The Ennis Daily News (Ennis, Tex.), Ed. 1 Friday, March 15, 2013 Page: 4 of 10
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Friday, March 15,2013
Ennis Daily News
get boost in
The state’s budget proposal is a fair
sight better than it was when the
process of drafting the upcoming plan
We have a feeling “better” isn’t
enough for a lot of people.
While the $5.2 billion in general pur-
pose spending added Wednesday to a
state budget plan that now heads to the
Senate, the proposal sits at a spending
level of $195.5 billion for the two years
set to begin.
Combined with fed-
eral dollars, the
budget passed by the
is $8.6 billion more
than the base Senate
budget released in
That figure is be-
yond comprehension and wholly unreal
for those of us in a town like Ennis,
which gets by with a fraction of a frac-
tion of a fraction of that amount of
capital and supports numerous local
services and more than 150 public em-
What the state budget does that is im-
portant is return about $1.4 billion in
education spending to a system that
was cut by nearly four times that
amount with the last budget.
It’s obvious that l/4th is not one.
Mental health programs administra-
tion — a sticky wicket that has gained
considerable attention since incidents
like the Sandy Hook Elementary School
shooting in December — has also
gained an extra $240 million, though
stakeholders say Texas spending will
still rank near the bottom in the nation.
If nothing else is true, Texas will
largely continue the austerity that has
been a political pressure point for con-
servatives and a rub for more liberally
We are not where we were as a state
in many spending areas, and we won’t
be any time soon if revenue generation
continues as it is going.
We’re glad to see the additions that
made it into the plan this week, be-
cause the areas that have seen benefits
are key to the continued health of our
state. The idea that spending on the ed-
ucation and mental health of our resi-
dents is vital to the future is not a
conspiratorial plan to further a welfare
state mentality or line the pockets of
the lazy We can have the leanest spend-
ing plan and tout that, or we can have a
state that cares enough for its future to
invest in it.
© Contents copyright 2013 and cannot be reproduced
without the written permission of the publisher.
Tre Bischof ■ Publisher Teresa Watson ■ Office Manager
Nick Todaro ■ Editor Fernev Parra ■ Production Manager
Melissa Honza ■ Composition Manager
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Mass transit a pipe dream — for now
News that the North Central
Texas Council of Governments is
soliciting ideas for the public on
mass transit in Texas is welcome,
but pardon me if I don’t get my
Various projects re-
mass transit in Texas
have cropped up over
the past few years,
only to fade into ob-
scurity as squabbling
politicians delay the
work and defer major
decisions. A reliable,
affordable mass tran-
sit system just makes
too much sense for
The Ennis Daily
News editorial on Thursday
spelled out in no uncertain terms
the economic benefits of mass
transit; how every dollar spent
gets a sizeable return on invest-
ment. I won’t rehash the statis-
tics; I’ll just say that without
mass transit, many people in the
community are powerless to bet-
I was lucky that when my last
car bit the dust, I already had a
job. I’m sure there are a lot more
people in Ennis and Ellis County
who could easily work if only
they had reliable transportation
to and from work. One could al-
ways walk, but that limits your
options to what’s nearby. Not to
mention our fair city isn’t exactly
a haven for pedestrians, as I’ve
I suppose I got spoiled after liv-
ing in Denton for five years and
learning to use and love the Den-
ton County Transportation Au-
thority system. With a
little planning and
willingness to walk a
little, you could get
around town easily for
a pittance. It was quite
a boon for a poor col-
lege student, as well as
for a slightly less poor
schlepping about look-
ing for a job.
Obviously Ennis is
a fraction of the size of
Denton, but the city
could benefit from
something as simple as a bus line
between Ennis and Waxahachie.
What seems to car owners to be a
trivial, 15 to 20 minute drive can
seem insurmountable to someone
down on their luck. Job seekers
without cars could find jobs in ei-
ther town, hopping on the bus in
the morning and riding it back at
night. With a little forethought,
the theoretical bus could bring
even more tourism dollars to city
coffers by encouraging our neigh-
bors in Waxahachie to ride in for
one of our many cultural events.
Like it or not, Ennis and Waxa-
hachie are inexorably linked;
connecting the two via mass tran-
sit just makes sense.
