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The plan unveiled today by the Texas Tax Reform Commission would accomplish those minimal, essential goals, but it has much more to recommend it. Not least, it would not repeat the sin of earlier proposals that would have taken more money from the poor and conveyed it to the rich.Perry proposal cuts taxes for all income groups:
The commission, chaired by former state Comptroller John Sharp, does wish to sharply raise the tax on cigarettes, which are increasingly an unhealthy delicacy of the poor. However, taxpayers can escape this tax and improve their health by quitting, which an onerous tax would encourage.
"By raiding the surplus to pay for a property-tax cut, Perry is proposing a plan that is still $1 billion short of inadequate because it forgets one very important thing: schools," Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell said through a spokesman.I'll bet he could've got that billion he's lacking if he kept that tax cut to 1.4/1.5 for the wealthy too.
$14,042 and below...1.4
$146,804 and more...3.3
Source: Legislative Budget Board analysis
Texas families at all income levels would get a tax break - with the wealthiest Texans receiving the biggest relief - under a massive tax-swap plan that Gov. Rick Perry and his Texas Tax Reform Commission will unveil today.Of course those with the most deserve the most tax relief!?
Nonsmoking Texans at all income levels would see a net, modest reduction in taxes under a proposed tax overhaul to be formally unveiled today by Gov. Rick Perry.Perception is reality and if the media says it it's got to be true.
Wealthier Texans, however, would realize about three times the savings, proportionately, as low-income taxpayers, according to a Legislative Budget Board analysis of the tradeoff for lower school taxes.
The tobacco tax increase, which would hit poorer smokers harder, was omitted from the analysis, because it would have had a negative impact on the overall projected savings.
AMONG the Texas accomplishments that then-Gov. George W. Bush touted during his first successful campaign for president six years ago were his effective working relationship with Democratic legislative leaders and his ability to cut taxes.More special speculation, Will Carole bedevil the Big Three?:
Both the Democratic leaders and the tax reductions back home are now as long gone as the "Mission Accomplished" banner that Commander-in-Chief Bush once unfurled over the Iraqi war. They have disappeared, along with the good political fortune that favored Bush during his statehouse years.
Let's have a bit of masochistic fun.And two from out west:
Let's run a scenario on the Texas Legislature's attempt to reform the school tax system, as the state Supreme Court says it must by June 1.
The biggest problem that may face our lawmakers this session is being distracted by too many issues. Several lawmakers have said they also want to tackle such items as high school reform and merit pay for teachers.And read this one in case you were wondering what the oil and gas industry will get out of the coming tax swap proposal, The Sharp Commission proposal: How will it affect oil producers?
We hold that it would be to our advantage to tackle school reforms and teacher incentive programs at another time. First and foremost, we should be tackling the finance portion of the agenda. In light of failure of past attempts at solving the school funding issue, there are enough problems associated with school financing than taking on other items even though they may be of great importance to the education of our students in Texas.
So, how will this new tax affect the typical oil and gas operator? Let's assume your gross income is $l million per year (a good round number) and your permitted deductions total 50 percent of your gross income, giving you a profit "margin" of $500,000. You will pay $5,000 under this new tax plan.I wonder if that will be a sticking point in the House? You know the Speaker being from Midland and all? I think the oil and gas industry is pretty important there.
How much do you stand to save in ad valorem taxes? I pay a total combined tax rate of approximately $2.30 per $100 of valuation in the counties in which I operate. If the school district in each of those counties is currently charging the maximum M&O rate of $1.50, I will save $0.50/$2.30, or approximately 22 percent of my total ad valorem tax bill. I have found over the years that ad valorem taxes on working interest properties typically run 4 - 4.5 percent of my gross revenue, about equal to the severance tax on oil. So, the "typical" company with $1 million in gross revenue is currently paying about $42,000 annually in advalorem taxes and will save 22 percent of that, or $9,200. It appears that our industry is not going to realize the hoped-for significant net reduction in overall tax burden (which would be justified because of the severance and other taxes that we pay), but we may come close to breaking even or better, at least initially.
I join Speaker Craddick in calling for tuition deregulation so our colleges have greater control over their dollars. In addition to any savings this may generate, it's a matter of principle. If we're going to appoint Boards of Regents, let's give them room to do the job.It also appears that our own Senator Ogden was against tuition deregulation until he was, ahem, assured by the university systems that they would not abuse their power:
By estimating higher education income better, reducing special item projects, and asking community colleges to pay a proportionate share of insurance costs, we could net $1.1 billion in savings and recovered costs.
In order to gain support for tuition deregulation, the university systems assured members of the legislature they would not abuse the new power. According to the Houston Chronicle, on June 1, 2003, State Sen. Steve Ogden, whose district includes A&M, stated that members of the Texas A&M Board of Regents assured him that tuition rates would not increase dramatically.
On March 26, 2004, less than a year after reportedly telling Ogden that it would not abuse its power to set tuition rates, the Texas A&M Board of Regents increased tuition rates by 21 percent.
Tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin would rise by about $400 in the next two years, to an average of $4,050 a semester, under a proposal to be considered today by the school's governing board.A&M regents lean toward tuition hike:
The plan for a 9.6 percent increase this fall and a 1.3 percent increase in the fall of 2007 has stirred little controversy on campus, where there seems to be a consensus that additional revenue is needed to pay for repairs, hire new faculty members and give raises to faculty and staff members.
Texas A&M University students would pay an additional 8.9 percent in tuition and fees this fall under a proposal the Board of Regents will consider Friday.ACCD raises tuition and fees:
Trustees for the Alamo Community College District voted Thursday night to raise students' tuition and fees by 5 percent to offset inflation and a general slump in state money. This is the fourth year in a row tuition has risen.UNT considers tuition increase of 5.2 percent:
University of North Texas administrators Tuesday proposed a 5.2 percent tuition increase that would push the cost of a full-time undergraduate education past $3,000 a semester.Texas Tech tuition rising; more hours reduces rate:
Students attending Texas Tech University in the fall will see a 4.5 percent increase in tuition, the board of regents announced Friday.[UPDATE]: Tech is still thinking or tinkering, Regents order more tinkering on tuition plan:
Texas Tech ended Thursday not knowing what or how it will charge undergraduate students next year after its governing board tabled discussion of tuition and fees.It's always good to see the free market at work.
