Wednesday, March 22, 2017

AHCA is Obamacare in Republican Drag

Golly, I love Rep. Louie Gohmert. Now there's a man that consistently sticks with his conservative principles. Why couldn't he be my representative? Instead, I'm stuck with that stale, old Re-Pete Sessions. Two decades worth of that man and the unbearable D.C. carbuncle just won't go away.

As if on cue, all of the usual Texas suspects have piled-on to this spiffy Obamacare regurgitation, as if they know better than the rest of us. You know, those of us who have to work and pay for crappy insurance plans, as we watch our premiums and prescription costs skyrocket. 

The ones to blame if this bill passes include reps such as John Ratcliff, Jeb Hensarling and Pete Sessions, who are extolling AHCA's merits. 

My guess is the Republicans in D.C. are touting much ado about nothing when it comes to RyanCare. Word on the street is that there aren't enough votes to pass it as of this late date. The vote is tomorrow.

Good thing, too. The reality of the beast is that this healthcare plan will no longer be owned by the liberals. If it passes, the Republicans will own this one, and Obama and liberal village idiots such as Nancy Pelosi will be relieved of the onus. When this thing fails, and it will, the GOP may as well not bother running for president in four years. So too the next midterm election will be difficult for anyone who votes in favor of this bill. We will not let anyone forget who voted for this Obamacare plan in Republican drag. 

Closer to home, this looks terrible for Sessions who crammed our mailboxes for years with mass mailers claiming he wanted to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it. I would sure like to understand why he has picked up a guitar and is writing an AHCA ballad. 

This isn't your 2015 repeal bill either, and it's funny that people like Sessions, who previously voted in favor of full repeal, instead has opted to support this bill, claiming erroneously that they cannot do a full repeal. Amazing, truly amazing.

This is proof that Sessions' past votes to repeal Obamacare were purely show votes, just like we said they were. How many times did I call Sessions out for that? I honestly lost count.

This is infuriating, too. People voted for Trump because they are angry over past Congress capitulation to Obama. They were angry over congressional show votes too, but in their stupidity, they kept a large number of establishment Republicans in place. This is precisely how a moratorium election  on Obamacare and SCOTUS can ultimately give us Obamacare Lite instead of full-on repeal. 

Then again, there's Trump, running the fools errand, claiming he'll rid the House of anyone who doesn't vote in favor of this bill. So much for his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare. Pinky-promise the wall goes the same way. 

I've read this bill. It holds many of the same Obamacare regulations and mandates in place that have caused healthcare costs to skyrocket. Costs will continue to increase, too. We'll also go back to hoards of people opting for no coverage and worse yet, those with employer sponsored plans will be penalized for having them, as the plan you used to have is suddenly considered income and is taxed that way. Oh, you can have your Cadillac plan, but you'll pay for it, by God. 

What happened to the litany of campaign promises of repealing Obamacare? Republicans took the easy way out, that's what. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and actually owning an epic piece of legislation, and showing the Democrats how it's really done, they would rather recycle the massive failure that is Obamacare, and simply stamp their name on it. 

Dumb, really dumb. 

Menopause: Satan's Plan V

I've always had bad luck. Well, where I call it bad luck, the hubster calls it klutziness. I swear, I'm like the kiss of death when it comes to stubs and sprains. Sometimes I feel like Rosanne Rosannadanna, because it's always something. If it's not one thing, it's definitely another. Did you know, there is only one toe left that I have not broken? Now, that little nugget of useless information does sweeten the pot. Seriously, don't engage me because it will only get more graphic.

To my credit, it's not always my fault. Two weeks ago the dog spit up on the kitchen floor and I traipsed through it in flip flops. To be sure, it was one of those slow motion moments, as I slid sideways and hit the floor. I tell you, a couple more pounds around the middle and I could have bounced. Too bad, because my elbow is still sore.

If I'm not breaking something, or stubbing something, this stubborn body refuses to cooperate. Well, let's just call that "Plan V".

