Hot Topics

 

Mayor TURNERS PLAN FOR YOUR MONEY ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT  $1Billion Bond for Pensions, $490 Million Bond for Capital Improvements, $6.7 Billion in new user Fees, and the icing on the cake a VOTE to LIFT THE CAP ON PROPERTY TAX 

(Commentary is in Blue)

Note: Mayor Turner has decided to not ask for a lifting of the Property Tax Cap ( Smart move )

Mayor Sylvester Turner is poised to ask voters to approve bonds this fall to fund improvements to city parks, community centers, fire stations and health clinics, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to a crowded November ballot.  Adding bonds to crowed ballots is a sneaky way to ensure that an expensive Bond will pass. The city is going broke and the Mayor wants to spend more money.
City officials say the size of the bond request has yet to be determined, but a political action committee formed to support the bonds, Lift Up Houston, lists the amount as $490 million on its website. Committees are already formed to support this bond which comes in at a whopping $490 Million. This is just one of several bonds the Mayor is proposing.
The referendum is part of the city’s latest five-year Capital Improvement Plan, which was unveiled at a City Council committee meeting Tuesday June 28th.
The proposed plan calls for $538 million in improvements to city facilities, such as expanded police and fire stations, renovated libraries, miles of bike trails and repairs to city buildings, to be paid for with tax revenues and philanthropic donations. This is in addition to the $490 Million Bond notice TAX Revenues and we lump Police and Fire Stations in with Bike Paths. We can't afford this spending when the city is on the verge of insolvencey.

The plan, known as the CIP, relies on a November bond vote as a key funding source.

An additional $6.7 billion in airport and utility projects would be funded by user fees. This will raise the price of every ticket sold if you thought flying was expensive now just wait till this gets passed. Oh right only the rich fly we all know that is a myth we all fly.

Houston’s last bond referendum was in 2012, and the city’s capital spending is expected to quickly exhaust the debt voters authorized then.

“It’s not a question of going to voters with debt. We will be going to the voters with an investment proposal (DEBT no matter what fancy wording you use it is debt), a package of community improvements that are important to delivering the kind of services Houstonians expect and deserve,” Turner said. “Those improvements, whether they are police or fire stations, libraries or community centers or parks, make our city a better place for all of us to live.” Only if you can afford to pay the taxes and fees

Hoping for repeat of 2012 Lets not make the same mistake twice this sounds great but comes at huge Tax Payer Cost and a city that is drowning in debt does not need to incur more debt.

City Finance Director Kelly Dowe said the size of the bond package has not been determined, (but the groups supporting it have a price tag for it) but Houston typically seeks enough leeway to last a bit beyond any one five-year capital plan.

The city’s 2012 bond vote totaled $410 million. Some worried that voters — who then faced another $2.3 billion in ballot items from Houston ISD and Houston Community College — would get sticker shock, but all three items passed easily. This new bond is $80 Million more then the last and we haven't paid it off yet.

Turner is hoping for a similar outcome this fall.

The mayor has pledged to ask Houstonians to repeal a voter imposed cap that limits what the city can collect in property taxes. That rule is a lightning rod for conservatives, who spearheaded its passage 13 years ago. If we do this we are fools their will be no stopping the spending.
Turner’s landmark pension reform bill, which took effect JULY 1st, also requires voters to approve the $1 billion in bonds Turner plans to inject into the under-funded police and municipal pensions. Should voters reject it, those groups’ substantial benefit cuts could be rescinded, hiking the city’s costs overnight.
Adding a general bond issue to the ballot alongside the pension bonds and what amounts to a tax hike is risky, said Jay Aiyer, a Texas Southern University political scientist professor. Please take note here TAX HIKE how many people can afford a TAX HIKE in Houston of course they will say the TAX HIKE is only on the rich if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.
The more measures you put on the ballot, the more confusing it becomes for voters and I think the more attention is taken away from selling the one item that absolutely must pass, and that’s the pension obligation bonds,” Aiyer said. “It would make a whole lot more sense to make the pension obligation bonds a standalone and push some of these other items off.” Believe me they want this to be confusing they add goodies to it they hide the cost and people vote for all the bonds it is a known tactic.
Dowe, the city finance director, said the council’s desire to avoid delaying key projects in the 2018 fiscal year — which starts Saturday — dictate that a bond election be held, whatever the political complications. Of course the Council wants the bonds for projects. They are coming up for elections in 2018 they can't delay they need the votes Projects buy VOTES.
“There’s no option — we have to move forward with a bond election in order to fund projects in FY18,” he said. “So, the decision is really made on passage of this CIP; by saying, ‘We want this to happen in FY18,’ in order for that to happen there have to be the bonds behind it.” There is always another option, but they won't look at it because it means being Fiscially Responcible.

 

HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLET the MAYOR and the COUNCIL are on a spending spree and you are going to pay for their Goodies one way or another. That is if you can afford to live in Houston when they are done.

 

 

HPD 2016 Crime Stats Show Small Uptick in Crimes

Mixed Performance in Solving Them

 

     I recently obtained a report from HPD that shows the number of cases reported and the percentage of those cases that were solved from 2012-2016.  The report shows about an 8% increase in violent crimes in 2016 compared to 2015, while non-violent crimes held fairly steady.  HPD had mixed results in solving its cases.

 

     Homicides - The number of homicides hit a low in 2011 at just under 200.  Since then the numbers have been tracking back up, reaching 298 last year.  This year was little changed at 290.  However, the rate at which HPD solves murders has been falling significantly in recent years.   In the early 2000's HPD regularly solved only about 60% of the murder cases.  After some adverse publicity about the Homicide Division, their performance greatly improved, solving 90% of their cases in 2008.  But the numbers started going south again in 2012 and it has been pretty much downhill since.  In 2016, HPD only solved 58%, the lowest number since I began tracking these stats in 2000.

 

 

      Rape - Much like homicides, rapes had been on the decline through the early 2000's.  In 2013, only 618 rapes were reported, the lowest number since 2000.  But the last three years have seen a dramatic and troubling increase in the number of rapes, topping out in 2016 at 1,035, a whopping 67% increase in just three years.  The increase appeared to catch HPD off guard as its clearance rate for rape cases plummeted in 2014 to just 24%.  But it has since recovered, solving 41% of the cases in 2015 and 53% in 2016.  Still having almost half of all rape cases go without justice is unacceptable.

 

        Robbery - Robberies in 2016 held steady at about 10,000 cases, a level that has been very consistent for the last two decades.  HPD has historically solved about 20% of the robbery cases and last year was no different.

 

          Burglary - Burglaries fell about 8% this year.  Burglaries topped out in 2009 at just under 30,000 and have been steadily declining ever since.  But HPD's clearance rate on burglaries continues to be abysmal, coming in this year at 6.9%.  Since 2000, HPD has never solved more that 8% of burglaries, clearly demonstrating this is not a priority for the department.

               

         The most recent round of stats shows that HPD has been improving its clearance rate on violent crimes over the last three years, but the rate for nonviolent crimes has fallen below what were already anemic numbers.  HPD lags behind the national average in all categories, although to be fair, so do most other large departments.  However, in the robbery and burglary categories it solves only about two-thirds and half as many of those cases, respectively, as the national average  --- a pretty clear indication HPD could do better.

 

 

         Some in law enforcement argue that the clearance rate is not a fair metric by which to judge the effectiveness of a law enforcement agency.  Certainly, there are other factors that should be examined as well, but I have long argued that this is one of the key metrics we should be using.  (See, "It's the Clearance Rate, Stupid", Houston Chronicle, May 18, 2008).

 

       Overall, when you look at HPD's performance over the last 15 years, not much has changed, except the cost of the department.  The City has gradually whittled away at the total personnel in the department (more on that later), but number of police officers has hovered right around 5,000.  The number of cases solved has ranged from a low of 22,000 to a high of 34,000.  The 2016 total of 25,000 is about average.

 

      However, the cost of the department has skyrocketed.  It has more than doubled since 2003, rising from $422 million to over $850 million.  And that is not even fully accounting for the cost of the department's pensions.   If that had been fully factored in last year, the cost would have topped $1 billion.  The average cost per crime solved has risen from about $16,000 in 2003 to over $34,000 last year, without fully accounting for the pension costs.

  

       Public safety now gobbles up about two-thirds of the City's general fund budget.  More money for public safety will, undoubtedly, be the battle cry for those seeking to repeal the property tax cap this fall.  But we have been throwing more money at this problem for the last two decades with little to show for it.  It is time to start rethinking public safety.  What do we expect of it?  How is it managed?  What are the mission critical functions?  We may ultimately conclude that more resources are needed.  But until we have that kind of analysis, throwing more money at the problem again should not be an option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you want to know if NON-CITIZENS VOTE click the link below and find out

/UserFiles/files/NonCitizenVote_(1).pdf

 

Arnold Foundation Report Calls for New

CityEmployees

to be Placed in Defined Contribution Plans

Bill King

As the Legislative session grinds to a close, the Arnold Foundation has issued a report on Turner's pension plan.  It tracks much of what I have said in my emails to you on this subject, including the recommendation that all new employees should be placed in defined contribution plans to prevent the accumulation of new pension debt.

