In a positive move for conservative government, Harris County Texas Commissioners Court recently voted to withdraw from the Texas Association of Counties (TAC). This taxpayer funded political organization has been a constant obstacle to conservative reforms in the Texas Legislature for years. In 2006, TAC led the effort to defeat the much-needed property tax appraisal caps bill at the behest of tax and spend county government officials elsewhere in the state. Though TAC describes itself as an "educational" organization for county officials, its website is covered in thinly veiled political advocacy aimed at defeating similar property tax reform bills in the current session.
Worse, TAC does this with membership dues paid out of the public treasuries. Earlier this year a court in Williamson County ruled against the use of tax dollars on TAC's lobbying efforts after Peggy Venable of Americans for Prosperity challenged its legality.
After years of thumbing its nose at the Harris County Commissioners Court and our Republican delegation in the legislature, TAC got a much needed dose of its own medicine. Earlier this week, Republican Commissioners Steve Radack and Jerry Eversole and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett introduced a motion to withdraw from TAC. At the Commissioners Court meeting Judge Emmett rebuked TAC's representative, indicating that his organization was not serving the best interests of either Harris County or its taxpayers. Harris County's departure leaves the organization without its biggest member and clears the way for other counties across the state to follow suit.
TCR extends its thanks to Emmett, Radack, and Eversole for providing responsible conservative leadership that can serve as a model for conservative county officials elsewhere in Texas.
Here They Come:
Democrats Target GOP Lawmakers In 2008
If Successful Say Goodbye To GOP House
Democrats are already looking around Texas to see which Republicans are vulnerable in the House of Representatives next cycle. The left wing Burnt Orange Report identifies the most vulnerable Republicans as: Pat Haggerty-(El Paso), Jim Murphy-(Houston), Tony Goolsby-(Dallas), Kirk England-(Grand Prairie), Linda Harper-Brown-(Irving), Tom Latham-(Mesquite), Dan Branch-(Dallas-Highland Park). The following on the list won't vote Democratic, but if they do, look out: Mike Krusee-(Round Rock), Jimmy Aycock-(Killeen), Mike Hamilton-(Mauriceville), Wayne Christian-(Nacogdoches), Will Hartnett-(Dallas) (not really), Bill Zedler-(Arlington), Robert Talton-(Houston), Byron Cook-(Corsicana) (reelected with 58%), Bryan Hughes-(Marshall), and Charlie Howard-(Sugar Land).
The Democrats are emboldened and if successful, you know what will happen.
How To Stop The Democrats In Texas
It's really quite simple, return to core conservative principles.
Michael Quinn Sullivan at Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (www.empowertexans.com) recently said it clearly and succinctly:
"Last spring, 89.7 percent of Republican voters supported a primary ballot question calling for a greatly strengthened state spending limit. Yet with less than 50 days remaining in the legislative session, not one major taxpayer protection bill has been heard in committee, much less made it to the floor for a vote. That's a very large elephant sitting in the room; Texas taxpayers are beginning to wonder if the Republican majority in Austin will heed calls to reform government spending.
Seeing the fate of Republicans nationally who abandoned fiscal conservatism (and common sense), conservative voters hoped - expected - that strict limits on spending would fly through the Texas Legislature.
Considering the role issues like property tax relief, spending restraint and government reform took during the Republicans' re-election campaigns in November, Texans should have seen solid results by now.
But what has occurred? Not much.
For partisan Republican voters, this 2007 legislative session has the makings of a bad 2008 election cycle. Some Republican legislators think their districts are too safe to be challenged, and thus feel free to ignore the core principles of fiscal discipline that brought them power. Perhaps some are safe.
But a great many legislators are all too vulnerable, especially if a dispirited 10 percent of their base fails to show up on Election Day. A conservative-leaning Democrat could easily (and probably rightly) carry an election in several "Republican" districts; just ask a batch of former Republican congressmen how fun that is.
Lawmakers must understand the simple politics of their precarious position; a failure to provide sound fiscal leadership will frustrate the voters they rely on most.
There is still time for the Republican legislative leadership to right their course and work to the benefit of Texas taxpayers. Conservative voters should take every opportunity to remind Republican legislators of the principles upon which the Barry Goldwaters and Ronald Reagans energized their party.
By focusing the legislature's work now on providing true tax relief, a real spending limitation and honest budget reform, the Republican leadership can rightly claim to have delivered on their promises.
The '08 election season is underway. Will the conservative leadership address core issues? Or maybe that elephant will just be left sitting in the room."
National Debt As Of March 16, 2007:
$8,853,908,813,859.52 ($8.8 Trillion)
Remember the U.S. pays interest on that debt. You've heard about the magic of compound interest, with debt it's in reverse and the debt continues to go up as we pay interest on interest. So the way the Federal Reserve deals with it is by inflation, but the big problem is as debt & inflation both accelerate, the purchasing power of the dollar declines. As the debt of the U.S. grows, inflation speeds up. The massive increase on debt has happened on the GOP's watch. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
COMING (Friday, April 27, 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 Merle and Earl Black, political experts and authors of a new book: Divided America:The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics.
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.