Somervell County Salon-Populist Online News and Opinion-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


TAB nothing more than BLAB

26 February 2007 at 4:43:54 PM

from Peter Stern

What's good for the goose ain't so great for the gosling community!
CEO Bill Hammond of Texas Association of Business (TAB) is whining again.  This time it's about how Texas must be more fair to its taxpayers.  And if you buy that, I've got some ocean-front property for sale in Central Texas you can purchase at a great price!
Over the past five years as Gov. Perry's appointee to oversee TAB, during the day Mr. Hammond seems genuine in supporting the best interests of Texas taxpayers and the better interests of the overall community; however, apparently living two lives, during the twilight hours Hammond appears to go home to "don his special interest crusader's costume" to push for the whims of his wealthy big business associates.  Generally, what has been good for business these days seldom winds up being good for the overall community.
Mr. Hammond tells us in comments documented in The Texas Insider,
“In 2006, Texas lawmakers made significant progress in bringing greater fairness to our state’s tax system,” Hammond said.  “They rightly closed loopholes in the state franchise tax system, a tax that only one in 16 businesses paid.  In its place, we now have a revised business tax that is lower, flatter and fairer to all.  Yet anti-competitive, costly and unreasonable tax policies remain.  To continue to encourage investment and job creation, Texas must continue to modernize its tax structure, close remaining loopholes and ensure transparency in taxation.”
While Mr. Hammond talks a good game, seldom do his proposals pan-out to be in the best interests of the Texas community.  Generally, he speaks for wealthy big business associates.
A case in point is that two years ago he voiced an opinion about saving money for public education by increasing class sizes, which then, he surmised would enable districts to cut teacher personnel costs in their budgets.
Fortunately, no one took Mr. Hammond's recommendations seriously.  If they had been approved our children today may be in classes totaling more than 40 children for 1 teacher.  In ANY serious study on education, there is nothing good about a student:teacher ration of 40:1!  That's just common-sense for most of us.
Being a former educator and businessman, I contacted the HQ of TAB to see what it had to say about the comments on education provided by it CEO.  The response was that "Mr. Hammond's comments did not reflect the opinions or recommendations of TAB."
The problem with that response is that TAB is incorrect.  What CEO Hammond says about anything IS a reflection on the agency he commands.
Even more sad and incredulous is that the Governor's appointed Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Dr. Shirley Neeley, hand-picked Hammond to serve on the Commissioner’s Task Force on Test Security, which will examine security issues and oversee investigations of campuses and districts with alleged testing anomalies.  
Apparently, everyone is concerned because students may be cheating on the TAKS exams and who better to determine whether anything is unethical than men and women like Mr. Hammond?  With so few honorable and ethical role models in business and state agencies, there may be a real cause for concern that our children will become extensions of those running our state and nation.
Frankly, it is difficult to take anything Mr. Hammond says seriously as being in the best interests of the community at-large and more Texans should recognize that. 
Essentially, what is good for Mr. Hammond and his business associates seldom is good for the rest of us.

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