Its assessment of the efficacy of the so-called corridor is more optimistic than mine, but the report does highlight that if the investment returns continue at their current levels, employee contributions will skyrocket to unsustainable levels.  This is something that I pointed out several weeks ago, and to me is the fatal defect in the so-called corridor mechanism.  It also ignores that the firefighter pension board intends to immediately file suit if it is included in the corridor to have it declared unconstitutional, which could collapse the entire plan.

Phasing out defined benefit plans in favor of defined contribution plans for new employees is favored by 70% of Houston voters, over 300 grassroots leaders and organizations, Houston's entire business community, including 150 financial professionals and executives and now, formally, the Arnold Foundation.

  Sen. Paul Bettencourt has an amendment to Turner's bill which is being carried by Sen. Joan Huffman that would force the City to honor the referendum we are likely to have on moving new employees to defined contribution plans this November.  Turner has already said if the referendum passes he will file litigation to have it declared invalid and ignore the will of the voters.

Why should we go through years of litigation on whether the will of Houston voters should be honored?  What conceivable reason is there to not include a provision in the bill that settles this question?

The answer is "none." 

Let the people vote!

 

 

Texas Senators Unveil Texas Senate Taxpayer Relief Act

AUSTIN – Today, flanked by a dozen Senators, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick introduced Finance Chair, Senator Jane Nelson, and Senator Charles Schwertner, who unveiled a major tax relief package that will keep the Texas economy leading the nation and provide long overdue tax relief to Texas taxpayers.

“I am pleased to support one of the largest and most significant tax relief packages in the history of Texas,” said Patrick. “These reforms will provide immediate and lasting economic relief to both homeowners and businesses. I worked closely with Senator Nelson and Senator Schwertner over the last four months and I appreciate their leadership on this issue.

“At the end of the day, the Texas economy stays strong if people have more money in their pocket and if businesses have more money to create jobs.”

The tax relief package includes several pieces of legislation that will:

-Provide homeowners with immediate tax relief by raising the homestead exemption to 25 percent of the median market value of residential homesteads in Texas. For the first year of implementation, the amount exempted from school property tax is estimated to be $33,625 per homestead. This amount will adjust with market values in the future. This will provide an estimated $2.441 billion in property tax relief in 2016-2017.

-Reduce the tax burden on Texas businesses by making permanent a 15 percent rate reduction in the franchise tax (SB 7 – Nelson).

-Support Texas small businesses by increasing the franchise tax exemption from the current $1 million exemption to $4 million. This will completely eliminate franchise tax liability for more than half of all small businesses currently paying the tax (SB 8 – Schwertner).

-The cumulative effect of these reforms to the franchise tax will save Texas businesses more than $2 billion over the next biennium.

-A proposed constitutional amendment will also protect homeowners by permanently banning any tax on the conveyance of real property (SB 1 & SJR- Nelson).

Patrick added, “This is the Senator’s bill and Senator’s Senate. I’m proud to say this legislative package already has bipartisan support and 24 Senators have signed on their support.”

In response to this announcement, Bill Hammond, CEO, Texas Association of Business said, “The Texas Association of Business and the business community praise Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Sen. Jane Nelson for a plan to cut taxes that will help both homeowners and businesses throughout the state. We feel this is a strong starting point.”

Will Newton, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas said, “We salute Lt. Governor Patrick and the Senate authors of this package of legislation, and specifically the small business tax relief act.

“SB1, SB7, and SB8 are sure footed steps down a tax relief path, providing property and small business owners alike with more opportunity for capital reinvestment. As we have stated before NFIB/Texas supports full repeal of the franchise tax, but will also support any and all legislation that works to reform the tax and raise the exemption threshold,” concluded Newton.

 

Most Controversial Election Bills

Photo Voter ID

SB 5 (filed by State Senator Joan Huffman) was hailed by Lieutenant Governor Patrick as “The Solution” to our photo voter ID legal problem. It was also endorsed by the Senate Republican Caucus headed by Paul Bettencourt without anybody actually reading it.

Why the controversy?

1.      It makes the Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID) a permanent part of our election law, allowing voters to circumvent photo ID continually and vote a REGULAR ballot.

2.      It attempts to assuage concerns by raising the penalty for lying on the RID. But that’s a toothless tiger with the current wording of the RID document.

What’s going on behind the scenes?

1.      The bill was not written by Joan Huffman. It was written by the office of the Attorney General.

2.      They claim that federal court Judge Ramos of Corpus Christi is about to placed Texas under her personal pre-clearance mandate for 10 years. They say that is inevitable.

3.      They claim that they’ve reached an agreement with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. When Texas appeals the pre-clearance mandate, the 5th Circuit will overturn Judge Ramos’ order but ONLY IF TEXAS PASSES SB 5 EXACTLY AS WRITTEN.

So one federal judge appointed by Obama for life, clearly legislating her party’s agenda from the bench, is ordering Texas to surrender its right to set its own election laws. And allegedly another set of federal judges also appointed for life is telling Texas to surrender to THEIR photo ID language or be imprisoned for 10 years under Judge Ramos’ rules.

Let’s assume that any of that is actually true. If it is, I am so glad that the senior Republican leadership in the Senate was not in charge at the Alamo. When Santa Anna demanded surrender, Colonel Travis replied with a cannon shot. When the federal judges demand our surrender, our leaders seem to be fighting to see who can raise the white flag first.

We have spoken directly and at length with Senator Huffman’s Chief of Staff and made three very logical suggestions.

1.      Simply change the Texas Election Code on voter ID to an exact duplicate of the Indiana photo voter ID law. That one has made it all the way through the Supreme Court and has been upheld.

2.      Make the RID document trigger a provisional ballot and change the instructions to the county Ballot Boards so they don’t kick out the vote solely on the basis of a lack of proper photo ID.

3.      Add one line to the RID document to make it enforceable. Add “I have tried to obtain one or more of the approved forms of photo ID and have failed.” NOW, if the person signs that declaration and we learn that they have a driver’s license, we CAN prosecute. With the current language, we could never successfully charge or prosecute the perpetrator.

Our suggestions were heard politely and IGNORED. “We have to pass the bill exactly as worded or the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals won’t overturn Judge Ramos’ pre=clearance mandate.”

Election Bills that Improve Integrity

Mail ballot fraud from nursing homes and state residential institutions

HB 2815 by Oliverson: Addresses the biggest, state-wide source of voting fraud—mail ballots from nursing homes and state residential institutions. I put this first because it’s my bill and my second try at getting this passed.

Today mail ballots are sent to registered voters who are residents of nursing homes and other residential state institutions. In too many cases the voters don’t vote. The staff at the residential facilities vote for the voter, over and over. The Texas Secretary of State (Elections Division) will testify that this is the single biggest source of voter fraud in Texas.

This bill would end mail ballots for any residential facility with 5 or more registered voters in residence. Instead, one election judge from each major party would go to the nursing home or state home and receive the voters’ votes in person. The same ID standards are required and the same rules for ballot security would be in effect.

The state of Wisconsin, where I trained thousands of election observers in 2012, does it this way. It’s been challenged in court and upheld. Most importantly, it works.

HB2815.                                                                                                                                           Changing Texas from an open primary state to a closed primary state

HB 1061 (by Rinaldi), 1072 (by Lang), 1086 (by Goldman), 1374 (by Fallon) and 1353 (by Shaheen) end open primary elections in Texas. You would register to vote with an indication of your party affiliation. That affiliation would be on your voter registration certificate and on your electronic registration record. You could only vote in the primary of the party with which you are affiliated on record. It would be a felony to cross over to vote in the primary of another party with which you are not affiliated.                                                                                                                                    

Organized Crime & Voter Fraud

HB 2139 by Schofield

Classifies “ballot harvesting” as “organized crime” and increases the penalties assigned to a conviction. Brings this activity under the Texas anti-racketeering laws with some real teeth in prosecution and punishment.

                                                                                                                                 

Faithless Presidential Electors

HB 985 (by Wray) and 1060 (by Zedler) would punish presidential electors who don’t cast their vote aligned with the results of the general election. HB 1060 would make it a jail time felony for an elector to NOT vote in line with the election results.

                                                                                                                                           

Making Bond Elections More Transparent and Fair

Minimum Turnout Required

HB 1773 (by Swanson) requires that 25% of all registered voters in the district must turn out to vote or the bond cannot pass.

SB 702 (by Huffines) requires that 33% of all registered voters in the district must turn out to vote or the bond cannot pass.

SB 701 (by Huffines) moves all bond elections by any taxing district to the NOVEMBER general election.

More Detailed Disclosure on Bonds

HB 1272 (by Schofield), 1607 (by Schofield), 1658 (by Phelan), and SB 642 (by Bettencourt) all require more detailed information on bonds disseminated much earlier in the election cycle.

