This is what I wrote just before we lost our tax cap: "Congratulations to Representatives Dwayne Bohac, Martha Wong, Senator Kyle Janek, and Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt for their tenacious advocacy of a cap on property tax increases."
"Truth in taxation was started in 1999 as a project of the Harris County Republican Party and Paul Bettencourt to roll back City of Houston property taxes. The theory behind it is the property taxes that increase the average appraised value are an unvoted tax increase. Our goal ought to be no unvoted tax increases."
"The bill passed is a step in the right direction- but only a step."
"The big local untold story is that the City of Houston and its lobby team worked to gut the bill. You may want to inquire of your city council members how and why this was allowed to happen."
So what do we do now? Of course after passing the House 148 to 0 it was stopped in the Senate when 11 Senators, some Republicans and mostly Democrats, said no. And, by the way, Lt. Governor Dewhurst did all he could given the 21 vote rule in the Senate.
First, since there is a 21 vote rule in the Senate for regular sessions, one can hope this issue will be on the call for a special session where majority rules. I wonder what some of our Senators are afraid of - public officials need to be honest when a tax increase is needed. Let's stop protecting local officials and let them make their case to the people for tax increases.
The second step should be an effort to work with city, county, and school district offices to cap appraisal values except for a small adjustment for inflation (like 2%).
The third step is to consider other property tax reforms like freezing values at the time of purchase and have them stay fixed, except for home improvements and a small inflation adjustment.
Democrats Vacation in Ardmore
Principle or Hard Ball Politics?
I found it very interesting that the Texas Democratic legislators, with some exceptions like leaders Sylvester Turner and Ron Wilson, walked out. They walked not to protest funding for children, medical care or any other so called liberal issue- they walked because they did not want the GOP to redraw congressional lines in Texas.
Rewind ten years ago or so and you would have found Democratic leader Representative Martin Frost "orchestrating" a redistricting that kept the GOP in the minority despite getting almost 56% of the congressional vote in Texas!
So Tom DeLay did the same thing this time. Congratulations to him, it's the right thing to do. The Democrats killed it for this session but lets hope Governor Rick Perry puts out the call for one of the special sessions looming.
A new plan that recognizes Republicans and minority strength and draws districts that are compact as possible should result in a GOP gain of 3 to 6 seats. It's about time we get our fair share.
Bush 2004 Campaign Begins
He Works Hard and Needs Your Money
President Bush's 2004 campaign has begun with Jack Oliver resigning from his RNC leadership role to head up the finance effort again.
The maximum donation this year is $2000 per person and by giving the maximum now you will be invited to any and all Bush events in the area. Download a contribution form or call your editor for more information at 713-621-6335. (Not authorized by Bush-Cheney 2004).
What are the President's prospects? At this point, good. According to Ron Faucheux, editor of Campaigns and Elections, "six of the seven presidents who posted approval scores of 50% or higher at this point in their terms went on to win re-election and that's FDR, Truman, Ike, Nixon and Clinton." Of course you all know the one exception - President George H.W. Bush.
Israel Accepts, but with Reservations the "Road Map"
Christian American Leaders Draw Line in Sand
While Israel, despite still dealing with Palestinian terror on a daily basis, accepts the road map with reservations, a line drawn in the sand by the evangelical Christian community, led by Gary Bauer and Rev John Hagee. Many leaders signed a letter to President Bush making clear that they support him if, both Israel and the President's guidelines for peace as laid out in his June 2002 speech, are followed. Essentially, they support the President as long as he stays true to his principles of democracy, the rule of law and the end of terrorism, as always. Results are what matters.
The Evangelical community is a critical part of the Republican base and essential for GOP success in 2004.
In my view, if the State Departments will let President Bush be himself, there will be reform of the Palestinians and an end to terror. If not, the PLO will get the "Sadaam" treatment.
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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