tried to vote with just his utility bill, Voter ID is not the law in Texas. But law, schmaw! Demand it anyway.

Texas voters are not required to show a photo-ID. But that’s not stopping folks in Williamson County, a Republican bastion north of Austin. Or at least hasn’t stopped them in my precinct. I showed up to early-vote this weekend with one of several legally sanctioned forms of identification — my local utility bill. That’s when the trouble started.

[...]

I entered my early-voting polling place Saturday at the Georgetown Parks & Recreation office. I showed the superviser, whose nametag said Peggy, my utility bill from the city of Georgetown bearing my name and address. Peggy looked over her glasses at me with disapproval.

Peggy: “Do you have a drivers license?”

Me: “This is what I’m giving you for identification.”

Peggy: “We prefer a voter-registration card or a drivers license. There’s a list of identifications starting with registration card, driver’s license,  picture ID — we prefer to go in that order.”

Me: “Does that mean, Peggy, that I can’t vote with this.”

At that point, Peggy got up, turned around and began leafing through a booket with the state law. Another superviser scurried over. Peggy said I wasn’t producing a photo-ID, He looked quickly at my utility bill and said, “That looks fine.”

Peggy: “It has to be a current utility bill.”

He looked over the bill. It was current. “This looks fine,” he said.

Peggy then punched my name in the computer and announced that I’m not a registered voter.  I have a current registration card so I know I’m registered. The second superviser came back and looked over the screen. Peggy had mistyped my name. He told her to correct it. She did. I voted.

But you have to wonder. What if an elderly person or a  black or Hispanic citizen with English as a second langugage had done the same thing? Would they have been turned away? Would they, intimidated, have retreated? The most charitable thing I can say is that Peggy, an official poll worker, needed better training. But how many other Peggys are out there?

Yes, you have to wonder. Overzealous and wrong poll workers do more harm than good.  Williamson County always seems to make the news in interesting ways.

10.26.12

Susan Combs’ protests too much about debt

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Education, Public Schools at 4:16 pm by wcnews

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has released a report on public education debt in Texas. To hear her tell it the debt for public education in Texas is getting out of control.  But she’s only releasing the report so the uninformed, (to put it nicely), people of Texas will know the debt it going up.  Or as she calls it, transparency. From the press release, Comptroller Issues Report on Education Debt in Texas.

Today Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the third report in a series focused on transparency entitled Texas It’s Your Money. The report, “Your Money and Education Debt,” provides a snapshot of how much debt public and higher education institutions in Texas are carrying. The report also includes recommendations intended to provide greater transparency regarding education-related public debt in Texas and reduce debt across public and higher education.

Outstanding debt issued by Texas public schools and Texas institutions of higher learning is mounting faster than the general rate of inflation and the growth of enrollment. Public school districts have the largest outstanding share of local government debt in Texas.

“Public education is a critically important function of the state, and taxpayer dollars should always be spent prudently,” said Combs. “Construction costs are a large portion of school debt and we should all strive to spend efficiently and effectively.”

[...]

“Educating young Texans is crucial to the state’s continued economic success, but we must also ensure costs do not over-burden Texas taxpayers and families,” Combs said.

Although some public school districts, community and junior colleges, and public colleges and universities provide clear notice of new projects they plan to fund with long-term debt, taxpayers are not always aware of the magnitude of the debt being issued.

To improve transparency so that taxpayers can decide whether public and higher education institutions are meeting the responsibility of managing debt as prudently and conservatively as possible…

But it’s pretty clear to anyone who reads the report, why public education debt is skyrocketing in Texas. This is from page 7 of the report.

From 2001 to 2011, average property tax rates for debt service (Interest & Sinking or I&S rates) rose from 9.5 to 17.6 cents per $100 property value, an 86 percent increase. This represents an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent.

By law, Maintenance & Operations (M&O) property tax rates were compressed downward between 2005 and 2007, from an average of $1.46 per $100 in 2005 to $1.04 in 2007.

This compression in M&O rates allowed school districts to raise debt service rates with taxpayers still seeing a decrease in their total tax rates. Debt service rates rose from 11.2 cents to 14.5 cents per $100 between 2005 and 2007, a 30.1 percent increase.

