Texas companies shouldbear more of tax burdenThe political shell game goes on. Big Oil is asking at least $12 billion to protect itself from climate change. But Big Oil is one of the major causes of climate change. Gov. Greg Abbott and most of the Texas GOP are climate-change deniers. Those who cause it are asking those who don’t believe it to fund it!Bear in mind that the GOP tax reform this year gave permanent tax cuts to corporations, real estate investment trusts, hedge funds, etc. This is the top 5 percent, while the tax cuts for workers last only until 2025.Prior statistics that the IRS reported in 2014 stated that over 68 percent of all domestic corporations paid no income taxes, and the remaining 32 percent had an effective tax rate of 17 percent.Meanwhile, Texas schools remain underfunded and teachers remain underpaid. Medicaid and women’s and children’s health care are deplorable. Maternal death rates are the highest of any state.Texas is No. 1 for business, but at what cost? Texas still has a $7.25 minimum wage. People continue to die on Texas highways at alarming rates while the Department of Public Safety budgets $840 million to patrol the Texas-Mexico border.Prison guards are grossly underpaid and Texas highways are lacking in good maintenance. The DPS office in Orange keeps people standing outside in the heat and rain because of underfunding, with insufficient staff at the Port Arthur DPS office too.Given the current GOP mindset and the high amount of corporate welfare, Texas workers will ultimately pick up the bill.Hazen Kenney, OrangeMinimum-wage increasesreduce teen job optionsWhile new jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the teen unemployment rate is near historic lows, there’s a dark side to these numbers. Just one in three teens either has a job or is looking for one. Nearly 11 million teens have dropped out of the labor force or never entered it.One factor in the declining teen labor force participation rate are increases in state and local minimum wages. According to a study by authors David Neumark and Cortnie Shupe, wage hikes have been a “predominant factor” in the decline. Policymakers concerned about preserving starter jobs for young and less-skilled job seekers should seek to lower barriers to employment, not create new ones.Samantha Summers, Communications Director, Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.Small businesses deservepermanent tax reductionsAll businesses require stability and certainty. The continuation and expansion of tax cuts provides the stability and certainty for small businesses go grow, give raises and hire new employees.I understand the benefits firsthand. I took over my family business nearly 25 years ago. My father bought a small piece of history, a drive-in movie theatre. We are one of only 300 remaining drive-in theaters across the country. We provide a historical experience that is almost gone. We provide the opportunity to make memories for families and communities.The tax cuts have provide the stability to keep my prices affordable and keep my staff employed. The tax cuts gave my employees a little more in their paychecks and my customers have a little more spending money. Per-person spending was up in my snack bar and ticket sales were up too!Will the tax cuts help me expand and hire more people? Yes, absolutely, I will have the certainty to expand and hire more people if they are made permanent and expanded.Susan Kochevar, Owner, 88 Drive-In Theatre, Commerce City, Colo.