Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What The Governor Did Yesterday He Could Have Done In June

I am now convinced that the two special sessions were nothing more than a tool used by the Republican Party in Texas to shine a light on moderate Republicans in the legislature. At the beginning of this decade, as we all remember, the state house and senate districts were drawn to favor the Republicans. That is what gave them their majorities in both houses. Now that they have the majority they are still unable to get their radical agenda through the legislature. This is where the moderate Republicans come in. There are still enough moderate Republicans left that can do the right thing, and side with the Democrats, to keep the radical Republican agenda of under funding our schools and voting for school vouchers, to name a few, from getting passed.

Sunday I linked an article about the possible turnover in the legislature. Certain Republican legislators may draw primary challengers or just decide to retire. Most of those drawing primary challengers or retiring will be the moderates. When the districts were drawn to favor Republicans it also made it increasingly likely that in a primary fight or just the person that runs in these districts will be more further to the right. It's a party's base that votes in the primary and in these districts they will go for the more radical of the two Republican candidates. Knowing this, the Republican strategy for these two sessions, other than getting the telecom bill passed, was to put a target on the backs of the moderate Republicans left in the legislature. This means that if a Republican legislature is returned with the similar majority in 2006, and with a Republican governor, the radical Republican agenda that was not passed in these past sessions will sail through.

Yesterday the governor issued an executive order on school reform. (Response Chris Bell:
Perry took a shot from would-be foe Chris Bell, a Democrat running for governor. Bell spokesman Jason Stanford said the state needs more total dollars.

"Of course more money needs to be spent in the classroom," Stanford said. "We rank dead last on how much our state spends on education, and 65 percent of not enough ain't gonna get the job done.")
The governor's executive order just leads more credence to the fact that there was no need, other than political, to call the past two special sessions. He could have done this in June and saved the taxpayers of Texas a whole bunch of money. Instead politics got in the way. The governor needed to call these last two sessions in an attempt to change the makeup of the legislature in 2006. That being the case it's time for the Democrats to make sure that happens. To make sure that change is for more Democrats in the legislature and a new governor too. I like Chris Bell's response. The Democrats need to come out, as a party, unequivocally for more funding for our schools and to put a plan out for a fair and equitable way to fund our schools that eases the tax burden on the poor and the middle class.

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