It’s bad enough that our Mission CISD board of trustees goes along with a “coach’s opinion” that, if the district is going to spend $31,000 for lighting upgrades for the Veterans Memorial High School tennis courts, they might as well just spend $150,000 to $190,000 for “competition level” lighting. (See our story on page 12 of today’s paper: “MCISD committee discusses facilities upgrades.”) Not only does the board go along with the more expensive lighting, they want to double the cost and put in the same lighting for the Mission High School tennis courts.
Folks, this is not Monopoly money you are spending. These are real dollars taken from the pockets of the taxpayers. And we wonder why our school taxes are so high!
The worst of it is that I have seen this same pattern over and over again. The Mission school board members are far more interested in supposed “fairness” than in making sure those expenditures are truly necessary. Just because you approve a needed expense for one campus, it does not mean that every other campus must have the same thing. We have seen this happen with athletic facilities, ag barns, tracks and sidewalks at elementary campuses – the list goes on and on, costing the taxpayer millions of dollars.
Let’s be more responsible when spending those taxpayer dollars. Just because you can “find the money in the budget” it does not justify the expense. Just because a teacher or coach makes a request, it doesn’t mean you have to give her everything she wants. And most of all, just because one campus gets something, it doesn’t mean other campuses must have the same thing.
The “fairness” word is being used far too loosely to justify unnecessary expenses. Expenditures should be based on actual necessity, rather than keeping up with the Joneses (other campuses).
So, now our duly elected representatives on the Mission CISD Board of Trustees are planning to take a $31,000 budget item for tennis court lighting and approve a bloated expense of $300,000 to $380,000? I have a hunch that if that money was coming out of their own pockets instead of yours and mine, they would not have to think twice before saying NO! I know what I would do.
Prop. 1: Proposed “Healthcare” Taxing District
Mayor Norberto Salinas asked me this week how Prop. 1 is coming. This is the proposition on the Nov. 8 ballot to form a county healthcare district, which would create a new taxing entity for Hidalgo County homeowners and other property owners.
I told him I was encouraged, because as I talk to people in the community, I am finding that more and more people are beginning to become suspicious of the idea and are opposing Prop. 1. Contrary to what proponents of the new tax are telling folks, everyone who lives in the county will be affected by higher taxes, not just the property owners. Renters will have to pay higher rents. Consumers (that’s you and me and everyone else in the county) will have to pay higher prices for goods and services. Why? Because this new taxing entity will cost every business in the county more in taxes. When costs go up for businesses, they pass those increased costs on to the consumer. Renters are not exempt from this, despite what some deceptive proponents are telling people to gain their support.
The healthcare district proposal was voted down two years ago, and now it’s back on the ballot again. Why? Because the wealthy and powerful people in this county who stand to make huge profits off of a huge new pile of taxpayer dollars – potentially $76 million annually – really want this passed. These rich and powerful people have donated many thousands of dollars to just about every politician in the county who can help them get this deal done. (Sen. Jesus “Chuy” Hinojosa is reported to have received $800,000 from the PAC.) And so far their plan is working; new legislation has been drafted and the tax district proposal is on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Sadly, as it always goes, no one knows where the money is going, if this thing gets passed. Sure, they are “promising” it’s going to help provide healthcare for the indigents. But we already have legislation in place to pay for indigent healthcare. Those of us who have been around awhile observing politics and government patterns for years know that if politicians are pushing hard to get something approved by the voters, but can’t or won’t provide the details of where the money is going and why, it’s time to say NO! If they’re cramming it down our throats, it’s not because it’s in OUR best interest. It’s in THEIR interest and that of the big money supporters who stand to gain from the proposition.