New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 25, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
41 Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | herald-zeitung.com
HERALD-ZEITUNG EDITORIAL BOARD
Publisher and kditor Doug ionny
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A look at the amendments on Nov. 8 ballot
arly voting for the Nov 8 election opened Monday On the ballot, you II find 10 proposed state constitutional amend rnents i he following is the second in a series of editori als featuring our views on the propositions
Proposition 4: The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to permit a county to issue t>onds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.
ihe state Constitution allows the Legislature to authorize incorporated cities and towns to use tax increment financing to ()ay for the development or redevelopment of an unproduc tive underdeveloped or blighted area The bonds or notes to finance the development are repaid using increases in tax rev enues on the property
Ihe revenue increases come from increases m property val ues m the development area not from an increased tax rate which IS not allowed Proposition 4 would expand the authorization to include counties to expand the use of tax increment financing OUR VIEW; f he reasons for labeling an area as unproduc tive underdeveloped or blighted aren t very well defined As such, some developers could abuse this amendment to get an area declared a reinvestment /one Such a move could cause existing, surrounding businesses to pay higher taxes for pro] ects tfiat don t benefit them or worse, aid their competition Without a c lear description of what constitutes an produc tivr underdeveloped or blighted area the amendment opens too wide ot a door for misuse New Braunfels and Comal County kncjw full well the dangers of giving developers too murfi rope
In addition the amendment limits the taxes collected on the me reased values to being used to improve the redeveloped area onlv As such they wouldn t benefit the entire county I hr New Braunfels Herald Zeitung does not endorse Propo sition 4. and encourages readers to vote against the amend ment
Proposition 5; The constitutional amendment authonzing the Legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund,
ihe fexas Constitution states cities with a population greater than 5 000 and all counties and cities bordering the Gulf of Mexico cannot create any debt without levying a tax suffi cient to pav the interest and provide a sinking fund of at least 2 percent
A contract longer than one year between local governments can be interpreted as a debt and that requires the tax assess ment and the sinking fund Prop 5 would allow those cities and counties to enter into interlocal contracts longer than one year with other cities or counties without meeting the tax and sinking fund require ments
OUR VIEW: This amendment clears up a technicality caused by a constitutional interpretation that limits cities and counties from entering into beneficial multi year contracts even in situ ations that do not result in debts lhat clarification alone makes the proposal worthwhile, fhe amendment also would allow local governments to contract with one another to deliver services without levying a tax Prop ^ would enhance local governments' abilities to combine services, thus improving proficiency and cutting tax payers' costs.
ihe New Braunfels Herald Zeitung endorses Proposition 5 and encourages readers to vote for the amendment
Proposition 6; The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distnbutions from the available school fund.
fhe Permanent School Fund, which is about $24 billion, is controlled by the State Board of Education (SBOE). It helps fund public schools The amount spent yearly is specified by a constitutional formula
I he state also owns land that is used to help pay for public education I he General Land Office (GLO) manages the land For years, earnings from the land went to the SBOE, for invest ment in the Permanent School Fund or sent directly to schools Recently, however, the GLO has been allowed to reinvest the earnings in land purchases instead of giving it to the SBOE Nothing mandates how much of the earnings GLO can invest and how much it has to give to the SBOE Given the budget shortfall's effect on education, lawmakers argued the GLO should transfer more of its funds to the SBOF to limit the impact of budget cuts on education. The GLO, meanwhile is concerned the Legislature could take the entire fund
Proposition 6 puts limits on the use and continued reinvest ment of GLO earnings. The amendment also limits the amount the GLO could spend directly on education to no more than $300 million annually. That would keep its land investments from being drained to prop up the state's budget.