Regents were leery of a plan that charges students more money for taking fewer classes, concerned that the proposed "incentives-based" plan would punish students who must work to afford school along with those just wanting lighter course loads.
Mainstream Texans understand that investing in our higher education system is a much better long-term economic development strategy then giving huge subsidies to big-box superstores. Higher education is the key to helping Texas remain at the cutting edge of tomorrow's economy. The next generation of Texans will join the New Mainstream only when we have a governor who shares these priorities.
Higher Education in Texas: An Agenda For Opportunity
- Ending tuition deregulation to keep college affordable for middle class families.
- Giving our public universities the state funding they need to remain world-class.
- Giving students a break at the bookstore by making textbooks tax-free.
- Vigorously defending the TEXAS Grant program and other initiatives to make a college degree accessible to all Texans willing to put in the hard work.
- Recognize the role community colleges fill in our state's economic development.
The Texas Ethics Commission decided Friday that public officials who receive cash or other gifts don't have to disclose the value, stunning open-government advocates.Democratic State Representative Lon Burnam deserves all the credit for this. Here's Rep. Burnam's editorial from Friday on this subject, The elephants in the dark:
"This is absurd, dangerous and completely undermines the reform legislation," said Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth.
The seven commission members, appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, wrestled with disclosure laws that compel public officials to report gifts over $250. The law calls for a description of the gift, and some commissioners said indicating simply "cash" - without an amount - satisfies the statute.
But government watchdogs told the commissioners that they are failing to enforce the clear meaning of the law, rendering it useless.
"This ruling leaves a big enough loophole to drive an armored truck full of money through," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, which advocates for public disclosure. "All you would have to say is 'a truck.' "
From Austin to Washington, Republican politicians and their cronies are destroying the public trust. For democracy to work, public business must be conducted in the light of day. Secrecy and nondisclosure have no place in honest and open government.And Second a link to an HChron article on the declining state of women's health issues in Texas and the response form our Senator Steve Ogden, Who needs health care, anyway:
The ongoing controversy over Republican crony Bill Ceverha is a perfect illustration of the endemic secrecy and corruption in the Republican Party.
One of the House's most conservative Republicans, veteran Panhandle Rep. Warren Chisum, who helped pass the state's ban on same-sex marriage and longs to outlaw abortion in Texas, joined efforts to thwart the provisions before they passed. He's still hoping Panhandle funding will be restored.That's a great back-and-forth. Chisum, who authored the same sex marriage bill cannot even go as far as Sen. Ogden is willing to go. Is Sen. Ogden anti-women's health?
"I'm not for abortion. I'm pro-life. But I'm not anti-women's health," Chisum said. ''You have your mixed emotions about it, but actually, in the Texas Panhandle, they don't perform abortions, so it's unfortunate that they're one of the ones that got their funds cut."
Yet Republican Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden is skeptical of the outcries, saying the complaints seem more about "turf protection and employee protection" than denying women services.
"There is not a single piece of evidence that anybody has offered to suggest that those changes have hurt an individual out there," said Ogden, of Bryan. "I would argue that it could have conceivably helped."
Health department officials, for their part, still are evaluating the effects of the provisions and say they may reallocate unspent funding as early as May.
Critics fear that might be too little, too late.
Mike Krusee, Gov. Perry's Freeway Toll Road lap dog, was late reporting his personal financial disclosure last week with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC). Filing this document late triggers an automatic $500 fine. Krusee can fight the fine, with an administrative process that involves going before the TEC.Sal Costello started wondering what Mike Krusee does for a living when he is not in his role as the "Godfather of Toll". Here's what he's found out so far:
This incident has caused me to look closer at his financial disclosures from past years. The TEC disclosers are supposed to give citizens an insight on where legislators make their money. Krusee has listed such nebulous sources of occupation as "consulting" and "legal services". This is strange since Krusee has NO college education for anything, and he's certainly not a lawyer.Interesting.
In 2005, Mike Krusee, Wilco's House 52 State Rep, listed he received occupational income by being Vice President of Paramount Document Retrieval (PDR), 550 Westcott, Houston, TX 77007. The Secretary of State shows David M. Hasha being VP of PDR and Mike Krusee is not listed for any position at all.
I just came from the candidates forum in Seaton where Kinky, Strayhorn and Bell spoke. Strayhorn brought the standing room only hall to its feet and had every one clapping loudly. She is by far the best and most forceful speaker and better able to rally people who need to feel that someone at a higher level is going to back them in their cause.Standing room only! Sounds like it was fun and funny. Too bad Perry wasn't there.
Bell who I like, however came across as a really wishy-washy and would lose his train of thought during his speech. If people would clap while he was in the middle of a sentence, while Strayhorn just got more and more motivated when folks interrupted her with applause and laughter. No one there really seemed to take Kinky seriously at all and just laughed at his jokes.
I talked to Chris Bell briefly and I like him however. No one in the corridor's path is apt to vote for him. They are all die hard Republicans and they are all in Strayhorn's camp. My feeling and just my feeling and opinion is this that Republicans are going independent in the rural areas and are not going to vote Democratic unless they have no choice. If they have no choice they may vote Democratic for a strong candidate like Brig Mireles or Jim Stauber that they feel will represent them.
This of course is just my opinion. There were a lot of news media and photographers there so there should be some news out soon about the situation.
The PAC has not made a decision however they introduced Strayhorn 1st so thats may give you an idea where they are.
Perry foes to attack corridor planA few things here. First, notice the title by the AAS. Makes it sound like just a bunch of people sitting around complaining. The Blackland Coalition was formed to give voice to those who didn't have one in our current state government. What else were they supposed to do? Certainly their state representation wasn't voicing these constituents opposition to this plan. In actuality one of they were instrumental in shepherding - I personally like the moniker of the "Highway Twins" - this plan through the legislature. Second, it mentions nothing about the fact that this "proposed network of intrastate toll roads and rail lines" will be taking away family farms and some of the best farmland in Texas and has had little, if any, public input about it's proposed path. And last, If this is such a good plan shouldn't Gov. Perry be able to attend an event like this and defend his plan?
