The Governor's proposal to cut school property taxes by 50 cents per $100 valuation is a good start, but it includes an opportunity for bracket creep in three ways:
- It allows the rate to rise to $1.30 per $100 in 2007.
- It does NOTHING to stop the annual increase in valuations (mainly inflation based) which increase property taxes automatically.
- Since the state can't set city and county property taxes rates there is no reduction in that portion of property taxes and they increased at an incredible 10% per year, minimum, for a number of years!
What is the impact on your property taxes? Harris County Tax Assessor, Paul Bettencourt has analyzed the proposal and says, "It's a good start, but without more will be transitory. We need a program of spending restraints, appraisal caps and limits on taxation."
What can be done to improve the proposal and protect the taxpayer?
- Cap all property tax increases at 5% or less. Note: The liberal Austin City Council recently proposed this for homeowners.
- Index the homestead exemption for inflation.
- Voter approval on a regular election date be required for any property tax increase beyond growth in the Texas economy and/or growth in the student population in that particular school district.
- TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) spending program or strict enforcement of the constitutional limits on spending, which are currently meaningless.
As for the business taxes, TCR likes broad based and low tax rates and it seems that is the Governor's franchise tax proposal. The only suggestion is to constitutionally cap the rate at 1%, so small increases don't eat us up. Finally, we need to also look at indexing the franchise tax exemption rates.
Don't Be Shocked, Some Wisdom From
The New York Times on Illegal Immigration
In a recent column in the New York Times, Eduardo Porter opined on the real problem with illegal immigration, "A vast majority of illegal immigrants who make it across the border every year are seeking work, but the workplace is the one spot that is virtually unpoliced."
He related with an estimated 6-7 million illegal aliens working in the U.S. (5% of the work force), yet "in 2004 (latest available) the immigration authorities issued penalty notices to only 103 companies."
So, Porter asked, why do we not increase work place enforcement, could it be because business interests don't want it? Gordon H. Hanson, an economist at the University of California, San Diego says employers are the main driver of our immigration policy.
TCR Comment: This is the battle going on in D.C. The opponents of a common sense conservative immigration policy are often the same business interests Republicans
rely on for campaign funds.
Oil Companies Get
Corporate Welfare From Taxpayers
TCR is a big supporter of the free market and minimal intervention by governments in business, but this recent revelation makes us ill.
With a combination of effective lobbying of both parties in Congress, Interior Department ineptitude under Bill Clinton and runaway Federal Courts, the oil companies who are making historic profits, are receiving from $7-$35 billion discounts on royalty fees due to the federal government actions.
This is a scandal and we should not be quiet. It's time for Congress and the Administration to unravel this fiasco or do the "know everythings" in Washington believe corporate welfare is needed when an industry has record profits and consumers are experiencing record price increases?
Contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them to unravel the rip off.
The Texas members of the key committees are:
House: Energy and Commerce Committee
Joe Barton 6th (R)
Ralph Hall 4th (R)
Michael Burgess 26th (R)
Gene Green 29th (D)
Charles Gonzales 20th (D)
Senate: Energy and National Resource Committee
No Texans on this committee.
Additional GOP April Runoff Endorsements
House District 54
House District 118
Collin County Judge
You can find the other endorsed runoff candidates in our last issue.
Tom DeLay Departs
TCR salutes Tom DeLay for his service to conservatives, Texas and America. He and his wife Christine have been great friends of TCR since the early 1980's.
Tom was like most of us, trying to do his best and at times got abused by his so called friends and aides (i.e. Abramoff et al).
He helped bring the GOP into the majority and accomplished much, but it was time for him to move on. Tom did not want to be a distraction. He will be missed.
Why Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong:
Holding DeLay Seat For GOP Will Be Tough
TCR has researched the 22nd Congressional District of Texas prospects for fall 2006 and finds that those who say "any" Republican that's not Tom DeLay can beat Democrat Nick Lampson are flat wrong. Lets review the reasons why!
- Nick Lampson has $2.5 million in the bank, his GOP opponent zero and the traditional GOP donors are tapped out by Tom's aggressive fundraising.
- The 22nd District ORVS(Optimal Republican Voting Strength) is only 56%, down from previous years because DeLay gave up GOP voters to help other Republicans.
- The past strong GOP straight ticket pull is weakened by the four possible candidates for Governor. The GOP's candidate Rick Perry should win, but probably won't get over 50% in this district.
- The conservative base is upset about immigration, runaway federal spending, prescription drugs, inaction on gay marriage, etc. and when the base is angry, they stay home. The Democrats nationally are motivated and think they can take back the House, boosting turnout.
- President Bush's popularity continues to plummet, what effect will that have on turnout and swing voters?
- The nomination process may not involve the critical consideration of nominating the most electable candidate. If the GOP nominates an unknown, without proven ability to raise money, we could be paving the way for defeat in November.
So what should we be looking for in a candidate to take on Nick Lampson?
- Strongly electable
- Proven fundraiser
- Principled conservative
- Experienced candidate in a large district
- Good positive name identification as low ID candidates will be defined by the Lampson campaign before they know what hit them.
COMING - (Friday, April 28 at 8 pm) to Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - the connection - Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones. The guest is Republican State Senate District 7 Candidate Dan Patrick.
COMING SOON - Senator John Cornyn, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Judge Robert Eckels, Former Representative Nick Lampson, Representative Al Green, and Representative Gene Green.
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.