Horns Up, Horns Down for Sept. 10: Property taxes and textbook woes

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Horns up: Lawmakers stand up for LGBTQ rights 

A group of Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to Maj. Gen. John Nichols of the Texas Military Forces on Monday asking him to allow same-sex spouses to enroll in the Texas National Guard’s veteran benefits program at state-operated installations. Although the Texas National Guard announced last week that it would not provide benefits for same-sex couples, an opinion recently requested from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott could deal a death blow to the new policy. While that seems unlikely given Abbott’s political leanings, we applaud the Democratic lawmakers for standing up for LGBTQ couples in the military and hope the National Guard suspends the policy until the attorney general has issued an opinion. 

Horns down: Shortchanging historically black schools 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but historically black colleges are still getting the short end of the funding stick in several Southern states. A report by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities found the states had always met their funding obligations to historically white land-grant colleges but had been dragging their feet on matching funds for historically black colleges. Topping the list of delinquent states was our very own Lone Star State, which owes $12 million to Prairie View A&M University. We don’t mean to impute racist motives to the powers that be, but their disregard for historically black colleges’ financial well-being is yet more evidence that black citizens still aren’t being given an equal shot at success.  

Horns up: Austin property tax rate not rising 

On Monday afternoon, the Austin City Council passed a resolution that will keep the current property tax rate (50.29 cents per $100 of property value) steady through next year. Though keeping the tax rate the same will cut the city’s expected budget surplus from $13 to $6 million, we agree with the council’s decision. Most students may not own property in Austin, but many pay rent to those who do, and there are others who would like to live in Austin post-graduation but are discouraged from doing so because of the expensive housing market. There are still problems with the budget that the council needs to confront — Police Chief Art Acevedo was adamant that he needs staff increases far larger than those that were granted — but we remain optimistic that the council can use the $6 million in surplus to deal with these challenges.

Horns down: Goodbye, grocery money, hello textbooks! 

We’re finally past the point of no return on textbook purchases  — if you still have yet to buy them, it’s probably going to start hindering you right about now. That being said, it would be great to not have to drop $150 on a brand new textbook because we need the one-time code for online content written inside the cover. Call us old-fashioned, but we’d take a used, scribbled-in, significantly cheaper paper-ink-and-glue version of “Great Moments in Accounting” any day.