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Get Yourself Registered

Today is the last day to register to vote if you want to take part in the November election.

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Though BurkaBlog readers and commenters range across the ideological spectrum, they share a common interest in Texas politics. That being the case, they may not need the following reminder: today is the last day to register to vote if you want to take part in the November 3rd election.

Since this is an off year, the statewide ballot consists of seven constitutional amendments. The most significant of them, in my assessment, is Proposition 1, which asks Texans to approve the 84th Legislature’s property tax relief plan. Aman Batheja, at the Texas Tribune, notes that it is widely expected to succeed, despite the fact that the “relief” to homeowners will have a heavy cost for the state:

The expected savings on homeowners’ property tax bills, estimated at $126 on average, comes with a trade off: a permanent increase in state spending. Texas lawmakers will budget $600 million annually to cover the loss of revenue to school districts, which rely heavily on property taxes. That’s on top of about $8.4 billion already in the state budget each year to make up for three previous property tax relief measures implemented since 1997, according to the Legislative Budget Board.

“In many regards, we are creating a double taxation,” said state House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton. “Most Texans aren’t going to see a reduction in their property tax at home and they are now and forever going to pay $600 million a year for this homestead exemption to the state.”

This may sound like an abstruse discussion but, as the backlash over the Lege’s Medicaid cuts reminds us, the consequences are very real. The Texas Constitution already includes a balanced budget provision and a spending cap, and we continue to maintain one of the lowest per capita spending rates in the country. For the state to commit an additional $600 million or even $6 million in annual spending to property tax relief without having a plan for a corresponding revenue increase is effectively a guarantee that we will cut spending on core services, specifically public education or Medicaid. We may have tabled the issue for now, but if Prop 1 is approved, the Lege is going to have to deal with the results in 2017.

Also of note: there’s a special election in HD 118, where half a dozen candidates are vying to replace Joe Farias, who announced his retirement at the end of the Lege’s regular session. This is an unusually important seat, in my view, because HD 118 happens to be my home district, and I have a lot of family and friends there.

And regardless, there’s no downside to being registered to vote. In 2012 and 2014, Texas had one of the worst rates of voter participation in the country (we were second lowest in 2012 and third lowest in 2014, according to the U.S. Elections Project) and odd-year elections tend to be especially low-turnout affairs. Even if you don’t go to the polls, the prospect that you could may help encourage accountability among Texas’s elected officials.

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  • dave in texas

    The low voter turnout rate in this state is an absolute disgrace. I wish I had a good way to fix that, but you really can’t make people give a s**t when they’re determined not to.

    • Indiana Pearl

      But WHY don’t they care?

    • Gunslinger

      We need to start teaching or have a greater emphasis on civics and government in school. Not just one semester in high school.

  • bj1650

    Thanks for a very helpful column but also too long!

    ERICA, please get some editing help. We cannot continue to waste time on your LONG opinions which often DUPLICATE much that has already been provided (in the regular daily “media”). Please keep it shorter and try to be more balanced. I write this as one who most often agrees with your long and rambling opinions! PLEASE AND THANKS!

    • gordo

      Erica, write whateverthehell you want. People who don’t like that, don’t read it.

    • Indiana Pearl

      This was a very concise article with a specific purpose and completely non-partisan.

      Perhaps you have ADHD.

    • txasslm

      ewww … bj, accidentally clicked on your icon / photo. whew, not sure you’re the best one to be commenting on excess of anything. but to your complaint …. 5 grafs and 2 inserts? journalistic efficiency. the mainscream media should be so lucky.

      • bj1650

        TXASSIM,

        There is a big difference between a blog, such as the “Burka Blog” and introductory material on one’s own web site, or an old posted photo!

        However, I take your point about my stomach and, since I hadn’t looked at the icon in several years, my Friends would know that the photo is 50 pounds heavier (and several years younger) than a representation would be today!

        i was complimenting Ms. Erica Grieder on the important entry under discussion. It is one of her shorter posts, but, in my view, still could be edited down without losing a thought of importance. (WE ALL NEED EDITORS, SO, AGAIN, THANKS TO YOU, “TX..SIM!”)

        [Burka always got right to the point and seldom wasted a reader’s time, so perhaps my complaint evolves from a tinge of nostalgia. I did think one of the other “commentators,” here, also had a good point in reminding, by implication, that there is a DELETE key.]

        Cheers to Erica, to you and all, Bj

    • dave in texas

      Are you the same guy who was making this same complaint a couple of weeks ago under a different name? Barry Something-or-other? There are gazillions of places where a person can get a two-sentence summary of all the day’s events. Please stop trying to change one of the remaining places where nuance and analysis still occur.