Still, I always like to think of myself as tough as old boots. You know, someone who soldiers on. When I was younger, I broke a toe (little surprise there) while working a job that required me to stand and walk a lot. Later, I had temporary pain, tingling and numbness in my fingers during a job where I needed to type a lot. Oh yes, then there was that time I cut my finger off in the door and had it sewn back on. I probably don't need to expand upon just which hand it occurred. Recently, there has been the outright refusal and strike of my body to store something as simple as vitamin D, and lethargic and arthritic-like symptoms ensue. Of course, aging couldn't possibly be any different for me in this realm. The old bod just continues to delight as Plan V has set in.

I used to think women who opted for hysterectomies were just plain sissies. All of my friends have had one, making me feel a bit superior. Well, that is until this aging carcass adopted its own set of rules. Oh no, I couldn't just make it through to menopause without the petals falling off my flower power. Heavens no. It has to be my luck that during the glorious moment when I thought I was nearly free of the V, the female plumbing had to go awry. What a cheerful way to end the series, if you know what I mean.

If I haven't been personally wrangling with hemorrhaging, doctor's trips and a biopsy, I might have found it all terribly amusing. No seriously. Peri-menopause is like a bad comedy of errors. Just when you think you are nearly finished with wildly fluctuating hormones, child-bearing, hot flashes, the terror of missed periods and spotting, Satan, himself, makes a debut.

I guess I can see why so many women opt to have it all ripped out. O-M-G I want to rip that ram out, but hells bells I've made it this far. I had sensibly and somewhat stoically managed to tame the 'coagulation of evil' women joke about, without much effort on my part. To be honest, I thought myself one of the lucky ones.

I can probably count the number of hot flashes on my fingers and toes, and I thank regular exercise for that. To think I planned to get away nearly scot-free with only an extra 12 lbs. of water weight gain every month, which would spike my blood pressure, and only relieve itself with one of those handy water pills that brings seventeen trips to the toilet.

I should have known not to pat myself on the back so hard for lowering my blood pressure to the rather mundane 120/80 range. I even went so far as to ace Cramps and Grumpiness 101, Intermediate Hot Flashes and even Advanced Bloating and Weight-gain.  I've played the trooper for years, and after all that it would be almost sacrilege to opt for surgery now. Damned sketchy uterus.

I don't know what's worse. The utter bullshit that is periods, cramps, tampons, labor and a virtual monthly blood-letting, or the fact that there are actually men who want to turn into women? Why?

I'd like to see them bleed heavily and gush chunks, while stuffing a cotton wad up their hoohay every 20 minutes for 36 hours. Oh yes, all this with no sleep and without wailing like an infant and falling into the fetal position. How does anyone think we can even hold down a job during this? For the love of God, somehow, month after month, we do.

As I finished up with my ObGyn this morning, she said what I've been lamenting over for at least five years, "Can you hurry up and just enter menopause already?" I'm trying, believe me, I'm summoning the will.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wylie Complaints Cost Taxpayers

The Wylie and Washington Facebook page was at it again today. This morning they published and used the paid promotion feature to promote another complaint against the Wylie Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). This time it is a notice of meeting regarding the creation of a municipal setting designation (MSD). The accusation is that the WEDC does not want to clean up a piece of land with polluted groundwater.

This designation is nothing new to the city. It was sought on another piece of land and it enables them to sell off the property and recoup any costs involved in cleanup. Simply put, they ensure the buyer isn’t going to tap into a water source within a specified area. This is a great option for property where standing water and perhaps a layer of soil needs to be scraped away for cleanup, but the land is still usable for other industry. The idea is to get this land sold and developed so that the new owner can begin paying taxes and help lower homeowner tax burden.

These (not so) anonymous attacks on the WEDC are suspicious. What exactly is the point of all this expense to the city? Is this coming from a sore loser over not getting coveted property once held by the city? Or is this displaced anger because the complainant has never been selected for the WEDC board?

The reality of these complaints means they are costing the city, and ultimately the taxpayers, money in legal fees. The City of Wylie must now spend our tax dollars to defend their employee WEDC executive Sam Satterwhite, who was called out in a formal complaint sent to the AGs office. Seems like this is costing us a lot of money, instead of effecting any real change. Each complaint requires the AG to send a letter to the city, asking for pertinent information, thereby requiring legal representation of the city. Lawyers aren’t cheap.

Nothing will come of the complaints drawn up by the complainant’s lawyer.... Nothing. That will be the end result, and taxpayers will be put out for it.

