Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Texans need change of their own.

The Dallas Morning News has a series of articles about Texas under the banner: State of Neglect. The Austin American Statesman has a series of articles on privatization of the state’s business that asks key questions:
1. How much the state of Texas has contracted to for-profit companies?
2. How much have we, the taxpayers, saved?

Both answers: “no one knows.”

We know of a very public failure of a contract between TX Health and Human Services and Accenture LLP. We also know of the serious difficulties with the contract between the TX Department of Information Resources and IBM. Then there’s the lesser known failure of the Camino Columbia private toll road in south TX.

The state’s budget isn’t in the red, because the TX constitution doesn’t allow deficits. The state has no documentation to show that the budget has been met by outsourcing, but there is a plethora of proof of the fact that the budget has been met by cutting state services; hence the State of Neglect.

The state’s expenditures are not declining while things get better, and there is no data being brandished that demonstrates where and how outsourcing is improving services while reducing cost, yet…

The US Department of Justice has found serious problems in the way Texas cares for its institutionalized people with mental health problems, and some folks are calling this a reason to continue to outsource the state’s work. I maintain that this is the continued effort of the state’s majority party trying to justify their claim of government as the problem, by governing badly.

In order to do better at serving Texans and meet budget guidelines the current legislative session would need to find a way to increase the state’s revenue in a soured economy. That would be best accomplished in a manner I suggested in the previous post. That would require the current majority party in both legislative bodies and the governor’s office to admit that they can’t deliver everything and a tax cut.

Those least able to afford the day to day costs of living, let alone lobby their state government, can expect life to get a little rougher as the State of Neglect is maintained.

There are more state, elected offices that will be contested in 2010. Make sure to register and vote for change here in Texas, too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taxation suggestions for Texas.

I hope to be wrong, but I think the 2009, TX, legislative priority will be an attempt to justify and continue the, "everything and a tax cut," nonsense. The majority in the legislature team with the governor to try to spend the rainy day savings account (RDSA) to cover the fraud. The RDSA grew rapidly while the price of fuel (gas and diesel) hovered around four dollars a gallon, but those days are gone; they’ll return, but nobody knows when. So spending the RDSA will deplete another valuable resource.

There will be active resistance to funding necessary/overdue transportation infrastructure via a rise in the state's, long dormant and oft re-directed, fuel tax.

There will be active resistance to the state raising the funds needed to get the state out of property taxes, reduce the state's need for high sales taxes and end the fraud of the 'business tax.'

The state needs a simple, clear and low, state income tax (unlike the complex, loop-hole infested, federal income tax).

Your income can not be reappraised higher, lowered statewide only to be increased locally, doesn't cause the cost of shopping to increase nearly 10% and doesn't add many thousands of dollars a year to home ownership.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but there needs to be organized, responsible governance of society and that isn't free.