More Columns

To help address foster care tragedies, better understand and listen to youth

Working collaboratively with youth and valuing their perspectives is a key part of the solution to the state's foster care problem. Young people are telling us something when they run from care, and it is time to start listening. They often know what works best for them and research suggests that allowing youth to participate in decisions about their lives may help them heal.

Answering the call for Texas’ children

The Texas Legislature, on average, has consistently funded only 80 percent of what it costs to provide for children in foster care. On average, community foster care and partner providers who provide specialized services for acutely traumatized children lose money every day they care for a child.

What Octavio Paz can tell us about U.S.-Mexico relations today

Octavio Paz’s solution to American democratic problems was to return to the past. The U.S. has to recuperate its unity, which today, in this highly divided world, seems idealistic and complex. And America needs to return to “the origins, to the foundation of the nation. To recuperate the vision of its founders, not to copy them, but to make a new beginning.”

The Economic Stabilization Fund: A Texas legacy

The irony with long-term issues is they don’t need to be solved immediately, yet because they do not need to be solved immediately, those issues are rarely adequately funded in each state budget. The Texas Legacy Fund within the ESF would allow the state to better manage long-term issues, which are the greatest threat to our state’s AAA credit rating.

Political map-making process in need of a cure

Texas, never outdone in matters political, has a long and storied history of creative electoral district map-making. Like the rest of the Confederate South, it drew districts to marginalize black and Latino voting for generations; a tactic that led to the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Aggressive gerrymandering remains alive and well in Texas and throughout the nation.

A public benefit for corporations that give back

At a time when a constrained state budget will undoubtedly leave many needs within our communities unmet, Texas should — at minimum — facilitate opportunities for private investment in the greater good. Legislation enabling B-Corps this session would help the private sector invest in the growing needs of our state now, while simultaneously meeting today's dynamic market demands. 

Original intent and the Texas Rainy Day Fund

The reason we created the fund was to flatten out the available revenue stream from the up-and-down swings of the economy so that constant levels of services could be provided, including covering higher costs as those needing or qualifying for government services increase.

In Texas, libraries transform

From enrichment to education, libraries transform how we as patrons engage in the world around us by providing access to resources and by developing programs specific to the needs of our communities. In the years ahead, the services that libraries provide will be essential as more and more cities adopt aging-in-place initiatives.

The case for banning powdered alcohol in Texas

It’s such a bad idea that more than 30 states have already banned powdered alcohol completely – even Louisiana! Texas should follow their lead by passing a ban instead of creating regulations that could help establish a market for powdered alcohol in our state.

The Legislature’s all-out assault on passenger trains

It’s almost too late to start a statewide passenger rail network in Texas. Rail projects here have no dedicated source of revenue; no statewide projects are being considered by TxDOT. Future generations may regret that our elected leaders only focused on more highway development and left passenger train service on a dead-end track.