Tip to Kos.
Don’t forget to vote.
Keeping An Eye On Williamson County, Texas
..how much worse will it be when, (if the polls are correct), a GOP-lead state government get’s done with the budget next session?
The shortfall is now projected to be $25 billion. Here’s what Kuff had to say recently, The deficit debacle.
And just remember, all of this has happened with Republicans in complete control of the state. The 2009 budget was balanced entirely because of the stimulus that so many of our Republican leaders like to trash. We’ll get no such help this time around. Every bit of this mess is owned by Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, Joe Straus, and the Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. If you don’t like the situation we’re in, and especially if you don’t like the things they’re talking about doing to deal with it, don’t vote for them. Nothing will change until the leadership of the state changes, and even that is only the first step. The state is simply not ready today to deal with the fact that we have a wholly inadequate tax system that cannot meet the needs of our growing and changing population. I don’t have a whole lot of faith that we’ll get there before it’s too late. [Emphasis added].
They will be cutting form the neediest among us first, those who have not contributed to GOP campaigns and are without high paid lobbyists. And the wealthy in Texas will not even be asked to do their fair share.
Some of Texas’ most vulnerable residents – the very poor, the mentally ill, those suffering from birth defects, and children from troubled families – would lose state support and services under several new budget-cutting proposals.
Be sure and vote today or Tuesday.
I would encourage everyone to look at these before they vote. They’re very important.
There are a number things the public “knows” as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.
Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.
3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and beganbefore the 2008 election of President Obama.
4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.
6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.
7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.
8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.
This stuff really matters.
Knowing that, and that the Tea Party has become “an absolute joke” according to on of it’s founders – they’re now corporate owned – their true aims are now the same as the GOP’s have been since FDR took office. Top Six Established Laws That Tea Partiers Claim Are Unconstitutional.
It may be hard but just imagine our country without those. Where the elderly have no Social Security or health care, unless they’re wealthy. Where discrimination is not illegal, and the unemployed are out in the cold. And we’ve completely withdrawn from a worldwide cooperative body.
And last there this list, What’s at stake on Nov. 2nd? What the GOP will do if they take over..
1) Abolish minimum wage laws which would force American workers to work for less pay
2) Block unemployment benefits forcing millions of Americans to literally starve
3) Slash Social Security benefits-even up to half of what they are now forcing senior citizens to literally starve
4) Gut Medicare funding
5) Gut Medicaid funding
6) Abolish Department of Education
7) Abolish Department of Energy
8) Abolish the Veteran’s Administration
9) Cut much state financial aid needed to avoid massive layoffs of teachers, police, fire, etc.
10) Cut of state aid would have a trickle down effect on local municipalities/suburbs-forcing them to do layoffs of police, fire, as well as close libraries, etc.
11) Will defund various categories of new heath care reform stripping millions of Americans of much needed access to quality health care
12) Will reverse aspects of financial reform to aid corporate/wall street in the continuation of unscrupulous practices against Americans
13) Will extend tax cuts for the richest 2% adding an additional $830 billion more in deficits
14) Will block funding for homeless veterans and homeless women
15) Will disregard the needs of middle America, minorities and the poor
16) Will work toward increased privatization of prisons
17) Will block lending programs/tax breaks for small businesses
18) Will paralyze the Obama administration with endless subpoenas and investigations in hopes of impeaching President Obama
19) Will literally shut down the government by defunding programs
20) Will repeal the 14th amendment which provides citizenship to all people born in the U.S.
21) Will kill cap and trade efforts
22) Will slash food stamp programs
23) Will roll back and repeal equal rights for gays
24) Will privatize Social Security
25) Will cut education spending along with college student aid
You can’t say you haven’t been warned.
If you haven’t already get out and vote today! Here are the locations, polls are open until 7:00 PM.
Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
Parks & Recreation Admin. Bldg., 1101 N. College St., Georgetown
Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Dr., Georgetown
McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock
Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Rd, Round Rock
Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock
J.B. & Hallie Jester Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock
Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin
Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park
Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St., Leander
Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St., Taylor
Hutto City Hall, 401 W. Front St., Hutto
Mobile Temporary Locations (times vary at these locations):
Friday, Oct. 29, 10am – 6pm.
