Other Voices: What Texas editors are saying

Cautious optimism

Amarillo Globe-News

All signs continue to point to the fact the mighty Texas economy is rocking along despite what appears to be a broader slowdown nationally as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.

A recent report, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, indicated growth slipped in some sectors of the state’s economy compared with a year ago, but overall activity continues to track in a positive manner. The Texas manufacturing production index for September was down slightly from August. Industry executives responding to the survey indicated economic growth is continuing. ...

The news was equally encouraging from State Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who told state lawmakers that state income forecasts are better than anticipated, according to a report in The Texas Tribune.

The latest official revenue estimate from the comptroller’s office includes costs of measures passed by the Legislature earlier this year. Hegar said the state should end the current two-year budget with $2.89 billion in cash left over with another $9.35 billion in the Economic Stabilization Fund, known as the rainy day fund.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Fed’s main measure of the state’s service sector, the revenue index, increased in September. Despite the optimism, both forecasts included plenty of caution. “Uncertainty continues to rise, and comments from Texas business executives cite tariffs and trade tensions, and the global economy as drivers of uncertainty,” Dallas fed senior business economist Emily Kerr said.

Hegar’s written update to lawmakers voice a similar sentiment: “In fiscal 2019, the Texas economy continued to grow at rates among the highest in the nation,” he said. “We are projecting continued expansion of the Texas economy in this biennium. The most likely scenario is one of steady expansion at a pace below that of the 2018-19 biennium.

“Risks to this estimate include ongoing uncertainty about trade and national economic policy, slowing global economic growth, and volatility in energy prices resulting from the instability and potential conflict in the Middle East.” ...

Overall, the economic picture is promising, and the state has a legacy of remarkable resiliency — even in the face of national and international factors over which Texas has no control.

Cautious optimism over the near term is the best economic advice for now, and make no mistake, experts will pay close attention to the upcoming holiday shopping season and other indicators that might raise a red flag entering 2020.

For justice’s sake

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

As Fort Worth grieves the unjustified death of Atatiana Jefferson at the hands of a police officer, words and actions are both crucial.

So we were heartened by the honesty and completeness with which Mayor Betsy Price, City Manager David Cooke and interim police Chief Ed Kraus spoke Monday about the tragedy.

The mayor’s tone was sorrowful and apologetic. She addressed specific issues, including the police department’s inflammatory initial focus on the presence of Jefferson’s gun at the scene of the shooting. She spoke directly to Jefferson’s family, including the nephew who had to watch his beloved aunt die. And she called for a complete, independent review of the department.

The words were right. Now, the actions must be, too.

First, the case needs to go before a grand jury as soon as possible, and officials moved to expedite that late Monday with the arrest of the shooter, former Officer Aaron Dean, on a murder charge.

Kraus suggested earlier Monday that, although he has talked with the Texas Rangers, the investigation will remain with Fort Worth police. We think that’s a mistake, and the decision puts pressure on Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson to ensure the case proceeds quickly and transparently.

Next, the city must provide more information about exactly what happened. ...

We need more information about Dean’s training and record, too. He was on the force for barely two years and an active officer for scarcely a year and a half. What was his disciplinary record? What training did he have? ...

And though it may cause discomfort, it must look at Fort Worth police culture.

There was a poignant moment Monday when Kraus, in response to a question, said that officers sometimes need to “react with a servant’s heart instead of a warrior’s heart.” Many officers exhibit heroism and compassion on a regular basis, and they shouldn’t be tarnished by Dean’s mistakes.

But changing the hearts of those with the wrong approach, or replacing them, is a long-term project that will take sustained attention from all levels of department and city leadership. ...

Today's Bible verse

“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ”

— Jonah 2:9

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