      • bj1650

        Yes, Dave, same guy, one who most appreciates “nuance and analysis,” but not wasted words. I see my point-of-view is not persuasive with you. Thanks, though, for your perspective, and I’ll forego any repeated requests. Good wishes, Barry!

  • “This may sound like an abstruse discussion”

    It is and over most everyone’s head posting here. Texas politics are simple most Texans are conservative and know how to horse trade. They can spot bs a mile away and simply won’t elect a democrat to a statewide office.

    • Unwound

      hahaha

      • hahaha……. over your head but that wouldn’t be hard to do.

        • Unwound

          hahaha

          • Indiana Pearl

            Hahaha . . .

  • John Johnson

    Ignorant voters expecting their pandering, elected representation to do what’s “best” for them can often expect less than favorable results. Where do we think the adages, “Be careful what you wish for” and “Thank God for unanswered prayers” come from?

    Constituents, through mailings from their senator and rep, are probably now aware that they are in line for a tax saving. How many of them know that special needs children are being denied care, or that the $1.3B being spent to pay for DPS participation on the border has been deemed by many in the know to be a total waste? How many know that this is the Fed’s responsibility and that it all started with Perry wanting to make noise and draw national attention to himself?

    We Texans are such rubes.

    • Welp maybe some of us. I prefer to think like Reagan, when faced with challenges the majority will make good decisions. When we get it wrong ie Boehner and Straus we’ll eventually sort it out.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Reagan had Alzheimer’s in his second term.

        • John Johnson

          That is amazing, isn’t it? With a disease like that, he was still able to govern better than Obama.

          • Indiana Pearl

            That’s a matter of opinion!

            He vetoed funding for continuing support for mental health. Because of those cuts, my mother’s schizophrenic brother was moved from a safe environment to a group home with little supervision. He jumped off a bridge and broke almost every bone in his body. Unfortunately, he lived as a quadrapelgic for five more years.

            Don’t sing songs of praise for St. Ronnie.

          • John Johnson

            Let’s just say that with all his shortcomings, he was still a much better man and President than the WPE will ever be.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Dying of Alzheimer’s in his Bel Air mansion will never be sufficient retribution for the suffering he caused millions of Americans with chronic mental illness and their families.

            You are smug and uninformed.

            “You know nothing, John Snow. You know nothing.”

            —- Ygritte, “Game of Thrones”

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Better”?

            In what way?

          • Unwound

            obama brokered a deal with iran, he didnt sell them arms to fund a war in central america and then lie about it.

          • John Johnson

            Screw that deal with Iran. It will come back to haunt us, just like every other deal he has brokered…and don’t get me started about lying. We should have listened to Romney and ignored the lightweight’s slick words.

          • Unwound

            thanks but ill take it against the other option- which was nothing. and its multilateral. and its more than bush, clinton, or reagan were able to accomplish.

          • John Johnson

            You know what…instead of being curt, I will just say that I could have negotiated the deal Obama and Kerry put together. To think that Bush, Clinton or Reagan could not have done the same is flat out wrong. Since Obama has already screwed things up, I don’t guess I will get into trouble by going ahead and sharing the secret with you. All one has to do is nod yes to everything the Iranians ask for. Cave in at every turn. Make adamant statements about lines in the sand and other absolutes and then try and forget you ever spit them out. My 10 year old grandson could pull these types of deals off, but I don’t think he would have. He’s too smart for that.

          • Unwound

            thats a blatant misrepresentation of the deal, but you know that already.

            and if romney or (god forbid) “president” cruz or someone else had put this together, you couldnt sing their praises fast enough.

          • John Johnson

            Let’s see, “We’ve will not allow Russia to sell weapons and ICBM’s to Iran under any circumstances” ….and why would we? Lo and behold, it shows up in the agreement. Why? Even though it is outlawed for 15 or 20 years, why would we ever allow it? Why do you need a fishing pole if you have promised you are never going to produce fish hooks? The last 20 years for me seem like a New York minute. Our children and grandchildren are going to hate us. Israel will, too. Probably much sooner.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Maybe he caused the eruption of Vesuvius?

          • Unwound

            in all likelyhood they’ll have had a regime change in 20 years.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Israel needs a regime change. Bibi and the Zionists are destroying any chance of peace. The US should not engage in mideast wars to satisfy the Christian fundamentalists who are waiting for the Rapture.

