Despite the hand wringing by Democrats and some of the left-wing media, a special session on the above subjects is a good idea. Congratulations to Governor Perry for giving us the leadership that we need on these critical issues.
So with a session starting June 30th what should we look for? In regards to redistricting, look for a plan (1) that can pass the legislature, (2) that gives the GOP its fair share of Texas congressional seats, and (3) that can pass muster as not being improper gerrymandering or violative of the voting rights act. So the plan can't overreach and the good news is we can draw a plan that meets all the qualifications above.
As for government reorganization it is probably one of the most important matters we can go forward on this year. Giving the executive branch authority and responsibility over most of the state agencies will allow Texas to make progress in obtaining cost effective government. It also will strengthen accountability in Texas. The Governor is again showing leadership by asking to be held responsible.
Will the Democrats walk again? Hopefully they will do their job, just like the GOP did ten, twenty, and thirty years ago when "they" got what they wanted in redistricting.
National Democrats - Not Dead Yet
On a recent trip to D.C. I got to visit with and hear leading Republicans and Democrats. (Note: I'm on the board of a non-partisan national organization). What you may find of interest is what leading Democrats are talking about- specifically Daschle, Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clinton. I kind of felt like an undercover agent.
First, it was interesting being in a small group meeting with national Democrats. Secondly, they are not stupid. Third, there are all on the same message which at this time is of national security - where they support the war on terror and want to make sure we get the right bang for the buck. At the same time I believe they are hoping that another major terror strike takes place on Bush's watch so they can rip him. Fourth, they were hammering the GOP on not allowing many of our troops and low income families to get a tax cut (of course, when asked why should we give a refund to those who don't pay income taxes and they say what about social security taxes?) Finally, they are raising concerns about the economy and its present state saying the Bush tax cuts have run spending through the roof, while unemployment is exploding. They are again hoping the economy is poor in 2004 so they can use it to beat up the Republicans.
One other observation: these new breed of Democratic leaders are friendly, soft toned and sound reasonable, of course we got the President and with an improving economy and success on the terror front, we will do well. If things don't go well however, then we would have a real battle. In other words, don't be complacent.
An Issue That's Coming
Whichever Party Gets it Right
Will be in Power for a Long Time
The issue is the exporting of American jobs by multinational corporations. Over the past decade much of our manufacturing base has been sent overseas. For example, some industries have essentially left, like the steel industry, television manufacturing, and small appliance manufacturers. We all thought that was ok as we are a 21st century economy that is knowledge based - so the high tech computer industry will be our savior. But look what's happening, many of our engineering, programmer, claims insurance handling, and call center jobs have been lost to overseas workers. Just the other day a friend called a Dell computer call center about a computer problem and ended up talking to a technician in India. Surely companies as Microsoft, Dell, IBM, JP Morgan, Delta Airlines and GE are shipping jobs out as quick as they can. Why are we losing our jobs? It is simple, the many foreigners work for a lot less than American workers.
And it gets worse- Phyllis Schlafly in her June report (P.O. Box 618 Alton Illinois 62002) details the scam of H-1B visas lists (it allows corporations to import cheap skilled workers from overseas to fill labor shortages). She estimates as many as 890,000 H-1B aliens are working in the US. At the same time, unemployment of electronic engineers is 7.7%, computer hardware engineers is 6.5%, and with unemployment in these areas, one would ask why are we letting companies bring in H-1B workers? The answer is that foreign workers work for a lot less.
This is a simmering issue that will explode at some point in the future.
Phyllis Schlafly, in conclusion laid out the challenge "until recently America had a middle class society, the economic system that built America's greatness and prosperity. Employees used to be viewed as an investment, but more and more they are looked upon as replaceable commodities. The movement toward an increasing percentage of underclass cheap laborers is a formula to make us like Latin America…. Cheap labor ends up being subsidized by taxpayers who pay health, welfare and crime costs the employers escape." Send me more of your thoughts - my concern is, what will our citizens do to make a living and how will we grow our economy if we don't have job growth for the middle class? And what are the political implications of this challenge? One other thought, whenever you can, buy American: By doing so you are helping your fellow Americans stay employed.
Houston City Council Seeks 5% Cap
Increase on Property Tax Revenues
It's a start - a limit on the total increase on property tax revenue - but it's not the answer. For the 2003-2004 budget cycle it's estimated Houston property tax revenues will be up over 4%. So the cap will have zero effect. Now if we could put a 2% cap it would lead to a property tax rate cut - now we're talking. The truth is, we need Senator Kyle Janek's solution - cap appraisal increases on residential property at 2% cap that will help hard pressed taxpayers. Unfortunately, even the Representative Martha Wong, Dwayne Bohac bill which had a hard 5% cap was killed in the Senate. Many say the key entity lobbying against it was the City of Houston. Maybe the City Council 9 (who voted for this) will look into how that was allowed to happen. Inquiring minds would like to know.
Tort Reform - Will The Bills We Passed Work?
Now that caps on damages passed the legislature the big question is will it work? Attempts to mandate a decrease in medical malpractice insurance rates for our embattled doctors was beaten back. Only time will tell whether we have helped solve the liability insurance crisis. One disturbing note - the June 15th New York Times Business section had a long article about how insurance companies are keeping rates high to make up for losses on corporate bond investments in companies like Enron, World Com, etc. Say it isn't so.
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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