Re: Jan. 23 article, “New panel launching effort to identify Texas school finance fix.”
Unable itself to come to grips with the dysfunctional Texas school financing system, the Legislature established a commission, the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, to come up with recommendations. So, why would Gov. Greg Abbott appoint as its chairman Scott Brister, former controversial Texas Supreme Court justice a Christian rightist who home schooled his children and is considered by his peers one of the worst judges in Texas?
Does Brister have some hidden talent that caught our governor’s eye? Looks like the commission is off to a shaky start.
VINCENT CARDELLA, AUSTIN
People, not corporations, should benefit from lower taxes.
I read recently that members of the Railroad Commission and the Public Utility Commission have spoken publicly in favor of this. They want to give the people who pay bills month after month the proceeds of the recent federal tax cuts, rather than allowing electric and natural gas companies to line their pockets with them.
This seems so obvious to me that I don’t understand how it hasn’t already happened.
I urge our state officials to stick to their guns and remember their commitment to the taxpaying residents of Texas.
MIKE AND TRICIA HENRY, MARBLE FALLS
Re: Feb. 5 commentary, “Two views: Frustrated by soaring tax bills? The governor has your back.”
James Quintero informs us of the nature of at least three key proposals of Gov. Abbott’s “ambitious new plan to restore common sense and conservatism back to Texas’ tax environment.” Make our property tax system great again.
He states that the third proposal concerns appraisal reform. He opines that one of these concerns is “especially prominent: a proposal to ‘ensure that the appraised value of a property cannot be increased as a result of appraisal appeal.’” He further opines that this downside from protesting one’s property values is “something that should alarm just about everyone.”
A county chief appraiser I know has worked for 25 years in three different counties and is not aware that any protestor has ever having their value increased by an Appraisal Review Board. Seems like the current political power approach is to scare the voter and claim to save them from these “local control” abuses.
CURTIS E. GRANBERRY, FLATONIA
Republicans insisted on releasing the once-classified CIA memo in the interest of “transparency.” Fair enough.
But, since the last nine Republican party nominees for president have released their federal tax returns, why haven’t these same Republicans insisted that Trump make his returns public?
Had President Obama refused to do so, it would have resulted in cries from the other side of the aisle that he obviously “had something to hide.”
Why shouldn’t we come to the same conclusion given Trump’s refusal to be “transparent” with American voters?
JOE PASTUSEK, PFLUGERVILLE
Re: Feb. 5 article, “Recent warm years could shift ‘normal’ temperatures in Austin higher.”
I always appreciate the Stateman’s articles about weather trends in Austin. I have been waiting for one to mention climate change — and I thought this one would be it!
It’s an informative piece, describing the difference between weather and climate and explaining how meteorologists use 30-year intervals of data to establish “normal” benchmarks. It notes that we are currently using the interval 1981-2010, and explains how in two years’ time, when we begin using the interval 1991-2020, our benchmarks will shift warmer because that interval will include four of Austin’s warmest years, all from the decade 2011-2020. So far so good, but imagine my disappointment when the article failed to name the cause for that warming shift.
Allow me to name it here: climate change. The sooner we acknowledge the cause, the faster we can move to implement policy solutions such as revenue-neutral carbon pricing.
ANNA GRAYBEAL, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 5 article, “Log Cabin Republicans push for acceptance in Travis County GOP.”
I laughed out loud at Michael Cargill’s complaint that “As liberal as Travis County is, you would think they would be more accepting” when his fellow Republicans turn him away for being gay. Really?
The only reason Travis County is liberal is because it’s predominately Democratic. We have Republican representatives because of gerrymandered districts, not because the local population supports them. What does he expect from a party that pushes against gay marriage and for the “bathroom bill”? If he wants acceptance, he needs to stop believing the Republicans want him and switch parties.
RONA DISTENFELD, AUSTIN
As the state of our climate goes so goes the state of our union. Higher temperatures caused by the extra blanket of carbon dioxide that covers our home planet resulted in disastrous weather events that cost nearly $400 billion in 2017. They are likely to be more numerous and destructive if we do not act. Our health is at risk. Lung and heart disease, cancer, birthing problems and dementia are all related to breathing dirty air.
Fortunately, more members of our Congress are hearing our directives to make sure our grandchildren’s children will have a livable world. Congress must create a policy of placing a fee on carbon that results in a dividend to all Americans to help the market transition to safe energy.
Call, write or visit those you hired to work for you in Congress. Remind them they have children and grandchildren, too.
JULIE JOHNSON, AUSTIN