                                                                                                                            

Election Bills that Hurt Integrity

Attacking Photo Voter ID

HB 1002 (by Israel) would allow a person who registered to vote when obtaining their driver’s license to use a receipt from the DPS in place of a voter registration card or other form of ID to vote in any precinct they choose.

HB 1005 (by Israel) takes us back to 2010 for voter ID. Utility bills, phone bills, photocopies of checks, etc., with NO Reasonable Impediment Declaration all let a person vote a regular ballot.

SB 643 (by Watson) in the Senate is the same as Israel’s HB 1005.

HB 2202 (by Vo) would allow student IDs to be used for voting. (It’s a mess in Wisconsin because of this.)                                                                                                                                            

Turning out the PRISON vote

HB 956 (by Ortega) would allow CONVICTED felons to vote if they are appealing their conviction.

HB 1215 (by Johnson of Dallas) allows jailed persons to change the precinct in which they’re registered while they’re still in jail.

HB 1897 (by Dutton) and SB 925 (by Garcia) would make every county jail in Texas a polling place for every election.                                                                                                                                            

Migrating from Electronic Voting to Paper Ballots

HB 949 (by Villalba), reduces electronic voting audits in county wide systems.

SB 506 (by West) is the identical Senate version of Villalba’s HB 949.

HB 1711 (by Hefner) adds a new paper trail to electronic voting.

SB 829 (by Hughes) is the Senate version of Heffner’ HB 1711.

                                                                                                                                         Protecting Illegal Voter Registrations

HB2015 (by Paul) blocks voter registration information we need to challenge illegal voter registrations.                                                                                                                                  

Eliminating Majority Vote Requirements

HB 961 (by Rodriguez of Behar) allows the boards of junior colleges to declare that an election can be decided by a PLURALITY of voters, not a majority.

                                                                                                                                          Undermining the Secrecy of Your Vote

HB 1360 (by Shaheen) and SB 690 (by Watson) would allow a voter to photograph the summary screen of his ballot before he presses Cast Ballot.

This is exactly what the UNIONS want. They can then FORCE their members to photograph their ballots and later SHOW their votes to union officials to prove their loyalty or be punished for not following the union label.

Further it opens the door to a voter photographing other voter’s ballots in an adjacent booth.

                                                                                                                                            

Leveraging Voter Assistance

HB 1887 and HB 1888 (both by Romero) allow a party to “import” election translators from adjacent counties.

                                                                                                                                

Further Complicating Elections

HB 1933 (by Springer) adds yet another election day in March. It’s already bad enough that voters in May have to travel to 3 different voting locations (county, school district, MUD district, ESD, etc.). Now he wants to add yet another legal election day to further diffuse the turnout.

                                                                                                                     

Dictating to the Private Sector

HB 2201 (by Vo) would force employers to give employees time off to go vote with no limit on time taken, etc.

Most Controversial Election Bill

Photo Voter ID

SB 5 (filed by State Senator Joan Huffman) was hailed by Lieutenant Governor Patrick as “The Solution” to our photo voter ID legal problem. It was also endorsed by the Senate Republican Caucus headed by Paul Bettencourt without anybody actually reading it.

Why the controversy?

1.      It makes the Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID) a permanent part of our election law, allowing voters to circumvent photo ID continually and vote a REGULAR ballot.

2.      It attempts to assuage concerns by raising the penalty for lying on the RID. But that’s a toothless tiger with the current wording of the RID document.

What’s going on behind the scenes?

1.      The bill was not written by Joan Huffman. It was written by the office of the Attorney General.

2.      They claim that federal court Judge Ramos of Corpus Christi is about to placed Texas under her personal pre-clearance mandate for 10 years. They say that is inevitable.

3.      They claim that they’ve reached an agreement with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. When Texas appeals the pre-clearance mandate, the 5th Circuit will overturn Judge Ramos’ order but ONLY IF TEXAS PASSES SB 5 EXACTLY AS WRITTEN.

So one federal judge appointed by Obama for life, clearly legislating her party’s agenda from the bench, is ordering Texas to surrender its right to set its own election laws. And allegedly another set of federal judges also appointed for life is telling Texas to surrender to THEIR photo ID language or be imprisoned for 10 years under Judge Ramos’ rules.

Let’s assume that any of that is actually true. If it is, I am so glad that the senior Republican leadership in the Senate was not in charge at the Alamo. When Santa Anna demanded surrender, Colonel Travis replied with a cannon shot. When the federal judges demand our surrender, our leaders seem to be fighting to see who can raise the white flag first.

We have spoken directly and at length with Senator Huffman’s Chief of Staff and made three very logical suggestions.

1.      Simply change the Texas Election Code on voter ID to an exact duplicate of the Indiana photo voter ID law. That one has made it all the way through the Supreme Court and has been upheld.

2.      Make the RID document trigger a provisional ballot and change the instructions to the county Ballot Boards so they don’t kick out the vote solely on the basis of a lack of proper photo ID.

3.      Add one line to the RID document to make it enforceable. Add “I have tried to obtain one or more of the approved forms of photo ID and have failed.” NOW, if the person signs that declaration and we learn that they have a driver’s license, we CAN prosecute. With the current language, we could never successfully charge or prosecute the perpetrator.

Our suggestions were heard politely and IGNORED. “We have to pass the bill exactly as worded or the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals won’t overturn Judge Ramos’ pre=clearance mandate.”

Election Bills that Improve Integrity

Mail ballot fraud from nursing homes and state residential institutions

HB 2815 by Oliverson: Addresses the biggest, state-wide source of voting fraud—mail ballots from nursing homes and state residential institutions. I put this first because it’s my bill and my second try at getting this passed.

Today mail ballots are sent to registered voters who are residents of nursing homes and other residential state institutions. In too many cases the voters don’t vote. The staff at the residential facilities vote for the voter, over and over. The Texas Secretary of State (Elections Division) will testify that this is the single biggest source of voter fraud in Texas.

This bill would end mail ballots for any residential facility with 5 or more registered voters in residence. Instead, one election judge from each major party would go to the nursing home or state home and receive the voters’ votes in person. The same ID standards are required and the same rules for ballot security would be in effect.

The state of Wisconsin, where I trained thousands of election observers in 2012, does it this way. It’s been challenged in court and upheld. Most importantly, it works.

HB 2815.

                                                                                                                                             

Changing Texas from an open primary state to a closed primary state

HB 1061 (by Rinaldi), 1072 (by Lang), 1086 (by Goldman), 1374 (by Fallon) and 1353 (by Shaheen) end open primary elections in Texas. You would register to vote with an indication of your party affiliation. That affiliation would be on your voter registration certificate and on your electronic registration record. You could only vote in the primary of the party with which you are affiliated on record. It would be a felony to cross over to vote in the primary of another party with which you are not affiliated.                                                                                                                                               

Organized Crime & Voter Fraud

HB 2139 by Schofield

Classifies “ballot harvesting” as “organized crime” and increases the penalties assigned to a conviction. Brings this activity under the Texas anti-racketeering laws with some real teeth in prosecution and punishment.

                                                                                                                                   

Faithless Presidential Electors

HB 985 (by Wray) and 1060 (by Zedler) would punish presidential electors who don’t cast their vote aligned with the results of the general election. HB 1060 would make it a jail time felony for an elector to NOT vote in line with the election results.

                                                                                                                                              

Making Bond Elections More Transparent and Fair

Minimum Turnout Required

HB 1773 (by Swanson) requires that 25% of all registered voters in the district must turn out to vote or the bond cannot pass.

SB 702 (by Huffines) requires that 33% of all registered voters in the district must turn out to vote or the bond cannot pass.

SB 701 (by Huffines) moves all bond elections by any taxing district to the NOVEMBER general election.

More Detailed Disclosure on Bonds

HB 1272 (by Schofield), 1607 (by Schofield), 1658 (by Phelan), and SB 642 (by Bettencourt) all require more detailed information on bonds disseminated much earlier in the election cycle.

                                                                                                                                 

Election Bills that Hurt Integrity

Attacking Photo Voter ID

HB 1002 (by Israel) would allow a person who registered to vote when obtaining their driver’s license to use a receipt from the DPS in place of a voter registration card or other form of ID to vote in any precinct they choose.

HB 1005 (by Israel) takes us back to 2010 for voter ID. Utility bills, phone bills, photocopies of checks, etc., with NO Reasonable Impediment Declaration all let a person vote a regular ballot.

SB 643 (by Watson) in the Senate is the same as Israel’s HB 1005.

HB 2202 (by Vo) would allow student IDs to be used for voting. (It’s a mess in Wisconsin because of this.)

                                                                                                                                             Turning out the PRISON vote

HB 956 (by Ortega) would allow CONVICTED felons to vote if they are appealing their conviction.

HB 1215 (by Johnson of Dallas) allows jailed persons to change the precinct in which they’re registered while they’re still in jail.

HB 1897 (by Dutton) and SB 925 (by Garcia) would make every county jail in Texas a polling place for every election.

