Let's here it for the home team. Dallas, and now Fort Worth, have the highest gasoline prices in Texas at $2.956 for a gallon of self-service regular. According to AAA that is up 5.7-cents since last week. San Antonio still lags far behind at $2.79. The Energy Capital of the World is catching up though at $2.93. Overall the AAA says the Texas average is $2.892 and the US average is $2.927. That's right, Dallas is now well ahead of the US average. Best advise: stay home and watch the NFL draft.
The Lone Star Foundation commissioned a study on the economic impact of the Perry-Sharp tax proposal. The study was conducted by Dr. Milton Holloway of Resource Economics, Inc. and was released this Thursday in Austin.
The Holloway report maintains that not only does the Perry-Sharp plan benefit individual homeowners but that it also "will stimulate economic growth" because of the "significant reduction in the taxation of capital assets."
Individual homeowners will experience a significant decrease in their property taxes and businesses will face a new margins tax but also experience a major decline in school property taxes and the elimination of the franchise tax.
The Plan will stimulate economic growth both because families will have more after-tax income to spend, and because the shift in tax burden to a more equitable distribution of initial tax burden among industries will spur investment. The significant reduction in the taxation of capital assets in the business community amounts to a significant economic stimulus.
The Holloway study also concludes that the new 1% business tax, which replaces the existing 4.5% franchise tax will not have an "onerous" impact on businesses in Texas as some critics claim: "The margins tax rate is small, however, so the tax burden on any given firm will be small."
Dr. Holloway concludes:
"The final result of the economic effects of the Plan are to expand all major sectors of the economy as the stimulus works its way through the economy."
Dr. Holloway acknowledges that the new business tax system will be more favorable to those companies which fall under the current business tax system in Texas as opposed to those businesses which have "skillfully avoided taxation" up to now:
The analysis also shows that when tax burden calculations are made for various industry classes it is important to recognize that one can not get a tax decrease in situations when no tax is being paid now. That is, the status quo is much of the problem that the Plan is designed to address. One must not just think of tax changes based off of what is now being paid, but also based on what one would have been paying had they not skillfully avoided taxation.
Those loopholes would be closed under the Perry-Sharp plan.
The Holloway study concludes that the net effect of the Perry-Sharp plan is to promote substantial "economic benefits" to the Texas economy:
The Plan will produce the following annual economic growth impacts in the beginning of the period after full implementation:
+ $2.2 Billion
+ $1.6 Billion
+33 Thousand Jobs
Additional State Tax Revenues
Over the first ten years of the Plan these economic benefits will grow to $4.0 billion in GDP, $3.3 in personal income and 40 thousand in employment.
Click here to download the complete Holloway study in PDF format.
The Dallas Business Journal ran a poll on its web site this past week asking its readers the question: "Should Dallas Mayor Laura Miller be re-elected in 2007?" The vote was overwhelmingly against her with 73% of those responding opposed to her re-election. Only 27% favored her re-election. Already, attorney Darrell Jordan and City Councilman Gary Griffeth have announced their intentions to run against her next year.
78 of the 357 total drug cases in Dallas schools last year involved a new drug combination called “cheese”, according to the DISD spokesperson. The Austin-American Statesman reports that the addictive drug began appearing in Dallas schools in August, but seems to have been confined to Dallas schools so far.
“Cheese” involves a mixture of heroin and an over the counter cold medicine, such as Tylenol PM, being mixed together and snorted through a tube. Some students have managed to smuggle it into school under their fingernails or in capsules.
Police are looking for the person(s) making the drug.
Okay, not a Dallas story but this one is just too much to pass up. First President Bush tries to turn over American ports to Dubai, which the American public welcomes like a case of rampant flatulence in church.
Now the president is set to approve a deal under which a Dubai-owned company would take control of nine plants in the United States that manufacture parts for American military vehicles and aircraft. Story here.
Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to expand its Motiva refinery, making it the largest refinery in the U.S. Breitbart.com reports that the project would be completed in 2010 if it meets regulatory approval. The project would increase Motiva’s output by 325,000 barrels of oil a day.
Dallas ISD trustees unanimously approved a resource allocation plan that is intended to save the school district millions and enable the district to use resources more efficiently if the board decides to implement the plans recommendations. The Dallas Achieves Commission, a panel formed by Superintendent Hinojosa, made the recommendations included in the resource allocation plan.
Trustee Lew Blackburn pointed out that the plan did not authorize the elimination of employee cuts in the district, but rather was only a plan to evaluate potential cuts. “Just because we are approving this plan to plan, we are not allocating funds at this time.”
If certain recommendations in the plan are implemented, the district could see job cuts numbering in the hundreds. One recommendation involves the outsourcing of custodial jobs and the replacement of some hall monitors with technology, such as added security cameras.
Trustee Hollis Brashear said that he thought the plan was a great conceptual plan. “I urge the board to look into each recommendation separately,” said Brashear. Brashear also said that, while small districts could do well outsourcing certain jobs, that might not be the best option for Dallas ISD.
Trustee Ron Price said that his main concern was safety. Price said that if the board could come up with ways to save money and still have a safe environment for the students, it should.
New police chief announced, Superintendent comments on special session
Also on Tuesday night, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced the hiring of John Blackburn as the new police chief for Dallas ISD. Blackburn is the police chief of the Houston Independent School District, but will begin work in Dallas ISD in May.
Hinojosa later commented on the special session in Austin and said that he was surprised by some of the things that were being supported by members of the Texas Legislature. He added that he was very concerned with House Bill 1 (HB1) and that the legislation “looks very much like a Band-Aid”.
Hinojosa will give a report on the special session and the district’s budget to trustees at a retreat this weekend.
John Chakwin, the region's top investigation official for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas, said the biggest targets of the Secure Border Initiative will be employers who profit from hiring illegal workers, but added that work site visits by immigration agents are going to lead to more people being bused back to Mexico.
"We can't possibly chase every illegal alien in North Texas, but we've got to go after the companies who hire them," Agent Chakwin said Thursday. "But if someone is doing something illegal – or here illegally – they should be looking over their shoulders."
Mr. Chakwin said his office is working at least five active investigations in this region – which includes North Texas and Oklahoma – and gathering information from more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies for more.
"I think there is more to come," he said. "We're going to be targeting the most egregious violators first, and we're going to charge them criminally and go after their assets."
Coming up in the next couple of weeks, the Dallas City Council will be considering a proposal to widen sidewalks along sections of Lower Greenville. The upside: More space for sidewalk tables. The downside: Fewer parking spaces.
The proposed plan would add about 6,000 square feet of sidewalk space along Lower Greenville between Prospect and Oram,erasing some of the parking spaces. Restaurants naturally support the idea, but other retailers in the area are less excited.