The Texas Progressive Alliance revels in the start of another baseball season as it brings you this week’s roundup.
Off the Kuff looks at the case to pass a state law that would enable “rideshare” services like Uber and Lyft to operate in Texas cities.
Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos cautions Latino voters to beware slowly starving Republican wolves that are dressed in sheep’s clothing. GOP Woos Latino Voters While Punishing Immigrants.
From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. As GOP Texas House passes it’s budget, taxes take center stage, The Texas Way – The More You Make The Less You Pay, The Less You Make The More You Pay.
SocraticGadfly thinks that creating a national Appomattox Day could be part of dealing with all the political problems that unreconstructed Southerners have caused for America.
To quote Emperor Palpatine: “It is inevitable.” To quote the Borg: “Resistance is futile.” And to quote Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” PDiddie at Brains and Eggs dissects the ‘inexorable’ meme that surrounds Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
Nonsequiteuse says it is time to wear orange and head to Austin (or the internet) to rally against HB 723 as the Texas House of Representatives Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence committee considers little word with constitutional consequences for minors who need access to safe, legal abortion services.
Neil at All People Have Value said that the Houston/Galveston National Weather Service offers useful instruction about life. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
Juanita coins a new word for our culture war-infused times.
Dwight Silverman answers your burning questions about cable cord-cutting.
The Lunch Tray explores the ethics of sneaking vegetables into school food.
Better Texas Blog calls for raising the minimum wage.
Texas Clean Air Matters points out that promoting the use of clean energy is a great strategy for conserving water.
The Texas Election Law Blog decries “indignities and tyrannies” in local elections.
Last week the Texas House passed their version of a budget. There’s been quite a bit of ink and bytes spilled on, as Kuff calls it, “..a moment that would be worthy of the Daily Show and the kind of viral mockery”.
But the true derision should be saved for the kind of immoral legislating that the Texas GOP craves. Via the CPPP, Texas House Budget: The Day After.
Lost in the shuffle are the dozens of missed opportunities that lawmakers had to recommend smart investments that would have moved us closer to a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure.
Failing to add General Revenue outright – and not just in Article XI – for everything from Pre-K to child protective services means that it’s the people of Texas who will lose out. And it’s clear from early drafts that the Texas Senate’s draft budget will do even less in most areas to invest in Texas’ future.
I was struck by the repeated assertions by House leaders that – as important as some of the proposed amendments were – there was simply not enough money available to fund them. Well, when you reserve billions for unspecified tax cuts, make a half a billion dollars for border security “off limits,” and leave unspent $2 billion of available revenue beneath the arbitrary spending cap, then it’s easy to claim there’s not enough money. And there’s still another $11 billion in the Rainy Day Fund that House leaders are choosing not to invest.
The House budget emerged from the floor debate without accounting for cost increases in health and human services, fully restoring state aid for public education or other things a more responsible budget would do. Tuesday night was a long and sleep-deprived evening for those of us who followed the House budget debate. But it’s the missed opportunities that won’t let us rest easy in the weeks ahead — not as long as there’s still a chance to improve the final outcome.
There is certainly enough money in the budget to take care of the needs of Texans. And, as this report shows, the last thing we need are tax cuts for the wealthy in this state, Who Pays Taxes in Texas?
..households with income less than $34,161 pay almost four times as much in taxes as a percentage of income, than households with income over $147,411. Which means that the Texas households that are least able to afford it pay more in taxes as a percentage of their income, than the Texas households that could easily afford to pay more.
The more you make the less you pay, the less you make the more you pay, that’s the Texas way.
The budget and likely tax cuts will do nothing to change that slogan. Texas will continue to shun Medicaid expansion, only making things worse for those who are not wealthy, no matter the cost to the state and local communities.
Do you know how many local jobs would be created in your county if Texas closed the health care Coverage Gap? It’s easy to find out with our new fact sheets for every county in Texas.
With the support of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, we’ve created customized fact sheets that outline the economic and health benefits for county residents if Texas accepts federal funds to expand health care coverage.