Gov. Rick Perry's three challengers will gather tonight east of Temple for what is likely to be a two-hour attack on the GOP governor's Trans-Texas Corridor plan. The Blackland Coalition, formed a year ago in opposition to the proposed network of intrastate toll roads and rail lines, is hosting the forum on the plan and eminent domain. It begins at 7 p.m. at Seaton Star Hall, 10842 Texas 53.
Democrat Chris Bell as well as independents Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman (who are attempting to qualify for the November gubernatorial ballot) will give 15- to 20-minute speeches. All have said they oppose Perry's corridor plan as well as all or most toll roads.
Perry was invited but will not appear.
Strayhorn Ignored Lobby Group That Donates Generously to Republicans -including Strayhorn CampaignAnd more pressure from Chris Bell, Bell slams payments to state's outside lobbyists:
At least one of MaloneyÂs Federalist Group partners, Wayne Berman, contributed $5,000 to the Strayhorn campaign on October 19, 2002. (Source: Texas Ethics Commission)
The Lone Star Project disclosed in a report issued on November 18, 2005 that former Tom DeLay senior staff member Drew Maloney, who leads the Federalist GroupÂs Texas lobby effort from Washington, has contributed over $6,500 directly to DeLay and $22,750 to Texas Republican Congressmen since the contract was signed. Other associates at the Federalist Group have added thousands of dollars to Texas RepublicanÂs campaign accounts. (Source: Houston Chronicle 1/19/2006 and Federal Election Commission)
Drew Maloney gave no money to Texas Democrats (Source: Federal Election Commission)
Maloney joined other Federalist Group members in sponsoring a Washington, DC fundraising event for DeLay on November 17, 2005. (Source: Roll Call, 11/17/2005)
Bell on Thursday said Strayhorn also should have cut off payments to Texas' other outside lobbyists, the Federalist Group. The Washington-based group's lead lobbyist for Texas is Drew Maloney, a former top aide to DeLay who had raised money to help Republicans take control of the Texas House in the 2002 elections.With that showing the blatant hypocrisy of her actions or incaction, OTG has now stopped the payments to the second firm in our Republican controlled state governments crony-lobbyist payment scheme. She tried to cover it up but Kathy Walt is there to help out:
"If she were really serious about shutting down the cash-and-carry system that (Gov.) Rick Perry has set up, she wouldn't show favoritism to Tom DeLay's good friends at the Federalist Group," Bell said.
Matt Angle, with the Democratic Lone Star Project, noted that Strayhorn in 2002 took a $5,000 contribution from one of Maloney's lobby partners, Wayne Berman.It's always good to see Republicans fighting over who is more corrupt. It also shows what a farcical campaign trick this whole event has been.
But Strayhorn spokesman Will Holford said the comptroller did not have to freeze the Federalist payments because the state-federal relations office has not put in a request for payment for the firm since October.
Holford said the company has a contract to lobby for the state through August 2007 for a total amount not to exceed $220,000. The Federalist Group had been paid at a rate of $15,000 a month.
Holford said Strayhorn's auditors will be looking at payments to both Cassidy and Federalists. If any improper spending is discovered, he said, she will seek a refund from the companies.
Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said Strayhorn's office was wrong and the Federalist Group has received at least two state checks since October 2005.
Walt issued a detailed rebuttal to Strayhorn's reasons for blocking the payments to Cassidy, describing the comptroller's work as sloppy.
Walt noted that Strayhorn claimed Cassidy was paid $302,363 by the governor's office in 2004, but the payments actually were to a related company for tourism promotion.
She said Strayhorn also claimed she had "auditors on the ground" when she decided to freeze the Cassidy payments, but Walt said the auditors didn't arrive at the offices of state-federal relations until a day later.
Walt has defended the decision to hire outside lobbyists as good for the state in terms of bringing in extra federal dollars.
The public is invited to the Rotary Club meeting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Cedar Park Methodist Church. Sen. Ogden will present a straightforward message and answer your questions. If you would like to eat breakfast with the Rotary, call Jack Spillman at 259-8034 and let him know you will attend.Report from yesterday's House Corrections Committee hearing, Gallows humor:
Best Line:The lastest blog post from Barbara Ann Radnofsky at Capitol Annex:
"What's our prison population?" asked Chairman Madden. "Full," replied Connolly. Right now it's at 151,585, she said. "But there's an execution today," deadpanned Rep. Jim McReynolds, "so that's 151,584."
Week of March 20-22: Highlights of this week so far included a spirited discussion with the Blackdems in Houston, and receiving their endorsement; many talks with vibrant and educated teachers; and planning for the opening of our office and endorsement announcements on Friday at one thirty.And last but by now means least from the TFT's website on yesterday's "Fair Funding for Kids" summitt at the Capitol:
I hope you'll come! Chris Bell will lead off with his endorsement at one thirty at our new campaign office in Houston at 1770 St. James Place just off of San Felipe and Chimney Rock.
On TFT's behalf (Rena) Lara spoke out in support of a grass-roots agenda of "fair funding for kids," calling among other things for an across-the-board pay raise for teachers, across-the-board funding equity for schoolchildren statewide, and a reform of the tax structure to avoid undue burdens on working families and the indigent.Check out their 6-point plan (.PDF).
The agency's (Health and Human Services) privatization plan calls for shuttering the state's community-based offices, firing thousands of workers, and replacing both with privately operated call centers to determine a person's eligibility for receiving CHIP benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social services.More from Gray here:
This is not what the original architects of CHIP had in mind when they designed what was supposed to be a relatively user-friendly program for families who can't afford health insurance but don't qualify for Medicaid. The state-funded program was set up to tap $423 million a year in federal matching funds to serve more than 500,000 eligible children.
The CHIP upheaval stems from the 2003 Legislature's two-pronged massacre of the state's health and human services programs, first with deep budget cuts (since partially restored) followed by a massive consolidation and overhaul of the state's health and social services. The changes wrought by that year's HB 2292, authored by former GOP Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, also opened up new contract opportunities for Accenture. Several states have hired Accenture to develop new electronic voter file systems or to manage state-funded social service programs. But Accenture's record on both fronts is shoddy at best. In the last two years, at least half a dozen states have fired the contractor for failing to deliver on its obligations.
"This notion that private business always does it better than government is just stupid," Gray said. "What we've done is create a whole new network of people who get the big money and then dole it out in little bits. We've just created another class of people who survive off taxpayer money."Privatization is not the panacea it's been made out to be, there have been mixed results so far from Accenture in Texas. Our government is supposed to promote the general welfare of the people, not corporations.
