State Capitol HIGHLIGHTS

House, Senate produce disparate versions of tax relief

By Ed Sterling


AUSTIN — Legislation approved by the House and Senate last week reveal widely differing views on how to bring about tax relief to Texans in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Speaker Joe Straus lauded the preliminary approval of House Bill 31, legislation to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5.95 percent, resulting in a $2.66 billion revenue decrease, and House Bill 32, legislation cutting the franchise tax paid by many businesses by 25 percent and resulting in a statewide revenue decrease of $2.56 billion. Both bills were written by House Ways and Means Chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, along with several members credited as coauthors.


County Crime and Drugs K2, Spice, Bath Salts

This is the tenth in a series of articles to try and help the citizens of Van Zandt County to better understand the many factors surrounding the unlawful use of drugs and their connection to property crime in the county.  It is widely accepted that becoming educated about the problem gives us the ability to have some impact on what many consider a national crisis.  Thanks to the publication: Let’s All Work to Fight Drug Abuse, published by L.A.W. Publications for use of some of their resource material in this article.


The mother of all problems?

Sometimes I think moms get a bum rap. 
Movies and novels – and, unfortunately, the stories we tell our friends – often portray mothers in the most unflattering light.
I have two children – now successfully grown, thank you very much.
I’ve been both a stayat- home mom and a working mother. Neither was a piece of cake – a walk in the park – a day at the beach – easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
When I was a stay-athome mom, I worried all the time that my kids weren’t being taught the things they needed to get
along with others.
I struggled with the need for adult interaction and wondered how working women with children managed to keep house, do laundry, cook and care for their kids because I had a difficult enough time doing those things without a job.
Then I became a working mom and found a way to get those things done but it was so so very difficult and, looking back, I

Dogs need and deserve respect

Carol Whatley
Guest columnist -

In a previous column I mentioned that our organization's insurance will not allow us to accept what are known as "bully" dog breeds including Pit Bulls, Chows, Rottweiler’s, etc.  On that list as well is the German Shepherd, which is one my all-time favorites. 


East Center Community

by Ruth Abbott
The East Center Community is located east of Canton and west of Grand Saline, and was settled in the late 1870’s. Time has obscured how it came to be called Center. However, the first available records I found list it as Center and was called this until the late 1800’s, when it was changed to East Center. Likely the reason being, there was also a community named Center in the western part of the country.

Van Zandt CAD answers some common ‘Ag’ questions

By Scott Hyde
The appraisal district receives more calls concerning “Ag Exemption” questions than almost any other topic. “Ag Exemption” is the common term used for 1-d-1 Open Space Special Appraisal. Many landowners in our county either currently qualify or are seeking to qualify for 1-d-1 special appraisal.


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