                                                                                                                                            

Migrating from Electronic Voting to Paper Ballots

HB 949 (by Villalba), reduces electronic voting audits in county wide systems.

SB 506 (by West) is the identical Senate version of Villalba’s HB 949.

HB 1711 (by Hefner) adds a new paper trail to electronic voting.

SB 829 (by Hughes) is the Senate version of Heffner’ HB 1711.

                                                                                                                                           Protecting Illegal Voter Registrations

HB2015 (by Paul) blocks voter registration information we need to challenge illegal voter registrations.                                                                                                                                  

Eliminating Majority Vote Requirements

HB 961 (by Rodriguez of Behar) allows the boards of junior colleges to declare that an election can be decided by a PLURALITY of voters, not a majority.

                                                                                                                                             

Undermining the Secrecy of Your Vote

HB 1360 (by Shaheen) and SB 690 (by Watson) would allow a voter to photograph the summary screen of his ballot before he presses Cast Ballot.

This is exactly what the UNIONS want. They can then FORCE their members to photograph their ballots and later SHOW their votes to union officials to prove their loyalty or be punished for not following the union label.

Further it opens the door to a voter photographing other voter’s ballots in an adjacent booth.                                                                                                                                           

Leveraging Voter Assistance

HB 1887 and HB 1888 (both by Romero) allow a party to “import” election translators from adjacent counties                                                                                                                                  

Further Complicating Elections

HB 1933 (by Springer) adds yet another election day in March. It’s already bad enough that voters in May have to travel to 3 different voting locations (county, school district, MUD district, ESD, etc.). Now he wants to add yet another legal election day to further diffuse the turnout.

                                                                                                                      

Dictating to the Private Sector

HB 2201 (by Vo) would force employers to give employees time off to go vote with no limit on time taken, etc.

 

Study Questions Voter ID’s Suppression of Turnout

A new study by professors from Yale, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania challenges the notion that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities.

“For a perfect example of the term ‘alternate facts,’ look no further,” @LCChurchwell says.

The new study finds “no definitive relationship” between tough laws requiring voters to present identification and a dropoff in Hispanic, black, and other minority turnout.

The study comes as a response to another one, published and widely reported in January, that asserted states with voter ID laws drive down turnout on Election Day, particularly among Hispanics. That earlier study, conducted by professors from the University of San Diego and Bucknell University, often is cited by liberal opponents of voter ID laws.

The study released March 10 questions the numbers of the January report, which were based on the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, or CCES, a multi-university resource associated with Harvard University. Citing inaccuracies and errors in the previous study, it says:

Here, we show that the results of this paper are a product of large data inaccuracies, that the evidence does not support the stated conclusion, and that model specifications produce highly variable results. When errors in the analysis are corrected, one can recover positive, negative, or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout. Our findings underscore that no definitive relationship between strict voter ID laws and turnout can be established from the validated CCES data.

The new study was conducted by political science professors Eitan Hersh of Yale University, Marc Meredith of the University of Pennsylvania, and Justin Grimmer and Clayton Nall of Stanford University, along with Jonathan Mummolo, a doctoral candidate at Stanford. The new report suggests the previous study was biased:

These measurement errors in turnout raise the potential of both inefficiency and bias. Even if these laws affect turnout, measurement error may add so much noise to the data that we fail to detect any effects (inefficiency). And once the data are aggregated by state, if measurement errors are correlated with the adoption of voter ID laws, we will recover the wrong treatment effect estimates (bias).

The authors of the previous study, political science professor Zoltan Hajnal and doctoral candidate Nazita Lajevardi of the University of San Diego and political science professor Lindsay Nielson of Bucknell University, promoted their research in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other major media outlets

In an op-ed last month in The Washington Post, the professors wrote:

But when we dig deeper and look specifically at racial and ethnic minority turnout, we see a significant drop in minority participation when and where these laws are implemented.

Hispanics are affected the most: Turnout is 7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries in strict ID states than it is in other states. Strict ID laws mean lower African American, Asian American and multiracial American turnout as well. White turnout is largely unaffected.

Some media outlets too quickly embraced the report from the University of San Diego and Bucknell University, said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which advocates voter ID laws and investigates voter fraud.

“For a perfect example of the term ‘alternate facts,’ look no further,” Churchwell told The Daily Signal, referring to the first study. “For years, activists and academics have been searching for the silver bullet to prove voter ID is harmful to minorities, despite broad support for the laws across every demographic.”

“Many federal courts have been asked to do the same: Find a causal link between voter ID and intentional decreases in minority turnout,” he said. “All eventually failed. Despite this, too many in the media are willing to report an initial study as gospel before peer reviewers can weigh in. It should have struck many news editors weeks ago that it took until 2017 to provide proof to a belief that could have been confirmed a decade ago, if true.”

 

Trump Derangement Syndrome: America’s Coasts, Cities, Colleges and Newsrooms Hardest Hit

 

Seton Motley

Kurt Schlichter

The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly.

Abby Johnson Former Planned Parenthood Director Slams HuffPo Contributor on Planned Parenthood Missteps

Thomas Sowell Education at a Crossroads

The election of President Donald Trump has infected small, seemingly contained portions of America with a disease. The outbreak exists largely along both coasts - but there are also major infestations in urban areas and university campuses throughout the country. And a particularly virulent strain is running rampant through newsrooms nigh everywhere.

The malady is Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). TDS doesn’t seem to affect the sufferer’s body - but the mind is quickly and, it so far appears, irrevocably warped.

President Trump ran promising certain things. And he is now implementing precisely those things. This is, of course, quite astonishing to most political observers who are used to politicians doing close to nil of what they promised on the trail.

But Trump won on those things, so people un-afflicted with TDS find him keeping his word to be generally refreshing - and think he has won the right to do those things.

Those suffering from TDS find this surprising circumstance screeching-ly objectionable. Set-fires-and-break-things objectionable. Professors-losing-their-minds-at-cops objectionable. Because nothing says “The other side is unhinged” - like mass unhinged actions.

Let us look at one Trump promise - and TDS sufferers’ reaction to his keeping it.

Behold Network Neutrality. Net Neutrality is Socialism for the Internet - it guarantees everyone equal amounts of nothing. It is government preemptively ruling out any innovation anywhere - unless and until it rules it in. So it is Survival of the Fattest - May-the-Best-Lobbyists-Win. The companies with the most campaign and K Street coin to throw around get the government policy they want. Net Neutrality is terrible, top-down, cronyism-infested, government-overlord-ism.

Net Neutrality is something that, under an orderly constitutional process, would emanate from Congress. Legislation imposing it would be passed by the Legislative Branch, signed by the president - and then his Executive Branch would execute it.

But Net Neutrality is such a terrible idea, most Democrats wouldn’t even touch it. The Donkey Party gave up on passing it through Congress - back when they controlled Congress.

And We the People certainly didn’t seem at all interested. In 2010, 95 congressional Democratic candidates ran on a Net Neutrality pledge - all ninety-five lost.

 

George Soros, who fancies himself a god and intends to remake the world, is the Lord of Chaos and pursues a world order that is demonic, not divine. Monie Man for TDS and Riots everywhere


(Article by William F. Jasper from TheNewAmerican.com)

“I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of self-importance — to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god.” So confessed George Soros (shown) in his 1987 book The Alchemy of Finance.

George Soros’ use of past-tense verbs in the admission above might lead some readers to assume his psychological deity complex was a passing narcissism that the maturing billionaire has conquered in the three decades since it was written. That would be a false assumption; if anything, the 86-year-old currency speculator has grown more megalomaniacal with each passing year.
“It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out,” Soros told the British newspaper The Independent in 1993.
Yes, the hedge-fund mogul has been “living out” his delusional fantasies, sometimes elevating himself from merely “a god,” to actually being “God.” Naturally, claiming such supernatural attributes entails more than a bit of madness, something Soros has also publicly discussed on more than one occasion.
“Next to my fantasies about being God, I also have very strong fantasies of being mad,” Soros once explained in a British television interview. “In fact, my grandfather was actually paranoid. I have a lot of madness in my family. So far I have escaped it.” (Really!)
Has the delusional billionaire really escaped the madness? He told his biographer, Michael T. Kaufman, that he views himself as “the conscience of the world.” And he is spending billions of dollars to remake the world to fit his fantasies. If a homeless derelict were to declare himself God and the conscience of the world, he would be ignored, shunned, or locked up; madmen with wealth and power are praised and sycophantically courted.
The Roman emperors Nero and Ca­ligula are notorious for their murderous megalomania. They assigned themselves god status, but ruled as demented demons. Soros may not possess their dictatorial powers, but then, they didn’t possess his wealth and global influence. We intend in this article to examine some of the vast activist networks and political campaigns that George Soros funds.
Certainly, the super-rich should have as much right as any other citizens to participate in the political system that governs us all. But Soros appears to be perfectly comfortable operating both within and outside the law to destroy (he would say “reform”) our political-economic system. In his book Soros on Soros, the would-be god says: “I do not accept the rules imposed by others.” After years of operating with impunity, he has become so brazen that he appears not to worry about doing the illegal, as well as the immoral. It is our contention that the prima facie evidence of criminal activity by George Soros and those he funds is sufficient to demand official investigations — by Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, and state attorneys general. Utilizing the subpoena and other investigatory powers not available to the private citizen, these officials have the duty to take on powerful interests that are corrupting and undermining the rule of law in America — and endangering the freedoms we hold dear. At the very least, the Internal Revenue Service — which recently denied Tea Party groups non-profit status — could take away the tax-exempt status of Soros’ huge foundations, or force them to cease funding radical groups. And if federal authorities exercise even a fraction of the zeal they expended on prosecuting and persecuting conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, Soros the god-man could end up in jail.

