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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 27, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, July 27, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion Floren brought fame to Wurstfest Myron, we thank you for all you did for a little Texas town that needed you way more than you ever could have needed us. M yron Horens passing made Saturday a sad day for fans of the “Lawrence Welk Show.” It was a far sadder day for residents of New Braunfels who love Wurstfest, appreciate the accordion, relish a good polka and knew they had a friend in Myron Floren. When Wurstfest director Raymond Baese had the audacity to contact Floren back in 1968, Floren was nationally known as Welk’s equivalent of Ed McMahon, and as one of the masters of his instrument, a mainstay of Central and Eastern European folk music for centuries that is very difficult to play. We are all thankful today that Baese thought Wurstfest important enough to ask Floren to come here as its headlining act. And we are glad that Floren was kind enough to hear Baese out and accept. Horen lent a stature to Wurstfest that it lacked as a local festival and helped build it into a regional celebration attended by folks from around the United States and Europe. But he did a lot more than that. I Ie became a symbol of the festival. I Ie brought it credibility and he let it trade on his wholesome image. When he was here, he was Wurstfest’s star — and he was like a rock star, with all the accouterments of that status. But he also worked to remain accessible to his fans, got to know New Braunfels over his 34 years of performing here, and made numerous friends who are hurting this week to know he has passed away. Myron, we thank you for all you did for a little Texas town that needed you way more than you ever could have needed us. We thank you for caring. Goodbye Myron, and Godspeed. We sure will miss vou. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, July 27, the 208th day of 2005. There are 157 days left in the year. Today's I lighlight in I listory: On July 27, 1789, Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs, the forerunner of the Department of State. On this date: In 1794, French revolutionary leader Maximi-lien Robespierre was overthrown and placed under arrest: he was executed the following day. In 1866, Cyrus W. Field finally succeeded, after two failures, in laying the first underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe. In 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting. LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels arui ('amal ( aunty since MSJ. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis HOW TO CONTACT 11 111 United States Government Letters to the Editor Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung PO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news®herald- Time to end taxation of certain classes for benefit of the masses Well, I see they’ve done it to us smokers again. Need money to support a project? Raise cigarette taxes. Want to lower school taxes for every one? Raise the cigarette tax. If it wasn't for us smokers, I believe the state of Texas would go broke. Did you know that Texas’ excise tax collection per pack of cigarettes for fiscal year 2004 was $501,571,000? The state would have had to sell 36.8 six packs of beer or 101.4 bottles of wine to collect the same excise tax as collected on one carton ol cigarettes. During fiscal year 2004, the federal government received $7,778,569,117 in excise taxes from the sale of cigarettes. But take heart, smokers. They have found a new scapegoat to help us out — bottled water drinkers. Isn t it nice to know that soon all joggers, runners, bicyclists, exercisers and those having to take bottled water for their health will also have to pay a higher tax for this privilege? I low will it feel, bottled water drinkers, to become second-rate citizens? I low will it feel to know you will probably wind up paying more taxes on your bottle of water than someone who buys a can of beer so he can use our highways to kill and maim us? Maybe its time to get rid of those people who believe its right to raise certain taxes on selected classes of people for the benefit of all classes of people. Melvin Nathan Canyon lake Best way to change mindset in Austin is to send in new people They succeeded in raising their retirement $6,000 a year while trying to lower teacher retirement. They succeeded in killing the rule to require recording their votes — their means of hiding what they do to you. Gutless and brazen to say the least. (Gov. Rick) Perry, [Et. Gov. David] Dewhurst and (House Speaker Tom] Craddick called this (special! session a success, yet they failed to address education — the most pressing issue in the state. This cast of characters has failed to address our states educational mess through two regu lar and two special sessions. This states that this group — governor, lieutenant governor, I louse leader — and all their minions are incapable or unwilling to do what is right for the children of Texas. A solution would be for the educators statewide to band together, go to the polls to vote every last one of these brain-dead legislators out of office, governor and all. Why would anyone want to send these people back to Austin? They are owned by the “don't tax me, (axoid Joe” lobbyists. Nothing progressive for Texas will ever transpire with the present leadership (or lack thereof.) If you replaced them all with a herd of hogs, you would raise the legislative IQ by at least 20 points. I will not vote for a single incumbent, regardless of their party affiliation, and you can send the same message at the next election. The best way to change the mindset in Austin is to send a new set of heads. Rudy R. Reinter New Braunfels Texas Toll Party is against toll roads being forced on citizens Thank you for your fine reporting, “Toll roads must be stopped, citizens say" (July 14). But, it is crucial that I clarify the position of Texas Toll Party. Texas Toll Party does