HORACE MCQUEEN: Increased Taxes a Hard Pill to Swallow!

Texas government — from the statehouse to the county courthouse — is hell bent on raising more dollars. Some of the needs are a given—others just frivolous expenditures that offer little for the majority of taxpayers. But whatever the tax increase, the powers that be seem to have little regard for the citizens that write the checks to cover the huge tax bills.

While taxes are on the rise for working folks — and those who are retired after a lifetime of effort — others are making their daily or weekly trip to buy lottery tickets in anticipation of hitting the big time. Every year over 70-BILLION DOLLARS is spent buying the chance of a lifetime across our country. How much is that 70-billion? Economists say that expense is about what our government spends to provide food stamps to millions of households. The working poor are the biggest purchaser of lottery tickets — often at the expense of food on the table and paying the rent.

In several states, lottery officials start the biggest lottery games at the same time government checks are mailed. Back a few years ago John Sharp, now Chancellor of the Texas A & M University System, was Texas State Comptroller. Sharp was no fan of the Texas lottery. I recall Sharp once saying that if Lone Star Beer bottles were lined up side by side from El Paso to Texarkana, the total number of bottles would equal the odds of winning the lottery big prize.

Farmers and ranchers in East Texas are usually two weeks or so from needing a rain.

If we could figure out a way to spread our 40-inch or so annual rainfall to fit the needs of growing pastures and other crops, it would be great. But no such luck! As of today, most of our folks on the land could use a slow, soaker of moisture. By the time you read this, hopefully it has happened.

The good citizens in Henderson County have officially seated a new agricultural Extension Agent. Spencer Perkins comes from Camp County (Pittsburg is the County seat) where he was agent for over four years. Spencer is only the third agent in 51-years to fill the job of Henderson County agent. Gayle Finch was agent from 1966 through his retirement in 1992. His successor was Rick Hirsch who served the county until his untimely death last year.

Spencer will do well in Henderson County serving both farm and city dwellers. He grew up in the Canton area and is a graduate of Martins Mill school — and married a young lady from Athens.

On a political note, some officials are victims of “foot in mouth disease.” Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, voted the most disliked member of the U.S. Congress by her peers, often confuses fact with fiction. During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last month, Jackson told the news media that the cause of the Houston area floods was “due to water”. She also said that the reason Houston ended up with so much water is “because Houston is 50-feet below sea level.” She was reminded of her error — Houston is actually 50-foot above sea level!

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