Pablo Vegas was given the go-ahead to be hired as the president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT) by both the ERCOT board and the Public Utility Commission.
Vegas is currently the executive vice president of NiSource, a natural gas and electric corporation that operates in six states, including Indiana and Ohio, but he is no stranger to Texas. Vegas served as CEO and president of the electric transmission firm American Electric Power Texas from 2008 until 2010. On Oct. 1, he will begin a five-year contract with ERCOT, during which time he will get $999,000 per year in salary and benefits.
This Thursday, the Texas Education Agency released school ratings for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, campuses and districts received an A-C or a Not Rated label instead of the standard A-F system. Schools that would have received a D or F were listed as Not Rated.
Instead, receiving a Not Rated ensures that the TEA won’t impose any sanctions. Overall, compared to 2019, the majority of schools demonstrated progress. In actuality, A or B grades were received by over 74% of the graded schools.
Families affected by the Robb Elementary School tragedy in May, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, have not gotten any of the $16 million donated to them from across the nation, according to a story from The Texas Tribune.
To disburse the monies, a committee was formed, and it intends to launch an application procedure for families the following month.
Therefore, it can still be two months before the families receive any cash support to ease their financial burdens while they cope with the loss of a loved one.
On the Inflation Reduction Act, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin)
The Inflation Reduction Act was enacted this week by President Joe Biden. The comprehensive health care, environmental, and tax reform plan is viewed as a significant victory for the president.
Congressman Lloyd Doggett from Austin visited Texas This Week to discuss how the bill will affect people in Central Texas.
Alyssa Goudeau: This legislation has several facets. I want to discuss health care with you first before we discuss the climate part. Now, this bill caps the amount seniors will have to pay out of pocket for their prescription drugs.
Additionally, it caps insulin pricing for Medicare recipients and secures the reduced cost for Americans with Obamacare. But according to what you indicated, it falls short in terms of healthcare. What about the bill did you find lacking?
Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas: “Well, the major omission that concerns me much is that there may be as many as 2 million Texans who have never benefited in any way from the Affordable Care Act.
That’s because Texas never used federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to some of our economically underprivileged neighbours.
Support is offered by this bill for the large number of consumers who may re-enrol in Affordable Care Act plans this fall. The cost of them will decrease.
However, I want it to support individuals at the very bottom of the economic scale in getting the access to a family doctor they need. In addition, I’m very concerned about prescription price gouging, as you are aware from our previous encounters.
Except for individuals who depend on Medicare, this law does not address that issue. Additionally, obtaining a tiny quantity of medications is time-consuming.
Therefore, even as this measure was being discussed, I was on the phone with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the secretary of Health and Human Services pleading with them to urge the administration to do more to support it so that American consumers can see how we are opposing big pharma.
Alyssa Goudeau: Making sure big businesses pay their fair share of taxes is another important aspect of this legislation. Tell us what happens to that part of the package or what is contained in that part of this package.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett of the United States said that although “much more should have been done,” at least under this bill, businesses with over $1 billion in income would be required to pay at least 15% in taxes. So many of these big businesses move their earnings offshore and pay little to nothing in taxes.
And when that occurs, the cost of paying taxes, maintaining our national security, and providing other essential public services simply gets passed on to individuals and small businesses.
I, therefore, believe that is a positive move. Many of the businesses that benefited greatly from the Trump tax reduction chose to repurchase shares instead of investing the money in expanding their businesses and creating new jobs and opportunities.
Therefore, a minor tax has been enacted to deter these stock buybacks. Overall, the tax law amendments have the effect of making the government deficit a real goal for the first time in a significant piece of legislation.
The revenue provisions in this plan are expected to reduce the deficit by about $300 billion over the next ten years.
Alyssa Goudeau: As you hinted earlier, this package also includes the $360 billion largest-ever commitment to combat climate change. Please explain to us how some of those clauses would especially affect residents of Texas and Central Texas.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett of the United States: “Well, for many middle-class and working families in our town, the cost of switching to electricity is just a bit too high. Compared to the conventional fossil fuel automobiles we all own, electric cars cost a little more.
