Polland 2211 Norfolk St., Suite 920 Houston, TX 77098 (713) 621-6335 Email
Thoughts This Fortnight
Harris County Leads Way In Fiscal Conservativism
Harris County Commissioners led by County Judge Ed Emmett and Commissioners Radack, Eversole & Morman dealt with the tough economic times by reducing next year's county budget by $138 million. It was not easy but they did it without raising taxes. The GOP leadership has proven how it's done and are examples to other government entities around the state and nation that government can go on a diet. TCR will be watching the State of Texas and the City of Houston to see how they do.
Japan National Disaster Points Out Fragility Of "Modern" Life
TCR is sobered by the devastating double disasters of earthquake and tsunami. It demonstrates no matter how modern we are, nature still can rule. The disaster points out all the work we need to do in the U.S. to prepare for disasters that we are prone to.
Texas State Budget Still A Challenge, Should Sales Tax Exemptions Be Closed?
The Rainy Day Fund has been tapped to the tune of $3.2 billion to balance the fiscal year 2011 budget we are presently in. As for the next biennium, the budget needs a Harris County GOP Commissioners scrutiny to eliminate non-priority spending.
The recent dust-up between comptroller Susan Combs and Governor Rick Perry on the issue of sales tax exemptions where the state is said to have "lost" $32.2 billion in revenue. Now it's true every exemption is there for a reason, but it's not unreasonable to have a discussion of what should or should not be exempt, including internet purchases.
While we're at it, why not look at the high cost to the state of the natural gas exemption adopted in 1989 whose purpose to encourage innovation now has been fulfilled and is no longer necessary. This could generate needed revenue and may allow reductions for our high school property taxes.
Thoughts From Down Under
Your editor returns after an extensive visit Down Under compels the following observations:
(a) The issues concerning conservatives on Obamacare are present in Australia and New Zealand - pressure to control state socialized medicine spending by delaying "non-emergency" surgery and removing certain more expensive drugs from the plan; in other words, rationing. In addition, they can wait weeks or months for a critical appointment.
(b) Gasoline is really expensive at around $10 a gallon (they use liters so it seems cheap per liter), so most cars are high mileage ones. In addition there is a large car tax of around 50% so that Camry you can buy here for $21,000 cost $32,000 in Australia! Food is also expensive, almost double what we pay, though the Aussies say it's because the U.S. dollar has lost value relative to Australia.
(c) The people in both countries were friendly and wonderful. The news coverage of the U.S. was surprisingly slight except when the Prime Minister of Australia visits the White House. And for the record, we were not caught in the earthquake at Christchurch, we missed it by a few days.
U.S. Foreign Policy Under Obama In Disarray
Watching the Obama administration stumble and bumble as the Middle East careens toward disaster reminds us that experience and vision matter. The President has neither. Let's review a few facts; Iran is hijacking the Arab revolts in both Egypt and Bahrain. Fortunately, the Saudis ignored Obama's advice to "exercise restraint" and came to the defense of their ally the King. The administration ignored concrete proof that radical Hezbollah was on the ground pursuing an armed uprising. In Egypt, Iran is arming the Muslim Brotherhood with Hamas hired to smuggle arms and train the brotherhood's militias. TCR wonders, can U.S. interests survive 22 months more of the Obama administration? It is absolutely critical he be replaced with a conservative who puts America's interests first.
Energy Price at the Pump Explodes While Obama Fiddles
Another reason we need a new President is his horrible non-energy policy. Let's see, with gas prices up 21% since the Libyan protests started, Obama has recently blocked exploration of shale oil in the Rockies and other places, no drilling in ANWAR, no drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, restricted off-shore drilling in the oceans and gulf and it goes on and on. With the state of world prices, look for $150 a barrel oil this year with gas over $5 a gallon. We need a Republican president who really can get our energy policy moving forward.
Despite ALL Our Troubles, Good News Is Coming
One reason for optimism is the forthcoming slew of great local candidates running for City races or for next years GOP primary. For example, 60 people showed up at an orientation for prospective GOP candidates in 2012. With redistricting, the Democratic party's problem is we could have our best ticket in years.
One person TCR recently sat down with is Brian Cweren, who is running for Houston City Council District C. He is an exciting young candidate who cares about the taxpayers property tax plight and understands what the city priorities should and should not be. He is the kind of person we need on City Council.
Israeli Defense Force Uncovers Weaponry For Terrorists
The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) has produced a video on YouTube that is a summary of the incident in which the IDF Navy uncovered on-board the cargo ship "Victoria" weaponry intended for the use of terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.
In addition, Iranian documents found along with the weaponry including a missile identification manual written in Persian containing emblems of the Iranian government, point to the involvement and cooperation between Iran and Syria to further arm terrorist organizations.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Soon returning from pledge drive, upcoming shows: 4/1/11: State Rep. Dan Huberty (R). 4/8/11: Professor David Dow on Do We Still Need the Death Penalty? 4/15/11: Mark McKinnon (Former Advisor to President Bush) and Chronicle Columnist Bill King. Coming soon: Conservative columnist David Brooks.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also 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 thirteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last nine years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.