Public Debt

Opinion: I Will Vote No on the Richardson ISD TRE

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Submitted by Murphy McNutt

My husband and I recently moved to Richardson. I enjoyed growing up in the Richardson Heights and Canyon Creek areas. When we finally decided that we outgrew our home in the Bishop Arts area, we decided to start looking for houses in Richardson to be closer to family. We already discussed that we’d like to have our first child in the next few years, so we decided it would be best to make schools a higher priority in our hunt for a new home.

We looked long and hard for a home that fit within our budget and determined that the Reservation neighborhood in Richardson was where we wanted to plant our roots. It felt quite nostalgic being back in a city where I had many fond memories as a little girl. It was perfect.

Like most responsible adults, we live within our means, which means creating an accurate and sustainable budget. Ultimately, we could’ve spent a little less on a house, but we also would’ve been confined to underperforming schools or expensive private schools. After a lot of consideration (and a hard sell to move here by my family that’s lived here for decades,) we spent a little bit more on our house so our future kids could attend Mohawk Elementary and eventually JJ Pearce High School.

We figured out what our long-term budget needed to be to make this work. We turned our previous property into a rental property to generate additional income (which was a scary leap of faith to have TWO mortgages,) and we determined what we needed to save and invest, so that we are prepared for our future family. As it stands, my husband’s salary alone will not cover our family for when I become pregnant, so we needed to account for that by saving.

We knew property taxes would inevitably go up because of the market we are in, and we made sure to account for that, in addition to health insurance and general inflation on nearly everything else. What we didn’t account for was the school district proposing a MAXIMUM property tax increase of 12.5% upon moving into our new home.

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Pension Crisis: Fort Worth Employees vs. Taxpayers

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Fort Worth is in a pension crisis, which in turn has the city looking at raising property taxes significantly this year.  The pension crisis is at the heart of the proposed increase in property taxes.  It would be an increase of over 2.8% this year compared to the prior year.  However if your property had an increase in appraisal you’d see a compounded increase of that amount plus the tax increase.  For instance if your property appraised for 10% more this year, you’d have a net increase of 12.8% (appraisal plus tax increase).  

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Shocking Video – School District Electioneers at Early Voting Parties

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“A joint investigation by Direct Action Texas and Empower Texans reveals Lancaster ISD employees advocated for a tax rate proposition at “back to school” parties inside polls.”

Article by Erin Anderson of Empower Texans

“A North Texas school district used controversial, and possibly illegal, tactics to help ensure passage of a property tax rate proposition that will result in more tax revenue for the district and higher tax bills for taxpayers.

A joint investigation by Direct Action Texas and Empower Texans took a look at “back-to-school” parties for parents held inside campus polling locations in Lancaster Independent School District. The parties were on the same day, at the same time, and at the same schools as the early voting polls.

Lancaster ISD used what’s called “rolling polling” during early voting for its August 25 tax ratification election, moving polling locations to different district campuses each day.

Early voting began on August 8, the day after district teachers and staff returned to campus. Back-to-school parties coordinated with early “mobile voting” sites were held August 13-18.

Tony Ortiz of Empower Texans and Robert Montoya of Direct Action Texas visited three campuses during their rolling polling parties — Rosa Parks Millbrook Elementary, George Washington Carver, and Lancaster Middle School — and recorded what they saw on video.

School employees in the video admit the parties were held to get parents to vote. The parties gave free food to parents. The parties were held at schools, on taxpayer-funded government property. At each polling location visited, multiple school employees said on video to vote for the tax rate proposition.

State law makes it illegal for school districts to use taxpayer resources for electioneering. And government employees at work are prohibited from telling voters how to vote in an election.

The video shows what look like violations of both statutes:

 

And no person in Texas can electioneer to voters inside a polling location. They must be 100 feet away from the entrance to the building where the poll is located.

School employees appear to have violated those limits as well. They electioneered inside the polls and on the taxpayer’s dime.

The district’s questionable tactics paid off. Lancaster ISD voters approved the tax swap 62-38 percent, with a dismal 2.5 percent voter turnout. In-person early voters, including those who cast ballots at the early voting parties, voted for the tax swap proposition by a 269-65 margin. Election Day voters, who cast ballots at a local library, were more closely divided, 124-100.”

Is Ontario More Conservative than Texas?

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Why is it that in 30 days, more conservative agendas have been accomplished in Ontario, Canada than we in Texas, U.S.A. have for nearly three decades? The Republican Party has controlled the legislature, Lt. Governor’s, and Governor’s office for 14 of the last 25 years, and still we have seen very little movement on property tax reform, Robin Hood, pro-life laws, and others. When we conservatives complain about this lack of progress to our elected representatives, we’re shushed and told that we “just don’t understand.” With Joe Straus leaving the Speakership of the Texas House, the scramble has begun to find a new Speaker and already we’re seeing early signs that conservatives will have to put up with more snail’s pace progress, if any, on desperately needed conservative reforms.

Meanwhile, up north in Ontario, Canada, the exact opposite is happening. The Progressive-Conservative Party, led by Doug Ford, recently won a massive electoral upset. Ford ran on some key promises:

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Does JPS Have a Plug-Pulling Problem?

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A medical director at Tarrant County’s John Peter Smith Hospital has allegedly been pulling the plug on patients she deems worthy of death, without family consent or an ethics panel decision, in violation of state law. Sources tell Direct Action Texas there are numerous patients who have fallen victim to this doctor’s plug-pulling habit in the past year.

State statute outlines a clear process for hospitals to follow for end of life decisions. There are three ways to legally terminate care.

  • Have the family (guardian) grant consent. This is the most difficult decision a family member can face.
  • In the absence of family consent, an ethics panel of medical professionals must make the decision. This is a 12-day process. The family must first be notified 48 hours prior to the panel convening. Then, if the panel decides to terminate care, the family must be given a 10-day notice before the decision is carried out.
  • A doctor can terminate care if they determine the patient to be medically “brain dead.” This is a slippery slope as the medical community does not have a clear consensus on the definition of brain dead. There are, however, several tests that can be used to make this diagnosis.

Sources have told Direct Action Texas that patient’s lives have been ended without family consent, a decision of the ethics panel, or any testing to determine the patient was brain dead or any indication of that assertion. This doctor is allegedly skipping all three steps and taking it upon herself to make the final decision to pull the plug. Read More

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