Organizing Chaos

Over the past several years, American cities have been plunged into racial and civil turmoil at a level we have not experienced since the 1960s and 1970s. The anti-police riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and elsewhere have morphed into anti-Trump riots across the country, with many of the same organizations and individuals serving as instigators: Black Lives Matter, MoveOn.org, International Action Center, ANSWER Coalition, and other far-left, fake “grassroots” groups. They reliably perform on cue because they are lavishly funded by the Soros Open Society Foundations (OSF), the other big tax-exempt foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie, et al.), and activist “pass through” organizations, such as the Tides Foundation, that bundle and launder hundreds of millions of dollars in “dark money” to the street revolutionaries.

Black Lives Matter (BLM), which has become one of the most efficient riot-making operations, has been especially blessed with largess from the billionaire elites. As The New American noted in a 2014 article (“Rioting for a Reason”), BLM was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, three black lesbian Marxists “who idolize communist terrorist revolutionaries Assata Shakur and Angela Davis, as well as the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Movement.” Naturally, for Soros, that qualifies BLM for oodles of cash. An investigation of Soros/OSF financials by the Washington Times in 2015 found that Soros had showered BLM and its related network of activist organizations with more than $33 million. Not bad, but that was only seed money. The Ford Foundation, which has been funding revolution for decades, announced a few months ago it intends to raise $100 million in pooled donor funds for a newly formed Black-Led Movement Fund, of which the BLM (and its rioters) will be major beneficiaries.

Following the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida in 2012, Black Lives Matter grew from a hashtag slogan to a nationwide phenomenon, thanks largely to funding from Soros and a huge boost from the major media. However, BLM’s big break came with the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and the organized “unrest” that followed. Two of the BLM groups that played a central role in the “Ferguson unrest” (that included riots, arson, shooting, and looting) are the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) and Missourians for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), both of which are hardcore Marxist-Leninist organizations run by veteran communists who have been leading riotous “protests” for decades. A top founder/leader at OBS is Jamala Rogers, a professional “community organizer” since the 1970s and veteran member of the Revolutionary Communist League, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the radical Black Power movement.

MORE is simply the rebranded Missouri chapter of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the former national organization of paid activists inspired by Marxist strategist Saul Alinsky and founded by 1960s SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) radical Wade Rathke. Like ACORN, the white “social justice” leaders at MORE pay protesters (mostly black or “people of color”) to create street theater that can be exploited to advance their causes. Some of MORE’s rent-a-mob activities in Ferguson were exposed in 2015 when black protesters occupied MORE’s offices and threatened the white radicals because they hadn’t been paid as promised. To placate the angry protesters, MORE provided them with documents showing that they had dispersed the funds appropriately. Where did the money go? The accounting documents list, among other things, payments for cellphones, walkie-talkies, banners, T-shirts, art supplies, van rentals, gasoline, catering, training sessions, organizer salaries, etc. In other words, virtually everything needed to give a purely AstroTurf production the appearance of a “grassroots” protest. Where did the funding come from? The Washington Times investigation found that one line of Soros funding for “police reform” in 2014 amounted to $5.4 million, with about half of those funds “earmarked to Ferguson, with the money primarily going to OBS and MORE.”

Another significant recipient of Soros cash is Colorlines, an online news site that helped parlay Ferguson into a national road show. “More than 500 of us have traveled from Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, Tucson, Washington, D.C., Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and other cities to support the people of Ferguson and help turn a local moment into a national movement,” wrote Akiba Solomon, a writer at Colorlines.

Readying the Rioting

The anti-Trump demonstrations and riots — both before and after the election — follow a pattern that we have seen over and over again, from the protests of Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to Dream Act/Open Borders. Not only are the tactics the same, but many of the same groups and individuals keep reappearing in all of these seemingly spontaneous outbreaks of organized chaos.

Were the “Not My President” rioters that illegally blocked streets and freeways, set fires, threw Molotov cocktails, injured police officers, destroyed property, and defaced public buildings with graffiti day after day following the November 8 election merely Soros rent-a-mobs? There is good reason to believe so.

Not only were well-known Soros-funded organizations such as Black Lives Matter and MoveOn.org prominently involved, but Soros-funded groups such as Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN) ran advertisements on Craigslist and in newspapers for “full-time organizers” to “Fight the Trump Agenda!” at $15/hour, plus paid vacation and benefits.

Many of the anti-Trump rioters traveled across state lines, which means they not only violated state laws against rioting and inciting to riot, but also federal law against the same crimes. Specifically, the rioters could be (and should be) charged under Title 18 U.S. Code § 2101, which provides that “whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce … to incite a riot; or to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or … to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot … shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

As to be expected, Soros PR minions deny that their boss has anything to do with the mayhem caused by those he funds. “George Soros is not funding these (anti Trump) protests,” Soros spokesperson Michael Vachon said in an interview with Value Walk. Of course, Soros also denied funding the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. But financial records showed that he had provided millions of dollars to the Tides Foundation, which then passed through funding to the OWS activists.

This is why official congressional and prosecutorial investigations are necessary. Soros and the other funders of the riots, subversion, and anarchy will continue to deny the obvious, as they have been doing for decades. The undercover videos of James O’Keefe’s Veritas Project have exposed top Democratic Party operatives boasting of their illegal activities, such as voter fraud, busing in demonstrators, fomenting riots, initiating fights, illegal funding, etc. This is happening on a massive scale and can only be stopped by utilizing the same legal bulwarks that are used against organized crime. The financial records of the funders and organ­izations involved must be subpoenaed, and individuals placed under oath, where they will face the full penalty of perjury. As the saying goes, “follow the money,” and prosecute those who are financing the ongoing demolition of America.

Investigation and prosecution of the rioters — and especially those who fund and direct them — is important not only for redress of the crimes already committed and social harm already done, but also to deter plans for similar future havoc.

Dark Money Campaign Cash

According to a survey of official records by the Center for Responsive Politics, George Soros gave $19.5 million in political contributions during the most recent election cycle. That does not include funds he gave to nonprofits and activist groups that are not officially backing a particular candidate or ballot measure, but are nonetheless actively involved those campaigns.

The Soros hypocrisy meter hits the highest levels when it comes to “dark money,” which the liberal-left media invariably associate with those labeled conservative. For the past two decades, Soros has led and funded the “campaign finance reform” movement. However, at the same time that he was decrying the “corrupting influence” of money on politics, he was pioneering the funding of “527 Groups” (so-called due to their status under Section 527 of the IRS Code) which can raise unlimited funds for political campaigns. He has organized Democracy Alliance, bringing together dozens of billionaires and millionaires to provide rivers of cash to his favored candidates and causes.

Voter Fraud

It is impossible to sustain our system of representative government if the election process is corrupted. Groups that encourage non-citizens to vote and that work to make it difficult-to-impossible to enforce election security and verify voter identity are undermining our Republic. The Soros network has generously funded many of these “open border” and “open voting” groups, such as the American Council of La Raza, America Votes, ACLU, America’s Voice, American Bridge 21st Century, and Project Vote. Although charges of widespread vote fraud, particularly involving illegal aliens, have been dismissed by the establishment media, there is ample reason to believe this fraud is significant and should be officially and aggressively investigated.

Coopting the U.S. Government

In a 2005 interview, National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep noted that Soros has “been described as the only private citizen with his own foreign policy.” Inskeep remarked to Soros: “Uzbekistan, the Open Society Institute was actually receiving grants from the US State Department and spending millions of dollars of US government money on various programs.” That was under President George W. Bush; it was not an isolated incident, and got much worse under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It’s easy to be a “philanthropist” when you’re spending other people’s money — in this case (and others), American taxpayers’ money.

Soros has similarly hijacked U.S. government policy (not by force, but by collusion) in Ukraine, Egypt, Albania, the European Union, and elsewhere — invariably with disastrous results. He has also been exposed as one of the major forces behind the calamitous “refugee crisis” that is swamping Europe with a tsunami of Muslim migrants — and that is threatening to do the same here, thanks to Soros-Obama-Clinton-Kerry collusion. A May 2016 internal report of the International Migration Institute (IMI), an official project of Soros’ Open Society Foundations, boasted of providing the funding for the “Sutherland Report,” the blueprint for Europe’s migration catastrophe authored by Goldman Sachs billionaire Sir Peter Sutherland, now the UN secretary-general’s special representative on international migration. The same report by top IMI staffers Anna Crowley and Kate Rosin, entitled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review,” calls for “accepting the current crisis as the new normal.” Soros also provides funding for the Columbia Global Policy Initiative (CGPI) at Columbia University, which hosts the secretariat for Peter Sutherland’s UN migration office.