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin
Highland Estates Independent Retirement Living,
1500 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park
5pm – 9pm
Thursday, Oct. 28 & Friday, Oct. 29;
Liberty Hill ISD-Head Start Office (Rear of Elementary School)
1400 Loop 332, Liberty Hill
Texans For Lawsuit Reform, the notorious lobbying group that has pumped tens of millions of dollars into Republican state legislative campaigns since its foundation in 1993; has given Larry Gonzales about $260,000 in his campaign to unseat Rep. Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock). Still, TLR is not Gonzales’ greatest source of funds. That honor goes to Bob “Swiftboat” Perry, the Houston homebuilder who realy likes his Texas Residential Construction Commission, and is willing to invest $285,000 in Gonzales to purchase one more Republican vote against sunsetting this disgrace out of existence.
The two mega-donors combined have provided the majority of the funds that Gonzales has used in his bid for the House seat. Contrast that with the thousands of individual donors contributing relatively small amounts to Maldonado’s campaign and you have a pretty clear picture of the difference between the two candidates. One represents all of us who work for a living and bring home a paycheck, and the other represents businessmen who hate paying damages when their defective products kill people or make them homeless.
The source reporting for this post comes from the Austin American-Statesman. The policy of this blog is to cite this source reporting at the top of the story to make it more likely that the reader will click on the link and read the full story; however, there is a problem with this story that resulted in the decision to bury the link. The reporters, Jason Embry and Corrie MacLaggan, usually dependable and informative, in this story have committed the mainstream media sin of false equivalency.
In a desire to appear balanced, Embry and MacLaggan have listed two of Maldonado’s largest supporters to support the narrative that “House races (are) awash in cash”. The best they can come up with, however are donations of $50,000 from the House Democratic Campaign Committee and $120,000 from Annie’s List. Together, this makes up $170,000 or less than one-fourth of Maldonado’s total campaign contributions this cycle.
Embry and MacLaggan have written the ultimate “Dog bites Man” headline one week before election day. Voters, especially those who watch television, are painfully aware that campaigns are awash in cash. Politics is a game of big money. However, when that flood of cash is made up of millions of raindrops from you and me, it produces a candidate who is likely to represent the interests of a wider segment of society. Larry Gonzales is taking his campaign cash from very few sources, which shows that he lacks a broad base of support, and provides an insight into whose interests he will be championing in the unfortunate event that he is actually elected.
Great new ad from Diana Maldonado – Setting the record straight!
There once was a time when we cared more about whether or not our politicians had committed an actual crime or did something illegal, Whistleblower Allegations of Political Influence in TRS Pension Investments Merit Further, Credible Investigation. We cared whether they knew right from wrong, and could be trusted.
If I was a current of former public school teacher in Texas I’d be very worried about what Rick Perry and his buddies have been doing with the money that was taken out of my paycheck to pay for my retirement. More from the AAS, Teachers, retirees question independence of pension fund investigator.
If the Texas GOP increases it’s power this election cycle and is able to institute their much ballyhooed austerity plan, things will get much, much worse for poor and working Texans. Here’s who was forced to sacrifice in 2003, the last time Texas faced a multi-billion dollar shortfall with Perry as governor:
That 2003 budget-balancing act included reductions that knocked about 220,000 youngsters out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program; deregulated university tuition rates, which meant a big jump in college costs; increased fees by an estimated $2.7 billion; and reduced benefits for state employees.
From what this DMN story over the weekend, it will be more of the same this time around, Legislature likely to cut deep to meet possible $25 billion budget gap.
Texas faces a budget crisis of truly daunting proportions, with lawmakers likely to cut sacrosanct programs such as education for the first time in memory and to lay off hundreds if not thousands of state workers and public university employees.
Texas’ GOP leaders, their eyes on the Nov. 2 election, have played down the problem’s size, even as the hole in the next two-year cycle has grown in recent weeks to as much as $24 billion to $25 billion. That’s about 25 percent of current spending.
The gap is now proportionately larger than the deficit California recently closed with cuts and fee increases, its fourth dose of budget misery since September 2008.
Against the backdrop of the acrimonious campaign between Republican Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic challenger Bill White, Texas’ top elected and budget officials have guarded even more tightly than usual against leaks of information. But bad numbers continue to dribble out in legislative testimony and agency reports.
The bottom line: Public schools, college students and government employees, not just poor and needy Texans, might very well lose money, grants, benefits and even livelihoods during and after next year’s legislative session. [Emphasis added]
“They’ll have to cut,” said former Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, the House’s budget chief during the last budget meltdown, in 2003. “When you look at the big numbers, I just don’t think there’s any way that you make it match without making some reduction in education, both higher [education] and public education,” or grades K-12.
Two officials familiar with the budget process, who said they were not authorized to speak publicly about current deliberations, said the introductory spending blueprint will contain cuts touching a broad swath of Texans.