Yesterday, you/(OTG) announced that the Comptroller's office is indefinitely stopping the state's payments to the Washington, D.C. lobbying firm of Cassidy & Associates, the infamous lobby group that has lobbied Congress on behalf of the Office of State-Federal Relations. This action comes as a result of the audit you launched on Cassidy & Associates on January 27, 2006.Why did she wait to do this until after the primaries? The point of the post is that she's been writing the checks the whole time and continued to after this was exposed in January. She could have stopped this from the beginning or certainly soon after it was exposed. No, in true OTG form she waited until it would benefit her the most to do what's right. More from BOR:
There's an expression that goes, "day late, dollar short." You are years late in acting, and your prolonged silence risked millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Your decision to stop payments is long overdue, and what's worse is that you're only doing half of what you should have done a long time ago. You still must stop the payments to Drew Maloney, the high-power lobbyist of the Federalist Group, who is also being paid with taxpayer dollars.
The public's trust can not be bought and sold with your cheap tricks any more than it can with Governor Perry's endless cronyism.Well said.
You remained silent until it benefited you and your campaign. As a proud Texas Democrat, I find your silence appalling. It is my sincere hope that you immediately take action on Drew Maloney's contract, and stop pretending you're "tough" for doing what you should have done a long, long time ago.
In a sure sign of political fireworks to come, the state's top political leaders parted ways Tuesday on how they perceive the Texas Legislature's mission for the special legislative session.Oooh, fireworks. Anyway, here's a random sampling of what's being discussed before the session starts:
With failure not an option, there are two likely scenarios.What will the solution be? Well, your guess is as good as mine. I believe the legislature will come up with something. They will not let the schools be shutdown, no matter what. That could mean buying down property taxes with the “surplus” and put off debate on school finance, again, this time until the 2007 regular session. Since the governor's call will be narrow, and I doubt if they get his property tax swap accomplished they will stick around or the governor will call another special session to deal with school finance in an election year. But remember a good percentage of the surplus is money that was set aside by the legislature last year for school funding which could be used for a teacher pay raise It was also built by taking from the least among us:
The first is the plan to expand business taxes developed by the Sharp Commission. It is the most ambitious of any of the offerings to date and has a lot to recommend it. Although the plan has not yet been finalized, it includes a low business tax rate and incentives for hiring and employee health care. It would also raise cigarette taxes.
As attractive as the plan may be, its opponents include a group of major law firms who are prepared to argue that it amounts to a personal income tax on partners. Mr. Sharp disagrees.
Another proposal by a group of lawmakers argues that you cannot pass a major tax bill when the state is enjoying a surplus of at least $4 billion which may balloon to as much as $8 billion next August. The money is not really a surplus, it is simply unspent cash that will be needed to fulfill financial commitments next year. But that may be a distinction without a difference for many voters and while it is only a temporary fix, it may be the most that this exhausted and politically bloodied legislature can do.
This surplus that Chisum and others are touting is less than meets the eye, however. For one thing, included in it are sums the legislature last year said would be reserved for education programs and personnel, not for tax cuts. Legislators also need to remember that the so-called surplus exists largely because of harsh cuts in compensation imposed on school employees in the 2003 legislative sessions--cuts that continue in effect today. And that's not to mention the other cuts in vital programs like children's health insurance.Just a quick aside. For us here in Williamson County we don't have to worry because our two state representatives, Rep. Krusee and Rep. Gattis, will vote with the Speaker and the pro-voucher crowd like they always have. I've searched to find any kind of statement from either one of them on the upcoming session and can't find anything. (Of course the Godfather of Toll has better things to do). I'm sure if they did say anything it would be the tired ol' line of property taxes are too high, we need greater accountability, yada, yada, yada.
Republican Representative Mike Krusee said he wants to see a solution that includes lower property taxes.
"Most importantly we have to meet the court's demand that we fix school finance," he said. "I hope while doing that we can lower property taxes dramatically. I think we can solve the school finance issue, lower property taxes and leave with a better, fairer tax system than when we started."
Krusee also said changes to the tax system were critical to finding the right solution.
"Some legislators are going to be attracted to not fixing tax system but using the surplus. I don't think that's a long term solution," he said. "I think next session the legislature will likely have a large surplus and it is my hope that surplus will fund further property tax decreases and a pay raise for teachers."
Surrounded by local Democratic elected officials, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell accused Rick Perry of pursuing temporary solutions and ignoring schools in the run-up to the special session on school finance.Who were those local elected officials?
"Rick Perry'’s biggest priority is to pass a tax cut," said Bell, who helped pass a property tax cut on the Houston City Council. "My top priority is different. Texas can have the best public schools in the country, but only if we avoid a fiscal 'sugar rush' that would use $1 billion from the budget surplus to soothe our craving for a tax cut at the expense of a balanced revenue diet for our schools."
Big thanks to Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos for introducing him, as well as state Reps. Elliott Naishtat and Eddie Rodriguez, city council members Brewster McCracken and Lee Leffingwell, Constable Bruce Elfant, and state senate candidate Kathi Thomas for lending their support.The SAEN has a good wrap-up, Bell says tax cut won't fix schools:
Simply using a budget surplus to reduce school property taxes during a coming special legislative session would be like "a sugar rush" without fixing the state's school funding system, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell said Monday.Bell did this at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Austin, that's right a union hall, I doubt you'll see OTG hanging out there anytime soon. I hope teacher's union members see and hear that! But from what I can tell Chris Bell brought this up first yesterday as this DMN/AP article shows:
"Texas can have the best public schools in the country, but only if we avoid a fiscal sugar rush that would use the budget surplus to soothe our craving for a tax cut at the expense of a balanced revenue diet for our schools," Bell said.
"If you are proposing revenue-neutral ideas, you are basically rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," Bell said. "We need more money coming into our state coffers."
Earlier Monday, Democratic nominee Chris Bell called on Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry to give all Texas teachers a $6,000 pay raise.No matter, the DMN/AP saw fit to give OTG top billing in there story and hardly even mentioned Bell. I guess this is the kind of treatment from the press Chris Bell will have to expect over the coming campaign. He comes out with a great idea and the liberal Texas media will drown it out by either Kinky with an open beer, OTG piggy-backing or Gov. Perry with a bad hair day.
