Good news is coming

Published 8:28 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017


By Dean Crooks


It has been said that if you want a strong community with well-informed citizens you should talk to your neighbors and share information when possible. Getting to know your neighbors isn’t new and it isn’t usually an issue in Orange County. We are a small community that knows its neighbors and, if there was ever any doubt about whether we care about each other, it was laid to rest during Harvey. In recent years it seems that all too often, the news we share is bad or depressing and worse, with very little in the way of solutions. As a retired person, I am very fortunate to have the time to hear a lot of news and today I’d like to share some very good news I have heard and some ways we can keep that good news coming.

If you been following events recently, you know that both in Washington D.C. and in Austin, Texas, politicians that chose to lie to their voters about their intentions or political beliefs in order to get elected are having to step aside. If this seems like bad news, it is not, it is simply the way the system is supposed to work but hasn’t for a long time. They can’t win re-election because the voters have decided to exercise the power given to them by the Constitution and vote for someone else. Whatever your political beliefs are, you vote for someone who reflects those beliefs with the idea being, they reflect my principals so they will represent them. However, this only works when candidates are honest and stick to their values. This grass-roots movement to return to a government by the people and for the people is not limited to the accountability of our politicians.

There is a bill in Austin that is working on revamping property taxes state wide. This bill, SB 2, would require local governments to hold tax approval elections (called rollbacks) on the big Election Day in November not, like now, hidden on obscure election dates. These higher-turnout elections would come automatically anytime a government wants to raise taxes 4 percent or more in a year. Now it’s 8 percent, and a petition is required. With SB 2, no petition needed. The author of SB 2, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, says: “The culture has been [county leaders saying], ‘I’m not raising your tax rate.’ But at the same time, these appraised values have been going up like a rocket ship.” This bill has not yet been passed and it is under a great deal of fire to either stop it or water it down to nothing. This is only one example of an opportunity to let your voice be heard and let your state representatives know what you want after all, they work for you.

Apart from some much needed housecleaning in our political system, laws, and taxes, this is good news for a more important reason. It clearly demonstrates what our founding fathers envisioned over 200 years ago: the power must rest with the people. Some government authority and taxes are certainly needed in order to have a productive and orderly society but when this system becomes bloated and indifferent, the boss (We the People) need to step in and set things right. It’s like Charlie Daniels once sang, “I don’t mind payin’ taxes, but it makes my temper itch when my hard-earned money goes to make some politician rich.”. The good news is simple: the movement has begun with some success. Although the hardest fights are still ahead, we now know that our voice can be heard and we can succeed in making our government once again, Of the People, By the People, and For the People!


Dean Crooks, concerned citizen