The Media “Echo Chamber”

How does George Soros manage to keep getting away with it? Obviously, his billions have bought a lot of influence. One of the major keys to his success is the Teflon shield he has been provided by the establishment corporatist media, which also act as his “echo chamber.” That’s by design. A September 27, 2007 e-mail from John Podesta to Soros, Peter Lewis, Steve Bing, and other left-wing billionaires outlined his plans for parlaying the vast network they had financed into a media “echo chamber” that would “control the political discourse.” At the time, Podesta was president of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. He went from that post to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“Now that this enhanced infrastructure is in place — grassroots organizing; multi-issue advocacy groups; think tanks; youth outreach; faith communities; micro-targeting outfits; the netroots and blogosphere — we need to better utilize these networks to drive the content of politics through a strong ‘echo chamber’ and message delivery system,” Podesta wrote.

“Non-partisan voter registration can be highly effective in delivering progressive voters to the polls,” Podesta states in the memo. “The Sandler family and [Open Society Institute] are already deeply involved in funding organizations to do this work in communities of color and with respect to unmarried women.” This further underscores our point above regarding the ostensibly non-partisan nature of the Soros focus on voter registration.

Several thousand hacked e-mails released by WikiLeaks and DCLeaks have provided plenty of damning evidence to justify initiating a whole series of investigations into the Lord of Chaos. Not surprisingly, the controlled establishment media has almost completely ignored this bonanza, prompting an editorial from Investor’s Business Daily this past September 19 entitled “The Bizarre Media Blackout of Hacked George Soros Documents.”

Bizarre indeed. However, it would be worse than bizarre — it would be serious nonfeasance of office — for our elected and appointed officials to evade their responsibilities to investigate and prosecute the “malefactors of great wealth” who undermine our society while posing as its saviorType your paragraph here.

 

​Do not take this article lightly. Every word is true. The huge elephant in the room is why hasn't congress investigated this man? Has Soros infiltrated the halls of Congress? Who is he paying in Congress? These questions must be answered.

 

The Truth about Pension Bonds

 

Some of you may recall that during the campaign, I advocated the use of pension bonds as one of the tools that could be used to help solve our pension crisis.  At the time Turner chided me that, "Bill, you know that you cannot solve debt with more debt."  Now, of course, he is singing a different tune.

Pension bonds are a tool that can be used to help solve the problem.  But like any tool they can be used the right way or they can be used the wrong way.  What Turner is being proposing is definitely the wrong way.

What follows is a primer on pension bonds.  If you are interested in learning more about them than you ever thought you would want to know, please continue reading.  If not, you may want to skip to the next item in your inbox.

A Brief History of Pension Bonds

Some enterprising investment bankers began promoting the use of pension obligation bonds ("POBs) about 20 years ago, as public pensions began to see their unfunded liabilities grow.  POBs gave governmental entities a way to make up some of the shortfall without having to raise taxes or reduce expenses, thus avoiding any fiscal pain, at least in the short run.  Also, investment bankers pitched that the governmental entities would actually earn a profit by issuing the bonds at lower interest rates than the pension plans would earn when they invested the money (this is referred to as an "arbitrage" -more on that in a minute.)  Of course, pension managers loved the idea, as it would give them more money to invest and, hopefully, close their funding gap.

The problem the investment bankers and pension managers had in Texas is that we generally require taxpayer approval of bonds that are secured by property taxes, which POBs are.  So, in 2003, SB1696 (now Texas Local Govt. Code Chp. 107) was introduced to allow certain cities in Texas to issue any amount of POBs up to the amount of their unfunded pension liabilities, without taxpayer approval.  There is scant legislative history on the bill.  In the committee hearing in the Senate only an investment banker from Morgan Stanley and a representative of the Houston Police Officers' Union testified, not surprisingly, in favor of the bill.  It does not appear there were any witnesses in the House committee meeting nor was there any debate on the floor of either house.

After passage, the bill was sent to then Governor Rick Perry and he did something highly unusual.  He refused to sign the bill, but also declined to veto it, thus allowing it to become law without signature.  Even more unusual, he issued a "non-veto" statement on the bill which said, in part, " . . . these bonds [i.e. POBs] are a proven tool for addressing short-term funding needs.  I am concerned, however, that some cities may not use this tool properly or effectively."  His words have turned out to be prophetic.

Since 2003, three Texas cites, Houston Dallas and El Paso, have issued $1.2 billion in POBs.  Houston accounts for about half that total.  In all three instances, those cities' pension problems have gotten much worse since the POBs were issued.  Their most recent audits found Houston and El Paso to be technically insolvent, i.e., their liabilities exceed their assets.  Dallas will almost certainly join those ranks when its audit for this fiscal year is issued.  

  A June, 2014 study by the Center for Retirement research at Boston College found that since 1985 about 500 governmental entities had issued about $98 billion in POBs.  In nearly every case, the entities that have issued POBs have seen their pension problems get worse.  So clearly POBs have not proved to be a panacea for pension headaches.

Do Issuers Earn an Arbitrage on POBs?

As I mentioned, one of the principal rationales advanced by POBs advocates is that issuers earn an arbitrage, i.e., a profit from issuing bonds at a lower rate than its pension plans will earn when they invest the bond proceeds.  Frequently you will hear some advocates for pension bonds claim that issuers can earn as much as a 400 basis point (4%) spread.

But the actual results for those governmental entities who have issued bonds are considerably more modest.  The 2014 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College that I mentioned, calculated the spread on over 5,000 POB issuances from 1985-2012.  The study found that those issuers earned an average spread of 150 basis points (1.5%) as of early 2014.  Investment returns since then have been fairly mixed, so these results are still probably pretty close.

 One factor that is frequently overlooked in projecting the results from POBs is that they are not exempt from federal income taxes like the typical municipal bonds.  The IRS has ruled that POBs are "arbitrage bonds" and, therefore, do not qualify for tax exempt status.  As a result, the interest rate on POBs is typically about 100-150 basis points higher than the interest rate of the typical municipal bond.

Today's rate on high quality municipal bonds is about 4%.  So, POBs issued today are likely to be issued in the 5-5.5% range.  Turner has conceded that a 7% return for the pension funds is about the best we can hope for.  If that is the case, the City will realize a 150-200 basis point (1.5-2%) arbitrage, which would be consistent with the Boston College study.

But that is certainly not guaranteed, as Houston's experience demonstrates.  The City issued most of its POBs from 2005-2008.  The interest rates on those bonds ranged from 5.5-6.3%.  Our pension plans' most recent audits reported that their 10-year average rates of return ranged from 5.4-6.6%.  So, at best the City has about broken even on the POBs it has issued.

If the City issues more POBs, it will probably realize some positive arbitrage, but to assume anything more than 100-150 basis points would be foolhardy.

POBs as a Bridge to Defined Contribution Plans

As those of you who have followed my missives on this issue know, I strongly believe that there is no pathway to real pension reform that does not phase out the existing defined benefit system. The real potential benefit for POBs is their use as a bridge from the current defined benefit system to a defined contribution system.  This could be accomplished in a number of ways.

First, everyone needs to understand how dire the financial condition of our pension plans really is.  The plan for the City's non-uniformed employees (HMEPS) is in, by far, the worse shape.  Its audit for June 30, 2016, which was just released, shows that it has less than half the funds it needs to pay for the benefits its members are expecting to be paid.  It would take an infusion of $2.6 billion to fully the plan according to the audit, and that is still using the absurd assumption of an 8% rate of return.  If a 7% assumption is used, the plan has barely 40% of the assets it needs and it would require a $3.2 billion infusion to fully fund.

The police pension plan is only in slightly better shape.  According to its June 30, 2016 audit, that plan now has only 62% of the assets it needs to pay the benefits its members are expecting.  Fully funding the plan would require a $2.5 billion infusion.  Again, this is at the 8% assumption.  Lowering the rate to 7% would drop the funding ratio to 55% and the shortage would be nearly $3.3 billion.

The condition of the police plan may be even more serious than the audit indicates.  It has been the most aggressive in investing in "alternative" assets, i.e., private equity, hedge funds and direct real estate investments.  Currently, about half of its investments are in these risky asset categories.  The Dallas joint police-fire plan recently wrote off $1.2 billion of these kinds of assets, precipitating a run on the system.

The fire fighters' system is in better shape, although its condition has significantly deteriorated in the last couple of years as it, too, has badly missed its investment return goals.  As of June 30, 2016, the fire fighter plan had about 80% of the assets it needs to pay its planned benefits and would require about a $900 million infusion.    But the fire fighter plan uses an even more absurd 8.5% investment assumption, which, by the way is the highest in the U.S.  If a 7% rate is used, the plan's funding ratio drops to 60% and the shortage is $1.6 billion.