In Harris County, for example, expanded health care coverage would create 60,000 new jobs per year and pump up to $935 million into the county economy. Data come from recent estimates by respected Texas and national experts, including the U.S. Census, economist Dr. Ray Perryman and former Texas Deputy Comptroller Billy Hamilton.
In Williamson County that would be 1,985 jobs, pump $76 million into the local economy, and cover 12,000 residents.
These numbers need to be pointed out. Not to shame our current elected leaders – that’s not possible – but to inform the public that there is an alternative.
The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that our state can learn the lesson of the Indiana debacle as it brings you this week’s roundup.
Off the Kuff compared Greg Abbott’s performance in heavily Latino districts to that of Rick Perry in 2010.
Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is absolutely stunned to learn Texas elected a crook as its top cop. Not. Texas Attorney General an “admitted law breaker”.
Socratic Gadfly wrote about the DPS’ stupid disciplining of Trooper Billy Spears.
Nonsequiteuse explains to Rep. Stuart Spitzer, the Kaufman Republican who bragged about his sexual history on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives during debate on a budget amendment, that virginity and abstinence aren’t the same thing, and neither will protect a person from all methods of HIV transmission.
A conversation between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon from 2013 provides a clue as to what’s wrong with everything, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
Neil at All People Have Value said look at things you see in everyday life because they are interesting & use as few words as you can. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas bloggers.
Grits for Breakfast rounds up news stories about the failure of the latest “border surge”.
Better Texas Blog explains how lower oil prices would affect the state’s finances.
Texas Vox calls for strengthening the Texas state senate bill aimed at combating government corruption.
Joe Cutbirth wants Texas to stand tall for equality.
Elizabeth Rose saw the signs of discrimination in the Deep South as a child, and she sees them today in Indiana.
RG Ratcliffe rounds up a week of Texas political scandal.
The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks even Ted Cruz deserves affordable health insurance as it brings you this week’s roundup.
Off the Kuff hears the death rattle of the anti-gay forces.
Harold Cook explains how the “school choice” scam works.
Horwitz at Texpatriate makes an early pick and endorses Sylvester Turner for mayor of Houston.
Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is pleased to know the Houston Chronicle called out Ted Cruz for being all about Ted. The Houston Chronicle Spanks Ted Cruz.
Houston’s LyondellBasell refinery’s management turned off an advance warning system near the front gates of the plant, where striking USW workers walk the picket line. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs says that if this is how they demonstrate their concerns for worker safety, it’s no wonder they won’t end a work stoppage despite the national settlement.
Neil at All People Have Value said you should make an effort with the people in your life as part of a complete outlook on life. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Bad things happen when a bunch of government haters try to run the government like a business. This Is What Happens When We Turn Government Over To Corporations.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
Nonsequiteuse analyzes Ted Cruz’s font and logo choices.
Paradise in Hell examines the Supreme Court arguments about specialty license plates sporting the Confederate Battle Flag.
Grits for Breakfast hopes the state loses that specialty license plate case, though not for the same reason as the plaintiffs.
Purple City thinks the legislative attempt to kill the private high speed rail line may not amount to much.
Better Texas Blog gamely stumps for Medicaid expansion.
The Texas Election Law Blog explains what recent SCOTUS decisions on voter ID and redistricting have to do with pending litigation over those issues here.
Raise Your Hand Texas testified against the voucher bills in the Senate.
This is a very interesting comment from GOP Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. It’s related to the disastrous lack of oversight at the HHSC under Kyle Janek.
House Speaker Joe Straus is asking lawmakers to develop a comprehensive solution to the state’s contracting woes, in light of what he called a “troubling” new report on more such problems at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Straus said the latest audit illustrates a “systemic problem across all of state government.” With more agencies relying on the private sector, he said, it appears those agencies “lack the resources or expertise to effectively negotiate and implement these contracts.”
“The policies and procedures for awarding these contracts are too often sidestepped, and oversight is too often incompetent or non-existent,” the Republican said in a statement, his most in-depth comments on the topic to date.
In other words we’ve turned our government services over to the corporations. That’s likely not what Straus meant.
And folks who were involved in doing that – like former GOP state Sen. Kyle Janek – don’t seem to think there needs to be oversight. You know, if we run our state like a business and let the free market take care it!
