|Don't tell the stupid voters|
I want to point out the hypocrisy and the pay to play attitude that permeates Austin. It is dishonest and it is turning Texas into Washington, DC. I hate to say it but it is because of Republicans, Republicans you and I have voted for.
I am talking about Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s attempt to restructure the spending cap and the deafening silence coming from the “conservative groups” and self-appointed conservative standard bearers.
Lt. Gov. Patrick wants to eliminate debt payments and tax cuts from being counted in the spending cap number. This would be like you running up your credit card and not counting the monthly payment in your household or business budget. It is insane and just two years ago Lt. Governor Patrick had a shit fit when former Governor Dewhurst tried to do basically the same thing.
Can you imagine if Speaker Joe Straus tried this or if the House offered this irresponsible spending gimmick? Mike Sullivan and JoAnn Fleming would be having a epileptic fit, calling Straus a communist and enlisting their disciples to start an all out war on the State Representatives. (they have a knack for calling in artillery on fellow conservatives.) But because the cool kids are doing it there is nothing to see here, move along now stupid voters. Oh and where is that conservative firebrand Scott Turner? Hiding behind Mike Sullivan’s skirt I suppose.
If the Legislature stays within the current spending cap, they can spend 11.6% more than they spent last session, which would be about $107 billion for the next biennium. It turns out they want to spend more than that without voting to increase the spending limit. That is conservative? Give me a break!
From the Texas Tribune:
“While a simple idea in theory, the spending cap in practice is a complicated measure that even some members of the Legislature have trouble grasping. The Texas Constitution says the government can't grow faster than the state's economy. State leaders set a growth rate of 11.68 percent for this session in December, based on the estimated rate of growth in Texans' personal income over the next two years.
"For 36 years our state spending cap has helped enforce fiscal discipline, and we should be very cautious about any attempt to weaken it," House Speaker Joe Straus said in a statement responding to Patrick's proposals.”
…”So is cutting property taxes, because it would require lawmakers approving extra state spending to make up for the loss to public schools.”
This sets a terrible precedent and is very short sighted. (I am beginning to detect a pattern with Dan Patrick’s governing style.) But because Lt. Gov Patrick has endorsed the idea the usual “conservative stalwarts” like Michael Quinn Sullivan, the Young Conservatives of Texas, JoAnn Fleming, TPPF, etc are not saying a word.
In July of 2014 these same people sent a letter to the legislature saying they did not want government growth to exceed 6.2% of the 2014-15 biennium. This little nugget was taken straight from Mike Sullivan’s webpage:
“Empower Texans President, Michael Quinn Sullivan stressed the importance of holding lawmakers accountable, “Only when we have a hard limit, can we make the right decisions and right choices with our spending. Every one of our families has to do the same thing. […] A hard limit allows Texans to judge the performance of their lawmakers.” Citing the last legislative session, Sullivan emphasized the importance of prioritizing vital state functions over waste”
And from April of 2013 on the same website:
“It appears budget writers are taking several billion dollars worth of revenue off the books — making the budget artificially lower than it is. Most notable are receipts associated with higher education and their affiliated hospitals. Those income dollars have for years been counted in the budget….Let’s be clear: this isn’t like the gimmicks of old, where dollars dedicated for one purpose were clearly being diverted to something else. No, it appears to be what it says, ‘excluding’ billions of dollars from the books. Poof. Gone. Not there. [Insert your favorite Enron joke here.]”
Who in the hell is using gimmicks now? But because it is Dan Patrick and not Joe Straus all is ok in the world of conservative pay to play. This is getting outrageous. I just wish the conservative grassroots would understand that they are getting played by the very people they worked for in elections, voted for in March and November and unfortunately listen too. Listen up Texas – your conservative groups and Mike Sullivan are lying to you. A lot!
I guess my biggest questions is this: what are these people and groups getting for remaining silent? (I wonder why Tim Dunn has so many Legislators advising his oil company these days) The only reason more people aren’t screaming about this is because we need the extra spending and everyone knows it. I can tell you this though, this vote will come back to bite them in the ass. Patrick may very well be a one term Lt Gov because this scheme is so easy to put on a mailer or make into a commercial. And voters will get it. They understand they can’t hide their debt and neither can the Texas Senate.