Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Texas Republican Party's New Slogan, "Taking The Easy Way Out"

Last night I stumbled onto the Texas Republican Party's new slogan, "Taking The Easy Way Out". This morning there is this article, Session's priorities called misplaced in the Houston Chronicle, subtitled, "Education bill expected to die, but lawmakers' pension increase wins approval". Here is the opening paragraph:
While agreement on overhauling education, raising teacher pay and cutting school property taxes remains elusive, legislators have completed work on two other major bills — boosting their own pensions, raising judges' pay and opening doors for telephone industry giants.
Oh boy! If that's not taking the easy way out, then what is. As I said in my previous post, the Republicans have been bloviating for years about how the Democrats wouldn't do the hard work of governing and they would. How they would save us all money, it's ours after all, isn't that what they've been telling us for years? So why in the world can't they fix what's wrong with our schools?
"I don't think it's too cynical to say we've done what they (Republican leaders) wanted us to do," said Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, noting the irony of what has and hasn't passed in a special session whose highest priorities, according to the governor, were supposed to be education and property tax cuts.

"I think most people have to assume these guys run a pretty efficient ship. They pass what they want to pass, and they pass it when they want to pass it," he said.
Doesn't that also mean that they've passed what is easy to pass and haven't passed what is hard to pass. Or said another way, with no real Republican leadership in this state, the hard work has been left for later. It's also funny that despite all the rantings of how school finance/property tax relief are the most important issues and that nothing will get passed before those are taken care of, these other things have not only passed both houses, but will be signed without the governor's #1 priority being finished. What does the governor's spokeswoman have to say about this?
Spokeswoman Kathy Walt said the governor "remains disappointed" that lawmakers haven't successfully handled the school issues.

"The primary job that needed to be done was addressing school reforms and property tax reductions," she said.

She indicated that, barring unexpected problems, Perry will sign both bills because Texas needs to boost judicial pay to stem the loss of experienced judges to the higher-paying private sector and to give consumers more choice in cable services.
Oh hell yeah! Me and my wife have been talking about that for years now. How much we need choice in our cable. It's been an ongoing discussion in our house for quite some time. How about you? The schools? Who cares about schools when you don't have cable choice? Next up, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst:
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst held up debate on both the telecommunications and pay raise bills until after the Senate had approved its education bill. The House had approved the pay raise measure two weeks ago, 105-26.
Oh I see. The house passed it to his chamber and he didn't do any work on these other bills until the Senate had passed out a DOA education bill. So he's absolved because of that? Well what does Speaker Craddick have to say about all of this?
Craddick said the Legislature has tried to address school finance but added, "There's been a tremendous amount of pressure from the school community — negative — on everything we've laid out."
Give me a break! That's the best you could come up with? It's because of the all powerful school community. Once again, say it with me, "It's hard to pass bad public policy", thanks again Rep. Colemen. The article ends talking about the judicial pay raise and it's tie to legislative pensions:
Hochberg said he voted against the bill because of the link to legislative pensions. But he said the pay raise was promoted by judges, not by lawmakers trying to increase their retirement benefits.
It's seems that every time this bill has been brought up there are legislators from both parties talking about what a problem it is that judicial pay and legislative pensions are tied together. I have just one question. Why doesn't one of these legislators that have a problem with this ever introduce a bill untying judicial pay raises from legislative retirement increases?

So ya' see with smoke and mirrors and some fancy talkin' the Republicans are trying to have it both ways. To absolve themselves of any blame from leaving the hard work for later and not having to take any heat for giving themselves more money and paying back one of their largest campaign contributors. Are we going to let them get away with this? I sure hope not.


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