To solve the climate catastrophe, which is very serious and may render our region uninhabitable in the coming decades, this law seeks to provide more people with the option to participate in their personal decisions. A $7,500 tax credit will thereby lower the price of an electric vehicle.
As a result of wanting to attract more customers who might be shopping for a less expensive vehicle, it now also applies to used cars.
There are income restrictions on who is eligible to focus on the middle class and working families in this country.
Additionally, there are credits available to help families afford efficient electric appliances, such as clothes dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other big appliances.
There are also provisions to offer credits for home efficiency, for an inspection of your home to determine what can be done to make it more efficient, and for individuals who have been experiencing extremely high heating and air conditioning bills as a result of the heat this summer.
And about automobiles, the clause I worked on directly dealt with electric car charges. One thing that will happen does not only provide a $1,000 credit for individuals who own a home and desire one at home but also provide a credit for businesses like apartment owners to have an incentive to locate electric vehicle charging stations so that those who reside in their flats can access them.
In the future, we want electric vehicle chargers to be as accessible as gas pumps are right now. We must switch to clean fuel systems if we’re going to lessen the harmful pollutants from fossil fuels that are affecting us here and all the way up to the North Pole.
The largest source of carbon emissions is the transportation industry, followed closely by our homes and houses. To encourage everyone to contribute to the climate crisis solution, this measure provides incentives.
Alyssa Goudeau: This bill’s bipartisan passage must be mentioned when discussing it. Your entire Republican party, including Austin’s representative, voted against it. It is really referred to as a “radical tax and spend plan” by Rep. Chip Roy. He claims that it won’t reduce inflation in the slightest. How do you reply to that criticism then?
“Well, it’s not unexpected,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett. He’s kind of opposed most of what we’ve had up there. Unfortunately, it. We made a lot of effort to engage and solicit the support of our Republican colleagues.
When they refer to it as a tax and spend measure, there is expenditure involved, especially to aid the more impoverished people.
But the majority of this bill’s cost is in tax cuts; a tax credit is just that if you want to buy an electric car or make your house more energy efficient.
By making your part in reducing the heat, you not only pay less in taxes but also receive some money back. So, in my opinion, it’s not a valid objection.
And if there had been any willingness to cooperate – you know, this is the same group, every Texas Republican voted against the ostensibly bipartisan infrastructure bill last year that gives Texas over $30 billion, primarily for enhancing our highway system and reducing traffic congestion because mobility is such a problem here.
They don’t want the president or the Congress to succeed, though, and seem to just react to each proposal with a type of flash card reaction.
As a result, they voted against COVID assistance and distributing vaccinations and treatments by party policy.
They cast their vote against Texas’s need for greater public transportation and roads. And regrettably, they decided not to take any action to address the climate crisis.
Unfortunately, Texas is the nation’s top producer of wind energy but also the top consumer of fossil fuels and a strong proponent of climate denial. Recognizing that each of us can contribute to the effort to combat the heat is time. While not going far enough, this law, in my opinion, is a positive start in that direction.
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“Today, House Democrats unilaterally passed a radical tax-and-spend package that can only be regarded as a full-frontal attack on the rights of the American people in the face of rampant inflation and several problems that were brought on by the government.
“Despite the name of the law, even its backers admit that it won’t take any action to combat inflation, which is a direct result of unchecked spending and monetary policy.
However, it will assemble an army of 87,000 more IRS agents to wage war against the American taxpayer and groups that disagree with the administration’s political objectives.
It would eliminate energy freedom by increasing taxes on abundant, dependable fossil fuels while giving crony giveaways worth hundreds of billions to unreliable, weather-dependent energy sources.
By imposing socialist pricing limits on prescription pharmaceuticals and enriching powerful health insurance corporations, it will further diminish the freedom and innovation in health care.
Furthermore, more than a third of the bill’s backers chose to cast their votes by proxy in a disgusting violation of their constitutional obligation to appear in person and support this abomination.
Republicans must adopt a tough stance against Democratic tyranny in the upcoming Congress and pledge to outlaw proxy voting and overturn this law as soon as possible.