Friday, July 29, 2005

Great Editorial On Perry's Problems

Dave McNeeley has another great editorial this weekGov. Perry's special sessions backfiring:
Perhaps there is a new chairman for the Carole Keeton Strayhorn Booster Club: Rick Perry.

Yes, the Republican governor, who keeps calling the Texas Legislature back to pass what he says are improvements for schools and tax policy, continues to see things blow up in his face. Strayhorn, who announced recently she'll challenge Perry in next year's Republican primary for governor, has been taking potshots at Perry for months. Sometimes she's had to strain for ammunition. No more: Perry is now re-loading her guns for her.
If we can all go back to the end of the regular session our governor was telling everyone that he wouldn't call the legislature into special session - and waste our money - unless he had a deal. Well Guess what, he called them in without a deal. He was trying to fight off a couple of rumored primary challengers at that time. The most likely to give him a run for his money, at that time, was Sen. Hutchison, and she was saying the governor should do something. Then, the Senator said she wasn't going to run, but the Comptroller announced her intention to run against the governor instead. So on her announcement day, Gov. Perry started this charade, to take the spotlight off of her announcement. She wasn't taken very seriously back then but back then, of course, the governor was going to bring property tax relief to everyone. Now with the governor doing tremedous damage to himself and now starting to drag the party down with him, I'm sure at least a few Republicans will give the Bush-connected Strayhorn a second look.

McNeely also talked to Sen. Shapliegh about the state of things in the legislature right now and it's pretty interesting:
Monday afternoon, a frustrated Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, took a break from a Senate caucus discussion on the matter. Shapleigh sat in the otherwise empty Senate chamber and explained that the three major leaders - Perry, House Speaker Craddick and the Senate's presiding officer, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst - have vastly different priorities.

Perry, Shapleigh said, is interested almost solely in cutting local property taxes enough to impress national anti-tax spokesmen.

"He wants to go into the Grover Norquist Hall of Fame with the greatest tax cut in Texas history,'' Shapleigh said.

Meanwhile, Dewhurst, alone among the leaders, actually wants the Legislature to put significant new money in schools, Shapleigh said. So do a majority of senators.

But with Perry insisting the school finance outcome should be ''revenue-neutral'' - replacing some taxes with others, but with no additional money being raised - putting new money into schools is going to be tough.

And Craddick, Shapleigh observed dryly, just wants to go home. The Speaker would rather wait for the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, glacially considering an appeal of a lower-court ruling that Texas' school finance system is unconstitutional and far too meager, to provide the Legislature some direction - or perhaps just let it off the hook, by overruling Travis County District Judge John Dietz's order.

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