- Staff American-Statesman staff
Re: Nov. 29 article, “Study: Texas lags behind most states in school funding.”
The article cites a new study that finds that increased reliance on local tax revenue and sluggish oil prices have contributed to stagnant state education funding while education has become more costly.
It is obvious that public education needs an additional source of funds. I suggest that the state Legislature pass laws authorizing school districts to collect up to a 1 percent sales tax, like Texas cities do.
LEON WHITNEY, AUSTIN
And another one falls. “Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired after sexual misconduct. Just one more powerful, male figure to be brought down after apparent abuse of power and privilege. It seems that daily we hear of new allegations spanning many industries.
Are all men prone to sexual misconduct — or is there something more? I know that it’s too simplistic to cast aspersions on an entire gender. An obvious response is to promote more women — but that is likely simplistic as well. We all must commit to a culture of nonviolence and respect. I have been asked, “Is this a flash in the pan, or will sexual harassment and assault slide back into complacency?” This is a door that should never be closed. Survivors have shown the light on abuse; we should honor their bravery by working to ensure others do not have to suffer the same.
KELLY WHITE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR THE SAFE ALLIANCE, AUSTIN
The current GOP tax plans are the product of short-term tactical thinking, designed to pay back wealthy and corporate donors. The rationalization is increased jobs and income, neither of which has ever correlated strongly with tax cuts.
What we need is some long-term strategic thinking. Given gross domestic product growth at 3.3 percent, unemployment 4 percent in most of the country and inflation almost nonexistent, this is an especially poor timing for a tax cut. Revenue-neutral or revenue-enhancing tax reform should be the goal.
Simplifying the tax code by removing many of the loopholes that now exist would help to reduce the deficit. A more progressive bracket structure could also help with revenue while also helping to reduce the income disparity that has grown dramatically.
There are smart people in Congress, but they tend to think only short-term. We need to remind them what is good for the country long-term.
DAVID LEVY, GEORGETOWN
DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, continues to face relentless attacks by bigoted, xenophobic lawmakers in Congress. With increased pressure from immigrant youth activists and DACA supporters, there is now a renewed enthusiasm to pass a “clean” DREAM Act. This “clean” DREAM Act should include a clear path to citizenship without increasing border security funding, expanding detention centers or militarizing the border.
With more than a dozen city resolutions against a border wall passed in the Rio Grande Valley alone, Texans have made it abundantly clear that immigrants deserve justice. We are young, passionate activists who support immigrants and want to make Texas a safer place for everyone who lives here. I am imploring all of you to take the time with your loved ones this holiday season to call your elected officials and demand that they pass a clean DREAM Act before 800,000 families lose their status in March.
JAZMIN GONZALEZ, HARLINGEN