Politics

Citizens Speak Out at Community Budget Hearing

City Manager, Sheryl Sculley

Commitment to continually improving city services was the underlying theme of last night's District 9 Community Budget Hearing, held at Tejeda Middle School. The City of San Antonio is hosting 10 such community meetings to share the proposed budget and receive valuable comments from its citizens.  “This process didn't just happen overnight.  The staff and council have been working on the budget for over six months,” commented City Manager Sheryl Sculley. During a council retreat a few months back, city leaders were charged with the task of ranking and prioritizing the city services by their importance. After identifying inefficiencies and low priority programs, nearly $9 million over a two year period was cut and will be redirected.

Active kids are healthy kids

Senator Wentworth column                                        Contact: Margaret Patterson

 

For immediate release/August 30, 2007                                    (210) 826-7800

 

 

Wolff believes in prudent budgeting

2441

Each year that I have served District 9 on San Antonio City Council, I have proposed a reduction in the property tax rate.  It is city budget season again, and this year I have the support of several of my colleagues in calling for a one-cent cut to the city’s tax rate for FY 2008.  As you may have read, the City Manager is currently advocating a one-sixth of a cent reduction.  This is a good start and I hope it will become the foundation for a trend toward the tax relief District 9 taxpayers deserve.

 

Prudent budgeting of city dollars is just as vital as the tax rate reduction, and I have advocated a modest increase in spending for basic services such as police, fire and street improvements.  Conversely, I have opposed any increases in funding for programs like Project Quest, as I believe that workforce training is not within the purview of city government.  In May, I successfully passed an ordinance which forces the City to open up all workforce development dollars to a competitive bidding process.

 

CORNYN MEASURE TO CRACK DOWN ON “CHEESE� HEROIN APPROVED BY SENATE PANEL

1842

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, successfully added and helped advance an amendment Thursday targeting “cheese” heroin, a lethal drug causing addiction and death among a growing number of Texas youths.

Sen. Cornyn’s measure adds “cheese” heroin to the list of illegal drugs in the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. His amendment was included in the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007, S. 456, which the Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously advanced to the full Senate for consideration.

“We must work now to crack down on this lethal drug before it spreads further and destroys the lives of more young people,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Raising awareness of the dangers of ‘cheese’ heroin is critical in the effort to stamp it out.”

It's crunch time in Austin

 

 

Senator Wentworth column                                        Contact: Margaret Patterson

 

For immediate release/May 11, 2007                                         (210) 826-7800

 

Toll roads and gas tax increases?..the options

 

Toll Roads?  Gas Tax Increase?  Do Nothing?
by Jeff Wentworth

 

      State Senator, District 25

            Congestion, mobility, the TransTexas Corridor and toll roads are just some of the words or phrases that come to mind when talking about Texas’ transportation future.
            First of all, we’re a state of about 23 million people -- and it took us, oh, several thousand years to reach our current population figure.  Dr. Steve Murdock, our state demographer, tells us that we’ll be closer to 45 million by the year 2040, only 33 years from now.
            Not all, but many of our public roadways are already congested to the point that lots of Texans are frustrated and angry at the lack of mobility as well as the air pollution that “stuck in traffic” causes. And if you don’t like traffic congestion with 23 million folks in Texas, my guess is you’ll absolutely hate it without any new roads and nearly twice as many people.
            The 20 cents per gallon state motor fuels tax barely covers the cost of maintaining our far-flung state highway system in Texas, leaving precious little for new construction.
            If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that Texas needs more roads if we’re to be responsible about our children and grandchildren and their future well-being.
            Roads aren’t free.  In fact, not only are they not free, they’re darned expensive, and somebody (Texas taxpayers, mainly) has to pay for them.
            Since the current state motor fuels tax is insufficient to pay for the new roads that we and future generations will need, it seems only common sense that we would consider increasing that tax in order to raise the funds necessary to pay for the roads we need.
            But the Governor has said he’ll veto any gas tax increase that the Legislature may pass -- so that option is effectively off the table.
            What choices are left?  First, we could do nothing and simply let the current conditions continue to deteriorate, guaranteeing more congestion, less mobility and more air pollution.  In my view, this is not a realistic or responsible approach to take.
            Second, we could quit a practice begun by the Legislature a couple of decades ago in order to balance our state budget without raising taxes: diverting money from Fund 6, the dedicated motor fuels revenue tax account, to things related to transportation but not specifically for construction and maintenance of our highway system.  I favor this approach, but by itself it still won’t be enough additional money to fix our transportation challenges.
            Third, we could build roads now and pay for them with tolls as we use them.  This approach has been used to good purpose in Houston and Dallas but never in San Antonio and only recently in Austin.
            There may be other options out there, but if there are, I haven’t heard them.
            Building new transportation infrastructure for current Texans as well as their children and grandchildren is a major challenge for our state right now, and I, as your voice in the Texas Senate, welcome your advice and suggestions.

 

Tollroads encounter roadblocks

1321

 

 Contact: Margaret Patterson
  (210) 826-7800

                                           Toll roads encounter major legislative roadblock
by Jeff Wentworth
State Senator, District 25
            If public participation is a sign of a healthy democracy, then when it comes to toll roads, our state’s legislative process is, as we say in Texas, “healthy as a horse.”

 

Senator Wentworth says "Watch these bills, they may become law! "

 

Senator Wentworth column                                        Contact: Margaret Patterson

For immediate release/March 16, 2007                                      (210) 826-7800

 

Watch these bills, they may become law!

Governor Perry Oversteps Authority

 
      

Governor overstepped his authority with HPV vaccine immunization order
 

Teachers deserve moral and financial support

 Senator Wentworth column                                         Contact: Margaret Patterson

For immediate release/February 2, 2007                                     (210) 826-7800