Weekend News Highlights
Bush to raise defense spending by cutting Medicare and Medicaid and the deficit will rise
The White House says the burgeoning costs of the war and hurricane aid will cause the budget deficit to exceed $400 billion for the current year, up from $319 billion in 2005. The record deficit in dollar terms is $413 billion, set in 2004.
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst kicks Sen. Shapleigh off the Senate Finance Committee
for backing Sen. Madla's opponent:
Yet Capitol observers who did not want to be named for fear it would affect their jobs suggested Shapleigh's endorsement of Sen. Frank Madla's opponent in next month's Democratic Primary might have more to do with it. Typically, senators don't get involved in one another's elections, so Shapleigh's endorsement of Rep. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, over Madla raised eyebrows.
"The first vote that the (Senate) Republicans go to get is Frank Madla's," Shapleigh said of his fellow Democrat.
The casino lobby is coming, the casino lobby is coming
Backed by out-of-state gambling interests, a new group hopes to coax legislators to ask voters to legalize casinos in Texas as soon as next year.
The Texas Gaming Association, led by a Dallas businessman with casino roots, sports the slogan "Tax Us," purposely contrasting with various industries' resistance to higher taxes.
"It's a dramatic difference to have leading major corporations in the world that are engaged in the hotel entertainment business behind it," Shields said. "The resources, wisdom and experience those guys bring means the issue is likely to get some consideration and a fair hearing."
Shields pitched the group's formation last year to Jack Pratt of Dallas, who became its founding chairman. Austin public relations executive Elizabeth Christian, Waco economist Ray Perryman and Austin pollster Mike Baselice whose clients include Gov. Rick Perry, also will contribute.
Those are some big names lined up to help out. Of course "major corporations" are lined up behind this. In every casino the odds are way in the house's favor.