OUR VIEW; Though we don't agree with the state being in the land business, the GLO generally does a good job reinvest mg funds from its lands, fhat said, the GLO hasn't been sending as much to the SBOE as it needs to — especially this year
fexas' public schools need the money The amendment would provide it. In addition, the GLO needs limits on how the revenue from the land can be spent.
fhe New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung endorses Proposition 6. and encourages readers to vote for the amendment • • • • •
COMING WEDNESDAY; Our views on Propositions 7-10
ELECTION-RELATED LETTERS DEADUNE
The dead^e for sutmiitting etaction-related letttrs is Wednesday,
Nov. 1 The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung will publish election-related letters through Sunday, Nov 6 No election-related letters will be published on Tuesday, Nov 8
The Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters up to 250 words and guest columns up to 500 words Guest columns must be accompanied by a photo
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. All submissions must include an address and phone number so authorship can be confirmed.
• By e mail to: news<fl)herald-zeitung com
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• By mail to: Letters to the Editor, Herald-Zeitung, PC Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, TX 78130
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Mourdock running to dose a chapter
Richard Mourdock. a Republican and Indiana s treasurer, wants to wrest his party's U S Senate nomina tion from a six term incum bent who has been a nation al figure since becoming mayor of this city in 1968 at age 35, who has averaged 69 percent of tfie vote in five re elections and wfio ran unopposed f)y a Democrat in 2006 When Richard Lugar, an Eagle Scout and Rhodes scholar, was a Naval ensign he briefed Dwight Lisenhow er fhat was 10 presidents ago, which may be a prob lem for Lugar in an era ot pandemic disparagement ot the political class So fviour dock will try to defeat Lugar with wounding praise Lugar IS a great cfiapter of Indiana history, but elections arc arguments about the future And the good luck of two of Lugar s colleagues is Lugar's misfortune and Mourdock's opportunity Some national conservative groups that relish intra patty fights had hoped to fund pn mary challenges to Utah Sen Orrin Hatch (another SIX termer) Maine Sen Olympia Snowe and Lugar But the strongest potential challenger to Hatcfi opted not to run and no strong challenger to Snowe has emerged, so the conserva tives' restless eneigies may be focused on Lugar It IS not clear why Con gressional Quarterly, assess
mg lt)0 votes over tfie eight Reagan years said Lugar sup ported the president 88 per cent of the time more than any otfiei senator Yes, Lugar voted for Barack Oba ma s two Supreme Court nominees, l)ut there is a con servative case to be made (conservatives make it when they tiave tfie [¡residency) for deference as the default position regarding presidents' judicial choices Yes Lugar voted for tfie New SIARf treaty but all living Republi can ex secretaries of state supp(jrted it including George Shult/ wfio served Ronald Reagan Sfiult/ has endoised Lugar ( Reagan relied on him )
Lugar has cast almost I 3,000 Senate votes, so eveiyone has something about which to complain, and almost every conserva tive [)articulaily dislikes one vote, that for fARP fhe political center - ot the nation and the GOP — has moved rightward since Lugar became a senator in 1977. and in 2010 the American Conservative (Inion rated Lugai the fiftfi most liberal Republican senator and the National Journal ranked him the lourtti This, even thougfi he 0p()0sed tfie stirri
ulus, cap and trade (Indiana IS a coal state). Obamacare and Dodd Frank, he is prolife and fias voted for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution eight times Mourdock however, earned the admiration of national conservatives, and of people who are partial to the rule of law, when he rightly, if unsuccessfully, contested in court the terms of Obama’s Chrysler bailout Indiana's pension funds for teachers and state [jolice were among Chrysler's secuied creditors It had been settled law that such creditors are first in line to be paid in the event of bankruptcy But in the Chrysler case, secured creditors received less per dollar than an unsecuied creditor, the United Auto Workers Lugar s courtliness and Midwestern aversion to rhetorical flamboyance do not match tfiis moment of teveied politics So this race will take tfie temperature of a fundamentally temperate state tfiat Obama carried in 2008 by a water thin margin (28.391 votes) In what may be Lugar s priru i[)al vulnerability. some Hcjosiers think tliat with his many foreign policy interests - he has been, and could again be, cfiairman of tlie Foreign frelations Committee fie has neglected Indiana fhe day Mourdock announced his challenge, a large majority of the 92 f^epublican county
