Monday, August 29, 2016

CCR 08-29-16 More Lipstick Needed?

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

"More Lipstick Needed?"

   Happy early upcoming-Labor Day, dear readers.  However, a small problem might currently exist…you may not be laboring enough.

   On Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Irving ISD will hold their specially called and costly Tax Ratification Election (TRE).  And as previously noted in several CCR reports, the approval, of the so called "Penny Exchange" election, will witness a $.13 increase in the district’s Maintenance and Operations tax rate.

   Sure, the Irving ISD Board of Trustees has repeatedly stated your total tax liability will not go up as the $.13 will be transferred from the Interest and Sinking Fund.  However, this "find the pea under the shell" fund maneuvering might only be valid for the district’s 2016-17 ISD budget…which has already been approved.

   The 2016-17 budget was balanced and approved by shifting $9M+ from the district’s Fund Balance Reserve account.  
   (There has been no indication of replacing the $9M+ in the Fund Balance Reserve if the TRE passes and the district receives the $10M in "free" state money.)

   The official and final tax rate for the Irving ISD will not be approved until after the TRE ballots have been cast.  
   (Now, doesn’t that appear to be an amazing coincidence!)

   Utilizing this means of approving the tax rate, after the election, is akin to telling rationale voters to: 
   Trust us, we know what we are doing.  We’ll only buy enough lipstick this year to make the pig  "Penny Exchange" process look attractive.  However, next year we might need to buy an even larger supply of lipstick to cover and hide any of those ugly blemishes or hickeys created by broken promises.

   While most rational voters would be somewhat leery of forking over this many potential tax bucks, if a possible future property tax increase becomes required, the Irving ISD board and administration is confident they can pull off this election by playing to a pliable voting block…personnel of the district, teachers and PTA organizations…all whom might benefit. 

   Of course, the administration and board cannot electioneer as the following regulation dictates:

Use of Public Funds for Campaigning: Public funds cannot be used for political advertising or electioneering to support a TRE. School districts are permitted, however, to communicate with taxpayers by producing factual materials about the TRE, as well as information about the conduct of the election (date, polling sites, etc.), as long as there is no advocacy in the materials. For more information, see TASB Legal Services’ guidance on Campaign Speech During Elections43 and the Texas Ethics Commission’s guidance44 for school districts.
   This regulation, however, doesn’t appear to address "casual" or personal "non-electioneering conversations" between administrators, principals, and board members with various individuals, heads of PTA organizations, service clubs, or coffee shop gatherings.  And while "casually" mentioning "information" regarding the upcoming election, reams of the "Penny Exchange" brochures just might be made available to these pliable supporters who might benefit from passage of the proposition.

   Yes, dear readers, the Irving ISD administration and board has shuffled and cut the deck.  Astute voters should keep a keen eye and ensure all the cards are dealt fairly off the top of the deck.  Just saying!

   As with all cloudy news regarding ‘beautiful downtown Irving,’ there is a bright light of transparency and terrific leadership shining in one of the areas more vibrant communities…Frisco.
   (Unlike Irving’s mayoral leadership, the mayor of Frisco doesn’t appear to be attempting to convert his city into sanctuary city status for Red Meat TEA-carnivores.  Maybe that is just one of the key differences which makes Frisco shine.)

   Frisco is ablaze with development, the Dallas Cowboys, Toyota, and unfathomable economic progress.  And guess what?  Frisco voters actually shot down the "Penny Exchange" Tax Ratification Election by a 58% margin.  Wow!  

   In fact, Frisco had an active group (Frisco United which sounds like a London football club) campaigning against the TRE.  Apparently, this group believed the property tax rate for their school district was already high enough and the "Penny Exchange" was more than what it appeared to be on the surface…as well as what might occur with future district tax rates and finances.

   The full detail of the Frisco TRE vote is noted in the balanced article by DMN reporter, Valerie Wigglesworth, on the following link:

   If you, dear readers, and your neighbors, friends and associates consider you are laboring enough to cover your current tax bill obligations, then a rude awakening might cause you to reconsider voting to approve the TRE.  
  (In the case of the Irving ISD TRE, you are the unorganized group needed to spread the word before the September 10 election day.  There currently is no organized group presenting the opposing view of this election…even though many dear readers have expressed this viewpoint.)

   Otherwise, a  part-time job, to cover future IISD tax rate hikes, might be in your cards when the district plans and plots their 2017-18 budget…if the TRE vote passes.

   Perhaps, now might be a good time for the CCR staff to offer some investment advice.  The recommendation would be to go long and invest in lipstick stocks.  
   (After all, this could be easier than flipping burgers part-time.)

   And for your consideration, staff of the CCR believes a good buy, with high dividend rates, is available when purchasing the stock designated "Broken Promises."

   Please note:  The lipstick stock, "Broken Promises," is only traded on the IISD Exchange.  And all stock purchases must made in full dollar amounts…as no pennies are exchanged.

………………………………………………Mark Holbrook