Rep. Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, sniffed politics in the pay proposals.Only "our best teacher are underpaid", he says. I wonder how he determines who "our best" teachers are? Call me crazy but if I'm Gov. Perry I'd be trying to find some common ground with Texas teachers. One way to do that would be to replace Rep. Grusendorf for the upcoming special session with someone who is a little more friendly with Texas teachers. Obviously I'm not Gov. Perry and that would also take cooperation from Speaker Craddick. But that would probably go a long way and since we know Rep. Grusendorf is not friendly to teachers, help the governor politically.
Grusendorf, who lost his re-election bid last month to Diane Patrick, a GOP challenger backed by teacher groups, said of the proposers: "They're in a bidding war for the teacher vote." He said: "Aw, let's give them $10,000. It's not my money anyway, what do I care?"
Grusendorf said: "Our best teachers are underpaid. We have to try to find a way to solve that." But, he said, lawmakers should focus in the 30-day session on answering the Texas Supreme Court's judgment that schools are too dependent on property taxes.
Gubernatorial Candidates: Bell, Friedman and Strayhorn confirmed to speak on TransTexas Corridor and Eminent DomainCome and give a listen to what a governor not named Rick Perry will do about the Trans-Texas Corridor and Eminent Domain.
March 24, Seaton Star Hall (5 Mi. East of Temple on Hwy 53 - 10842 State Hwy 53, Temple, Texas 76501), 7:00-9:00 PM, the Blackland Coalition will hold a meeting open to the public and interested parties. All four candidates running for Governor of the State of Texas were invited to speak, only Rick Perry has not responded. Chris Bell (D), Kinky Friedman (I) and Carole Strayhorn (I), candidates for the office of Governor will speak on the issues and impact of the proposed TransTexas Corridor and Eminent Domain. Time permitting, a limited number of written questions from the audience will be addressed.
Blackland Coalition will present information regarding the status of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and the process for filing comments and objections by the public.
Seaton Star Hall SPJST will open at 5:30 PM - BBQ and refreshments will be sold. Meeting begins at 7:00 PM.
Blackland Coalition is organized to educate, protect and defend Texans against the TransTexas Corridor.
Under electricity deregulation, Texans have paid some of the highest rates in the nation -- a reversal of at least a decade of relatively cheap electricity under the state's old regulated system.Here are the numbers:
$108.40: The average utility bill for a typical Texan.
$94.80: The average utility bill for a typical electricity consumer in the United States.
40th: The ranking of Texas among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., on the affordability of electricity.
SOURCE: Office of public utility counsel, based on 2005 figures
As we all know the Republican Party has tried to say that they are the party of security and military support. But unfortunately there actions betray them.
This scathing OP-ED, A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon, written by Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general, was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, calls for Rumsfeld to resign among other things. It ends with a couple of solutions. I don't agree with Lieberman for Sec. Def. but the policy he puts forth is sound.
First, President Bush should accept the offer to resign that Mr. Rumsfeld says he has tendered more than once, and hire a man who will listen to and support the magnificent soldiers on the ground. Perhaps a proven Democrat like Senator Joseph Lieberman could repair fissures that have arisen both between parties and between uniformed men and the Pentagon big shots.
More vital in the longer term, Congress must assert itself. Too much power has shifted to the executive branch, not just in terms of waging war but also in planning the military of the future. Congress should remember it still has the power of the purse; it should call our generals, colonels, captains and sergeants to testify frequently, so that their opinions and needs are known to the men they lead. Then when they are asked if they have enough troops - and no soldier has ever had enough of anything, more is always better - the reply is public.
Our most important, and sometimes most severe, judges are our subordinates. That is a fact I discovered early in my military career. It is, unfortunately, a lesson Donald Rumsfeld seems incapable of learning.
How could this possibly happen with the current Republican leadership? It can't. We need new leadership, especially in TX CD 31 where the military contituency is so imporant.
The other thing that happened in the last week to shine a light on this is the Bush blowback furor over the Dubai ports deal. After the deal was killed the Democrats tried again to get money added to the budget to fund port security. You'll never guess what happened. Right-Wing Blocks Funding For Port Security, Disaster Preparedness. You can see Congressman Carter's vote against the amendment here. But they did put in $1.7 billion dollars for the still unproven so-called missle defense system.
The good news in all of this is that in November there is a choice and a good one at that. We need new leadership for the security of our country and to support our military. That leader is Mary Beth Harrell.
Two victorious candidates who filled their campaign war chests with money from a wealthy San Antonio businessman resent allegations that they were "bought," despite sharp criticism from their opponents after the Republican primary votes were counted.The long and the short of the Casteel v. Macias race is that if he doesn't get all that money from Leininger it doesn't matter what his message is, it doesn't get out. How much worse do you think Rep. Krusee would have done if Barbara Samuelson would have had that kind of money? Exactly. He'll also think twice, at least, when he benefactors pet project(s) are up for a vote.
Both Nathan Macias of Bulverde and Wayne Christian of Center said Dr. James Leininger's money - although much appreciated - would have no influence on the way they vote on the state House floor.
Furthermore, they said, it wasn't the money that led them to victory, but their effective campaigns against two incumbents who had lost favor with their constituents.
"I think our party is in trouble," she said. "I don't think it's representative of the masses who vote Republican. We've turned it over to the extremists."
Casteel pointed to well-funded interest groups that can flood mailboxes and airwaves with slick ads and misleading claims.
"The more immediate threat is the purchase of seats," she said. "First, it may stifle independence. 'If I don't vote the way so-and-so wants me to, I won't be back.' It scares me that democracy is for sale. That's not a good thing.
A commission appointed by Perry is studying the state's tax structure. The panel of two dozen business leaders, led by former state Comptroller John Sharp, is expected make recommendations soon. However, the group's report may not be issued next week as planned, its staff director said.And they've postponed the hearings (scroll to the bottom) until the end of March. I wonder if those business groups, lobbyists and legislators had anything to do with that?
The recommendations might include reducing school property taxes by a third without raising the state sales tax. To do that, they will probably suggest revising the business franchise tax, raising the cigarette tax and using $1 billion of the state's $4.3 billion budget surplus.
