LETTERS: Clarify rates and ratings; La Vega rowing fan; and define socialism | Letters

Call your state representative

By state law, appraisal districts must appraise property at market value. In fact, appraisal districts are regulated by the state of Texas to ensure that they do their job fairly and accurately. Failure to comply with these state-mandated regulations results in reduced formula funding for local school districts. I encourage you to contact your state representative and state senator if you are unhappy with the evaluation process.

Please understand that your taxes are determined by your value divided by $100, then multiplied by the tax rate. The statement you recently received is an estimate and does not take into account tax rate reductions. Each city, school district, water and flood district sets its own rates. I encourage you to contact your representatives in each of these entities and express your dissatisfaction with the increase in your property taxes.

Commissioners are responsible for setting the county portion of your property tax rate, not assessors. State law prohibits us from raising the tax rate more than 3.5%. I have always defended and will continue to defend taxpayers. Last year, we reduced the county rate by 9.3%. I’ll do my best to set a rate that won’t increase your county taxes this year. If you have any questions about our budget process which begins in June, please contact me or my office.

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Editor’s Note: Will Jones represents Precinct 3 in the McLennan County Court of Commissioners.

Line on, La Vega

What a pleasure to read the article “La Vega students ready to row” [April 26] and a big thank you to these guys for bringing the program to the La Vega School District. Nice to see a scholarship opportunity for students “east of the river” other than football or basketball. (Congratulations, though, to those winning teams.) It looks like they’re ready to go, and I can’t wait to read about their progress.

Gloria Gauntt, Chalk Bluff

About socialism

Thursday’s letter from Don Hardcastle is largely correct, but one clarification I would like to make is that the Russian Soviet Republic was a socialist state guided by communist ideology.

I would also like to clarify the differences between communism, socialism and fascism. Fascism is simply an authoritarian dictator. The word actually originates from Mussolini’s reign in Italy during World War II. Communism focuses on a classless, anti-capitalist society and favors revolution to overthrow the government to create a new one instead of reforming the government. Some principles that we have are not part of communist ideology, such as freedom of religion and capitalism.

Socialism is often mixed up, but it’s quite different because socialism can co-exist with democracy. It focuses more on cooperation than competition, protecting the oppressed, and separating church and state. Most socialist democracies can prosper and succeed, Denmark being the example most often cited. From what I understand, the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants to work for socialist democracy in America, not communism.