My point to this review of the plans' financial condition is that they are desperate for the cash infusion the issuance of POBs would provide.  Under Turner's plan, the municipal plan would get $250 million from the POBs and the police plan would get $750 million.  The fire fighter plan gets none of the POBs proceeds, which explains why the municipal and police plans are more supportive of Turner's plan than is the fire fighter plan.

Turner's plan basically is a deal to trade the issuance of the POBs and the infusion of this cash for some reduction in benefits.  There is nothing wrong with that approach, except that the first condition that should be on table for the issuance of any POBs is a transition to defined contribution plans.

The second condition should be that the employees shoulder, at least some of the responsibility for the investment performance of the plans.  The employees of each plan elect a majority of the pension plan boards, who, in turn control the plans' investment policy,   Under the current plan, taxpayers underwrite the performance of the plans. but have no input into how the pension funds are invested.  If the plans make poor investment decisions, taxpayers have unlimited exposure to make up the losses.   If the police are going to let their plan invest half their assets in alternative investments, they should bear some of that risk.

Turner's plan purports to share this risk with his so-called corridor.  But it is becoming increasingly clear that the barely intelligible mechanism will be utterly unenforceable and unworkable.  [Note: More on this point once the secret drafts of the bills are released to us mere taxpayers.]

  Finally, POBs proceeds should be used to finance an option for employees to withdraw their pension savings from the existing system.  Any accelerated withdrawal would and should necessarily involve a reasonable discount.  But employees, many of whom are fed up with the uncertainty, complexity and questionable investments and governance of their plans, should have the right to opt out.

Conclusion

Pension bonds can be a useful tool in solving our pension crisis.  The analogy I like to use that if a person has a lot of credit card debt and a large equity in their home, there is nothing wrong with borrowing against that equity to pay off the credit card debt, IF THEY CUT UP THE CREDIT CARDS!!  But not if the person borrows against their home equity to make the minimum payments and keep charging.  That is what Turner's plan does.  It borrows a billion dollars to facilitate the continuation of the same broken defined benefit system that got us into this mess in the first place.

  This is why voter approval of any new pension bonds is so important.  We need a check on our City leaders using pension bonds to just kick the can down the road again.  If the City uses pension bonds to facilitate a transition to defined contribution plans, shift some of the responsibility for investment returns from taxpayers to our employees (who control the investments) and provide an option for employees to withdraw from the current system, I will be the first to advocate the passage of a pension bond referendum.   Until then, taxpayers should sit on their hands and say, "No more."

 

Mayor Proclaims Houston is not a Sanctuary City then goes on to define Houston as a Sanctuary City. You cant have it both ways Mayor Turner

 

On Thursday During a press conference, Houston  Mayor Turner, Harris County Sheriff Gonzalez and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo all said they would not enforce Federal  Immigration laws.

Mayor Sylvester Turner dismissed the anticipated adverse effects of Trump’s executive order aimed at sanctuary cities, because, Turner said, Houston isn’t a sanctuary city.
“Houston is a welcoming city where one in four Houstonians is foreign-born,” Turner said. “We don’t profile people because of their status, or question whether or not they are here legally. We don’t do that, and that is pursuant to the United States Supreme Court dictates, so we follow the rules and regulations in that regard. We don’t do profiling and we are not going to start.”

Houston does not notify ICE when they arrest an illegal. By the legal definition of Sanctuary City in the United States and Canada, a sanctuary city is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. Such a policy can be set out expressly in a law (de jure) or observed only in practice (de facto). The term applies generally to cities that do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce national immigration laws, and usually forbid police or municipal employees to inquire about a person's immigration status. By Turners own words Houston is a Sanctuary City.
Numerous cities are listed or classified as sanctuary cities, according to the Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC, including Austin and Travis County in Central Texas. Houston is also on that list, along with Katy, Port Arthur, and Baytown in the Greater Houston region.

​​The question now for Mayor Turner will be how far does he want to carry the farse of Houston is not a Sanctuary City. 

 

Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News that he’d seek legislation that would remove Texas sheriffs from elected office if they failed to cooperate with federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement officials in detaining people thought to be undocumented immigrants for deportation. His statement was aimed specifically at Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who said her office would not honor across-the-board ICE detainment . She has since changed her tune. Will Harris County Sheriff Gonzalas change his tune?

 

​Can the City of Houston  and the County of Harris afford to lose State monies? I think not. That is not to mention the Federal Government is in the process of doing the same thing. Houston is broke. Will our Council members stand up to the Mayor?

by Patricia Morlen

City of Houston Pension Plan

by

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

 

Houston today faces an increasing unfunded liability for its employee pensions that totals at least $3.9 billion, as of 2015, up from $212 million in 1992. If no action is taken, that unfunded liability (officially known as the unfunded actuarial accrual liability, or UAAL) is expected to continue growing. However, the city has some options—however painful—that can reduce the unfunded liability and restrain its future growth.

• Houston faces a pension challenge. Costs as a percentage of the city’s revenue have doubled since the turn of the century and are likely to continue to increase if no action is taken. • The city currently contributes approximately $350 million per year to the three pension funds combined, but this is not enough to stop the growth in unfunded liability.

• All three of Houston’s pension systems are underfunded, with the Houston Municipal Employees Pension System (HMEPS) being the most severely underfunded. • Underfunding has arisen from a variety of sources, including (1) annual payments that do not ensure full funding and (2) assumed rates of investment returns that are higher than the national average and higher than recent experience.

• Each of the three city plans will require a separate set of solutions because of the source of their costs. The greatest costs of the municipal workers plan are mainly to make up for the underfunding of previous promises (unfunded actuarial accrued liability, or UAAL), while the greatest cost of the police and firefighters plans are driven by year-to-year promises (normal cost).

• If Houston assumes a lower rate of return on investments going forward and chooses a fixed date by which its pension systems must be fully funded, as other cities have done, the city’s required annual pension payment will increase significantly for the next 20–30 years.

• The reform experience of other cities suggests that, in order to pay down the unfunded liability and prevent that liability from growing, the city and the pension boards will have to find ways to substantially increase payments to the pension systems and also restrain future growth in the unfunded liability.

•Some Ideas to correct the problem. Raising the revenue cap would increase property taxes up to previous levels but has the potential to raise $40 million to $60 million per year or more if the economy picks up and property values rise. Increasing HMEPS employee contributions could generate $30 million per year at first, rising to $100 million per year over time, but would reduce workers’ take-home pay. Reducing the COLA to 1 percent could save close to $100 million per year by some estimates at first but would put retirees at risk of falling behind inflation. Changes to the DROP program and the introduction of a defined contribution system would likely result in smaller savings but could be part of an overall solution.

• All of these options would generate different amounts of funding in different time frames. None would likely solve the problem alone.

Provided here is a link to the rest of this Report

 http://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Kinder_Institute_for_Urban_Research/Programs/Urban_Governance/PENSION_REPORT_FINAL_SINGLEPAGE.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 - Part Donald Trump Economic Plan Unveiled

Donald Trump Economic Plan Centers on Middle Class Relief

Donald Trump Economic Plan Part 1 – Tax the Rich: Trump told Bloomberg that he would like to alter America's tax code. He proposed simplifying it and also targeting hedge fund profits, as they're taxed lower than typical income. Trump has said he will lower taxes for the middle class. 

Donald Trump Economic Plan Part 2 – Get Rid of Corporate Inversion: "Corporate inversion" is a strategy businesses adopt to reduce their own tax burden. When corporate inversion occurs, a company is reincorporated abroad by a foreign business, which takes over all the assets and operations therein. According to Bloomberg, Trump's solution is to lower corporate taxes. This, he argued, will prevent American companies from being enticed by foreign labor. Right now, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate among major industrial nations, according to Cato Institute research published in September 2012. The U.S.'s effective tax rate of 35.6% on new corporate investment is nearly twice the average rate for the 90 countries studied.

Donald Trump Economic Plan Part 3 – Lower the Debt Ceiling:Trump was asked whether he would continue to raise America's debt ceiling. He said he shouldn't have to based on the "fat" already in Washington. He encouraged Republicans to carry on the fight against the issue.

Donald Trump Economic Plan Part 4 – Social Security and Medicare: Trump believes that Americans who paid into the system their entire lives deserve their due benefits come retirement. 

Donald Trump Economic Plan Part 5 – Trade: According to an Aug. 3, 2015, MSNBC report, in Trump's book "Time to Get Tough," he stated he believes there should be a 20% tax on imported goods and a 15% tax on U.S. companies that outsource. 

