Pre-K is impediment to crime
Re: May 2 commentary, “McClelland: High-quality pre-K key to building better Texas workforce.”
As the Austin Police Chief, I agree with McClelland’s op-ed but also recognize the impact of quality pre-K on public safety.
That’s the key finding of research spotlighted in a Fight Crime: Invest in Kids report, “We’re the Guys You Pay Later.” The report shows children who participate in high-quality preschool are far more likely to gain the math, literacy and social skills that support long-term academic success, meaning they’ll be far less likely to become involved in crime.
That’s good news for Texas taxpayers, who spend more than $2.5 billion a year to lock up more than 136,000 convicted criminals. It’s also good news for working parents who can’t afford private preschools, which unfortunately cost between $4,500 and $12,000 a year. And it’s all the more reason to support Governor Abbott’s plan to improve pre-K options statewide.
ART ACEVEDO, AUSTIN
Fenves' pay more praiseworthy
Re: May 13 article, “Gregory Fenves declined $1 million salary for top UT job, emails show.”
I was heartened to read that the University of Texas’ new president, Greg Fenves, turned down a $1 million salary, correctly observing that: “With many issues and concerns about administrative costs, affordability and tuition, such a salary will affect the ability of the president to work with the Texas Legislature on matters important to the university.” While obviously this does not solve the problem of the increasing cost of higher education and the bloated price tag of administration, the symbolism of this gesture is extremely important. It sends the right message, offering hope that university leaders at UT and across the country will take this issue seriously and begin taking tangible and significant steps to address it.
RICK CHERWITZ, AUSTIN
Complaints on taxes deceptive
Re: May 13 commentary, “Last-minute amendment could put brakes on tax hikes.”
James Quintero complains about Texas’ property tax being “among the most punishing in the nation” yet he doesn’t talk about the elephant that isn’t even allowed in the room: a state income tax.
Conservatives realized years ago that popular government programs — health care, environmental protection, roads — could not be attacked directly. So instead, they pushed for tax cut after tax cut so that they could cut social welfare support by claiming there just wasn’t enough money to continue these programs. A “starve the beast” strategy.
In this legislative session, Republicans in both chambers began their work by proposing tax cuts, rather than first deciding which programs needed continued or increased funding to meet the needs of Texans.
Quintero’s complaints about the high property tax burden are disingenuous. A state income tax would greatly reduce property taxes.
STEVE GERSON, AUSTIN