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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 17, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas 4A □ Herald-Zeitung g Friday, October 17,1997 Opinion ■ To talk wift Managing. Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220. ■BH   ' ■ ■■■■■■■■■ ,mww w    \......""ws Her^id-Zcitung rn rnOpinion Onlkno contact ■ To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung's address is QUOTA BLE“Censorship in any form is abhorrent to academic excellence.” Nancy Pappas educatorThe rich get richer; taxes don’t get simpler EDITORIALGet out and vote Fourteen constitutional amendments, four bond issue proposals in Comal Independent School District plus three incor-portion issues for Bulverde equal one busy election season. Usually, the November elections in which there are no gubernatorial or presidential races draw little voter attention. However, in Comal County, there is plenty for voters to consider and plenty of reasons for them to go to the polls. All registered voters should be compelled to mark their ballots in November because of the statewide constitutional amendment election. The 14 proposed amendments cover issues ranging from a 10 percent limit on property tax increases on homestead appraisals to home equity lending to qualifications for constables. Comal ISD voters will decide the fate of a $92 million bond issue on Nov. 8. On the ballot in CISD are the following four proposals: ■ Add more than IOO classrooms to nine existing campuses ($38,485,000); ■ Build one 1,500-student high school and two 800-student elementary schools and purchase furniture, equipment and land ($42,390,000); ■ Fund technology enhancements for campuses ($4,330,000); and ■ Add band classrooms at four elementary campuses and provide exterior lighting, road and parking improvements for six schools ($1,485,000). And in Bulverde, residents in three areas will decide whether to incorporate those areas, which then will join to form a united Bulverde. The constitutional amendment and Bulverde incorporation election take place Nov 4, and Comal ISD s election is set Nov. 8. Early voting begins this week in all three elections. Barly voting in the amendment and Bulverde elections will take place at Comal County Courthouse on Monday through the end of the month. On T uesday and Oct. 29, election workers will be at Pct. 3 Justice of the fVace building on Bulverde Road from 2 to 7 p.m. Barly voting in the CISD election is set to start Wednesday and last through Nov. 4 at various school district locations. Voters will have plenty of opportunities to make their marks in the future of this county and state. (Todays editorial hun written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.) Write us ... IV* Hew Hrxiun/rls Hr nill I Zritun# wvIluimm let tern on any public intuit* 'lite editor reserve* the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors Letter* should be kept to 2fi0 word*. We publish only <mguial mail addreeuod to the New Hniunfri* HmtUi Zntun# bearing the writer's signature Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference ut given to writers win < have nut I wen pub! is! md rn lite previous 30 days Mall letter* tm Letters to the Editor c/o the Nru Hnaunftl* Hetxdd Zeilim# P O Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 625-1224 New BraunfelsHerald -Zeitung Editor and Publisher, Ext 301.......................................Doug Toney Managing Editor, Ext 220 ..............................Margaret    Edmonson Marketing Director, Ext 208..................................Jason    Borchardt Classified Advertising Manager, Ext. 214 Karen Reminger Business Manager, Ext 202.......................................Mary    Lee Hall Circulation Director, Ext 228 .................................Carol    Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman. Ext. 205............................................................. Puhi idled un Sunday mornings and weekday mornings I uesday through Friday by the New Braunfels Herald/suunx (USPS J77-8KU) 7U7 I anda St., or PO Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, ('ontai C ounty, Tx 78131 -1328. Periodical postage paul by the Ness Braunfels Herald /enutig in New Braunfels. Texas. C arrier delivered in C oniai and Guadalupe counties three months, $20 50; SU months, $37; one year, $66 Senior C iti/en Discounts by earner delivery only: su months, $33; one year, $62. Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas: three months, $30.30; SU months, $SS; one year $ 103 50 Mail outside Texas: su months, $78; one year, $118.25. Subacnbcrs who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p m. Tuesday through Friday or by 7:30 a m on Sunday may call (830) 625-9144 or by 7 p m weekdays or by 11 a m on Sunday PosIMAS HU Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zenana, P O Drawer 311328, New Bi am, leis, Tx. 78131 -1328 AUSTIN — This year’s Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America includes 170 billionaires, and you had to be worth $475 million to get on the list at all. There are 36 million people in this country living below the poverty level, and that does not count millions more of the working poor. The combined wealth of the Forbes 400 increased by 31 percent last year. Bill Gates, the richest man in America, more than doubled his net worth from $18.5 billion to $39.8 billion. The Nation notes that it would take the median U.S. household earning $35,000 a year 600,000 years to make as much as Gates did last year. Be is worth more than the gross national product of Central America. I bring this up not just because it’s so astonishing, nor to promote ‘‘class warfare,” which is the accusation one gets whenever one points out the increasingly unfair distribution of wealth in this country. I have no wish to deny Mr. Gates the fruits of his labor (although personally, I don’t think we saw $21.3 billion worth of fruit, much less labor, from the man last year). The problem here is the pattern. According to the Census Bureau: The top 5 percent of households (incomes above SI 19,540) increased their share of the nation’s income from 15 6 percent in 1981 to 21.4 percent last year The top 5 percent has an even larger share of the nation’s accumulated wealth, holding about 60 percent of all net worth. Molly Ivins according to The Nation. This trend is wrong, unfair, stupid and dangerous to democracy. Others have gone into the delightful details of how many of the 400 were ‘‘bom on third” — that is, inherited their wealth. Take it as written that most of them did. The more important issue is what the trend means. The First Rule of Holes is: ‘‘When you are in one, stop digging.” Unfortunately, our government is still digging madly; as you know, the bulk of the tax breaks in the recent budget deal between President Clinton and Congress go to the wealthiest people in the country. At precisely the point when concentration of wealth is somewhere between obscene and excessive, we gave the rich a huge estate tax break and many special-interest goodies. This was dumb. Less remarked is an even more redistributionist trend at the state level. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “When most states raised taxes in the early 1990s to cover recession-induced shortfalls, low- and middle-income taxpayers bore the largest burden. A study found that about half the new revenue came from sales and excise taxes. Income-tax hikes brought in about one-third of the new revenue. ‘‘As states cut taxes during the economic expansion of the last four years, however, nearly three-quarters of the tax cuts — 72 percent — were reductions in the personal income tax. And less than 2 percent of the tax cuts enacted in that period were net reductions in sales and excise taxes. Sales and excise taxes take the largest income share from lower-and middle-income residents because lower-income families must spend a larger share of their income than higher-income families spend. By contrast, income taxes fall more heavily on higher-income people.” OK. Feds doing the wrong thing, states doing the wrong thing — what’s next? According to The New York Times and other sources, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the “Republican revolutionaries” (my favorite oxymoron) are now hell-bent on enacting their No. I Priority: the flat tax. No more progressive income tax; we all pay exactly the same rate — you, Bill Gates and beggars alike. The Republicans figure to sell you on this insane proposal with the following irresistible bait: It’s so simple. Yes, my friends, the beauty of this handy-dandy nostrum, guaranteed to cure the blues, eliminate bad breath, stop the heartbreak of psoriasis and end ring around the collar is that it is simple, the essence of simple, sim-plissimo. And here’s the kicker You will all be able to file your tax returns on a postcard and the world will be better for this. Something’s simple here, all right, and it’s anyone dumb enough to fall for this. What are the two moat common political mistakes? I. Taking something simple and trying to make it complicated, and 2. taking something complicated and trying to make it simple. Taxes are complicated. In Jerold Waltman’s “Political Origins of die U.S. Income Tax,” he traces the following conflicts: What is income? Earned, unearned? Self-generated goods and services? Barter for goods and services? What about fluctuations in the value of property? What about capital gains: income or not income? What if the property is not sold but passed to an heir — what is the amount of income to that heir? A person starts a business, uses his previously personal truck for two years solely for business purposes and then sells it — what is die basis for taxation? Should all persons who receive the same income be taxed alike? Suppose one is married and has four children while die other is single? Should corporations be taxed, and how and at what rates? What if a taxpayer suffers a debilitating illness? What about using die tax system to encourage or discourage other activities, such as home ownership or charitable contributions? Simple, anyone? (Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.) • f"il I..... * III (Iv*- >*t"quit whining about cleirp3gne,RauL,d(d just teitoKftiL vatB sent here/ * Letters to the Editor Ugalistd prostitution might provont rapos Dear Editor, Every time I read in the newspaper thai a young girl or aonian has been raped, I gel very angry with our politicians, as they are the ones we should blame for that They arc the ones who stopped "Prostitution,” the oldest profession of women all over the world Of course why shouldn’t they? These men have nothing to fear. The young girls and women are the ones who have to fear not only the rapists, but also the court system, which is very ugly to all women or children w ho report rapes Every lawyer wants their client to Today in History By The Associated Pre** Today is Friday, Oct. 17, the 290th day of 1997. There are 75 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 17, 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War On this date: In 1919, the Radio Corporation of America was created In 1931, mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. (He win and doesn’t care how he will reach his or her “Win.” What is wrong with prostitution? What a woman wants to become a prostitute, let her do it. She enjoys what she is doing, and on the other side, she helps women all over the country to enjoy a safer life A life with less fear to be not only raped, but perhaps even killed, after such an act Every country in the world allows prostitution except the USA What is wrong with the men in our country? Do they enjoy to know the daily fear of our women and young girls? The fear of being alone in the house or to have to go out after darkness? What got me to write this here. was released in 1939.) In 1933, Albert Einstein armed in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany. In 1945, Col Juan Peron staged a coup, becoming absolute ruler of Argentina. In 1957, French author Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. In 1973, Arab oil-producing nations announced they would begin cutting back on oil exports to Western nations arui Japan, the result was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974 In 1977, West German commandos was the report about Senator Nixon, from Carthage 17 County District. How naive can a married senator be, to solicit, what he thought was a prostitute, at a street corner. I guess he wanted to save some money, and didn’t care about AIDS or anything like it. I feel sorry for his wife. Besides how could he carry a gun without a license? Perhaps he didn’t know about the law, that allows citizens to cany concealed guns with a license. In my opinion, the courts forgot to charge him, for trying to bribe a police officer. Why else did he ask: “Do you know who I am.” I agree he should be thrown out, as this senator stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner that was on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers. In 1979, Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her years of work on behalf of the destitute in Calcutta. In 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck northern California, lulling 67 people and causing $7 billion worth of damage. Ten years ago: First lady Nancy Reagan underwent a modified radical mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Five years ago: Japanese exchange for sure isn’t a good citizen. A married man doesn’t need a prostitute, he has his wife. Prostitution should be for the young and unmarried men only, or married men whose wives for reasons of illness are not allowed sex. I honestly hope, that the people of the USA one day soon, will have a right to vote on this. Perhaps we should say, the people I just mentioned should have a right to participate. Please not the churches! All prostitutes, should of course, be under the supervision of the health department. Lieselotte Mourn New Braunfels student Yoshi Hatton, 16, was shot and killed by Rodney Peairs in Center, La., after Hatton and his American host mistakenly knocked on Peairs’ door while looking for a Halloween party. (Peairs was acquitted of manslaughter, but in a civil trial was ordered to pay more than $650,000 in damages to Hattori’s family.) The Atlanta Braves defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in game one of the World Series, 3-to-l. One year aga: Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired security chief Alexander Lebed, one day after the former general was accused by a rival of building his own rogue army. ;