Austin, this time you really do have to fix the mess. Will the upcoming special session bring an end to the mess? Do not bet on it. Here's the rub: Gov. Rick Perry supports lowering school property taxes but opposes increasing school funding. Moreover, fixing the state tax system so that it can generate the tax revenue needed to end all the problems is not being considered. Instead, the plan is to push through a small illusory fix that uses the state surplus and then publicly claim that all is well. In truth, our public schools will remain inadequately funded, our state tax system will still not have the needed capacity, and our courts will again have to intervene.I have to disagree with the writer of this on one thing. Texans have been unable to see through charades for a while now and I think a surplus scam would work just fine on enought Texans to get most of these people reelected. I would be very happy to be wrong on that front. It does a great job of pointing out what's needed, courageous leadership.
Texans expect a real fix and will see through any charade. Trying to sneak by with something less than a real fix will invite their wrath. Hopefully, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Tom Craddick and a majority of the Legislature will resist this route and do a real long-term fix.
In the absence of strong political leadership and courage in Austin, Texans can be sure of one thing - the mess will just get messier.
Even Texas' highest-performing school districts vary widely in how much they spend on instruction, according to a study released this week by a coalition of education groups, a finding that adds to the debate about the reasoning behind Gov. Rick Perry's "65 percent rule."Why is this still going forward?
"To have a one-size-fits-all number that is used not just for reporting but for sanctions is inappropriate," said Catherine Clark, associate director of the Texas Association of School Boards.
"I am open to having an annual process by which I must explain (spending decisions) to the public," Austin Superintendent Pat Forgione said. "But having an arbitrary trigger of 65 percent, . . . I've not seen any research that says it's better than 60 percent or 70 percent."
The study also found greater spending variations when it compared higher- and lower-performing districts among their peers in the same class than when comparing higher- and lower-performing districts to each other.
For example, Palo Pinto, a small district outside of Fort Worth that was rated exemplary by the state, spent less than 50 percent on instruction in the 2003-04 school year because it has higher transportation and utility costs, Clark said.
By comparison, the Hamilton school district near Waco, also rated exemplary that year, spent about 64 percent.
Lower-performing districts tended to spend more on instruction than higher-performing districts.
State Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley has not released spending guidelines for Perry's rule.
"The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Texas - current tax system must be reformed by June 1," Perry said. "This special session provides legislators of both parties a rare opportunity to significantly reduce property taxes, make substantial reforms to the franchise tax so it is fairer and broader, and ensure our schools have a reliable and constitutional stream of revenue."No big shocker here. We knew this was coming. Sharp's crony commission the TTRC will be releasing it's report next week and will be holding two hearings in Austin next week. Some are joyous and think that Sharp is a miracle worker for coming up with a fix this quick. He may have. Bur remember this puts no new money into schools, it's revenue neutral, and the legislature hasn't got a hold of it yet.
"The Deficit Reduction Act is important to reducing wasteful spending and encouraging a more efficient government, while continuing to support the needs of Americans," Congressman Carter said. "I am proud to have supported a bill that takes important steps to reduce the federal deficit and keeps government safety net programs sustainable."On Wednesday Rep. Carter voted for raising the debt ceiling. Here's what the head of the conservative Republican Study Group, of which Rep. Carter is a member, had to say:
Twenty-nine House Republicans (Rep. Carter not included) voted against their party leadership Wednesday on a rule to set terms of debate on the spending bill. It was an extraordinary defection on a measure that typically receives a party-line vote.But check out who's leading the fight against this and why the Republicans that control Congress won't do what they always said they would do:
"House conservatives were profoundly disappointed," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the leader of House GOP fiscal conservatives.
The Senate this week fended off, in a tie vote, a Democratic effort to require all new tax cuts and spending increases to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The House of Representatives on Wednesday beat back an attempt by fiscal conservatives to require offsetting cuts to pay for $91.8 billion in spending for Iraq and the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast states.Quick fact:
In both cases, Republican leaders led the fight against budget restraint. In the Senate, Republicans said Democrats only wanted to make it more difficult to extend expiring tax cuts. In the House, GOP leaders wanted to avoid forcing Republicans facing tough re-election fights to cut popular programs.
"It's difficult to do that with small majorities in an election year, when every cut and slice is going to get magnified," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.
The national debt has grown 50 percent during Bush's presidency.The real reason that the Republicans in Congress are doing this is not just election year politics. It's polls and the new Majority Leader thinks the American people need to be educated about the deficit:
A poll this week by the Pew Research Center found that the public no longer views the deficit as a crisis, unlike in the 1990s. In 1993, 17 percent listed the deficit as the most important problem facing the nation, behind unemployment and the economy. In January, only 2 percent considered the deficit the most important issue.When your worried about a terrorist attack the budget deficit doesn't seem like such a big deal, does it? Rest assured though, this is all part of the overall plan of running up the deficit to astronomical proportions so that someday the only thing left to do will be to cut social spending to the bone. And then we'll all be educated about the budget deficit.
As a result, Republicans calculate that cutting spending is politically riskier than not.
House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said this week that if lawmakers want to tackle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, they first must educate the public.
"To go in and start making cuts without first helping people understand the problem, the extent of the problem, and the fact that these programs are not sustainable for the long term is, I think, political suicide," he said.
The state can reduce school property taxes by a third without an increase in the sales tax, a key component of plans considered by the Legislature last year, the chairman of the governor's tax reform commission said Tuesday.Come now Mr. Sharp. You may not be swapping taxes not to raise the sales tax but I'm sure you're aware that most of the "surplus" was created by cutting benefits to the neediest among us. But, of course, your whole plan is a tax swap and I'm not really sure why the business lobby will accept it, this time. You must have something really horrible you're using to threaten them. Here are the particulars:
The panel is heading toward a recommendation to use $1 billion from the state's budget surplus, overhauling the business franchise tax and raising taxes on cigarettes to fund the property tax cut, said its chairman, former state Comptroller John Sharp.
Speaking in an interview a day after the 24-member panel completed a series of 16 public hearings across the state, Mr. Sharp said his commission is ready to start drafting its recommendations for a special legislative session that Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call for next month.
"We believe we can safely use part of the state's budget surplus, and we intend to recommend the use of $1 billion of the surplus to buy down property taxes," he said.
That will help avoid an increase in the state sales tax – already one of the highest in the nation - and will still leave enough surplus funds to handle other expenses the Legislature chooses to pay for, Mr. Sharp said.