So why don’t they take their case solely to the people, instead of through lawyers? It seems like this beef is really with those sitting on the WEDC board, who are besties with Satterwhite and the other good old boy club in the city.

Why doesn’t the complainant work to move the compass of public opinion toward removing those causing conflicts on the WEDC, through council changes? Council members are the ones who keep appointing these people to the WEDC board.

I fully understand the premise that the Wylie First Baptist Church (FBC) is controlling a lot of what is going on in the city and on the WEDC, however this individual's actions are costing taxpayers in legal fees to defend the city. I cannot support this tactic.

By all means, we should use public opinion to stop the FBC from infiltrating every aspect of the citizen's lives. We should use public opinion to stop members of the WEDC board from running for other electable positions. That said, lawyers are incapable of stopping or changing who is elected and appointed. So why take that route?

This situation is clearly a result of the quality of candidates running and elected by the people. We all know the FBC works hard to promote their congregation candidates during the election season, but there is nothing illegal about that.

Frankly, I cannot fault Kris Segrest for promoting members of his congregation to help advance his interests. If you were the pastor of the largest church community in the city, wouldn’t you, if you could get away with it? As a result, many of the elected and appointed positions on Wylie's councils, boards and committees are members of the church. This creates a conflict of interest involving the FBC, and their tight control over much of the activity taking place in Wylie.

It is best not to have any particular group holding a majority of official positions, such as WISD board of trustees, city council or any of the dozen or so boards and commissions. Unfortunately, very few people run for these positions and appointments, which results in the very powerful church getting people to step up and even walk in, unopposed for seats. Few people voting even realize this is taking place.

There are, and have been, a disproportionately large number of FBC individuals currently holding these positions. This is part of the problem intertwined with the WEDC complaints being leveled.

Our job as citizens who vote is to inform the public, through whatever means we have available to us, whether it be blogs, social media, meetings, or letters to the editor of the Wylie News, an incredibly under-read newspaper that exists solely at the pleasure of the mayor, rather than the publics they claim to serve.

If this individual would like to pick up the legal tab for the city that has resulted from these complaints, then I would be all for it. Otherwise, people need to work together to find council candidates that aren't beholden to the FBC.

It takes hard work and dedication, but through the election and appointment process, the problem will fix itself when the head (Satterwhite) has no body (board buddies) left to support it. And you can include the mayor in that mix, who has been sitting in his position a little too long for comfort. He works hard to bring new council members into the fold, and I view this as problematic.

Clearly, there are a lot of people in the city who are angry that this situation still plagues us as we hit 50K+ population. Surely there are suitable candidates available to run for council; those, who will help break up the FBC good old boy club once and for all, without costing taxpayers. Just a thought.

Image: City of Wylie

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paying the Piper: NTMWD Water Pricing Model

Wylie water woes. Now there's an alliteration you need to try saying really fast without feeling like Elmer Fudd.

If you have not heard about the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) issue, your pocketbook soon will. They are the entity that controls our water in Wylie, among other cities, making them pretty easy to hate on, particularly if you do not like your steadily increasing water bill.

Does anyone remember the days of $43 monthly water bills from the City of Wylie? I do. We were never ones to dump water needlessly into the lawn, so yes, I will indeed revel in your jealousy. But still, mine are more than twice that now and our water use has gone down this year. Especially now that the youngest child unit is away, showering at college, and because he took his rather large wardrobe with him resulting in less frequent climbs of the infamous Mount Laundry.

We know that costs are rising. We get it. But should we expect to take a nitroglycerin before opening future water bills? What gives?

Late last year several member cities flexed some muscle in an attempt to break from their responsibility to the whole. NTMWD serves dozens of communities, with 13 member cities making up the board, and four of those cities are about to cause the rest of us some heartache.

Plano, Richardson, Garland and Mesquite have made a complaint to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) on how the NTMWD sets their water pricing, in hopes they will not be held accountable to pay their fair share. Sorry, but that's the only way I see it.

Nobody likes the rates NTMWD doles out. They pass increases on to cities, who in turn, pass them on to homeowners, but what would happen if these cities, with the help of the PUC, break with NTMWD's take-or-pay pricing model?

