LETTERS: Tax rates too high; Projection selection; Creative corner

Tax rates too high

It is very disingenuous to blame rising property valuations for the increase in tax rates. The property valuation is not the problem, the problem is the tax rates our officials have put into place!

Our local government officials love to blame the state for increases in valuations and property taxes. But this is very deceptive and the local elected officials know it!

Hidalgo County tax rates are the highest in the country! Our current tax rate of 2.72 is higher than the Texas average of 2.06% per $1,000 of valuation.

This is the real reason our property tax rates are so high!

Local officials must drop the tax rates to at least the average rate in Texas. Right now we are paying higher rates than New York and New Jersey! We are being robbed blind!

Local officials set the tax rate and they must change it. There is no reason to increase the amount of tax revenue just because a house goes up in value. It makes absolutely no sense. Call your local elected officials and tell them to change the insanely high tax rate!

Samuel Garcia


Projection selection

I find it interesting that you published a letter (“Errant experts,” May 18), referencing an April projection of 60,000 COVID-19 deaths on the same day that U.S. deaths top 90,000. The projections that I follow, covid19-projections.com, gave May 18 as the most probable day that we would top 90,000 deaths. They say that the total U.S. infection rate is not near as widespread as the “Errant experts” author suggests, with a U.S. infection rate of about 3.5%, and a Texas infection rate of between 0.6% and 1.3%.

No projection is perfect.

I like this website because it gives you ranges and probabilities, and is very frank about its assumptions. When the model says that there is a 95% probability that we will be 125,000 deaths by Aug. 1 but only a 77% chance that we will be at 150,000, it would seem to me that we as a country should do everything in our power to keep the number of deaths below that horrible 150,000 number.

We should all wear masks, practice social distancing and become paranoid about hand washing and cleanliness whenever we are out with other people.

We should self-isolate if we might be infected or if we have had contact with an infected person.

All the projections are if/ then projections. If no one practiced social distancing, and if we had gone on with life like before, then the 2 million death projection was reasonable. At the same time, the idea that we would ignore death on that scale is a reasonably unreasonable assumption, unless, I guess, you are the lieutenant governor of Texas.

The same site suggests that if we had started to social distance a week earlier, the May 14 death total would have been about 33,000, and the Aug. 4 death total about 60,000. It also suggests that if we had started social distancing a week later the May 14 death total would have been about 246,000 and the Aug. 4 death total about 455,000.

Facts are stubborn things. All the wishing in the world will not make this pandemic go away, but taking it seriously can help mitigate it.

Jet LaBarge


Creative corner

Recently, The Monitor has been publishing a biweekly writing series, Roda Grubb’s “Let’s Write a Story,” RGV in which 18 writers across the Rio Grande Valley have partnered together to create one cohesive story written chapter by chapter.

Each writer continues their chapter in any preferred genre from the preceding published chapter, so long as it inherits the story line from all previous submissions.

At a time when communities around the world are finally turning back to art and artists for hope, imagination and innovation, a series like this could leave a long-lasting impression on what creation and purpose means to humanity.

I’ve come to think that our local papers and platforms could use a bigger space for artists, now more than ever, but also in the subsequent triumph of our current hardship.

When we lose passion and optimism, we look to creativity and its freedom to restore it; when we gain love and all it awards us, we use language and expression to cement it in our heart.

I wonder if The Monitor could lead by example and consider creating a space in its paper where all kinds of writers could submit works that transcend both victory and defeat. It’d be a delight to be able to submit and discover story-telling in all literary forms. The specifics of submission timing and qualifications are of course, up to the editor.

Stories and poetry look different in the eyes of readers and writers when we’ve all lived diverse circumstances and experiences, but I like the idea that it always attempts to achieve the same purpose. When communities are exposed to words that are felt more than they are read, bridges are built where walls once stood. Only then will everything else follow.

Katelyn Castro


Letters to the Editor are written by concerned citizens just like you. To submit your own letter to the Editor email to letters@themonitor.com. Limit letters to 300 words. We will not publish anonymous letters, personal attacks or consumer complaints. Include your full name, address and a phone number for verification. All letters are subject to editing.