They said the base budget, if passed, would force universities and junior colleges to raise tuition again, while slashing financial aid. Teachers, some of whom keep asking lawmakers how big their pay raises will be next year, would be lucky to keep their jobs after the state scales back aid to public schools, the officials said.
“There are going to be entire agencies zeroed out and a lot of employees and programs cut to unsustainable levels,” one official said.
The other official said he’s unsure how many Republicans could support so many cuts.
Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, the House’s chief education budget writer, said he sees no way public schools will be spared if the GOP majority rules out raising new revenue.
Hochberg said no-tax-hike pledges by many Republican colleagues ignore Texas’ dire need to improve high school and college graduation rates, so it can capture higher-paying jobs.
“We’ve been following a path of trying to be the cheapest state to do business in,” Hochberg said. “To the extent we continue … we’re destined to be behind not only the rest of the world, but other states in our ability to be economically prosperous.”
They will balance the budget on the backs of poor and working Texans, while the wealthy and corporations skate free. It’s key to realize that it’s always mentioned what poor and working Texans will HAVE to give up, but nothing is ever mentioned about any sacrifice the wealthy in Texas will have to make. Because they’re never expected to by those in power in this state. There is no equal sacrifice in the Texas budget. It would be much easier to fill this massive budget hole if everyone was asked to sacrifice.
Cutting public education and cutting more Texans out of higher education, does not bode well for Texas’ economic future. It makes the number one economic development program, a good education, less attainable. Anyone who thinks an austerity program in Texas will actually help our long-term economy is just ignoring reality. And laying off and/or furloughing state employees and public school teachers will just contract economic activity even further.
What’s needed is what’s not coming, government investment in it’s people and infrastructure. The reason it’s not coming is because those with means would have to give up some of what they have, in order for that investment to be made. And that’s not going to happen until things get worse.
CBS News has a report up on the uneven, shall we say, way that Congress deals with ethics violations by it’s members, A Double Standard for House Ethics? Our own member of Congress, John Carter (R-Round Rock), spent the better part of a year haranguing Rep. Charlie Rangel, until his own ethics ciolation was brought to light, and he’s said little since. Here’s an excerpt:
Then there’s Congressman John Carter (R-Texas). On Oct. 7, 2009, he criticized Rangel for, among other things, failing to disclose income. “These are all violations of the rules of the House,” Carter said in an interview about Rangel.
But just a few weeks later, Carter himself was making a mea culpa. “I made an error on my House financial disclosure forms,” he said in a speech on Oct. 21, 2009 on the House floor. It turns out he got caught — just like Rangel — failing to report income: nearly $300-thousand dollars in profits from selling Exxon stock. But Carter isn’t facing an ethics trial. [Emphasis added].
Watch it below:
The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes you all have voted or will be voting soon as it brings you this week’s blog roundup.
This week at McBlogger, we take a look at the increasingly desperate campaign being run by Todd Staples. On Friday they attempted to eavesdrop on a conference call line if that tell you much. You simply won’t believe the rest…
Letters From Texas spent most of the week pointing to Republican efforts to scapegoat and alienate minorities, first pointing out both Parties’ failure to communicate effectively with Hispanic voters, then pointing out Republicans’ blatant attempts to prevent them from voting, and showing that they’d planned to do it in Texas too. Most shocking, however, was the release of a photo of the most disturbing political sign in Texas.
The news of the week in Harris County spread all across the country: well-fed Caucasian conservatives are going places they’ve never gone before — minority early voting polling locations — and doing their damndest to keep as few of ‘those people’ from casting a ballot as possible. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs kept the story up to date.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows the choice for governor comes down to this very simple issue, We must end Perry’s unprecedented time as governor – he’s been in office too long.
Public Citizen is getting into the fray over early voting and intimidation activities across the state, with a press release and conference Monday afternoon in Houston with the League of Women Voters and a blog over at TexasVox. Keep watching for more coverage as this story continues to develop.
Len Hart at BlueBloggin looks at A Party of Panic and Depression, the Republican world of economics, death and destruction, K-Street and war. The administration of Ronald Reagan ushered in a depression of some two years. A depression of some two years, a contraction of the economy, a transfer of wealth upward to the upper quintile, the nation’s richest 20 percent. A windfall of this nature is not stimulus to invest but, rather, to transfer the gains offshore.
Lightseeker reports that , according to a recent Gallup Poll, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans…basically our non-white/non-black population…are going to vote for the Republicans in this election by a 52%-42% margin. Turns out that polling on this mid-term election has some serious problems. There is more at The Polls are Off and Nobody Knows by How Much!