The reason those agencies don’t have the necessary resources and expertise is because the GOP Lege has been gutting agency budgets for at least a decade. Just ask Sid Miller. The folks who pay for their campaigns don’t wont oversight, so we’re not getting oversight.
As has been said here many times, this is what happens when we elect people who believe the government is the problem and can’t do anything good for the citizenry. They will do everything they can to prove it.
Williamson County has chosen a new Elections Administrator. Welcome Chris Davis from Cameron County, New elections administrator hired.
With early voting set to start two weeks after his first day on the job, Williamson County’s new elections administrator will hit the ground running.
The county’s five-member Election Commission on Feb. 26 chose Chris Davis to fill the position. Since January 2013 Davis has been elections administrator for Cameron County, which includes Brownsville and South Padre Island.
“Chris has a lot of qualities that we thought were a good match for the position,” said Deborah Hunt, Williamson County’s tax assessor/collector and one of five Election Commission members. “His enthusiasm and sincere desire to work in an area where voter turnout was higher was a strong pull for him.
“Chris speaks fluent Spanish, which we thought was an advantage. He is technically astute and seems to thrive on challenge. I think coming here, with our vote centers and electronic tablets for all the polling places, was a draw as well.”
Joining Hunt in approving the hire were her fellow commission members: County Judge Dan Gattis, County Clerk Nancy Rister, Republican Party Chairman Bill Fairbrother and Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve Williamson County in this capacity and will do my best to make the county, its voters and its entities proud,” Davis said in a press release.
Davis is scheduled to start work in Williamson County on April 13 and will be paid an annual salary of $84,000, county spokesperson Connie Watson said.
Because of Williamson County’s history it always grabs attention when accusations of “prosecutorial misconduct” come up, Williamson Co. DA’s Office accused of withholding evidence in murder case.
Hidden and difficult-to-access timestamps on a key piece of evidence led to a mistrial in a capital murder case last May. Now, it has led to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty.
Ron Morrison is right (don’t read that here very often), and Lisa Birkman is wrong,
Williamson County Calls for More Public Feedback Before Debt Vote.
“Nobody likes to build buildings, but we just don’t have a choice,” Williamson County Commissioner Ron Morrison said. “We’re busting at the seams in every area.”
County leaders are considering another $70 million in debt to cover the county’s Capital Improvements Project. The project would add training facilities for the sheriff’s office and EMS as well as office space for county services.
Commissioner Lisa Birkman believes there’s some fat that can be cut from what she calls a “wish list.”
“Some of them seem to have things that would be nice to have, but we don’t necessarily have to have right away,” Birkman said. “I’d like to see us put it to the voters.”
“We’re only going to see higher interest rates, and I’d like to capitalize on that,” Morrison said. “And $10 million in the grand scheme of things over the next 10 or 50 years is not going to make that much of a difference.”
Morrison calls concerns about county debt “legitimate.”
“I don’t like going any more in debt, but we’re one of the fastest growing counties in the nation,” Morrison said. “I don’t know what else to do.”
Still, Morrison believes deeper debt is the county’s best option until revenue catches up with growth.
We don’t need to put this on a ballot.
This little nugget is tucked into SJR 1, the constitutional amendment for the Senate’s property tax cut bill.
and prohibiting the imposition or collection of a tax on the conveyance, including by sale, lease, or other transfer, of an interest in real property.
A constitutional amendment prohibiting a sales tax on real estate transactions.
Last week Ross Ramsey told us what was going to happen, Killing a Tax Without Saving Taxpayers a Dime.
Careful readers will find an Easter egg tucked in one of the tax measures approved by a Senate committee this week — a mostly unmentioned clause that would constitutionally ban taxes on real estate transactions.
Don’t count your savings: Texas doesn’t even have a tax on real estate transactions.
Texas is one of the 13 states without a tax on real estate transactions; a constitutional ban would prevent future lawmakers from imposing one without voter approval.
It would make your friendly neighborhood Realtor happy, however. And it is especially delicious for the Texas Association of Realtors, the trade association for real estate agents and a wealthy and generous donor to political campaigns. For this industry, any talk of taxing home and building sales, leases and other transactions is a cardinal threat.
