1. Why did the recent State Republican Executive Committee reject (led by Chair Tina Benkiser) the Shirley Spellerberg resolution regarding the abysmal HB3 tax bill which violates the state platform in so many ways?
TCR Comment: This would not be happening if conservatives ran the party.
2. Finally progress on the social agenda, Representative Warren Chisum's HJR6, which would constitutionally protect traditional marriage has been voted by the State Affairs Committee to go to the full House of Representatives for debate.
TCR Comment: Good.
3. The Senate substitute for HB2, Education reform, has been released. The 307 page Senate substitute (that sounds scary all by itself) has some good ideas and some not so good ideas - Some of the good ones:
- Statewide electronic system to transfer student records
- Full day kindergarten
- Health savings accounts for teachers (from Senator Kyle Janek)
- Swift intervention for low performing schools
Some bad ideas:
- Increased funding for bilingual education
- Free college admission tests
- And still way too many mandates, many of which are unfunded
4. Does Hillary Clinton matter in a GOP governor's race? Clearly no. It is infantile to use a fellow Senator's gracious comments at a charitable event, just like using a twelve year old letter, both mean nothing.
TCR Comment: If we are to have a contested primary for governor, can we just avoid irrelevant mud slinging and just discuss policy differences and a vision for Texas? If we don't, we just play into the hands of the Democrats.
5. Are appraisal caps on life support? First, with property taxes for homeowners in many areas doubling every six years or so, homeowners are being taxed out of their homes. Second, the appraisal scam is basically inflation-based with no real increase in value and third, the increases, many at 10% per year, are unvoted for tax increases. So what gives?
Recall last session the cap passed the House, but never saw the light of day in the Senate (the 21 vote rule killed it) and now the tax and spend lobby of local officials have gotten very active. Conservatives wonder how a break for homeowners was expanded to business and why that threatens the entire cap plan?
TCR Comment: If we don't pass a 5% cap on property tax increases, any property tax relief passed will be transitory. Governor Perry is supportive and has a bully pulpit. He needs to use it. Failure opens the door to continued runaway property taxes and hands an issue to the Democrats.
6. With all the noise about more and more money for education, wouldn't it be better to efficiently and effectively spend the money now in the system?
Channel 2 KPRC Houston Now Features TCR Editor and Liberal in Regular Standoffs at 6 PM
TCR Comment: Texas spends $600 million per biennium for curriculum development, it sure looks like a bloated, substantially unnecessary expenditure and there's plenty more where that came from.
Beginning in January 2005, KPRC Channel 2 Houston features on it's 6 p.m. newscast TCR editor Gary Polland and prominent liberal Democrat activist David Jones in regular debate in a segment called Standoff at 6:00. The format is a two-minute back and forth debate and shows have featured almost every big issue from the war in Iraq to property tax relief to risqué cheerleaders.
TCR in the future will put some of the best of Standoff on the website. In the meantime, if you live in the Houston area, tune in to Local 2 news at 6:00 p.m. If you have subjects you'd like to see debated, email the station at www.click2houston.com.
45% of all new home mortgages in California last year were bought with interest only mortgages. In 2001, it was only 2%. LA Times, April 3, 2005.
TCR Comment: If housing prices go down or go flat, watch out below as people will walk from their mortgages and this could cause massive real estate deflation which could spread to other parts of the economy. This is a real nightmare scenario.
Pope John Paul II - The Entire World Lost a Giant
The passing of Pope John Paul II is a loss for all faiths and people. His 26 years at the papacy had an enormous impact on making the world a better place.
This giant, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, led the way in the freeing of Eastern Europe from the yoke of communism.
At the same time, he stood with traditional Catholic moral values on abortion, same sex marriages, and the sanctity of life.
He was also in the forefront of encouraging religious tolerance and he reached out in interfaith dialogues to the Protestants, Muslims and Jews on a regular basis.
Let us all hope the next Pope has the inner strength and principles of John Paul II as he ascends to walk in the shoes of a fisherman.
Tom DeLay Under Assault
One of TCR's favorite saying is "no good deed goes unpunished" and Tom DeLay is getting his.
It seems the left-wing press - N.Y. Times, Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle are determined to give Tom the death of a thousand cuts.
Let look at some of the so called charges:
1. Travel overseas on fact-finding paid for by non-profits. The attack is individuals actually donated the money to the non-profits for the trip.
TCR Comment: Big surprise, individuals donate to non-profits. The fact is the trips are legal and proper under House ethics rules.
2. DeLay's wife and daughter were hired for or worked for a political action committee and were paid for their work!
TCR Comment: TCR personally is familiar with Dani DeLay's work as a fundraiser, event organizer and knows she is a pro. Mrs. DeLay has been involved as a strategic advisor to Tom for years and one of the more astute strategists we know.
3. DeLay has been off the reservation in his criticism of judges.
TCR Comment: DeLay was correct on Schiavo, though inviting the federal courts in proved worthless. Some of our federal judges are left-wingers that are out of control and stick their nose where they shouldn't. But under our system, bad decisions are not anything we can do much about, except appeal. What we can do is appoint and confirm conservative non-legislative judges that have rock solid principles. The problem in the past is the GOP has appointed some judges who turned out to be as bad or worse than the Democrats serving nominated.
4. DeLay conspired to use corporate funds in violation of Texas law.
TCR's Comment: Tom DeLay helped raised money for Texas legislative candidates. Corporate funds can be used for administrative expenses and the debate is about that issue. Texas law in this area could be clearer. As far as we can see, Tom did nothing illegal. To end the charade on our campaign finance laws it's time to clean them up, how about we make them simple and clear?
Tom DeLay has done much for conservatives and TCR hopes he continues to focus on advancing conservatism and reducing runaway federal spending.
Watch TCR Editor Gary Polland face off with liberal Democratic activist David Jones - weekdays on Standoff on Local 2 News at 6 p.m. - KPRC Channel 2 in Houston. Email topics to TCR or www.click2houston.com, for what you'd like to see debated.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently 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 ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.
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with co-hosts David Jones and Gary Polland, awarded Cable T.V. personalities of the year by the Houston Press.