You Decide: Voices of Texas

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Writing Assignment

Select ONE of the following topics to answer for the Lesson Writing Assignment. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 500 words. You should find most of the information you need to complete the assignment in the chapter, but you are allowed to use outside sources as well (such as news articles or government websites). DO NOT simply copy the information word for word from your sources. If you use information directly from the textbook or another source, it should be cited and the properly formatted citation should be provided at the end of the assignment. All assignments will be analyzed with SafeAssign to identify possible plagiarism.

1. Read “You Decide: Voices of Texas: A Plural or Single Executive?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

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· How does the power of the governor in Texas compare to other states?

· What is a plural executive? What is the single executive model?

· What are the arguments for and against a plural executive?

· Do you believe that the plural executive is more democratic than the single executive model? Why or why not?

· Does the plural executive lead to more efficient and accountable government? Why or why not?

· Do you believe the power of the governor should be increased, decreased or remain the same? Why or why not?

2. Read “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Houston’s ‘Bathroom Ordinance'” and write an essay answering the following questions:

· According to the graphic “Who Governs Texas’s Cities?”, which city council best reflects the racial/ethnic composition of its population? Which council diverges the most from its city’s population?

· Do you think it is important that the city councils do reflect the racial/ethnic composition of their communities? Why or why not?

· Why are there so many special districts in Texas? Do you feel cities and counties should do the jobs that special districts do? Why don’t they?

· Do you think cities and counties should more closely monitor the activities of special districts? Who do you think should be in charge of oversight?

· In recent years, local ordinances relating to hydraulic fracking, ride hailing services, and discrimination have led to conflict with the state government. Should cities’ lawmaking powers be limited to concerns such as traffic or animal control issues, rather than broader issues?

· Should the state have the power to preempt or invalidate local ordinances in order to ensure consistency in regulations across the state?

3. Read “You Decide: Voices of Texas: What to Do with a Budget Surplus” and write an essay answering the following questions:

· Do you think that sales and use taxes are a fair way for the state to generate revenue? Why or why not?

· How should policy makers deal with a projected budgetary surplus? Should taxes be cut or spending increased?

· In the case of a budget surplus, what arguments would you make to the legislature to increase spending? Where would you increase spending? Why?

· In the case of a budget deficit, what areas would you target for cuts? Why?

· Under what circumstances should the legislature tap into the Rainy Day Fund?

· Why did the Texas Legislature give up the ability to set tuition at state universities and how has this decision impacted you?

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