We keep hearing this "take-or-pay" phrase, so what exactly is it? When member cities contract with the NTMWD, it requires an immense amount of infrastructure, and debt taken on for each city as it grows. The cities are contractually bound by take-or-pay, whereby their rate is set using the highest year of water usage they have had. It doesn't matter if they use less, if they don't use it, they still have to pay for it. That's take-or-pay.

It doesn't sound fair, or helpful toward water conservation efforts, but when you consider the costs required to bring a city on during their divide and conquer stage, that is a huge financial undertaking. So is the necessary continuing maintenance. The services committed by NTMWD don't end with simple water usage.

To see the reasoning behind their complaint, we can look at one member city. Plano's highest use year was 2001. Now that they are using less water, through conservation efforts, they believe they should have their rate reduced. Plano claims to have spent $78 million for water they have not used since 2001.

Oh sure, the take-or-pay system was favorable to Plano, Richardson, Garland and Mesquite during their peak growth phase, but now that they are generally built-out , the massive infrastructure costs and maintenance still need to be paid by somebody.

Image: US Airforce
Let's not forget the $300 million pipeline that had to be built to stop the spread of zebra mussels, and to return water flow from Lake Texoma to Lavon. During the height of our last drought, the flow from Texoma was turned off because of the little rascals, and because of federal law that prohibits transporting them across state lines. Turns out the pumping station in Texoma was on the Oklahoma side.

It was a healthy cost that went into returning the flow, but that is of no concern to these member cities who appear to be hyper-focused on water usage in their argument to the PUC.

When looking solely at water usage, it is easy to show how "unfairly" they are being charged. Yet what about the other, smaller member cities who are still growing? Is it fair to stick them with the infrastructure bill? The fact is, somebody has to pay the piper.

Member cities have been in talks about this situation for the past year. The other member cities include Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, McKinney, Princeton, Rockwall, Royce City and Wylie. Though they have been unsuccessful in finding a solution so far, was it right for the larger bullies to pull in the PUC at this stage? Absolutely not. Surely there is a way for member cities to work things out without being pitting against each other. This was a very disappointing turn of events.

Our best hope is that the member cities roll up their sleeves and find a solution, and we must encourage them to do so. Board meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the board room, located at 501 East Brown Street, in Wylie. If NTMWD is forced to change their pricing model to accommodate the larger member cities, you can rest assured that your water costs in Wylie will triple, if not quadruple.

Header image: Express Tribune

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Those WEDC Rascals

Looks like the good old boys in Wylie have put themselves into a pickle, and they are inadvertently dragging our excellent school district down with them in the court of public opinion.

Sam Satterwhite
A new Facebook page popped up on Saturday, called Wylie and Washington. Published on the page are images of a formal complaint sent to the Texas Attorney General's office and also Collin County regarding unseemly transactions made by the Wylie Economic Development Board (WEDC). 

The complaint calls into question ethics of the WEDC, their board President Marvin Fuller and Executive Director Sam Satterwhite. I'm not surprised this is coming full circle.

I have consistently complained about the conflicts of interest presented with the WEDC and their board members who keep running for and getting elected to various seats around the city. I reported on this land deal as well, in Holy Shrieking Shizballs. The bounty these dual positions reap is astounding when you consider how "deals" are brought about. Sure, they may excuse themselves from votes, but they were certainly present during the behind the scenes activities preceding them. There are other less noticeable conflicts as well. 

Kathy Spillyards
 and Mayor Eric Hogue
For example, the fact that Mayor Eric Hogue is a realtor seems like no big deal. Yet, how many activities has he voted on that ultimately turn into future profits for him? The same can be said for former councilwoman Kathy Spillyards, who inadvertently capitalized on official actions taken previously. When you vote on minimum home sizes required of a developer, ensuring a certain home value, and turn around and sell one of them a couple years later, you are making a profit off your votes. 

The same holds true with the various WEDC members who found themselves elected through the years. More recent conflicts of interest have included Mitch Herzog who has served for years as a Wylie Independent School District (WISD) trustee and also as a WEDC board member, and the former councilman Todd Wintters who served on the WEDC and was also elected to the city council which I reported in Wintters of our Discontent

The very notion of serving in elected posts and sitting on the WEDC board should have been carefully scrutinized by voters before they placed them in these positions. It wasn't as if I didn't warn anyone, what with my continuous blogs vetting the cast of characters that run for these seats  in Wylie. Still, year after year delirious voters make their way to the polls without a clue, and clearly without a Google search.