not oppose traditional toll roads that are designed and built as whole new highways and funded with investor dollars. What is happening in San Antonio and across the state is not traditional toll roads. Texas Toll Party opposes freeway tolls that are being forced down our throats. Freeway tolls shift our freeways to tollways, create an open-ended new taxation that will amount to the largest tax increase in Texas history. An unelected, unaccountable new bureaucracy will decide how much we’ll pay to drive on freeways that we’ve already paid for with our tax dollars (double taxation). Privatizing and tolling our freeway system is a special interest boondoggle pushed by our governor. Time magazine has reported Gov. Rick Perry has accepted over $1 million from road and toll special interests. Its also important to know, freeways have never been shifted to toll roads in the historv of our country. Sal Cosh Ho Austin PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey HUTCHISON Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224 5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR NOW TO CONTACT Texas Government ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 PO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 Toll Free: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 E-mail address: carter.casteel @ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth @senate.state.tx.usTime to plug federal government’s bottomless money pit CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts "After Hours' on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p.m. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services. 435 N. Michigan Ai>e, Suite 1500. Chicago. 60611. or leave an e mail at www. calthomas. com. The Bush Administration is rejoicing in what it says is a dramatic drop in the federal deficit, from $412 billion in 2004, to $333 billion in the current fiscal year. The reason, says the administration, is a larger than expected jump in tax revenue. \ Sen. lim DeMint, South Car-Olina Republican, believes the administration’s numbers are “misleading,” because “Congress is raiding Social Security to mask the true size of the deficit.” Still, the deficit appears to be declining for the first time since the end of the Clinton Administration, the onset of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and costs associated with 9/11. Bush spokespeople say it is on track for being cut in half by die end of his second term, or possibly sooner. They credit the tax cuts for stimulating the economy, thus producing higher tax receipts. Relying on unexpected revenue to keep deficits down is like hoping an unexpected arrival of alcohol will help a drunk toward sobriety. The availability of money encourages free-spending Republicans and Democrats to find new programs, or pad old ones, for the purpose of extending their political careers. And when large surpluses are created through big tax increases — as is now the case in Virginia — Democrat (and not a few Republican) governors prefer to look for new ways to spend instead of cutting programs and refunding money to overtaxed citizens. Accompanying the news of increased federal revenue was a welcome announcement of proposed legislation with the potential to curtail government spending — the real cause of deficits. The Bush Administration is asking Congress to pass the Government Reorganization and Program Performance Improvement Act of 2005. If approved (and citizens should lobby Congress to make sure it is, if they want to keep more of their money), the legislation would create two agencies that would place the interest of taxpayers before those of the politicians. The Sunset Commission would review the effectiveness of each federal program. Programs and agencies would automatically cease unless Congress took specific action to continue them. The Results (Commission would work to uncover duplication of services in government programs, of which there are many. T he fact that such commissions are needed is an indication of the problem. Government programs are the only sign of eternal life on barth. Once they are created, they attract often-large constituencies that are ready to complain loudly about their “essential” services should anyone try to reduce their funding or, worse, end them altogether. Commenting on the proposed legislation, Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said, “Federal programs that do not demonstrate measurable results are rarely scrutinized. Funding them is like forcing investors to buy shares in a business that is losing money.” The long overdue need for these commissions should be evident when one considers that about one-third of the fiscal 2005 discretionary budget is unauthorized. Comprehensive reviews of federal spending might save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. CAGW has done just that, saving taxpayers $758 billion by helping to implement findings from the Grace Commission, during the Reagan Administration, as well as other recommendations. The Sunset and Results Commissions are needed now because federal spendii is out of control. Spending must be properly monitore< by an entity that places the interests of those who earn the money over those wl didn t earn it and can spend it with little accountability. While the Sunset and Results Commis sions are good ideas, Congress will ultimately decide which programs and agei des get dropped and which remain. Sim Congress has given us the deficit problei because Congress spends our money, it could be a conflict of interest to expect i to provide a solution. That’s why taxpayers must not only push for enactment ol these commissions, but also monitor wh Congress does with their recommendations. If taxpayers want to keep more of the money they earn, they must also work tc become less dependent on a governmer check. We look to government too often and i ourselves not enough. When that dynan ic reverses, our need of government will be reflected in less government. That wil benefit the economy and the governmei more than additional revenue. ;