For followers of Texas politics, the GOP version the last couple weeks has been tumultuous and fascinating.
1. No great shake up in GOP statewide besides the Comptroller and maybe the office of Governor. Most of the potential candidates waiting for the dominoes to fall can either stand by a few more years or engage in open seats or run against appointed office holders making their first race.
2. Conservatives still face the problem that neither the Governor, Lt. Governor or Speaker has a plan for school finance reform, school reform, tax reform and tax relief that can pass and advance conservative goals.
3. The Governor has taken a calculated political risk in forcing the hand of the legislature bodies. If the veto results in a bill that ends Robin Hood, reforms education in a way conservatives seek and permanently lower property taxes via a cut, a lower rate of increase cap, it will be a big plus. If it fails, well, Governor Perry will hear about it daily from Carole Keeton Strayhorn.
4. The GOP Governor's primary is going to be very nasty. The end result could be a diminished GOP candidate and open the way for a "moderate" Democrat to steal conservative issues and take the race.
5. Conservatives need to redouble their efforts to make clear to GOP legislators that conservatives put them in office and expect performance or else they can be replaced.
6. The Perry Plan: What Goes Up-
- Increase the sales tax to 6.95%
- Increase occupational taxes
- Increase agriculture tax
- Broaden the sales tax
- Require more companies to pay corporate franchise tax
- Teacher salaries by $1500
What Goes Down-
- School Property taxes cut 30 cents per $100 valuation or 20% (but leaves untouched city and county taxes controlled by those entities so over all reduction is much less).
What's Not Here-
- No reduced property tax cap
- No extensive Taxpayer Bill of Rights
- No reduction in general revenue expenditures (still up 20% plus)
TCR COMMENT: Congrats to the Governor for laying out the plan. It's not perfect, but it's a start.
7. A patch work tax bill will only move the chess pieces around. What we need is fundamental reform of our tax system in Texas, TCR likes a low broad based sales tax with no exemptions for anyone.
8. No bill is better than a bad bill. If the votes are not there to pass conservatives reforms, we are better off punting.
What Has Happened To The Republican Party?
By John G. Cooley
Chairman, Republican Party of Franklin County
In the not too distant past, the Republican Party believed in:
- America as a God-fearing nation based on moral government derived from Biblical and common sense principles.
- Constitutional Government as specifically established by our Founding Fathers.
- The rights of the individual as set forth in the Bill of Rights, in the Constitution of the United States.
- The initiative of the individual to do for themselves, rather than have big government think and do for them.
- Fiscal responsibility at all levels of government and the belief that continued deficit spending is morally wrong and will certainly bankrupt our nation.
- Fair taxation on income and property and not increasing burdensome taxes which stifle incentive and discourage private ownership of property.
- The private enterprise system, where a person may invest their money in the economy of the country, with their right to earn a profit or sustain a loss without government interference.
- Three separate and distinct branches of government - Executive, Legislative and Judicial - and that each should manage its own affairs and not those of the others.
- The rights of each state, county, and municipality to do for its citizens that which it can do, without federal interference or control.
- Strength, fairness and respect among the nations of the world, with assistance to our friends, but not to our enemies.
- Principle above political expediency from our elected and appointed officials.
What's Happened To The
Republican Party That I Joined?
On the national level, we have our own President George W. Bush, who has increased not only the size of the Federal Government, but has also increased the deficit spending we fought so long to be rid of. Through the use of the Patriot Act, which granted new powers of surveillance and searches to Federal agencies, the Federal Government has taken away fundamental individual rights and freedoms from ordinary American citizens. While this is happening, the Federal Government still refuses to protect the Nation by properly funding and manning our borders. There is no way to say that we are safer today, than we were in September of 2001, if we cannot control who is allowed into our country. While the Federal Government refuses to do its job in regards to border protection, it calls people willing to do the job, at no cost to the Government, "vigilantes." (re: The Minutemen who manned the Arizona border during April 2005 and stemmed the tide of illegal immigrants in that stretch of desert.) Perhaps if the term illegal immigration were changed to reflect what these people actually are we would get more action from both Federal and State governments. The term 'illegal immigration' is an oxymoron. If it's immigration, it is not illegal, and if they are here illegally, are they immigrants? Maybe it's time that a more accurate term be coined to describe these people, such as "foreign trespassers?" Of course, it seems that the Federal Government would prefer to continue to chip away at our civil liberties rather than control the influx of "foreign trespassers." It seems that "foreign trespassers" have a stronger lobbying presence in Washington, DC than the American Public.
On the State level, here in the Great State of Texas, where Republicans control not only every statewide elected office, but also have majorities in both the House and the Senate, the Republican Party could not even get the simplest of legislation passed. If we cannot even get a Voter ID bill passed, how does the Governor expect a special session to reconcile the "Robin Hood" school financing problem? Republicans could not even arrange for the citizens of the State of Texas to receive a break on property appraisals and/or put in place a cap on local government spending. Of course, to cap local spending while the State budget increases by between 10% and 19% (depending on what accounting method you use) could be called hypocritical.