I have suggested for years that these board members should resign from the WEDC. Turns out, that public opinion has finally caught up with this stance. But what about legal opinion? 

Turns out, we may not like what is taking place, but it is all legal. And so is the WISD land sale. Whether we like how it went down or not, it did not require WISD to do "extra marketing" of the property either, as is one premises of the complaint.

Mitch Herzog
Controversy in Wylie is nothing new. Does anyone remember when Baron Cook sold land to WISD for $800K when he was serving as a WISD trustee? It's how Ronni Fetzer took his seat away, because people were annoyed with how unethical the land deal looked. Then there was that time the WEDC got in trouble for holding closed-door meetings. Oops. Now their board meetings are held at o'dark hundred. So much for the open meetings act.

Ethics laws require public officials to file a declaration on the conflict of interest and to abstain from voting on it, both of which appear to have been performed with the property WISD sold and also with the Baron Cook property WISD purchased. Though it looks sketchy and shady as hell, it is legal. Move along, nothing new to see here.

What concerns me is the witch hunt that is behind these allegations. The Facebook page was published nearly 24 hours ago, and the hidden agenda has me a tad curious. Exactly who is behind this complaint? Why don't they man-up?

Marvin Fuller
I honestly do not see this as an attack on the school district so much as I see it as an attack on the WEDC. Especially when the complaint specifically lists Marvin Fuller and Sam Satterwhite, yet speaks little, if at all, of their complicit activities in the documents. Why wasn't Mitch Herzog's photo made part of the complaint? What about WISD superintendent Dr. David Vinson? Why not just list all WEDC and WISD board members? To my point, this seems to really be about Satterwhite and Fuller. Who did they piss off?

Don't get me wrong, I have always felt Fuller and Satterwhite needed to go. They have been part of the good old boy system of secret handshakes for years. Like the time Satterwhite was arrested for drunk driving in 2009 but the city council looked the other way instead of firing him like the employee manual suggested. 

Seems Fuller and Satterwhite have made quite the enemy and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If I had to venture a guess? The AG's office has more pressing matters and this too shall pass.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Women's March Sends Wrong Message

When I see a bunch of women marching down the street wearing female genitalia costumes, I shake my head in dismay. I am dismayed not because I am wise enough to know how asinine they look, but because the communication professional in me can identify everything that is wrong with that message.

The first rule of thumb in communication and branding is to know and understand your audience, and the pussyhat protesters failed miserably in this objective. It is like my boss claiming our customers are not using Facebook, as a reason why we should not bother promoting with that platform. Gee, someone is on it, considering there are 191.3 million US accounts, almost equally divided between both sexes, with 81.5 million in our prime customer age group (Statista, May 2016). Talk about missing the market.

The audience focus for the march should have been inclusive of all women, not just those so vulgar as to think inequality discussion should include only  images of our nether regions because of a comment made by President Donald Trump about a decade ago. That's not a march for women.

As women, we understand the inequality nuances that touch every aspect of our lives. Instead, the march was geared toward shock-narcissists, dog piling on anything that looks fun, nasty, illicit or titillating in order to get their freak on. It's like depicting all gays as sporting silver sequined platform shoes and fuchsia hair, when in reality most live simple, low-key and casual lifestyles. For some reason, liberals have a difficult time separating movie star fantasia and freaks depicted by Hollywood, from the real, honest, hard-working people that inhabit the majority of this country.

Women around the country completely understand and agree that Trump's crotch grabbing statements and sexist comments about women are offensive, and that these statements objectify us. Many of us know what it is like to be ogled, fondled and cat-called. We also know what job inequality looks like, even though the inequality highlighted by liberals does not take into consideration that women routinely opt for low-paying professions versus their male counterparts. Good grief, nobody is going to pay good money to an orchestra or art major, as compared to an engineer.

Better suited messaging would portray how many times women have worked in the same exact job, shared the same exact education level, but have been paid less. Yes, it still happens more than anyone will admit.

