This commentary in today’s HChron by Clay Robison, A builder, a commission, a lot of cash, describes what is a microcosm of how “conservatism”, as practiced by the Texas GOP, is racket for their campaign donors. It shows how a “consumer protection” agency, created by the so-called “small government” proponents, is the exact opposite. It’s an agency created to forestall lawsuits against homebuilders, including a homebuilder – the infamous “Swift Boat” Bob Perry owner of Perry Homes – that’s been bankrolling GOP candidates in Texas and nationwide. And it provides little, if any, protection whatsoever for the consumers it was created to protect.
This particular agency, the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC), was created in 2003, at the height of the Texas GOP’s dominance of state politics. And as this part of the DMN article on the Sunset Commission’s recent recommendation to abolish the TRCC, its creation was straight out of the GOP playbook.
The original legislation was backed by Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who is also the largest political donor in the state. His spokesman, Anthony Holm, said it was a rare case where the industry came to the Legislature and asked to be regulated.
When an industry goes to the government to ask to be regulated that should set off alarm bells immediately. That the industry did it at the height of its backers political power is logical. In other words the industry wrote the rules on how it wanted to be regulated. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the TRCC has been of no benefit to consumers, and been a boon for the industry, and the Texas GOP’s big money donor Bob Perry. (See this DMN article on a recent Texas Supreme Court Ruling in Perry’s favor). And reading this recent HChron article on the Sunset recommendation more alarm bells should be going off.
Created in 2003, the agency does not have the trust of the consumers to protect them from unqualified builders, according to staff of the Sunset Review Commission, which reviews state agency performance and makes recommendations to lawmakers.
The creation of the commission was backed by homebuilders. It was praised by the industry for establishing standards and warranties for home construction, and for creating a process to resolve disputes between builders and buyers out of court.
Consumer groups have argued the agency did more to protect builders than consumers and limited homeowners’ legal recourse in disputes.
If the agency being regulated is happy about its future oversight, it’s probably not a good omen. And as Robinson’s commentary today points out the Sunset action is only the first step in this process. A process that is sure to full of roadblocks to abolish Perry’s pet agency, put in place by his deep pockets and long political reach.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the recommendation to abolish the Texas Residential Construction Commission, but it is no sure thing, thanks largely to the money with which Houston home builder Bob Perry continues to shower lawmakers.
Although the proposal was applauded by consumers, who view the agency as little more than a protective haven for home builders, the first of several potential obstacles is the Sunset Advisory Commission itself, which must decide whether to endorse or reject its staff’s work.
And that is a $446,000 question.
But the sunset staff has concluded the agency is doing homeowners more harm than good.
More than half of the money, $272,500, that Perry has given to Sunset Commission members has gone to Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville. Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, the vice chairman, has received $64,500; Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, $35,000; and Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, who is in a tough re-election race, $22,500.
Perry has given lesser amounts to other commission members.
That amount doesn’t include the $2,500 Perry has given so far to Bryan Daniel, Democratic candidate Diana Maldonado’s opponent in HD-52 race . This is just another example of how, if elected, Daniel would be essentially the same as reelecting Mike Krusee. It’s extremely likely he would be in favor of keeping Perry’s protection commission since he took his money. Being a “proud conservative” as his web site states, this is how they govern – protect the corporations at the expense of the consumer.
It’s examples like this, along with this, that show how much new leadership, the leadership that’s been lacking for so long, is needed in HD-52. Leadership that will protect the consumer, the people in HD-52, and no longer give big money donors, and corporations a free ride. Whether you’re a new home buyer, or would just like your opinion to matter again concerning a landfill, a proposed road, or power lines, change and leadership is needed. And there’s only one person running in HD-52 that can provide that kind of leadership, and it’s Diana Maldonado.