And come on out tonight! You might learn something...it could save YOU millions!
According to press reports, scores of officials from Tarrant County descended on the state capitol last week to tout a range of legislative priorities and to sound off against state budget cuts (“The Deficit Monster,” March 2) threatening to ripple through cities, school districts and the county government.
One of the visitors was County Judge Glen Whitley, who called on lawmakers to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to help offset some of the reductions. “If it’s not raining now,” said Whitley, the county’s top official, “I don’t know when it would be.”
Reductions that could be felt in Tarrant County government include cuts in criminal justice grants, mental health and mental retardation services, and reimbursements for indigent defense and juror pay. At other levels of local government, cities are facing reductions in homeless programs, police training, park improvements, and a statewide database used by public library patrons. Schools will be hit hard with possible teacher layoffs.
The only neck in this part of the state that seems safe from the government guillotine is that of the billion-dollar Trinity River Vision. The feds are on the line for half of $500 million. However, they’re digging in their heels and may renege on the deal. All local governments and an iffy Bonnie-and-Clyde tax increment financing district are obligated for the other half of the egregious pseudo-flood-control earmark. Why is this project — which we don’t need, don’t want, and can’t afford — immune from the squeeze?
The executive director of this eminent-domain earmark boasts that he has enough money to last for 18 months. Spend! Spend! Spend! Many who remember Waxahachie and the ill-fated superconducting supercollider have long been warning that federal funds for Trinity River Vision might turn out to be a similar unfulfilled promise, after millions of local taxpayer dollars have been wasted on it. Big-spending visionaries from Congress to city hall to the chamber of commerce have snickered at our skepticism. Will Trinity Vision turn out to be Trinity Mirage?