chairmen endorsed him
Lugar s campaign has more than 12 times as much cash on hand as Mour dock's, but money is not always very salient: It can buy an unknown candidate recognition, but Lugar is rec ognized by almost every Indianan It cannot buy intensity, wfiich often is dis proportionately important in intra party squabbles Mour dock will tap tea party passion. and in the May 8 pii mary. Rep Mike Pence, a favorite of conservatives, will be seeking, and probably winning the Republican nomination for governor, which will bring out conser vative voters susceptible to Mourdock's arguments Lugar IS godfatfier to a daughter of Gov Mitcfi Daniels wlio got tiis stait in politics working for f.layor Lugar and then as Sen Lugar's first chief of statf Daniels has endorsed Lugar. but speaks warmly of Mour dock
Mourdock, 60 recently lan a marathon, perhaps under scoring one (small) differ ence with Lugar, who will be 80 by pninaiy day but still runs 5K races At tlie event announcing his candidacy, Mourdock asked for a round of applause for Lugar. wfio will be leplaced or awarcied a seventh term, respectfully
■ George Will is a Washington Post Writers Group columnist Email Will at georgewilKc^ashpost.com
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Ttm Associated Press
Today IS Tuesday, Oct. 25, the 298th day ot 2011 There are 67 days left in the year
Today's Highlight in History:
On Oct. 25,1854, the "Charge of the Light Brigade” took place during the Crimean War as an English brigade of more than 600 men charged the Russian army despite hopeless odds and suffered heavy losses.
On this date:
In 1760, Britain's King George III succeeded his late grandfather, George II,
In 1859, radical abolitionist John Brown went on trial in Charles Town, Va , for his failed raid at Harpers Ferry. (Brown was convicted and hanged )
In 1910, "America the Beautiful," with words by Katharine Lee Bates and music by Samuel A. Ward, was first published.
In 1929, former Interior Secretary Albert B Fall was convicted in Washington, D C., of accepting a $100,000 bribe from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. (Fall was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $100,000, he ended up serving nine months.)
In 1951, peace talks aimed at ending the Korean War resumed in Panmunjom after 63 days.
In 1962, U.S. ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson presented photographic evidence of Soviet-built missile bases in Cuba to the U.N. Security Council In 1971, the U.N General Assembly voted to admit mainland China and expel Taiwan.
In 1981, on the centenary of the birth of Pablo Picasso, the artist's painting "Guernica" was returned to Spam after spending four decades in the possession of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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Ban muzzles'trashy human behavior'
Public gatherings and garbage are synonymous with one another in tfie 21st century As in centuries past, we've preached DO NOI HI TER. ' but then those folks back in tfie 20th century weren't as sophisticated as we^
I've ricjticed it s been a while since I've seen "Don t Mess With Texas' Very few signs are up these days along Texas highways. It's a sad state of affairs we fiad to put up signage at all, also common sense would seem to dictate tfiat one is lesponsible tor one's own garbage But, as we have proven over and over again, common sense seems to have left the nation and now we are forced to "Ban the Can" or contend with paying for someone else's trash 1 don't think we have a debate Until we humans learn we aie not the only little pebbles on the beach, and the rest ot us humans are forced to occupy this planet along with you we must find a way to muzzle your trashy human behavior
Jolene Steuckrath Canyon Lake
Brauntex a feather In community's cap
Tfie treasure chest opened Saturday night — and it was filled with jewels. Our Brauntex Theatre, refurbished and refreshed, shown brightly displaying the exquisite results ot dedicated workers and donors.
We have many reasons to be proud of our community. With even greater pride, we can add a first class facility that will attract high-quality performers. The "new" Brauntex is one more reason to be thankful we are living in Comal County
star Caray Canyon Lake