Not a bad idea to get all the real estate agents on your side when you’re trying to pass a property tax swap scheme that will have little effect on most homeowners.
The reason this is interesting is because last week many in the Texas business community pushed back on the Senate’s tax plan, Business groups say tax plan needs to make state needs priority.
Major business groups pushed back Friday against a multibillion-dollar package of tax cuts advancing in the Texas Senate, calling it inequitable and saying state needs should be funded before lawmakers consider tax relief.
The criticism highlights how, despite support for tax cuts among Republican legislative leaders, details are far from settled and are prompting dissension among lawmakers and businesses.
It also echoes concerns from some leading lawmakers that the emphasis on tax cuts could imperil efforts to address such issues, as education, transportation, state debt and pension programs.
And this week those in the real estate business in Texas pushed back on them.
Well-funded and vocal opposition to these measures show little regard for homeowners who are crippled under our current property tax system. Or for any business, especially small businesses, who are working within a tax system that stifles business expansion and economic opportunities.
Furthermore, in objecting to these tax relief measures the opposition boldly state lawmakers should protect infrastructure and special interests needs first: “If there is any money left over, it is appropriate to consider tax relief.”
While we support long-term infrastructure needs in Texas, we feel it is time to put home owners and business interests at the forefront of any public policy debate and not as a trickle down afterthought.
Didn’t see that coming. Pretty soon, if we aren’t careful, all taxes will be constitutionally banned in Texas. Which has been the plan all along.
The main reason Ted Cruz is running for President, and he’s not the only member of the GOP doing it, is because there’s no reason not to run. It’s a wide open field without a front runner.
But he’s mainly running because “there’s gold in them thar hills”. There’s a ton of money to be made running for president and getting his name even further embedded into the right wing scam machine. Start a PAC, raise Koch money, and gallivant all over the country on other people’s money. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Does he have a chance? Who knows, but don’t write him off. No one thought he could be David Dewhurst and now he’s a US Senator.
The Texas Progressive Alliance roots for underdogs even to the detriment of its own brackets as it brings you this week’s roundup.
Off the Kuff argues against having a state spending cap, much less making it tighter.
Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos makes a solid case as to Why The Right is so Wrong given the last few weeks of national political events.
The Poop Cruz is now boarding and ready to set sail, announces PDiddie at Brains and Eggs. Or is that ‘shove off’?
Neil at All People Have Value saw the real spirit of Texas at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
Texans for Public Justice concludes that transferring the Public Integrity Unit would reward crooked politicians by undermining prosecutorial independence.
Concerned Citizens wants to hear voices of support for San Antonio Mayoral candidates.
Better Texas Blog calls the latest effort to restrict spending in the Legislature a really bad idea.
Michael Barajas says to stop calling Houston a “sanctuary city”.
Texas Clean Air Matters rounds up the energy, water, and climate bills in the 84th Legislature.
The Texas Election Law Blog highlights systemic issues documented in Battleground Texas’ post-election report.
The Texas Progressive Alliance is still full from celebrating Pi Day as it brings you this week’s roundup.
Off the Kuff reports on the last (we hope) special legislative election of the year.
Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos is both outraged and embarrassed by the 47 GOP U.S. Senator saboteurs. The Snow Made Them Do It.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is terrified that private entities are controlling are access to water. Oligarchy is the Republican way.
From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The GOP in Texas used to be for local control, now they’re not. Why is that? They’re For Local Control As Long As They Control The Locals.
A tale of letters, email, and self-inflicted wounds was told by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
Neil at All People Have Value visited the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Neil hopes that any race of super-smart alien cows who visit us have mercy on our souls. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.
The Makeshift Academic reminds us that Obamacare is about people, not states.
Austin Contrarian illustrates the problem of disconnectivity in the streets.
The TSTA blog previews a couple of bad education bills.
Texas Vox calls for renewables to push out coal.
Mean Green Cougar Red supports doing away with Daylight Saving Time.
Rafael McDonnell recalls a meeting and interview he had with anti-gay pastor Flip Benham 20 years ago.
Raise Your Hand Texas testifies that an A-F grading system for schools and school districts is a bad idea.
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