02.13.12

News from around the state

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 3:04 pm by wcnews

Peggy Fikac tells us about new book from Cal Jillson, Lone Star tarnished?

Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson is the latest to fill out the tale of Texas in a book coming out this week, Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy.

“There is a Texas miracle if you think of it very narrowly in terms of very steady population growth at well above the national average, and job growth above the national average – thinking of job growth as increase in number of jobs,” Jillson said. “Because if you look at income, or if you look at educational performance, access to health care, poverty and a whole range of social policy measures, Texas continues to lag the nation by dramatic margins.” [Emphasis added]

As lawmakers looking ahead to another fiscally challenging legislative session in 2013 – they must deal with billions of dollars in pushed-off Medicaid costs and are facing another school finance lawsuit, for starters – Jillson’s book offers a look at income and issues including education plus an examination of Texas’ tax system.

“It shows how we got to where we are and identifies a set of revenue streams we’ve consciously forgone that we could tap into,” such a broader sales tax base, he said.

Texas tax collections were 72 percent of the national average in 2009, while the Southern average was 87 percent, he said.

“We don’t have to terrify people by saying, let’s go to the national average. We can say, let’s go to the Southern average,” he said. “We’re getting up with Alabama.”

Harvey Kronberg has the latest redistricting and AG Abbott’s miscalculation, San Antonio court says it means business on redistricting.

Federal judges are not typically a group to be toyed with and last week, the three-judge redistricting panel in San Antonio sharply expressed its annoyance with the parties participating in this legal mess.

Remember, because of our state’s history of discriminating against minorities, the Voting Rights Act requires the Texas get permission from either the Department of Justice or a DC Court before implementing any election changes.

Every other southern state but Texas pursued both alternatives to approval. However, apparently thinking that Texas would get better treatment from a largely Republican DC court, Attorney General Abbott never submitted our maps to the DOJ.

Since then, it has been litigation hell. The all-Republican appointed three-judge panel in DC has been openly skeptical of the state’s arguments, going so far as to rule in rejecting a summary judgment, that there were indications of discrimination in both the intent and outcome of legislative and Congressional map drawing.

Kuff has more on the next step in the redistricting process, Interim map hearing tomorrow.

Grits has a great post on all the reporting regarding the recent ruling in the Morton case, Court of inquiry to proceed investigating prosecutor misconduct in Williamson County. As well as this link that explains what a court of inquiry is and it’s history in Texas, What is a Court of Inquiry? This part seems meant for this case.

So why request a court of inquiry instead of going to the police or taking a more typical route through the legal system? The reasons vary from case to case, but individuals could seek courts of inquiry because they believe there is corruption or potential conflicts of interest in the legal or law enforcement institutions they would otherwise turn to. Courts of inquiry can also review evidence that would not be admitted to other courts, such as hearsay. [Emphasis added]

Wayne Slater posted over the weekend on the Collapse of the Perry Money Machine. Oops. The most interesting point is that his fundraising had already cratered before the “Oops” moment. But is flat lined after that.

There is going to be another Save Texas Schools this year, Save Texas Schools. Mark March 24th on your calendar.

One year ago, over 13,000 people gathered in Austin to speak out against budget cuts to public education. It was the largest capitol rally in modern Texas history! However, our legislators chose not to listen. Now, we need to come back before the primary elections to let them know, “We’re watching, We Remember and We VOTE!” It’s important that every candidate know that education is an issue that they CAN’T IGNORE!

Make plans now to join us in an even larger rally. Say NO to underfunding our schools! Say NO to overcrowded classrooms and overworked teachers! Say NO to millions spent on an out-of-control testing system! Say YES to educating our children for the future!

The STS March begins at 11 am at 12th and Trinity. Rally begins at noon on the south steps of the Capitol.

Questions? Contact us at info@savetxschools.org.

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