 

 

Republicans Begin Hashing Out Details of Convention Platform

CLEVELAND — The Republican Party on Monday began debating what will become its 2016 platform. The draft that delegates will revise over the next two days will touch on a wide range of contentious issues — immigration, marriage, family values, criminal justice reform and policing. Some spots echoed the blunt, tough-talking style of the presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump. Other spots seemed intended to serve as a softer, more welcoming alternative for the platform at the July 18-21 convention at Quicken Loans Arena.

On Same-Sex Marriage and Gender

“The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: that every child deserves a married mom and dad. The reality remains that millions of American families do not have the advantages that come with that structure. We honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the burdens of parenting alone and embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect. But respect is not enough. Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in the platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to states.”

“We emphatically support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.’ ... That same provision of the law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current president of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people. Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power. They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities is at once illegal, ominous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suits against it.”

On Immigration and the Rule of Law

“Our party is the natural home for those who come in search of freedom and justice. We welcome all to the Great Opportunity Party. ... We both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language. ... With all our fellow citizens we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation. We stand with the victims of his policies, especially the families of murdered innocents. Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America illegally. ... That is why we have in the past demanded, at our vulnerable borders, construction of a physical barrier and, at all ports of entry, maximum vigilance. ... The Department of Homeland Security must use its authority to keep dangerous aliens off our streets and to expedite expulsion of criminal aliens. Gang membership should be a deportable defense.”

On Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Reform

”The men and women of law enforcement — whether patrolling our neighborhoods or our borders, fighting organized crime or guarding against domestic terror — deserve our gratitude and our support. Their jobs are never easy, especially in crisis situations, and should not be made more difficult by political second-guessing from federal officials. The current administration’s lack of respect for them, from White House intervention in local arrests to the Attorney General’s present campaign of harassment against police forces around the country, has been unprecedented. ... The power of career civil servants and political appointees to criminalize behavior is one of the worst violations of constitutional order perpetrated by the administrative state. We urge an immediate halt to the creation of new ‘crimes’ and a bipartisan presidential commission to purge the Code and the body of regulation of old ‘crimes.’ We call for a mens rea defense to protect Americans who, in violating a law, act unknowingly or without criminal intent.”

 

Convention of States

 

The Convention of States Article V application calling for an amending convention under the subject of fiscal restraint, limiting the size, scope and jurisdiction of the federal government and term limits. Some of you may know that Governor Abbott has come out in favor of a Convention of States and has created a Task Force to help get it started. I will try and explain to you as best I can what a Convention of States is and how it would help our country. The people convening the Convention of States have laid it out this way...

Source: Convention of States Wikipedia Guide to the Legislative Process Newsmax

Austin Round Up

The Problem: The federal government has overreached its constitutionally-established boundaries and has its hands in almost every area of our lives. Our children and grandchildren will inherit a bankrupt nation run by an unaccountable bureaucracy.

The Solution: Article V of the United States Constitution allows us to call a Convention of States to restrict the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, effectively returning to the citizens' their rightful power over the ruling elite.

The Strategy: Working together, state legislators and American citizens can restore the checks and balances on federal power that were put in place by our founding fathers to protect our liberty from the abuses in Washington DC. To date 35 States have passed some sort of resolution calling for a Convention of States. I thought you might be interested in what Article Five of the United States Constitution says so I have written it below. I placed in Bold what is pertinent to holding a Convention of States. Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. Altering the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification. [ 1] Amendments may be adopted and sent to the states for ratification by either: Two-thirds (supermajority) of both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States Congress; OR by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds (at present 34) of the states.

To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either (as determined by Congress):

The request of legislatures of three-fourths (at present 38) of the states; Source: Convention of States Wikipedia Guide to Legislative Process Newsmax

Austin Round Up

OR State ratifying conventions in three-fourths (at present 38) of the states.

So what would this Convention do if called. The people who are calling for this Convention want to return the power to the people they do not want to overturn the Constitution. They want to have the Federal Government follow the Constitution as it is written. They want to eliminate the Federal Agencies that have sprung up that are in violation of the Constitution. Some of these agencies are the Department of Education, the EPA, The Federal Reserve, The DEA, The FTA and the alphabet soup goes on.

Patricia Morlen

 

 

 

 

Nearly 50,000 "Gone to Texas" says U.S.. Census Bureau

 

The expression “Gone to Texas,” an 1800’s colloquialism popularized to mean pulling up stakes for a fresh start in life, lived up to its reputation when the U.S.. Census Bureau released its latest population estimates. Nearly half a million people relocated in the Lone Star State in just one year, more than in any other state in the nation.

On March 24, the U.S.. Census Bureau released statistics that tracked the state’s explosive population growth. Four Texas metro areas added more people in the one year period from  July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015 than in any other state in the nation except for Texas as a whole, which gained approximately 490,000 new residents.

Topping the list, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar land metropolitan area experienced the greatest population increase during this period, adding about 159,000 residents. Following closely was the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metroplex, with 145,000 new people. Both of these Texas metro areas showed the largest gains nationwide. Neighboring Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranked among the 16 regions to gain 50,000 or more people over the one year period. The Census Bureau cited these four areas alone as adding about 412,000 people.

Five Central Texas metropolitan areas also were among the 20 fastest growing — Midland, Odessa, Austin, College Station-Bryan, and Houston, the latter which accounts for two counties Harris and Fort Bend. In North Texas, the Dallas metropolitan area often known as the DFW “metroplex” contains four counties – Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton, and their respective suburbs.

Eight Texas counties dominated the country, driving metropolitan regional growth and placing in the top 20 counties nationwide. According to the Census Bureau figures, they added the most population between 2014 and 2015, estimated at 306,736. Harris County lead the nation, growing in population by 90,451. Bexar (#5), Tarrant (#6), and Dallas (#9) these counties rounded out the top 10, adding more than 37,000, 36,000, and almost 34,000 people, respectively. Fort Bend (#13), Collin (#14), Denton (#16), and Travis (#17) followed.

Elsewhere, Maricopa County (AZ) came in second, Los Angeles County (CA), third, and Clark County (NV) took fourth place. Four other California counties made the top 20 – San Diego (#8), Riverside (#10), Alameda (#18), and Orange (#20). Floridian counties Orange, Hillsborough, and Broward came in 11th, 12th, and 15th.

The U.S.. Census Bureau data reflected population statistics for 381 metropolitan and 536 micropolitan areas plus 3,142 counties natiownwide. Overall, U.S.. city centers contained 275.3 million people, up an estimated 2.5 million from the 2014 to 2015 period. The bureau also estimated four of the nation’s 20 fastest-growing metro areas were in the mountain states of Colorado and Utah. Three California metros added more than 50,000 people during the time period – Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario. Los Angeles remained the nation’s most populous county with 10.2 million people by July 1, 2015.

Also, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA.-MD.-W.Va., surpassed Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J..-Del.-MD., to become the sixth most populous metro area. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y..-N.J..-Pa., remained the most populous, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., Dallas and Houston. In Florida, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (FL) metro area added about 75,000 people between 2014 and 2015 to surpass 6 million in population.  Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater also gained more than 50,000 people.

The Census Bureau plans to release 2015 population estimates of cities and towns, as well as national, state and demographic estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, in the coming months.

In 2015, Breitbart Texas reported Texas Population Projections 2010 to 2050 predicted the number of residents in the state could double by 2050 if current migration patterns continue at the same pace seen over 2000 to 2010. The Office of the State Demographer anticipated that over the next 40-plus years Texas could see its 14-and-under population nearly double from 5.7 million in 2010 to 10.2 million in 2050. The 15-64 demographic could potentially swell from 16.8 million to 347 million, and its older 65-and-over population could well jump from 2.6 million to 9.4 million. If this happens, Texas would house 54.4 million, based on immigration and people moving from other U.S.. states.

Also contributing to Texas’ explosive growth is the state’s business-friendly climate. Between 2008 and 2014, California corporations accounted for 15 percent or 219 of companies that moved their headquarters or expanded their operations (i.e., a call center or distribution center) somewhere in the state, the Dallas Morning News reported. The trend of California companies “gone to Texas” continues with McKesson and Pegasus Foods, the latest to relocate or expand into North Texas, joining California transplants Toyota, Liberty Mutual, Kubota, JP Morgan Chase, State Farm, Farmer Brothers and Raytheon, and many more notes the Dallas Business Journal. In 2015, Texas placed second on the Fortune 500 list, with 54 companies, edging out California, which had 53. New York came in first.

by Merrille Hope Britebart News TX

Imagine that nearly 50,000 people have come into our state in one year. I can not even fathom it. I know that it is good to hear that companies are relocating to the state and that they are bringing skilled workers with them. Politicians are happy with that and so am I. What I fear and what and what the census bureau does not say are the number of illegal immigrants who are  going to cost the state the biggest problem in terms of dollars both in education, welfare, healthcare, and incarceration. This is the number we must know and the number we must address immediately.

Patricia Morlen

KARW 1st Vice President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Political advertising paid for by Kingwood Area Republican women PAC, Regina Thompson, Treasurer, P.O. Box 5906, Kingwood, TX 77325-5906. Political contributions are not tax deductible for Federal Income Tax.
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