The bulk of the debt service increase occurred between 2006 and 2007, jumping from 11.9 cents to 14.5 cents per $100, an increase of 22.3 percent in one

The graph on page 7 really shows it, as taxes go down the debt skyrockets.  The law that made that happen what the GOP tax swap scheme of 2006.  It created a structural deficit in the state budget and the money that was taken away from schools to “lower” property taxes was made up in debt.  It’s just the conservative principal of lowering taxes and paying for government with debt.

Combs is trying to use the debt created by the GOP in Texas as another cudgel to beat cuts out of public education.  Oh and as an attempt to further her political career.  Don’t buy it.

Further Reading:
Comptroller Report Examines College, Public School Debt.

10.25.12

What about the consumer

Posted in Around The State, Energy, Privatization, Uncategorized at 12:20 pm by wcnews

Yesterday that was an interim hearing in the House State Affairs Committee, regarding two interim charges. Via the Texas Legislative Reference Library:

House Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Resource adequacy in the Texas electricity market
Charge: Inefficiencies in the regulation of public utilities to minimize cost to consumers

I was struck by a couple of things while reading the AAS article on the hearing, Lawmakers urge decision on electricity market. Most of what was discussed was not about how to make the market better for the consumer. It was about how to make the building power plants more profitable for corporations in Texas, which will definitely make energy more expensive for the consumer.

State lawmakers on Wednesday grilled utility officials on the cost of addressing the threat of electricity shortages by 2015 and urged the Public Utility Commission to act quickly to choose a solution.

They were told wholesale prices might need to rise 30 percent — though retail rates for consumers might not go up that much — but several hours of testimony underscored that various segments of the industry and its customers, particularly manufacturers, disagree whether the situation is dire enough to dramatically change the wholesale electricity market. [Emphasis added]

Does anyone really believe the price increase won’t be passed onto the consumer, in total? But as the article goes on to show the price has to be raised so the corporations that build power plants in Texas can make a profit.

But Sam Newell with the Brattle Group, the state’s consultants, warned that ERCOT has a structural problem with low wholesale prices that discourage investment in new power plants to keep up with the state’s growing economy.

In 2011, when extreme weather temporarily hiked electricity demand and prices, Newell said a power plant would only have made what it needs to average over its lifespan: “You’d have to have weather like 2011 (every year) for the economics to work out for the investor.”

How is that any different then raising taxes to build a new power plant?  The only way it’s different is that it will actually cost the consumer/taxpayer more because now a profit has to be guaranteed.  And the consumer/taxpayer used to own the finished product.  What it also means is that building new power plants in Texas has little to do with what’s best for Texans (the consumer), but whether a profit can be made by the corporation that builds the power plant. This is what privatization has brought us and it’s not right.

Further Reading:
Texas officials may double electricity price cap.

10.24.12

It is almost 10 years since the GOP takeover of Texas

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Cronyism, Privatization at 2:00 pm by wcnews

In January it will be 10 years since the Texas GOP takeover of all levers of government power in Texas. The Texas Tribune has a look back, Looking Back at Texas’ Republican Decade.

It was a gradual takeover, with the minority party trending upward for several years: George Bush was elected governor in 1994, Republicans took over the state Senate in 1997, and by 2001 the party was just four seats away from taking a majority in the House. The resulting 2001 legislative redistricting maps would cement the state’s shift from blue to red.

[...]

A new House map and an influx of campaign funds — some of which were eventually deemed illegal — led 88 Republicans to be elected to the House in 2002. Tom Craddick was elected the state’s first Republican speaker since Reconstruction. Craddick says the new majority carried responsibilities and freedoms many Republicans had never experienced, which led to a few problems during that 2003 session.

But what really shines through is why we’ve gotten such bad legislation over the years.

The new leadership had clear priorities: insurance regulations aimed at stabilizing a homeowners insurance market with skyrocketing premiums, and legislation limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.

“Most of the people that carried the major legislation had never passed a major bill,” Craddick says. “Many of them had never passed anything but local bills.”

One example of that inexperience surfaced at the end of the session. When bills headed to conference committees to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of a bill, Craddick often had multiple committees meeting in different parts of his apartment in an effort to help with the negotiations.

“My wife, Nadine, came home after an event and said, ‘What’s going on? There are people everywhere in the apartment,’” Craddick says. “And I said, ‘Nadine, you know more about conference committees then most of them. Dig in and help with one of them.’”