Personally, I know what is it like to be overlooked for promotions, ignored for ideas and paid less. The starting salary for women at my employer in 2015 was $70-75K annually in sales and technical positions, and for men it was $80-90K annually with the same general education and experience.

Personally, I have been overlooked for jobs and promotions that have gone to a man several times throughout my career, and though I had equal if not more experience and more education, I have been paid less for doing the exact same job. This is the real inequality, but feminists are missing that critical point in their marketing. Instead they are attracting a bunch of freaks who just want someone to notice them, and who want to complain that their British Literature degree isn't paying them the same salary as the mechanical engineer who lives next door.

I have worked for men who belittled me and even made comments on my backside, when a former Plano councilman, that I worked for years prior, commented, "Nice ass," while walking behind me at work.

Don't even get me started on how many times I mentioned something we should be doing as an organization that went ignored, such as having consistent email signatures. When a male employee touted that idea six months after I did, it was suddenly revered as genius. The same can be said for necessary changes to the website, creating consistent marketing collateral, tracking ROI, using social media aggregates and utilizing a marketing integration management program, all of which I proposed over the span of a year and a half. You see, I know what I'm talking about, but apparently they didn't think so until one of the men in the company  came up with those same ideas six months later. That is a real example of inequality.

Not only are we sometimes treated poorly in the workplace by men, but also by other women. I cannot tell you how many times my various recommendations have been ignored on the job, by a jealous, immature and petty managing partner. I suspect that behavior stems from the fact that I refused to play gossip girl when she badmouthed other female employees, such as the accounting manager and how she raised her twin girls using nothing more than a television set to mesmerize them with, and even going so far as to download another employee's personal Facebook photo of chest piercings, making fun of her as she forwarded the image to a few of us.

There's nothing quite like bashing the women in the organization, in order to harness some sort of power. That power, which by the very nature of company co-ownership, the woman would have commanded regardless of her unacceptable abuse of it. The woman singlehandedly created a toxic work environment, netting zero respect or motivation and perpetuating the "bitch on wheels" complex many working women have tried avoiding for decades. Yet it still happens every day, everywhere as women become aggressors to other women.

It is not just a scenario that plays out on the job either. I recall vividly how much the good-old-boys running city hall hated me for my strong opinions on this blog. How dare I question the system! We can also look to religion for support of inequality, where women are not allowed to be priests or even lead prayer. Women even see it when we walk into a traditionally male company to do business, such as an auto repair shop. It is amazing how many times the employee will look to my husband, even though I am the one telling him what is wrong with my car.

Women have to deal with inequality from every angle, including from what is supposed to be the sisterhood, as women stab each other in the back in order to pad their own flagging egos. This is the very same thing the berated women's march participants complain has happened to them. Or is it?

Believe me, I get it. I totally get it. Women such as myself have been touched by all the inequalities mentioned above and more, so why wouldn't we stand with throngs of women claiming their crotches "roar"?

We rejected the so-called women's march en masse because it proved to be nothing more than a bungled, liberal marketing ploy using women's bodies as a tool. It had nothing to do with Trump's statements from a decade ago, nothing to do with objectification of women and nothing to do with inequality. We didn't support these misled women because they did the very thing to themselves that they have been complaining about from their aggressors all these years. Self objectification.

The marching pink wrinklies were as bad as Ariana Grande's whining strawman argument on men objectifying her while prancing around on stage wearing a lacy bustier and bikini bottoms, and singing about "hitting that" which is simply code for grabbing sex from someone else without any emotional connection or attachment. Really? Can anyone actually take her complaints about female objectification seriously?

Young liberal men and women have been led dramatically astray by liberal sensationalist ideology. They have been taught that the more bizarre you look and behave, the more you will be hailed by the liberal television Gods. Ergo the more you will change the world. The problem is, these ineffectual, inconsistent marketing ploys only serve to further tear the cloth that binds women. They ignore all the rules of effective marketing engagement.

We don't douse flames with gasoline, hoping to put out the fire, so why did groups of women think walking around with vulva faces was a good way to strike back at inequality? Why did these women think they would be taken seriously when they were walking around like a piece of wobbly-bobbly pink flesh, instead of mature, thinking, rational and professional women capable of intelligent and savvy articulation? Instead, they read like a bunch of grotesque, clueless half-wits who do not know how to spell. That is not the face of their audience. Oh hell no.

