This is the e-letter I recieved from the Office of Susan P. Combs, Texas Comptroller:
"Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to me
show details 5:16 PM (1 hour ago)
April 22, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to submit your feedback regarding your recent experience with the Texas Trade Up Appliance Rebate Program. We know that many hardworking Texans spent hours trying to reserve a rebate. We recognize your frustrations and concerns.
As you know, Texas was given one-time only funding of approximately $23 million to implement and administer the rebate program. Regrettably, in a state our size with nearly 25 million people and limited funds, not everyone interested in the program would be able to reserve rebates. The high volume of people trying to make reservations dramatically impacted system availability and also resulted in reservations going quickly. The program experienced more than 38 million Web hits, and nearly 39,000 rebate reservations were made both through the Web site as well as the phone system.
Our staff worked with the company administering the rebates both prior to the launch date and during the day on April 7 to try to alleviate delays related to the very high demand for this program. The company administering the rebates had more than 550 agents taking calls; the online system was set up to accommodate 25,000 users at a time. However, with approximately 2,400 Web hits per second and about 1,000 calls per minute, many could not get in and some experienced technical difficulties. You can read more on our Texas Powerful Smart Web site at www.texaspowerfulsmart.org/media/100412-answers.php.
If you were unable to print your rebate application form, you may do so online or by request via telephone.
If you have a Web submission ID number, you can check the status of your rebate at https://www.txrebates.com/Status.aspx and print your form online, at https://www.txrebates.com/Reprint.aspx.
If you do not have a Web submission ID number, you can request it by calling (877) 581-1993 and either reprint online or ask for an application to be mailed to the address on file.
We understand the difficulties you experienced and your interest in saving energy with a more efficient appliance. If you were not able to reserve a rebate or get on the waitlist, we encourage you to take advantage of other local, state and federal incentives that may be available to you. More information on these incentives can be found at www.texaspowerfulsmart.org/incentives/.
Again, thank you for your feedback and your interest in the Texas Trade Up Appliance Rebate Program. We care about your experience and have read and will continue to read every comment we receive.
Manager, Stimulus Program"
My response in turn -- in draft -- I need to walk away for a bit. LOL "Care" does not allay improper governmental planning and consumer's fiscal responsibility. No wonder states have budget down falls.
"Dear Ms. Lisa Elledge
Manager, Stimulus Program
Respectfully, you counted all children in the state, which I will reduce by 8 million students and another 2 million under school age. That would mean 15 million eligible participants. Now let’s move onto average household size, I use the median of 3 members per household. Bringing it to only 5 million households, of which probably only 75% would or could be able to financially participate in the cash up front program. This would then bring the number of participating household to 3.75 million in the great state of Texas.
When you divide the number of household into 23 million this only works out to $6.13 per participating household. Not a sizeable amount right?
The comptroller office used a ‘weighted system’ when designing the website or telephone application process. By this I mean, a certain number of appliance were allowed for each type. For instance, if only room air conditioners were available then ‘giving out’ only 39,000 rebates the amount Texas would have rebated works out to less than 3 million dollars used of 23 million.
A nice carrot was built into this program so, politicians could label this a complete success. Much like the system did not work for the auto industry with ‘Cash for Clunkers’ because once the flux of buyers have purchased during the ‘special time;’ then no one buys for a long time after. Then if you look and analyze the first time homebuyer’s tax incentive, it too did not work. WHY? Because the banks were making folks jump through hoops then denying them loans.
The lottery system was not fair for citizens who have no internet access or telephone service. If the comptroller knew only 39,000 rebates would be meted out to Texans then a more equitable way could have been designed like:
Texans who: own a state drivers license, own a home, have multiple dependents, are employed, and are registered voters. This would have dramatically cut the pool of ‘eligible’ lab rats down to size.
So quiet frankly, I do not accept your canned email response. Your efforts to address my concerns as public official leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. I now understand why folks are starting movements against 'big government.' Also, I now can plainly see why Texas ranks 47th of 50 in public education.
Former Manpower Management Technician
STEPS OFF THE EGG CRATE......