Cruz ends campaign, Perry endorses Trump for president

Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, suspended his presidential campaign May 3 after losing Indiana’s GOP presidential primary to frontrunner Donald Trump of New York. 

The Indiana loss mathematically eliminated Cruz from achieving the necessary delegate count to gain the nomination at the Republican Party National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21.

On May 6, Rick Perry, Texas’ former and longest-serving governor (December 2000 to January 2015) endorsed Trump for president. Perry, who dropped out of the GOP presidential primaries in 2012 and 2015, also signaled his availability as a vice presidential running mate for Trump.

Cruz, who served as solicitor general under then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Revenue total increases

State sales tax revenue in April totaled $2.38 billion, up 3 percent compared to April 2015, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced May 3.

However, Hegar said, “As expected, receipts from oil- and gas-related sectors continued to fall due to the ongoing decline in drilling activity.” And, he added, total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in April 2016 was down 0.8 percent compared to the same period a year ago. 

For the month of April, Texas collected the following revenue from those taxes: 

- Motor vehicle sales and rental taxes, $250 million, down 31.9 percent from April 2015;

- Motor fuel taxes, $302.9 million, up 3.2 percent from April 2015; and

- Oil and natural gas production taxes, $147 million, down 36.1 percent from April 2015.

According to the comptroller’s office, sales tax revenue is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 56 percent of all tax collections, and motor vehicle sales and rental taxes, motor fuel taxes and oil and natural gas production taxes also are large revenue sources for the state.

Preserving paper is goal

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on May 3 announced the launch of a month-long campaign through which individuals who donate $30 or more will receive a Save Texas History kit that includes a limited-edition t-shirt bearing the phrase, “I saved Texas history.”

The Texas General Land Office maintains an archive of more than 35.5 million documents and 45,000 maps dating back to the year 1561 and tracing the history of Texas’ public lands. But, Bush said, because no general revenue from the Texas Legislature is appropriated for conservation of the documents and maps, that conservation depends on private donations, map purchases and corporate sponsorships.

Donations to the Save Texas History program are tax-deductible and can be made at SaveTexasHistory.org.

Buckle-up program is set

The Texas Department of Transportation on May 3 promoted its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, reminding Texans that properly fastened seat belts save lives.

Police departments across the nation will step up enforcement efforts from May 23 through June 5. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than eight must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.

 “With Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season approaching, we’re urging people to buckle their seat belts every time they get in their vehicle,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Every person in a vehicle — front seat or back seat — needs to buckle up. Not only is it the law, but seat belts save lives.”

Alert: Post-flood car sales

The Texas Department of Insurance on April 28 posted a consumer-protection message telling Texans: “There’s a reason why insurance companies usually declare flooded vehicles a total loss. Once an engine gets waterlogged, it’s almost impossible to ever make it right. 

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers will try to buy these cars at auction and resell them to unsuspecting buyers.” 

The department suggests that shoppers look for the signs and smells of water damage, such as dirt or debris in the vehicle and the smell of cleaner or disinfectant applied to cover up odors. Also, the department suggests that a potential buyer check the vehicle’s title and vehicle identification number (VIN), have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle and buy from a reputable dealer. For more information, Texans may call the department’s consumer help line, 800-252-3439.