"Why increase the sales tax when you don't have to?" Mr. Sharp said, asserting that use of the surplus to buy down property taxes represents real tax relief rather than a tax swap.
Cut local school property taxes by one-third.Now we know this isn't a fix. It's just a short-term fix to get us through until the next crisis. The article also mentions an even shorter-term fix that is circulating around the capitol:
Base the business franchise tax on gross receipts of most businesses after either salaries or the cost of goods are deducted.
Increase the cigarette tax $1 per pack.
Spend $1 billion from the state's surplus to help offset property tax cuts.
Meanwhile, as the special session approaches, a group of House Republicans has been trying to drum up support for a temporary fix that would use more than half the budget surplus to reduce property taxes by about 20 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Supporters say that would allow lawmakers to avoid a big tax bill in the special session and finish the job in the 2007 regular session.Shouldn't that say a more temporary fix? Leave it to a lame duck legislature to put off today what it can fix tomorrow.
Mr. Sharp, a Democrat, said that would be a big mistake and could leave the state with a deficit – especially if lawmakers can't agree on a new tax system in 2007.
"That's how you wind up getting yourself in big financial trouble," he said.
While former Comptroller John Sharp and the rest of Gov. Rick Perry's tax reform commission works on proposed revisions to the state's business taxes, they're starting to hear more noise from lawmakers and lobbyists. That's not unusual with a special session approaching, but it's dangerous for tax bills: An unprotected tax bill lasts about as long as free pot at a rock concert and isn't nearly as much fun.Which I believe means that as of right now a sales tax hike is off the table and business will bear most of the burden for the TTRC plan. But this plan is being put ouf for scrutiny and is not being backed by anyone outside the TTRC, most notably the governor, at this time.
The education community proved that if you push too far, they can produce enough votes in some traditionally low turnout GOP primaries and bite back.And teacher's and those that agree with them voting makes for a very interesting upcoming special session and November election:
As we go into the special session, there are a lot of nervous legislators. On paper, the November election should be irrelevant. But apparently, quite a few traditional primary voters skipped last week's election so they could sign petitions for Carole Strayhorn or Kinky Friedman. Those folks may well be sick of incumbents in general. So, despite the redistricting effort to disenfranchise November voters, there is no telling what might happen in more than 50 contested races next fall.The Texas Federation of Texas is continuing the fight into the runoffs, Do you and other educators have the respect and influence you deserve at the capitol?
As previously reported, TFT members scored big wins in the March 7 primary election. Volunteer members reached about 35,000 primary voters by mail in targeted legislative elections.Help them out if you can and make a legislator nervous.
The wins, listed below, add to the gains our Educator-to-Voter campaign achieved with the recent special elections of Donna Howard of Austin and Ana Hernandez of Houston. The nine March 7 winners in our targeted races included:
Diane Patrick of Arlington (defeating Kent Grusendorf)
Charlie Geren of Fort Worth Delwin Jones of Lubbock
Dora Olivo of Fort Bend County Garnet Coleman of Houston
Juan Escobar of Kingsville Norma Chavez of El Paso
Tommy Merritt of Longview Pat Haggerty of El Paso
If you are a TFT/AFT member and you are willing to send 20 postcards by mail to voters in the April 11 primary runoff elections and the November general election, click here.
If you already participate in the project, please forward this message to your fellow AFT members or immediate family using the "Tell a Friend" link below.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry told the Senate Appropriations Committee that Don Powell, federal coordinator of Gulf Coast rebuilding, told the state not to expect any additional help from Washington because the damage the state sustained from Rita was caused mostly by wind, not water.Kit Bond? KBH had this to say:
Additionally, Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson said communities had been compensated very well for providing millions upfront to Katrina evacuees for housing.
The biggest wallop to Texas pride came Thursday, when Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., doubted Texas' need for compensation.
"I know there are costs and burdens, but I need to be convinced that they should be compensated," Bond said in a Senate Appropriations hearing.
He suggested that Texas has benefited from the influx of evacuees. "I think it's time we get back to being a good neighbor and not a paid companion," he said.
Bond was not available for an interview last week to elaborate on his concerns, spokesman Rob Ostrander said. Ostrander declined by e-mail a request for an interview in Bond's place, insisting that questions be sent to him first.
"Senator Bond's statement from earlier this week speaks for itself," he said in an e-mail.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who lashed out at Bond at this week's hearing, said in an interview Friday that Bond's comments were "unnecessary" and reflect "a fundamental misunderstanding of what Texas has done."She's right, but will that change anything and can she? The reason for this, and this is going to sound simplistic, is because of politics. In case you haven't noticed the president's poll numbers are bad. To get them up the White House is trying everything they can and it still ain't working. But at this point the last thing they're going to do is start pumping the little remaining money they have to play with into a state that is one of the most reliable Republican voting blocks in the country. In other words because of Texas' sheep-like quality of voting Republican, no matter what, our state can be ignored by the RNC and national Republicans. They figure they can do anything, or in this case nothing, and Texans will still vote for Republicans. As many have said, when we have one party rule we have no accountability. Whether it's on the county commission or the entire state government, once they control it all and believe they can't lose that control, then they can, and most times, will ignore the public opinion and do whatever they want. Whether it's toll roads, voting for publicly funded vouchers, or voting against money for a Crisis Center. The way to change this is to vote them and their party out of office.
My personal experience with volunteering met similar resistance or incompetence. A friend of mine exerted a huge amount of effort, and finally got to be half-precinct captain. Even then, when she showed up first in line for the county meeting, she was 20th to sign in because the "in-crowd" had already met behind closed doors.
Your report about the difficulty of entry into the local Democratic Party has several possible interpretations (all of which I think are true):
- (1) Dysfunctional Management; long-termers just holding down a chair between elections
- (2) It is human nature to work with known factors (friends, culturally similar)
- (3) Intentional barriers to maintain control and keep out people and ideas they don't like.
Perhaps you mostly need persistence to push through barriers 1 and 2, although you can see how difficult-to-open the gates might be to busy people, different culture from present club members, minorties, less-educated.
