5 things to know: Thursday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Thursday

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County Commissioner Flores: Election results product of party meddling

LUBBOCK, Texas - There is going to be three new faces on the commissioners court. 

Incumbents Patti Jones and Mark Heinrich both unseated in the primaries and County Judge Tom Head is retiring. 

The sole Democrat on the court is now calling out Republicans, claiming they orchestrated this upheaval. Pct. 3 Commissioner Gilbert Flores said commissioners lobbied state lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill's two and four. SB 2 would have barred local governments from increasing taxes without a vote and SB 4, Lubbock Sen. Charles Perry's Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill.

The winning candidates campaigned on the fact Jones and Heinrich voted to increase their pay while leaving the possibility of increased property taxes open by lobbying the state legislature against SB 2.

Flores was not on the court when those raises were approved but he said they are necessary to keep rates competitive across the state.

He said it is a nice idea to cap taxes however at the end of the day, Lubbock already has some of the lowest in the state and it is unrealistic to not expect them to go up, especially when the county is on the hook for millions when it comes to the outer loop.

Both Corley and Seay will face Democratic challengers in the general election in November.

Tax returns do's and dont's

LUBBOCK, Texas - It is the middle of tax season and those who have already filed are waiting for the return. 

In 2016, the average return in Texas was more than $3,000, according to the IRS.  

Investment Planner Barry Malone said to slow down and consider more options on what to do with that money. He said the first thing you should do is pay off debt. 

"If you owe money to someone, or owe on credit card, owe money on student loans, you probably should apply to debt reduction," Malone said."You should have somewhere in the neighborhood of three months of your monthly salary," Malone said. "You should have it sitting in a savings account somewhere."

Benji Snead with the First Bank and Trust said it could also provide an opportunity to be charitable. 

"Invest back into your community, you can do a few things with that," Snead said. "You help people in need, goes to a good cause, and you can take that money and it'll be another deduction for you next year." 

However, if you already have finances in check - there is no shame in treating yourself.

"Take some of that money and reward yourself, give yourself a treat," Malone said. "Don't think an investment adviser is snively whiplash that's going tie to you the railroad tracks if you don't save all your money."

Chamber fighting for cheaper health insurance for small businesses

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce is fighting to make more health insurance available at a cheaper cost.

It supports the Department of Labor's proposed rule to use associated health plans. That would make purchasing the plans easier with an arrangement through a group of other small employers.

Chamber president Eddie McBride says it's part of the chamber's fight for small businesses, since 90 percent have fewer than 15 employees.

"Anything that helps us band together as business groups to offer a different plan is hopefully not only going to be more affordable to small businesses, it gives them an opportunity for small business pools to look like a large business pool," he said.

McBride hopes the rule allows employers who weren't able to offer insurance plans to give employees benefits, thanks to the lower costs.

No. 3 Texas Tech closes home stand with 7-2 win over New Mexico

LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 3 Texas Tech baseball team wrapped up its five-game stretch at home with a 7-2 victory over New Mexico on Wednesday afternoon at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The Red Raiders (14-0) tacked on seven runs behind seven hits against the Lobos (5-6-1) in the first Wednesday game of the season. Tech used a three-run second inning & a two-run third to help push past New Mexico for the fifth-straight win against the program in Lubbock.

Tech had a strong performance out of the bullpen against New Mexico, as four Red Raiders combined to pitch the final 3.1 frames, allowing just one hit and three walks, while striking out three.
The Red Raiders struck first in Wednesday's game, as senior infielder Michael Davis launched a two-run homer over the left field wall for a 2-0 lead. His fourth home run of the year was similar to his third in the previous game against South Alabama, landing in the left field bullpen for the first runs of the afternoon. With two away, junior catcher Zayne Willems reached & ended up at second base after a throwing error on the third baseman, allowing junior outfielder Cody Farhat to score from second to make it 3-0.
It was the 12th time in 14 games this season Tech has had at least one inning where they put up three or more runs in a single frame.
The Red Raiders hit the road for spring break and begin their eight-game road swing at No. 6 Kentucky with a three-game set on March 9-11 in Lexington.

Lawmakers, business brace for rollout of Trump's tariff plan

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers, business groups and U.S. trading partners are bracing for the details of President Donald Trump's plan to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Trump is expected to announce the tariffs by week's end. Trump's trade and manufacturing adviser, Peter Navarro, says the proclamation the president intends to sign will include a clause that would not impose tariffs on Canada and Mexico immediately.

More than 100 Republican House members are urging Trump to reconsider the tariffs, warning of unintended negative consequences to American workers and the national economy.

In addition to lawmakers, business leaders are sounding the alarm about the potential economic fallout, with the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raising the specter of a global trade war.

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