Are we so worried about the Off Year Election that we as Republicans will forsake our bedrock beliefs for another term in office? Will we allow a few members of the minority party to stop legislation that the majority of Texans want passed? Will we as the Republican grassroots continue to support legislators and State Party Officials that refuse to listen and act on issues that concern us, the voters of the Great State of Texas? Where are the Republican Party leaders? Leaders should lead. I just don't see that happening in Austin or Washington, DC right now.
I believe that the time has come for Texas grassroots Republicans, the people and voters who should direct the course of the Republican Party of Texas, to take control of the party and get it back to the basic tenets listed above. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time that we of the Republican Party focus on the 80% of the State Platform that we can all agree with. We have to stop focusing the majority of our energy on the 20% that divides us. I do not mean that we must ignore these issues, only that in order for us to advance the more divisive issues, we must be more decisive as a group and act on the basic issues that affect everyday citizens. President Ronald Reagan had on his desk in the Oval Office a plaque that read:
"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
Perhaps we need to remember that. Perhaps we need to remember also that we are all working for the betterment of the Great State of Texas and stop trying to ensure that we have a legacy. President Reagan never tried to ensure his legacy, and by this action, he ensured it for all time.
The Economic Challenge America Faces
By Richard Russell (dowtheoryletters.com)
China, India and Asia have suddenly entered the global economy, and they confront us with a huge disparity in wages, an enormous, willing work force, and steadily rising skills and technical know-how. Plus, I should add, a fierce work ethic almost unknown in the US and Europe today. Asians don't work for the good life or for luxuries, at this stage of history, Asians (China, India, Asia) work for three meals a day to survive.
The arithmetic in the new global economy is ominous for the west, living as we do under capitalism. And the question arises-how do we survive? How do we survive when one-third of the world is willing to work for a fraction of what we are willing to work for?
The answer is clear, at least it is to me. The earth's economy will "flatten." The standard of living in the West will decline, while the standard of living in Asia will rise. There's going to be what I call "the great equalization." At first it may be subtle, almost invisible, but in due time it's going to burst out into the open. It has to. To my mind, what I say in this paragraph is as sure as two and two equals four.
Currently, the US's so called "prosperity" is living on the rest of the world's savings. The US needs $2 billion a day of the rest of the world's savings in order to "keep going," and in order to sustain our very high standard of living and consuming. This weird situation is unsustainable, it cannot and will not last.
TCR Comment: We need to get the U.S. Economic House in order or what Russell describes will be our future.
More Important Knowledge For All Of Us
From Richard Russell
TCR Comment: The following common sense from Richard Russell is something we all need to be reminded of.
I've learned a few things over the last 80 years. I'm going to repeat a few of the observations that I think are valuable.
I've learned not to "sweat" what I'm going to write tomorrow. I used to do that, but I've learned to "leave myself alone-now I leave it to my unconscious." And if something worthwhile doesn't hit my brain by the morning, I guess I just wouldn't write anything that day. But this is strange, by morning something always comes to mind. I leave it to my unconscious, to God, to a genie, I'm not sure just what, but I always seem to have something to say-- that is if I just "leave myself alone and avoid trying to force it."
When you hire someone to work for you, ideally, you would like the three following-he or she is fast, he or she is intelligent, and he or she comes cheap (or reasonably so). But the irony is that the best you'll ever get is just two out of those three.
I've found that the two hardest things in the world are (1) to get the correct information about almost anything. And (2) to get anyone to do what they say they are going to do.
Life can be frustrating. Therefore, I've developed two sayings that fit every situation. The first is that "Nothing's easy." So expect it, I don't care if it's your marriage or operating in the stock market or putting a new roof on your house, NOTHING'S EASY. The second saying that I use is that "Everything gets done." I used to drive myself up the wall because my car had a flat or the computer blew up or I hadn't written the day's report-but calm down, take it easy, because EVERYTHING GETS DONE.
There's another thought that I learned from my smart, old, engineer Dad. It's that if you try hard enough or look long enough, you'll probably come up with an answer to your problem, because there's a correct answer to everything. The answer is "out there somewhere" and it's up to you to find it.
Here's another thing I learned from my father. He used to say, "When you're young, you're convinced that you're going to beat the world. But if you absolutely insist on beating the world, you'll end up finding out that the world is probably going to beat you up."
Another one from Dad. "If you go into business with a partner, and you're the one who puts up the money while your partner's the one who knows the business, the chances are that It will end up this way-you'll know the business and your partner will have the money." Russell comments-I've seen this happen many times. So don't start a business unless you're darn sure you know what you're doing.
Finally, if you're in a relationship, you better stick with the truth, and if the truth blows up the relationship, so be it. The strange thing is that the truth seldom blows up a relationship-what is almost guaranteed to blow up a relationship is avoiding the truth, better known as lying or lying by omission.
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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 four 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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