DISD taxes account for about two-thirds of a Dallas homeowner's annual property tax bill.
As we did Tuesday with discovering the cost to Parkland Hospital of treating illegal immigrants - more than $200 million - I'm trying to find out how much the district spends on providing education for illegal immigrants. Not meeting a lot of success.
Anyone with tips or info, drop me an e-mail at
Anti-tax folks in the Legislature say “Look Out!” when Texans who haven’t paid attention to what’s going on in Austin begin to understand the impact of HB 4. That’s the so-called “liar’s affidavit” that would affect the sales tax paid on used car purchases.
The bill would require purchasers of used cars – including those who buy from a discount broker or an individual – to pay taxes on the Blue Book or retail value of the car, as ascertained by a licensed appraiser or certified motor vehicle dealer.
The premise behind the bill is valid. It’s aimed at used car buyers who lie about their purchase price for sales tax purposes. But the anti-tax folks say it goes to the other extreme, requiring buyers to be taxed on even more than they pay for the car. Why not then, they ask, require new car buyers to pay tax on the manufacturer’s retail price?
The bill also could spawn a whole new cottage industry – used car appraisers, licensed by the state.
Highland Park ISD is considering setting up its own endowment - pushing to $100 million - that would be supported by private, voluntary donations. The reason? The novelty cake toppers who comprise the Texas Legislature couldn't pour urine out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.
Hard to see any downside. Heck, if schools were run more like businesses and education treated more like a service than a government entitlement we wouldn't be graduating a generation that couldn't find the business side of a map, much less the countries on it.
A new Zogby Poll finds no ambiguity among Americans on health care: They want much broader use of Health Savings Accounts. The poll found that 70% favored allowing employers to make an HSA contribution equal to the out-of-pocket requirement. Those who have chronic health problems should be allowed greater tax exempt contributions according to 70%. And an amazing 84% want employees whose employer provides no health coverage to be able to deduct 100% of health care premiums. Portability of health care plans is favored by 67% with support highest in the South where 77% liked the idea. With those kind of numbers it should be easy for Congress to act. Right?
The council has no shortage of self-important clowns who metaphorically erect statues to themselves, but Councilman Leo Chaney had to take it one step further. Maybe Mr. Chaney should hasten the day he "becomes a private citizen."
City Councilmember Angela Hunt on Wednesday made the formal announcement of what she hopes will be the city's biggest effort to wipe out graffiti scheduled for Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Noting studies that show neighborhoods with graffiti have property values 15 percent lower than adjacent neighborhoods without, Hunt has made graffiti abatement a personal crusade without spending taxpayer money. She's put together a coalition of volunteers and volunteer organizations including Keep Dallas Beautiful, the Meadows Foundation and Leadership Dallas for her graffiti wipeout campaign.
Some 500 volunteers - and volunteers are still needed, go to www.dallascityhall.com to find out how to help - will fan out over the city using tens of thousands of dollars in donated Sherwin Williams paint and enjoying free lunch from Carraba's Italian Grill afterward down at City Hall.
"We need everyone to get involved in making Dallas more beautiful," Hunts said.
If history seems to provide any certainty when it comes to the dismal science of economics it would be that price controls don't work except in war time. In fact, the most recent experience with price controls under President Nixon created additional problems once lifted. But the American people have apparently learned little. A new USA TODAY/Gallup poll finds the fully 70% of Americans want price controls on energy. Sixty four percent would like to temporarily suspend the gasoline tax. And a majority, 54%, want to break up the big oil companies.
The Senate and House Bill 1 appears stuck in the Senate Finance Committee, and if it is wedged lose there it lacks the two thirds vote on the Senate floor necessary to bring the bill to a vote. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst conceded last night that at present the bill would likely not pass even if brought to a vote. However, committee members did agree to a uniform start date for public schools, something strongly opposed by most local school boards and administrators. The bill currently offers teachers a $2000 per year across the board pay raise, but the state's teacher organizations have rejected the amount as inadequate. The committee also continues at loggerheads over dealing with "equity" in school funding. It also appeared that HB5, which raises the tobacco tax, lacks the necessary two-thirds vote.