Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Comments regarding Texas Sales Tax and Income Tax

The remarks about the regressive aspect of the sales tax system are valid, and I can see why it would make sense to impose a progressive income tax in its place to be more "fair" to the poorer families giving more of their income to the state. But I still do not agree with the idea. Texas has been regressive too long, (and continues to be regressive)so if it were decided that we become a progressive income tax state there would be a huge uproar from the citizens. Where someone can say it's fair to have a wealthier person pay 2 dollars for a side of fries, and a poorer person to pay $1.50, someone else will disagree completely. I do not completely disagree, but I do think that although it is regressive, the sales tax is fair and shouldn't be tampered with or replaced. If people do not like the way taxes are in Texas, then they always have the choice to move to a more progressive taxing state. Taxes are already such a burden nationally that I think we should keep the system the same as it already is in our state.

Original Post can be viewed on the Friends in Texas blog

Friday, August 3, 2007

Getting illegal immigration to 'work'

Illegal immigration is one of the most prominent issues in the Texas political scene at the current moment. Texas is one of the fastest growing states population-wise and the majority of the growth is coming from immigrants (1.3 million increase between 1990 and 2000). The increasing rate of immigrants has already started to affect Texas in many ways. Anglos were still the majority in 2000 making 52.4% of the population, but now Hispanics are close to being the majority (and some sources say this is already the case). The political impact is evident in the increased number of Hispanic candidates running for offices and the number who succeed in winning their campaigns: a louder political voice is being heard from the Hispanics. For this reason, taxes are likely to become more regressive with time, school funding will increase, and if the democrats can win the Hispanic vote then we may see a new rise of the Democrats in Texas.
Texas legislatures have many issues to address regarding illegal immigration. Easing the strain on natural resources, rights of illegal immigrants, the benefits they can offer, and bills restricting (or allowing) what health/education services they should be allowed to receive. Some legislatures are all for illegal immigrants being allowed to have driver’s licenses and therefore auto insurance, while others oppose this idea and suggest obtaining citizenship first. More controversial issues are at hand as well: the idea of a wall separating the Texas and Mexico border, and whether or not a child born to illegal immigrants on US soil should be considered American. Many legislatures are concerned about illegal immigrants being an economic burden in Texas, but the benefits they offer have to be considered in the process of making the bills.
Some of the other general effects of increased illegal immigration include overcrowded schools and housing, poverty around border areas, and even a depletion of the natural water supply in Texas. Although, recent studies have shown that working illegal immigrants yield a positive net benefit in the economy. It will be interesting to see which bills get passed regarding the rights of illegal immigrants. Considering they constitute a large portion of the Texas population it is unlikely that they will be treated unfairly. In my opinion, illegal immigration should be embraced under the circumstance that the immigrants are here to work. I think that they should only have the rights to health care, education, insurance…if they are working instead of just taking up space and overcrowding urban areas. The bills that should be passed first are bills that involve a system where immigrants can only get these benefits if they have work permits. Additional funding for tracking how many immigrants will abuse the benefits and get a permit but not work will need to increase, but I think that is a necessary cost that will only yield to a better financial outcome for everyone in the state.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Everything's bigger in Texas...but not for long

College and professional sports players have been subject to steroid and drug testing for quite some time, and many athlete's results have scorned their image or taken away opportunities and awards. The state of Texas is preparing to enforce a new law requiring mandatory random steroid testing in high school athletes. "Mandatory random" seems like a type of oxymoron, but regardless all high schools will now be forced by law to administer steroid tests to their athletes in some fashion. The steroid tests have some kinks still: they turn up positive for some nutritional supplements that are over the counter and perfectly legal. Associate commissioner of the Texas Education Agency says that athletes should just not take any supplements at all. I think it's ridiculous to say that legal nutritional supplements should be avoided. Unless the steroid test can evaluate a legal substance from an illegal steroid (or a steroid that is out of policy), then this random test should not be issued in my opinion. There is a hold on the steroid testing until this issue is solved, but either way I disagree with the condemning of legal nutritional supplements.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Beg your 'pardon'?

After a 2005 drug related border shooting involving two US agents and a smuggler who was caught with 1 million dollars worth of marijuana, the two agents are still hoping for relief from their 11 to twelve year sentence terms. President Bush has been asked to pardon the agents that his long time friend and prosecutor Johnny Sutton helped convict. Although they fired at an unarmed suspect, I do not believe the person who was illegally smuggling drugs should be let free and allowed to benefit while the officers trying to do their job should receive over ten years in prison. It was just interesting to see that the President's view on the issue has a lot to do with the fact that he knows the prosecutor. I don't know if he can give a fair opinion in this case as to whether or not the men should be pardoned. Decide for yourself. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-borderagents_20tex.ART.State.Edition1.4205177.html