A legislative session in Texas that had a lot of promise has put many conservative priorities on life support.
Despite overwhelming GOP support for appraisal cap reduction, it is going nowhere fast, primarily because the leaders in control do not want it to.
The most recent setback, HB2785 never came up for a clean vote and is no deal. We have $14 billion surplus and sending $2.5 billion back to taxpayers will help. But now it will not. Again, the leadership seems more interested in spending. NEWS FLASH: On May 10th the House turned HB2785, a $2.5 billion property tax cut into a $4.4 billion spending increase by voting to put the tax cut behind an across the board $6,000 pay raise for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses! To fund such a reckless expense would require a 15% increase in your property tax rate!
TCR Comment: GOP turncoats made this happen, please go to EmpowerTexans.com to see the list of culprits.
Governor Rick Perry's budget reform plan and proposals putting teeth in a state spending limitation does not seem to be able to see the light of day.
The unpopular business gross receipts tax may get a slight reform, raising the minimum to be affected but it remains what it was, a tax not on income (profits), but on revenue.
Transportation reform progress has been made to at least slow down the private toll road system TXDOT wants, but the Governor has yet to be heard from and may veto it. Most recently, the House passed overwhelmingly a tax holiday on gas, which will save 20 cents a gallon for a short time (3 months), but also cut needed funds for our State Highway System, a bad idea that would save the average driver $40-$50.
The plan to open up admissions at our colleges and reduce the impact of the 10% rule, which discriminates against good students who go to good schools, is moving forward but the universities may flip back to an informal affirmative action plan...we will see.
And finally the top GOP issue in Texas, illegal immigration. If the border security bill HB13 passes, that will be some progress, but most bills never got a hearing due to the theory they would violate federal law.
All and all at this point a disappointing session with conservatives wondering (1) are we really in charge? (2) how much worse will it get on the GOP watch? To be continued.
Moderate Democrats(?) In D.C.
Prove To Be Liberals In Fact
The Democrats in ten key races in 2006 won GOP leaning seats by claiming they were "moderate" Democrats and would buck the liberal Democratic establishment.
The early results are in, six key votes on issues such as a conservative budget, Iraq pullout, prevailing wages in Gulf Coast reconstruction, secret ballots in union workplace elections, funding embryo killing research and the Democratic budget with a $400 billion tax hike. This group of individuals includes local FAV Nick Lampson, who voted 84% with the liberal Democratic leadership.
It sounds like the GOP has prospects to take back ten seats in 2008 from false "moderate" Democrats.
Coming Soon Courtesy Of The D.C. Democrats: Alternative Minimum Tax On Your Home!
The U.S. House of Representatives is getting set to release their plans for the Alternative Minimum Tax. The plan at this moment is:
- Exempt all taxpayers with under $250,000 in AGI from paying the AMT.
- To pay for this, the top AMT rate will go to 36% (from 28%). Add a new income tax bracket for income above $500,000 at 40% and possibly raising the current 35% rate back to 39%; and make capital gains and dividend income an AMT preference item. An effective rate of 36% rather than the current 15%. By making capital gains an AMT preference, they will put nearly every middle-income American who sells his or her home into the AMT!
In 1997, Congress passed legislation which included an item which exempted a $250,000 capital gain from a home sale from paying the capital gains tax. Since capital gains will become an AMT preference item, under the Democratic plan selling a home will have two effects. First, the income from the capital gain of selling a home will be added to any other income combined from your wages AND the sale of your home and you will be forced into AMT. Second, for the purposes of calculating the AMT, that income will be taxed at a 36% rate.
TCR Comment: Welcome to the new world of a Democratic majority.
TCR Consumer Tip
There is a good resource to lower your property taxes. Thanks to Cheryl Johnson, Galveston County Tax Assessor/Collector for this helpful information. You can find Effectively Protesting Your Property's Appraised Value for Taxes at
COMING (Friday, May 11, 2007 at 8 pm) on Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - The Connection - Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones with special guests Edd Hendee, KSEV radio host and Sonny Messiah-Jiles in a press roundtable on the legislative session.
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 tenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last six years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.