Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rebate or Roadwork?

Coming relatively hot on the heels of the federal economic stimulus, Gov. Rick Perry announced today that Texas has too much money, and the state is pondering whether or not to give some of it back:
Just as the federal government sends out economic stimulus checks to Americans, Texans may get a 2nd check.

A spokesman for the Governor says estimates of the budget surplus in Austin have ranged from the comptroller's near 11-billion extra dollars... to the house speaker's 15-billion dollar guesstimate.

[...]Governor Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, says there are several ways some of that could go back to taxpayers. Including reducing property taxes, reducing sales taxes or rebate checks like the federal government is doing now.
A second rebate check? That sounds sweet, at least upon first hearing. But others say that it smacks of political gimmickry; there are certainly plenty of other ways that the state could put its surplus to good use. Here are a few examples:
  • Using the money to help offset the shortfall in road-construction funds (after all, TxDOT is pleading poverty these days, and even this toll-road fan wouldn't mind a few more free roads being built)

  • Pouring more money into higher education so the colleges don't have to increase tuition so much or so often

  • Giving more money to public education for teachers' salary increases

  • Helping families who don't have health insurance
And I'm sure there are many more possibilities. So what do you think? Do any of the ideas above appeal to you, or do you have another one of your own? Or would you just say "show me the money"? Fire away in the comments.

Stupid criminal of the week #1: If you decide to give the cops who have stopped you a fake name to avoid getting nabbed for some unpaid parking tickets, it's a bad idea to give them the name of someone who committed an even more serious offense.

Stupid criminal of the week #2: If you shoplift some candy bars from a convenience store, it's a good idea to get the chocolate off your breath before the cops stop you.

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