Letters to the editor: Oct. 25, 2017


Re: Oct. 22 article, “Average Austin property tax bill hits $7,600, up $517 from last year.”

I am just stunned by the mindset of the tone-deaf Austin City Council.

Homeowners have been crying out for tax relief for years. Increasing taxes are forcing families out of their Austin homes. Instead of helping them, Austin is increasing taxes by 7.9 percent, not giving constituents a chance to vote the increase down.

Mayor Steve Adler wants to increase the hotel taxes, but for what? He wants to use the increased revenue to provide housing for Austin’s 2,000 homeless. A noble gesture, but am I the only one that thinks after all the homeless are housed, another 2,000 homeless will soon migrate to Austin from other cities?

Maybe this proposed increased funding stream could be better used to stabilize or reduce property taxes. Austin spends money like a bunch of drunken sailors — for example, the $14.5 million bridge-to-nowhere over the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

LEE CANTRELL, AUSTIN

Re: Oct. 17 article, “How the felony corruption case against Rep. Dawnna Dukes unraveled.”

Thanks for the Statesman’s report on details, timeline and status of the felony case against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes who, as the two-year saga of her ordeal unravels, has maintained the broad-based support of her District 46 constituents. The fundamental reason she has retained confidence of over 70 percent of these voters is that Dukes works hard to deliver.

Despite allegations against her of corruption, then the Travis County district attorney’s request for a Texas Rangers review, and the grand jury indictment, Dukes nevertheless continues to be productive. She has been a ranking member of the House of Representatives for more than 20 years, with 12 years on the Appropriations Committee. This last session, she filed House Bill 4074 to strengthen the state auditor’s authority to investigate how federal funds are used by state agencies and municipalities. Finally, along with Gray Panthers, Dukes strongly advocates that fighting corruption helps reduce taxes.

CLINT SMITH, AUSTIN

Re: Oct. 10 commentary, “America’s peeling back Obama administration red tape.”

This editorial was badly unbalanced and dangerously incomplete.

The authors talked about the dollar costs of regulations but ignored the damage to people when the controls are removed. They talked about the “onerous stream protection rule” but did not mention that this was put in place to stop power plants from dumping toxic metals upstream from drinking water sources.

The fact remains that Big Industry simply dumps waste in the cheapest way it can. This means we need regulations that limit pollution. After 100 years of “no regulation,” we had air and drinking water that made you sick. Our rivers sometimes caught fire and burned. We have wisely agreed — and the science is clear — that our health depends on a clean environment.

Yes, the regulations “drive up” the dollar cost — but they are there because we need them.

WILLIAM DOWER, AUSTIN

Re: Oct. 13 article, “Trump orders insurance rule changes.”

Since Attorney General Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are such strong advocates of “states’ rights” and are against having the federal government tell us how to run our business, I wonder if they are going to immediately go to court to challenge President Donald Trump’s new attempt to “subvert” Texas’ right to establish what it believes should be the minimum coverage provided by an insurance policy. Texas has made its choice — by action of the Legislature — to set the minimums it believes are best for Texans. But here we have a federal official acting to allow the sale of policies in Texas that do not meet those standards. State rights!

E. BRIAN GRAHAM, AUSTIN



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