I imagine that the Austin Independent School District is very happy about receiving a “Mostly True” rating from PolitiFact on its opaque claim of “no tax rate increase.” However, they are called “trustees” and they have a higher duty — a fiduciary duty.
No matter what, PolitiFact should have come in as “True” for this to be something that the district could hang its hat on. Austin ISD failed. Additionally, PolitiFact did not get into the specific deception that “no tax rate increase” represents.
The district is failing to give the only number that a voter needs in order to make a decision to vote yes or no: the repayment cost per $100,000 of value. In other words, the district had to calculate the repayment cost over an assumed 20-year period in order to make the claim “no tax rate increase.” Vote “no.”
JOHN GOLDSTONE, AUSTIN
“Property rich” Austin has been one of the largest — and often the largest — contributor to “property poor” districts. Bond money is not subject to “Robin Hood” allowing this much-needed money to stay in Austin. My youngest graduated from high school in 2016, but I will continue to vote “yes” for school bonds.
MARY ALICE NAISER, AUSTIN
I urge all voters to vote “no” on all the Nov. 7 school and county bond propositions.
Why is it that every few years they need more money? When will all these entities reduce the tax rate with the tremendous growth that has added millions to the tax rolls in new residences and property valuations.
They all pitch the same message: “There will be no tax increase on your properties, but they may go up due to assessed value.” Why are our taxes to Central Health, to the tune of $35 million each year, going to the new medical school salaries?
The only way this can change is to oust all the current elected officials when they come up for re-election. How many years have these do-nothings had to fix the school property distribution? Looks like the swamp needs draining in Texas.
BOB ARRONA, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 22 article, “Average Austin property tax bill hits $7,600, up $517 from last year.”
The article did not tell the whole story. Austin families do not need another Austin-bashing article, nor corporate entities begging for tax breaks to move to Austin, which causes property values and taxes to rise very rapidly.
The Republican Texas Legislature has for over a decade cut billions and billions in state funding to all of its public school districts. The school districts across Texas have managed on bare bones. It reaches a point where families have to pass school bonds because the great state of Texas continues to cut funding shamelessly.
Texas educational funding is now less than 25 percent towards the school districts. It used to be a 50-50 equal deal; now the dealer — Texas — is cheating our school children of quality education.
R.J. MOLINA, AUSTIN
Re: Oct. 21 article, “Study: Pollution kills 9 million a year.”
I have experienced pollution and smoke-filled skies of New Delhi for a short time, but for the residents it is a constant health issue. Fossil fuels have helped spur the industrial revolution and has created jobs. But burning of fossils pollute our air and water — and in the process kills 9 million people worldwide and 200,000 in the U.S. every year. Many states and cities are rethinking energy needs by supplementing it with renewables and low emissions technologies. That creates jobs, improves economy and health.
President Nixon established Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. U.S. Congress enacted the Clean Air Act. Besides many environmental achievements, EPA has helped clean-up of “smoggy” Los Angeles. The U.S. has gained some $30 in benefits for every dollar spent on controlling air pollution since 1970. EPA Administrator Pruitt: Do not throw away the progress made by your predecessors for our health’s sake.
KALPANA SUTARIA, AUSTIN
I have not watched a late-night show for some time. I am waiting for talk show and late-night hosts to entertain us again — like they did when Jack Paar and Johnnie Carson hosted the shows.
BRIGITTE TAIT, SAN MARCOS
Re: Oct. 18 commentary, “What the U.S. will lose after its withdrawal from UNESCO.”
In his commentary regarding the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO, Michael B. Anderson claims that any anti-Israel bias within UNESCO cannot be true, since with 195 member states, UNESCO cannot be controlled by any faction. Anderson is incorrect. The Arab faction within UNESCO, composed of the Palestinian Authority, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, the Sudan, Oman and Qatar, is a sponsor of anti-Israel resolutions. The most notable is the resolution put forth by the Palestinians, and passed, that rejects any Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and lists Hebron’s Old City with the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian Heritage Site.
To ignore the primary connection to Jerusalem and its sites, that being Judaism, certainly shows an anti-Israel bias. Surely, as a faculty member of the University of Texas, Anderson must be aware of the dangers of “revisionist history” and distorting historical facts.
MARTIN B. KURTZ, SPICEWOOD