          • John Johnson

            How would you know what they want? You know what you want. You have no idea what I want, much less a “fundamentalist”. What we want and what we get are two different things. Allowing Muslims to attempt to wipe Israel off the face of the earth is not going to happen without our intervention, if for no other reason than to protect their right to be there. We do that for allies. I think we would do the same for Japan if the Chinese went after them again. Religion has nothing to do with it.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I read a lot of stuff. You let other people do your thinking for you.

            Have you ever read about Nanking?

            Next question, please.

          • John Johnson

            You trying to take the Professor’s spot? You think everyone is a dumb**s but you? What do you want to know about the Rape of Nanking?

          • Indiana Pearl

            More than you do . . .

          • John Johnson

            There you go again making goofy statements. They seem to be coming more and more often. Grade school stuff. Been guilty of it, too…but I’m not going to do anymore sophomoric back and forths any longer.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You fail to educate yourself. Outrage media does your thinking for you.

          • John Johnson

            Yep. I’m an illiterate slacker turning to a “book reader” like you for enlightenment, because I know that everything you read and swallow is the absolute truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’re a smart guy, but locked in your own prison of belief.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Know any Jews? Have any Jewish friends?

          • Indiana Pearl

            But “don’t send my grandson to fight.” Send someone else’s kid.

          • John Johnson

            We don’t need to send anyone that doesn’t want to go. Why are we spending billions on unmanned weapons if we aren’t going to use them. Clear out of their land; let them fight it out; warn them what will happen if they attack us in any way, and do it if they do. Pretty simply, really.

          • Indiana Pearl

            That’s the Obama plan. You just don’t get it.

          • John Johnson

            Yeah, right. He doesn’t have what it takes. He draws lines and then keeps moving them. He’s way past his competency point.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I’ll take him over GWB any day. Incompetent Boy King . . .

          • Indiana Pearl

            Poor boys don’t have the same options as your grandson.

          • Jed

            you mean: anyone who doesn’t have a better option. “want to” looks a lot different if your choices are military, poverty (which is actually redundant with option one), or crime.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You don’t know that.

          • Yes that is true JJ and what liberals don’t talk about is the last 2 years of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency he suffered a stroke and wasn’t seen in public. Or FDR last years his judgement was affected by drugs or Kennedy’s whole term was affected by drugs and consorting with Russian female spies.
            I didn’t mention Obama for a reason, it is becoming apparent to the majority he is out of his league. Hillary tried to warn dems but they bought the hype hook line and sinker.
            Yes Reagan was the real deal the others no so much.

          • Unwound

            yeah reagan was so real he raised taxes, funded death squads and pulled out of lebanon when marines were attacked.

            oh yeah, he also taught us that deficits dont matter.

          • John Johnson

            He made mistakes. Most do. With the one we’ve got now, I’m having a hard time naming any of of his moves that have not been mistakes. Maybe nodding his head and then using about a hundred “I’s” and “me’s” when announcing what the Seals had done. They guy is a loser.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He got Bin Laden.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Let us not forget the School of the Americas – training right wing thugs to kill nuns and priests.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Don’t forget Kobar Towers.

          • Indiana Pearl

            FDR and Churchill saved the free world on ample portions of martinis, champagne, claret, and aged brandy.

            Reagan had an affair with Jane Wyman while she was still married to her first husband. After they divorced Ronnie held court at the Garden of Allah and entertained more women than Clinton could have fantasized in his wildest dreams. When he married Nancy, she was pregnant.

            Sr. Ronnie was not a monk.

          • he just wasn’t sleeping with spies

          • Indiana Pearl

            Didn’t say he was. Neither was Kennedy.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Just for historical accuracy, Kennedy consorted with Judith Exner, an American, who consorted with a Soviet officer. Kennedy didn’t consort with Russian female spies.

            Facts are better than faction.

          • yep….Ellen Rometsch
            “In July 1963 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover informed Bobby Kennedy that he knew about the president’s past relationship with an alleged East German spy named Ellen Rometsch.”

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/10/16/john-f-kennedys-final-days-reveal-a-man-who-craved-excitement/

            Who doesn’t know this? He also was sleeping with a couple of other spies

            “This included both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. It was particularly worrying that this included Mariella Novotny and Suzy Chang. This was a problem because they both had connections to communist countries and had been named as part of the spy ring that had trapped John Profumo, the British war minister, a few months earlier. President Kennedy told J. Edgar Hoover that he “personally interested in having this story killed”.”

            Dems know this stuff but deny deny deny when confronted with facts.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Wiki says no:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Rometsch

            Baggers will belive anything.

          • I’m not sure I’d believe wikipedia(the liberal’s friend) over Forbes…..

          • Indiana Pearl

            You fall in love too easily . . .