Kronberg says the inexperience also showed in how quickly some bills were passed, sometimes with little understanding of what was in them. That includes passage of bills that gave new powers to Texas’ traditionally weak governor.

[...]

[Harvey Kronberg, the editor of the Quorum Report] says Republican inexperience also showed in some of the key legislative committees. More experienced Democrats were either voted out of office or relegated to the background, and eager but “green” Republicans took control.

The GOP leadership also had problems getting business-centric lawmakers to get out of their comfort zone and tackle other topics. Craddick says that was a problem, especially when trying to fill out the House committees focused on health care.

“No members wanted to do it. No Republicans wanted to be on those committees. No Republicans wanted to be chairmen of it,” Craddick says. “We had a real hard time. I had to sit some members down and say, ‘You know this is a major issue in the state. We’ve got to be able to do it.’”

The new majority also had to contend with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. The hole was filled through program cuts, fee increases and some accounting tricks. But there were no outright state tax increases.

And at the end Cal Jillson echoes something I’ve been saying for years.

We can’t expect our current leaders who believe government is the problem, to know how, or even try for that matter, to use government for, or as part of, a solution.

Using government to help people – not corporations – is a foreign concept to Republicans. (And these days for far too many Democrats as well). And this goes to the heart of what once was the difference between Democrats and Republicans.  Here’s Jillson:

Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson says that budgetary road map established in 2003 has directed GOP policy ever since. Over the years, he says, this has led to less money for state infrastructure, health care programs, and public and higher education.

“They are far more oriented towards stopping bad things from happening — from their perspective — than causing good things to happen,” Jillson says. “They don’t have a positive agenda in the sense of [making] improvements to education or access to health care, transportation, the environment or any of the other major policy issues.”

I would put that slightly different. The GOP has what they would consider a positive agenda for education, health care, transportation. etc.  It’s called corporatization, or privatization. As far as they’re concerned there’s no reason to spend taxpayer money unless it’s to overpay the private sector for something the government used to do cheaper.  Exhibit A, State, Accenture split is final.

Texas hired the Accenture-led Texas Access Alliance in 2005 to manage the Children’s Health Insurance Program and to run call centers enrolling Texans in food stamps and Medicaid.

It was one of the most ambitious outsourcing projects of its kind in the country: a deal originally worth $899 million over five years. The call center project was envisioned as a way to save money and give Texans more ways to apply for services than in person at offices. But the project hit problems — advocates for the poor reported widespread difficulties in eligible Texans getting benefits — and the savings never materialized.

The Texas GOP deregulated college tuition in 2003 and as a result:

According to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board data, since tuition deregulation was passed in 2003, overall designated tuition has increased 156 percent. The percentage increase at select Texas universities is even higher. Since fall 2003, tuition at the University of Texas at Austin has increased 230 percent; tuition at the University of Texas at Dallas has increased 219 percent; tuition at Texas Tech University and the University of Houston has increased 178 percent; and tuition at Texas A&M University and increased 165 percent.

The list goes on and on. The Trans-Texas Corridor. The GOP tax swap scheme of 2006. In 2011, for the first time ever, enrollment growth was not funded in public education. They Cut children’s heath insurance, aka CHIP, funding in 2003. Also in 2003 they increased state fees to the tune of almost $3 billion.

Besides that there have been a couple of taxpayer funded corporate welfare funds set up since 2003.  The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) was created in 2003. It’s described as being, “Overseen by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, TEF doles out taxpayer money to private companies to create jobs in Texas”.  If’s performance has been discouraging.  The other is the Emerging Technology Fund which has been tied to cronyism since it’s inception.  Including this from today, 4th bankruptcy in Texas gov’s tech fund pushes losses above $5M, clouds earnings.

Critics have questioned why the state invested any money in Terrabon. It’s among a handful of tech fund recipients with ties to campaign donors of Perry, who has repeatedly denied that politics influence the funding process. The final say on whether a company receives a taxpayer investment is made by Perry, the lieutenant governor and the House speaker.

One of Terrabon’s backers is Texas A&M regent Phil Adams, who was appointed to that job by Perry and who has contributed more than $300,000 to the governor’s campaign. On his state financial disclosure form filed in 2010, Adams stated that he received between $10,000 and $24,000 in interest, dividends or other income sources from Terrabon.