Piecemeal interlocal efforts ob-
viously don’t hold a candle to
what many mass transit enthusi-
asts in Texas consider the Holy
Grail: a statewide, comprehensive
transit system. The idea of being
able to jump on a high-speed train
in Dallas and be in San Antonio
in two hours while bypassing
Austin traffic altogether is tanta-
lizing. Given the glacial rate at
which high-speed rail is develop-
ing in this country, don’t sell your
car just yet.
Already states including
Florida and Colorado are return-
ing federal money for rail sys-
tems over concerns about the
strings attached; given our state
leaders I’d suspect we’re not far
For now I’d settle for an expan-
sion of the Dallas Area Rapid
Transit system to Ennis or Waxa-
hachie. Many cities in the north-
east have similar systems where
hourly trains go to and fro be-
tween hub cities and the outlying
Imagine being able to hop on a
train in Ennis, ride leisurely into
Dallas for the day and spend your
hard earned cash before riding
back for the evening.
It’s eminently doable, but
Texas lawmakers are skilled in
the art of torpedoing mass tran-
sit projects. For now though, it’s
fun to dream.
Phil Banker is the staff writer
for the Ennis Daily News. He can
be reached at phil@ennisdai-
Hooray for royal babies, I think
WE'RE HAVING A BABY!
I'm so excited. There's a baby
on the way! I can't tell you how
long I've waited for this — years
and years and years, ever since
the wedding. Not my wedding,
silly: Will and Kate's.
I get to call them
Will and Kate, even
though they don't
know me from
Adam, because I'm a
reporter. It'd be rude
if you did it, but we
reporters are almost
part of the family -
the part of the family
they don't let in the
house. And now
we're having a baby!
Our baby will be
the most wonderful
baby in the world.
This child's diapers will smell
like roses; its spit-up could be bot-
tled and sold like vintage Dom
Perignon. I'm just so excited, be-
cause there's nothing we re-
porters get more excited about
And if their parents are
celebrities or rich or royal, we re-
ally get excited.
And guess what? This baby's
parents are all three. I can't think
of a baby who deserves all this at-
tention more, can you? After all
this baby's done for us, how can
we not love it?
We are much too busy report-
ing on the babies of celebrities to
spend any time with our own ba-
That's why we know so little
about babies who don't have press
agents, lawyers or spokespeople.
One of my own babies, Frank
or Bob or whatever his name is,
called me yesterday. It turns out
he's graduating from college, and
he wants to make sure I'm not
coming to the cere-
"You missed my
tion because you were
covering a baby who
fell down a well. You
never came to one
football game because
some birth mother
wanted to keep a baby
When I graduated
from high school, you
were covering Tom
Well, Peter and I
don't have time for you. We're
busy with our own lives. And if
we ever have children, we're not
going to tell you."
Peter, that's it! My other boy's
name is Peter.
Which makes me think, maybe
I can do a front-page story on
what the royals will name their
baby. Wouldn't it be great if it
were a boy and they named him
He could go through most of
his life as Prince Prince. What if
they have twins? Would one get to
be king because he was born two
minutes before his brother?
That doesn't seem fair. It's al-
most as if someone gets to be a
wealthy ruler just because he was
born, not because he earned it or
deserved it more than any other
What if it's twin girls and they
both want to be queen? Better yet,
what if it's twin boys and they
both want to be queen?
That'd be the story of the cen-
tury, and I'd have it first because I
have it now! It doesn't matter that
it may never happen. I'm writing
it. It's too good a story not to print.
Some wonder if we reporters
should spend so much time chas-
ing the overprivileged parents of
an overprivileged baby, a baby we
wouldn't be writing about if its
parents were commoners who
lived next door to us.
But if the commoner's baby fell
down a well, then we'd care about
There'd be hundreds of re-
porters on the front lawn in 12
But I'd be there first because I
live next door. I'd get all the exclu-
sive interviews because we're
neighbors, so it's practically my
Not that we've ever had the
parents over for dinner or any-
After all, they are common.
What's the baby's name again?
Will the royal baby fall down a
well? Not unless I can talk my ed-
itor into hiring a team to secretly
dig baby-sized wells in the side
yard of Buckingham Palace and
cover them with a thin layer of
No, that's crazy talk. Besides,
our paper's budget is much too
tight for that.
Contact Jim Mullen at Jim-
The Village Idiot
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Todaro, Nick. The Ennis Daily News (Ennis, Tex.), Ed. 1 Friday, March 15, 2013, newspaper, March 15, 2013; Ennis, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth771161/m1/4/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Ennis Public Library.