Do I really need to point out that the true audience for womandom, hear me roar is supposed to be, dare I say it, women? Done right, it could have unified all women to stand up against the inequalities. Done wrong, it was generally not a good idea to offend the majority of audience members with hairy, wrinkly genitalia messaging. Frankly, the protesters made women look dumb and their argument, whatever that was supposed to be, was lost on inconsistent messaging.

As women, we are far more than a depiction of what is between our legs; rather, it is our intellect that we should be consistently marketing.

Image: marekuliasz via Getty Images

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wylie Tax Rate Kept Artificially High

As the highest taxed city in Collin County, at 84.89 cents per $100 assessed property valuation, Wylie’s taxpayers shouldn’t expect our city to be gouging us. It is especially unconscionable when one hears just how much money the city netted with the massive property valuation hike Collin County gave taxpayers for several years running. Wylie has been holding a ridiculously inflated property tax rate stable, despite publicity claiming they lowered our tax rate between a ¼ cent and 2 cents for the past handful of years.

So exactly how can a city provide a “tax break”, yet still increase taxes? Here is a prime example that took place last fall during the budget process. The City Manager Mindy Manson told council members that the $2.9 million projected revenue in excess last year, one of the best excess leaps the city has seen in years I might add, would not be enough to cover expenses because of additional spending requests, and because she intimated the city was under-insured from the catastrophic hail storm that took place on April 11, 2016.

Further scrutiny of that lagging hail claim payout actually represents upgrading and remodeling the entire public safety building instead of just repairing it to pre-storm condition. Yet Manson suggested the city hold tight on the bloated tax rate, just in case the insurance deal did not pan out for their total remodel.

Reading between the lines, Manson told council members that staff was increasing spending to take up the rather generous sales and property tax revenue, and that they intended to do a full remodel of the public safety building, adding on expenses far beyond repairs that insurance would reasonably cover.

To appear accommodating, Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue ultimately suggested a 2 cent tax decrease during the budget season, hoping taxpayers would heave a collective sigh of relief. Even with this decrease, our taxes went up.

Not only is the city spending like a drunken sailor, but they are artificially keeping the tax rate high by ignoring the effective tax rate. Each year, after Collin County completes assessments, they inform each city of the tax rate needed to keep taxpayer burden stable. This year the effective tax rate for Wylie was .795191. Each year, the city council ignores the effective tax rate, instead tossing small breaks back to the taxpayers, which does nothing to offset the growing burden of improving property values. This year they had over 7 cents they could return to taxpayers to keep their tax burden the same, instead they gave us 2 cents, earmarking the rest for spending.

Many taxpayers simply ignore this sleight of hand routine, erroneously thinking their duty is to improve the growing city, and that they are getting tangible things in return, such as road improvements and increases in fire and police protection. Taxpayers neglect to understand that growth pays for growth, and city administrators do not want them to understand this concept.

Cities coerce taxpayer capitulation through fear, by explaining that they need the additional funds to help cover growth and that if they don’t receive them, services must be cut. Taxpayers altruistically buy into this scheme, thinking they are covering growth and helping the good of all citizens. This fallacious system means cities across Texas are keeping the excess funds from increased property values, instead of allowing growth to pay for itself as each new business and homeowner is tapped.

A prime example of the increase can be seen in comparing our total annual tax payment when we built our home in 2001 which ran approximately $3900 in taxes, to what our current property tax burden is at approximately $5600. Growth from approximately 4600 citizens to over 50,000 during this time has more than paid for the new roads and services. So exactly what did we get for the doubling of our taxes?

As a side-note, as I was poll greeting outside the library during the primary last year, one of the city councilmen told me that the city would be coming to the taxpayers soon for a bond to improve the roads. This mindset is completely unacceptable.

This example shows why it is critical that citizens become involved in the budget process each year, and demand that Wylie adopt the effective tax rate. Expect an initial budget look around municipal elections, with regular budget meetings ramping up through the summer, toward final adoption in the fall. The alternative to getting involved in the process is to continue unwittingly funding the city’s spending sprees each year, and watching money needlessly drain from our bank accounts.