And the one thing that seemed like it had a chance of being worthwhile was the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). And now it appears to have been politicized with cronyism, Top scientific reviewers defect from cancer agency and As annual meeting begins, embattled Texas cancer agency looks forward.

It’s been a tumultuous few months for Texas’ cancer-fighting program.

The agency, whose annual meeting begins Wednesday, has seen mass resignations, accusations of politics overtaking science and new divisions over how the state should best spend $3 billion in taxpayer money fighting cancer over the next decade.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is trying to repair a once-celebrated image that has been battered by top scientists publicly condemning the agency over how it operates the nation’s second-biggest pot of cancer research dollars.

Thirty-three of the agency’s scientific peer reviewers have recently resigned, many in protest. They include a Nobel laureate and other top names in the science community who say politics have seeped into decisions over which projects get funding and which don’t.

What all of this shows is that in almost 10 years Texas, under GOP dominance, is unrecognizable from what it once was before the takeover.  And hat’s not a good thing for the overwhelming majority of Texans.  And the truly sad part is that unless the people of Texas realize it and demand something else it will continue.

[UPDATE]:  Part 2 from the Texas Tribune, In Decade of GOP Power, Cuts Moved Costs to Local Level.

10.22.12

Early voting for 2012 General Election starts today, Where to vote in Williamson County

Posted in Election 2012, Take Action at 8:27 am by wcnews

Joint General and Special Elections
(Elecciones Generales y Especiales Conjuntas)

Dates and times for locations:

(Fechas y horarios para localidades de tiempo)

Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 2
(Del Lunes 22 de octubre al Viernes 2 de noviembre)

7am to 7pm Weekdays and Saturday
Noon to 6pm on Sunday

Map & Directions

Main Location (Localidad Central):
Williamson County Inner Loop Annex
301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
Branch Locations  (Otras localidades):

Anderson Mill Limited District
11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin

Brushy Creek Community Center
16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock

Cedar Park Public Library
550 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park

Cedar Park Randalls
1400 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park

Cowan Creek Amenity Center
1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown

Hutto City Hall
401 W. Front St, Hutto

JB & Hallie Jester Annex
1801 E Old Settlers Blvd, Round Rock


McConico Building
301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock

Parks & Recreation Admin Bldg
1101 N. College St, Georgetown

Pat Bryson Municipal Hall
201 N. Brushy St., Leander

Round Rock Randalls
2051 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock

Taylor City Hall

400 Porter St., Taylor

Mobile-Temporary Locations, Dates and Times:
Fechas y horario de las Localidades móviles temporales:

Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 2
Hours:  10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday, October 28    12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Del Lunes 22 de octubre al Viernes 2 de noviembre
Horario: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Domingo, 28 de octubre de 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Monday, October 22
Lunes 22 de octubre
Thrall ISD Board Room,  201 S. Bounds St., Thrall

Tuesday, October 23
Martes 23 de octubre
RRHigher Education Center, 1555 University Blvd., Round Rock
Granger City Hall, 214 E. Davilla, Granger

Wednesday, October 24
Miércoles 24 de octubre
Florence Volunteer Fire Dept., 301 S. Patterson Ave., Florence
Former Head Start Bldg., 431 S. Bowie St., Bartlett

Thursday, October 25
Jueves 25 de octubre
RRHigher Education Center, 1555 University Blvd., Round Rock
Andice Community Center, 6600 FM 970, Andice

Friday, October 26
Viernes 26 de octubre
Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Florence Volunteer Fire Dept., 301 S. Patterson Ave., Florence

Saturday, October 27
Sábado 27 de octubre
Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Coupland School, 620 S. Commerce St., Coupland

Sunday, October 28
Domingo 28 de octubre
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Highland Estates Independent Retirement Living, 1500 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park

Monday, October 29
Lunes 29 de octubre
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Highland Estates Independent Retirement Living, 1500 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park

Tuesday, October 30
Martes 30 de octubre
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Seton Medical Center – Wmsn, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock

Wednesday, October 31
Miércoles 31 de octubre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Seton Medical Center – Wmsn, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock

Thursday, November 1
Jueves 1 de noviembre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell

Friday, November 2
Viernes 2 de noviembre
Cedar Park City Hall, Building 3, 450 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell
First Baptist Church of Weir,  315 FM 1105, Weir

 

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