Sunday, August 21, 2005

There's Opportunity In Texas.

That's probably what people came here for all those years ago. Texas, and the west was a land of opportunity. Well, once again, like after the civil war, the Republicans have made a mess of our state government. Corrupt, inept, and unable to agree among themselves. It's sad and now even the Republicans are starting to realize their failures. Check out this editorial from the Dallas Morning News, Memo to Mehlman ...:
Your party's leaders are brawling like gunslingers. If word gets out that Republicans can't govern in the reddest of red states, how can they govern anywhere?

[and]

We recommended some of these leaders for office, and we're beginning to wonder why. If something doesn't change, Republicans are going to have a tough time explaining why they should govern here – and elsewhere.
They never say, specifically, what they want him to do. Do they want the former governor of Texas to get involved? He's got too many governing problems of his own right now. Does Mehlmen need to give everyone a stern talking to? Intimidate, bribe or otherwise encourage Republicans to play nice? Tell them to do what's right and also stop taking corporate money? I doubt it. There's really nothing he can do. It would be wonderful if the Republicans were forced to spend money and time in Texas defending these people and some Congressional seats a well. You can definitely believe they didn't think they'd need to do that in 2006. The editorial stops short of calling for the heads of the people it endorsed which leads me to think they still believe the current leadership can fix this problem, which is a mistake. Or maybe the DMN editorial board is just trying to distance themselves from their endorsements so they don't look so bad

For more go read this post from Kuff, Some special session wrapups. It has three articles from Today's Houston Chronicle, and I'll discuss a couple of them here.

First former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, he's a Republican, by the way
'Robin Hood' Ratliff says money's the answer
Q: Should Texas have a personal income tax?

A: My hat is off to Sen. (Eliot) Shapleigh for tackling that issue. (The El Paso Democrat is one of the Legislature's few outspoken income tax advocates.) But I fear it's jousting at windmills. I don't think this Legislature will ever vote to put an income tax on the ballot, and I don't think the voters would approve it. I think the ultimate solution to this is a broad-based business tax.

Q: Some legislators proposed a broader business tax this year but couldn't agree on how to structure it.

A: You can't make exceptions. Oil and gas partnerships, law firms. Everybody but charitable organizations would be my approach to it. Maybe I would exclude the smallest mom-and-pop operations, where it would cost more to collect the tax than it would raise.

[and]

Q: Do you believe many parents have been paying attention to the education debate?

A: The time when the Legislature finally addresses public education adequately will be when the mothers and teachers unite to make it happen. I don't think the PTAs know how much power they can wield if they wanted to get energized. A good example is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which got anything they wanted passed.
This interview points out several things. What they were trying to do with school finance and property tax reform had nothing to do with fixing schools. The Republicans are boxed in, they have to raise taxes on people with money, the wealthy, and they are incapable of doing that. And last that to fix the problem it's going to take a democratic uprising, meaning the people of Texas not necessarily the Democratic Party, but that would be nice. Which leads us to the next editorial, Blame Texas PTA for no school finance bill. The Texas PTA says, "We'll take the blame and there's plenty more where that came from" (My Words):
We are the Texas PTA 650,000 parents, teachers and others who care about children. And taxpayers. You can blame PTA if you want. But if you think there have been lots of calls, letters and e-mails in the past three years, just wait. Keep under-funding our children's schools, keep trying to disguise political agendas as "reforms," keep protecting the tax system that favors the business community, keep using textbook money for other purposes, keep squabbling amongst yourselves over your own petty agendas.

If you think you have heard from parents and taxpayers already, just wait. What you have heard before is a gentle spring rain of discontent compared to the ocean of disappointment and frustration that is ready to wash up on your shores.
That sounds like fightin' words. The only problem I see with all of this is that there has not been a coordinated Democratic attack of the Republicans around the state. Our state leaders have no intention of adequately funding our schools and to make it worse they can't. Why not? Well because the people and corporations that elected them, their real constituents, would freak out. That's the point they're not trying to do what is right for the schools in Texas they're trying to find a way to get by without alienating their money streams. And that means for Democrats there's opportunity in Texas, if we're willing to take advantage of it.




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