Barrier number three requires strategy, intentionality, and knowing when to keep your mouth shut. I know, it's supposed to be democratic, but think about it more like getting a new job at a company where you have to start at the bottom rungs, perhaps even a company where you don't agree with corporate policy or the corporate culture. You're not going to change things right away, but build a resume over time. In the short term, competence, courtesy and volunteering for the dirty jobs can gain you respect.
In the medium run, generating money, voter registrations, volunteers and ultimately voters moves you up the ladder.
Speaking of resume building: Join a non-profit board with community visibility. Learn how to fund-raise. Make lots of political friends. Dress nicely. Speak articulately.
Hudson at MyDD provided a nice overview of the successful tactics employed by a small group of activists in New York's Hudson Valley.
Dkulju at DailyKos pointed us to the Rochester County (New Hampshire) Democratic Committee website.
In Williamson County, our DEC has been significantly demoralized. The voters have probably detected the despondence. In the 2002 Democratic Primary, voters cast 6,228 ballots. Last week, only 2,581 voters cast ballots in the Democratic Primary.
The path to victory in November requires maintaining a positive attitude, persistence, forgiveness and continued Republican miscues. The most important thing each one of us can do to improve government is to converse with our neighbors (in equal parts talking and listening) to improve our political acumen and restore our faith that an informed electorate can be trusted with the most important decisions society faces.
Improve the world by improving oneself. All politics is local.
State Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris, is calling on Gov. Rick Perry to add an across-the-board teacher pay raise to the call if he summons lawmakers back to Austin next month for a special session on school finance.What was the governor's response?
"This is the first request we have received on the subject," Rachael Novier, spokeswoman for the Republican governor, said Friday.
The governor's spokesperson reiterated Perry's stand on both teacher pay and the upcoming special session.In the upcoming session Gov. Perry is for a narrow call until the tax shift is accomplished:
"Gov. Perry strongly supports increased pay for teachers, especially those teachers who motivate students to achieve at high levels," Novier said.
"In the upcoming session, the governor has asked legislators to focus on the Supreme Court mandate to lower property taxes and modernize the way we finance our public schools," she continued. "Once that is complete, he will consider expanding the call."Teachers again take a back seat under this governor.
I've always said BAR was too busy running for November and not thinking about March like she should have been. He might be an old-coot, but one shouldn't underestimate the name of Gene Kelly.But as Kuffner says they realize it and are moving forward:
At least the campaign has recognized that it needs to run against Kelly for the next 30 days. He's as easy a target as you could want. The contrast between the two of you and the reason why you're the only choice couldn't be plainer. Be just negative enough to remind people why they can't afford to go with him, and play up your qualities for all they're worth. The rest will follow.BOR has a Texas map by county and analysis here. More evidence that the Radnofsky campaign is getting the runoff off to a good start:
Texas Democrats need a fighter to take our state back and to keep fakers like Kelly from ruining our party. Barbara Ann Radnofsky has made 328 campaign appearances and received the endorsement of every major newspaper in Texas. And Kelly? Commentators describe him as a clown, a perennial joke, and an embarrassment to the party.BAR's Guest Post at Capitol Annex:
Barbara Ann fights for veterans' rights, for education, for better healthcare, and for Texans.
The dancer is dead, folks...please don't let him kill the Party.
Donate now and spread the word for the April 11 runoff.
If we hadn't had this runoff, we'd never have had the opportunity to make a massive appeal and get my name out in a state mailing one, two or three times or to ask people like the folks on this blog to please rouse others out of their apathy and go vote (early on April 3 and in the election on april 11). As I mentioned, and to his credit, the Chairman of the State Dem Party has endorsed me, which is not often done in a contested dem race.Barbara Ann Radnofsky is the only choice for Democrats if we want to have a chance in November.
Kathy Walt, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that no one has been a bigger champion for lower property taxes than Perry. She said his plan is to call lawmakers back to first craft a tax plan that passes constitutional muster, and if time permits, they might then turn their attention to other matters.But as this shows that divide is much deeper than that:
But Democratic state Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston said he won't be satisfied with a quick fix for the public schools. Ellis said in an e-mail to his constituents that he intends to push for a significant pay raise for teachers and for a more generous health insurance package for educators. In addition, he said, any effort to raise taxes on consumers to offset property-tax reductions would likely meet with Democratic resistance.Republicans can rest assured that the Texas Parent PAC will be watching.
"It makes little sense to raise the nation's highest sales tax to cut some of the highest property taxes," Ellis said.
Lutz said the challenge facing Republican leaders will be to smooth over the hurt feelings on the political front and to forge a consensus in the face of deep divisions over policy.
"Voters made it real clear that they want this done by the June 1 deadline," Lutz said. "Anyone who doesn't get that is taking on a big risk."
When candidates spoke to voters in various forums prior to the March 7 primary election, they generally agreed that Williamson County's Pct. 4, which stretches from the east side of Round Rock to the eastern county line, is very diverse.The commissioners race and the HD 52 race have given us an interesting look into the an emerging dynamic with the Republican voters in precinct 4. From Tuesday's election we can see there is an East/West, or rural/suburban, difference in voting patterns developing in precinct 4. It also shows that those in the Eastern part of the precinct are looking for an alternative or a candidate that doesn't represent the status quo.
An analysis of the voting results for the 12 polling places east of the SH-130 toll road ratify that conclusion.
The voting patterns show that Mike Krusee, the incumbent state representative, is less popular east of SH-130 than he is on the west side. Over the entire precinct, Krusee defeated Barbara Samuelson by a margin of 63.76 percent to 36.24 percent, but east of SH-130 Krusee's margin was 55 percent to Samuelson's 45 percent.One interesting dynamic to watch in the runoff will be to see if either of the candidates tries some sort of anti-TTC gambit now that it's a two man race.
In voting precinct 433 in Coupland, where anti-toll road sentiment is strong, Samuelson had 65 votes compared to Krusee's 25. Samuelson also beat Krusee in precinct 456 at Our Lady of Guadalupe by a margin of 15 to 11.
Coe and Morrison said they'll be studying these returns closely as they prepare for the April 11 runoff, especially in light of their close county-wide race which Coe won by a margin of 34.62 percent to Morrison's 32.67 percentRemember all of you anti-TTC Republicans and Democrats as well. If you didn't vote in either primary you can vote in this runoff and can still register to vote in the runoff until March 13th. If you voted in the Democratic primary you cannot vote in the commissioners runoff.