I don't think I've been prouder of a Republican President on domestic issues in quite a while as I am of President Bush.
The recent unveiling of the bold tax cut was awe-inspiring. As I listened to the President on the radio I was so proud. Proud because this courageous President slayed three Washington myths: First, that Republicans compromise their principles before proposing legislation to "work" with the Democrats. Second, that fear of budget deficits means we handcuff tax and economics policy. Third, tax cuts shouldn't benefit middle and upper income workers who pay an overwhelming majority of federal taxes as it isn't "fair" (Note - the top 5% of tax payers AGI of $128,366 and up pay over half the total tax revenue!)
So what has the President proposed? A significant move forward of the marginal tax cuts which should help lift the recovery and encourage investments and spending. Next, the President proposes eliminating the tax on dividends for investors which in effect frees capital to flow to more productive purposes and should help stock prices.
In addition, the President proposes to speed up the increase in the child tax credit to $1000 from $600. This idea is okay and does benefit lower income tax payers.
So lower taxes mean less government money? Not if you figure in the growth aspects of the tax cuts. Past history-the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts generated more government revenue by helping grow the economy.
As I've said many times - we are truly blessed that George W. Bush is President of the United States.
Austin Report - "Shortfall Growing"
Last week Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn reported a shortfall for the next biennium at $9.9 billion.
With many competing programs, this legislature is going to be faced with some tough decisions. One idea now being talked about is prioritize and make more extensive use where appropriate of user fees.
Our Democratic friends say that this is a Republican word for taxes but it isn't fair to ask citizens to pay market prices for services provided by government as opposed to business. I don't think so.
So what else do we do? First, recognize that the out of whack spending has occurred for a few reasons. First, in the last session, we let the Democrats spend too much money on too many programs. Second, the economy has cooled off which has ended revenue growth. Third, it is critical after priorities are set that the legislature review and then implement as many of Comptroller Strayhorn's E-Texas initiatives as possible along with the variety of ideas put out by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. Fourth, the State must as effectively as possible get all the matching federal funds it can.
What to look for? It appears the talk of no new taxes by the legislature will be challenged by the Democrats, but also by proposed shifting of payment responsibility to cities and counties and school districts. While this will control state taxes, it puts enormous pressure on the other entities. Recently there was talk of a $1 billion shift from state funding to local school districts. This will accentuate the pressure to increase already obscenely high local property taxes.
The moral of the story - it's the spending stupid. If we don't control it, we will have to find more taxes to feed this spending monster.
At any rate, it will be a challenging session. We are lining up some important interviews for you in future issues with key legislative leaders.
Democrats in Washington - Sore Losers
Did Tom Daschle and his Democratic friends see the election results in November? I thought the GOP won the Senate - as of last week, weeks into the session the turnover of the leadership and committee chairs in the Senate had not taken place.
Also in Sen. Bill Frist's first bill in the Senate - the unemployment benefits extension bill. The Democrats tried to renege on the deal for unanimous consent to get more spending. Leading the partisan game planning was our old friend Sen. Hillary Clinton.
2004 Campaign is Off
The 2004 Presidential campaign is off. Here's the line up: Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Dick Gephardt, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards (Bill Clinton, Jr), Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rev. Al Sharpton and on the fringe looking to get in, Sen. Chris Dodd, Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart.
Obviously, it's early but the compressed primary calendar means the Democrats may have a nominee by February 2004.
As for President Bush, his .approval rating remains strong. The polling numbers will become important in the Fall of 2003. If the President's numbers are still at today's level he will be in good shape for re-election.
It is important we don't take anything for granted. We will have to do what is asked to re-elect President Bush. He will need our help.
is a long time Republican spokesman, fund-raiser and leader who
recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican
Chair. During his time as Chairman, Gary was described as the
most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events.
For six years, Gary put out a bi-weekly newsletter which he has
continued due to requests from many Republican activists.
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