The Texas legislature is back and with revenue up we have an opportunity in many areas, including tax relief, or do we?
However, remember we pushed back some spending into this new biennium so we have to fund the balances due: $4.7 billion for Medicaid, $1.9 billion for the Foundation School Program, and $100 million for wildfires and indigent health care costs at TDCJ, which makes the Rainy Day Fund less impressive.
As for this year, the key state needs are in the area of transportation, where most conservatives agree the current gas tax based system can't keep pace with the cost of maintaining roads and leaves little or none for new construction. The big question: How to pay for it?
The next area of need, water, has been previously discussed by TCR, and we must start serious funding to be prepared for the future as those projects cannot be achieved overnight. After that is health care, where besides reforming the state cancer research mess, the Medicaid program is in dire need of improvement and reform. How about trying a medical savings account component to encourage consumer self interest in medical care?
Next up is tax reform to clean up the tax expenditures in our budget; like ending tax diversions and the $1 billion per year natural gas tax exemption, which is not needed.
The next issue, smart criminal justice, where we can apply reforms suggested by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which will make a more cost-efficient and effective system. This idea would include diversions of drug addicts to treatment, instead of lockup, and sun-setting the State youth lockups and sending funding to the counties who have better results and higher success rates.
These are just a few ideas that will improve Texas and reallocate and reduce state spending.
How They Plan To Take The House In 2014
Obama's plan is to make the GOP look bad, frame the issues the way he wants and show the GOP in a bad light.
Part 1 was the fiscal cliff. Next up is the debt ceiling, he says if we don't vote to extend it; we are stopping America from paying its debts on time.
After that, it's attacking the GOP on guns as defenders of senseless violence and school shootings when, of course, law abiding, gun owning citizens had nothing to do with these acts.
Our solution is simple in concept, difficult in execution; but in clear and concise language we must frame these issues. We have experts on our side who know how to do this, it's time to trust them and seek their assistance.
We need to be able, in a soundbite, to explain why we are the protector of working middle class Americans and we need to explain the way things really are with our fiscal mess.
Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan To Remake American Politics By Mother Jones
TCR Comment: The liberals are doubling down and if we let them, we will lose it all. Mother Jones, a left wing magazine, revealed their ideas at a recent meeting that occurred in D.C. Note the campaign never ends for our liberal friends, are we ready to work as hard as they do?
"At the end of the day, many of the attendees closed with a pledge of money and staff resources to build a national, coordinated campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation."
"The liberal activists have dubbed this effort the Democracy Initiative.
"... the Democracy Initiative's ranks had swelled to 30 to 35 groups, Michael Brune, Sierra Club's executive director, says. (He expects it to be 50 by the end of the winter.)
"According to a schedule of the meeting, the attendees... On money in politics…[and]singled out Kentucky, New York, and North Carolina as potential targets for campaign finance fights...the Kentucky battle would likely involve trying to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)... pressuring state lawmakers, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to pass a statewide public financing bill in 2013. And in North Carolina, the fight is more about countering the influence of a single powerful donor, the conservative millionaire Art Pope, whose largesse helped install a Republican governor and turn the state legislature entirely red.
"On voting rights... identified California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Minnesota as states where efforts to modernize the voter registration system and implement same-day registration could succeed.
"...the most pressing issue right now for Democracy Initiative members is Senate rules reform.
Where's The Demand To Take Guns Away?
"Other potential (corporate) targets for Democracy Initiative action include Chevron, which gave $2.5 million to a super-PAC backing House Republican candidates in 2012. Google was mentioned as another target for its continued membership with the generally pro-Republican US Chamber of Commerce...coalition [is also] targeting the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative "bill mill" behind many voter ID, school choice, and anti-union laws, wants to use the Democracy Initiative to recruit members and so expand its efforts identifying lawmakers and corporations who are ALEC members and urging them to cut ties with the group."
With all the rhetoric from the Obama administration regarding strict gun control and the release of nineteen proposed executive orders that include, among other things, an "assault" weapons ban, universal background checks, and limits of magazine sizes, you would think the vast majority of voters support this radical plan!
But first let's see where the public is on gun control. First, note Obama did NOT campaign on new strict gun control, and if he had he'd have probably lost Colorado and Pennsylvania, and probably the White House. Second, where is the public demand? The recent Gallup Poll on this issue showed 38% are not satisfied with current gun laws and 43% are ok with them, 5% want less strict gun laws. So, no surge of public support with 48% happy or want less strict laws.
So the true Obama agenda is revealed - take guns away from law abiding citizens as part of his effort to "fundamentally transform" the US.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
01/18/13: "Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson"
Next week: "A Gun Control Debate - Do We Need More or Less Gun Control?"
Coming soon: Houston City Council Reviews the State of Houston, A Report On Juvenile Justice Reform - Is It Working?
The current show as well as past shows are available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his eleventh year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.