TCR has recently been researching the causes and possible cures for our rising crime rate in Texas.
Public safety is the number one responsibility for government. So how do we give law enforcement the tools they need to do the job?
First and foremost, two person police cars are far superior to one person police cars. Why? It's safer for the officers as they have instant backup and it's safer to the citizens who interact with the police for the same reason.
Second, the more officers on patrol, the better. Bureaucratic inefficiencies reduce the time our officers can spend on the streets.
Third, law enforcement officers need to be competitively compensated and given rules of engagement that let them do their jobs.
Fourth, rank and file officers need to be supported by the political leadership and the community on tough judgment calls that do not always work out.
Fifth, law enforcement has become the entry point into our mental health system and often the first point of contact for families with marital problems adding further strain to the system. If we want to use police as essentially an intake system for these problem areas, we need to provide additional resources so it does not get in the way of their traditional duties.
Sixth, unfunded state and federal mandates on police should be flushed. If those governments want the police to do things for them, they should pay for it.
Seventh, illegal immigrant law violators are having a significant impact on public safety and our overcrowded prisons and jails. This is another local cost of the federal government's chronic failure to control illegal entry in the U.S. from our borders and our virtual borders (airports and other ports of entry). The federal government needs to get its act together or compensate local governments for the adverse impact on us.
These seven principles, if adopted, can go a long way toward making Texas safer and will aid the police in doing their jobs in an effective and professional way.
Alternative Federal Tax Plans: Is It Time?
A Two Part TCR Review
When the Republican conservative revolution was in its early stages in the 1990's, two ideas were put forward to replace the current federal income tax system with its voluminous rules, huge compliance costs, and special interest manipulations and loopholes.
The two ideas were a flat income tax and the fair (consumption) tax.
The flat tax, which would mean households would use a postcard to report and pay a 17% tax on wages, salary and pensions after a family allowance of $30,000 for a family of four. The business portion would be a 17% tax on net income (after wages, input costs, and investment expenditures.)
While the US has failed to fundamentally reform our broken system - flat tax plans ranging from 35.7% in Iceland to Russia's 13% and Mongolia's 10% are in place in nineteen countries and interestingly, economic growth in those countries is greater than in non-flat tax neighbors.
TCR believes at least one of the two reform plans can contribute to a growing American economy, let's put it to work.
Coming next issue - what about the "fair tax?"
Are Your Taxpayer Dollars Spent Wisely?
By Michael Quinn Sullivan, Guest Columnist
Is it impolite to ask that our tax dollars be spent more wisely? Whether we consider the growing weight of taxes at the local, state and federal level, or the endless stream of new regulations, it is harder and harder to find any results worthy of cost of government we now bear. Well, any positive results.
Of course, we should perhaps be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for...
Do Economies Float?
An elected official (a Republican, no less) told me earlier this week that he doesn't mind paying taxes… because it is "the price of freedom." His doe-eyed statement was wrong on a great many levels, practical and philosophical. First and foremost, freedom's price has been paid -- again and again -- by the blood of patriots on battlefields near and far, not collected by revenue agents. Liberty is endowed by the Creator, not provided on a statement from the tax assessor.
You need water to survive, but too much can destroy your home, and even take your life. Government isn't much different; civil government is necessary to preserve freedom, and so taxes are inevitable. But, economically speaking, we're drowning in a flood of government spending and activity.
I'd recommend to you two recent articles highlighting the burden of government; one was found in Investor's Business Daily on the deadweight of taxes, and the other at the American Conservative Union Foundation on the burden of regulations.
Government Waste As An Agricultural Product?
You might recall that the Texas Department of Agriculture recently sponsored a ritzy "Wine Dinner" for Austin socialites. Now there is word from the State Auditor that the TDA met only 60 percent of its performance measures. For as bad as that is, a bigger problem is that none of the performance measures clearly track the agency's productivity.
There's no indication from the performance measures that our food is safer (or gas pumps are more honest, another agency responsibility), just that more work is being done, regardless of value or impact. Contrary to bureaucratic wisdom, more government activity doesn't mean better government.
The performance measures for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and many other agencies, need to be overhauled with a focus on results and cost control, rather than the number of mind-numbing regulatory processes performed.
But until then, maybe TDA will just sponsor some more wine dinners and let us forget our concerns in a bottle of Texas merlot...
TCR Comment: Mr. Sullivan and his organization Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (www.empowertexans.com) does a great job of advocating lower taxes and controlled state spending.
COMING (Friday, August 31, 2007 at 8 pm) on Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - The Connection - Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones with special guest HISD superintendent Abe Saavedra and coming in September, Sen. John McCain.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his tenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last six years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.