As the Texas House prepares to debate the budget tomorrow and Friday, let’s be clear about one thing:
Republicans will not fold under pressure and raid the Rainy Day fund nor will they raise revenue in the form of higher taxes or significant revenue in the form of user fees.
There, I said it. It’s hard to believe I even had to say it given that Speaker Straus has said the same thing time and time again.
Sure the media push is relentless, as is the push from the left (is there a difference?). It doesn’t matter and I’ll tell you why:
The media might have a loud voice but we can counter that and have proven that we can. And those on the left that are pushing for higher revenue and endless spending will never vote for Republicans anyway so it makes no sense for a Republican to bow to their pressure and be defeated in a primary.
Cory Crow over at Harris County Almanac quotes a column by the Houston Chronicle’s Peggy Fikac that seems to indicate a weakening of Republican resolve on the budget. I’d say that the column, taken in context with Fikac’s other writings this session, all of which favor increasing taxes or raiding the Rainy Day fund, is simply her effort to control the message in an effort to weaken that resolve.
But I think Cory has a couple of good points when talking about the failure of the GOP to get their message out.
A. They don’t really believe in cutting the budget. (There’s ample evidence that this is the case. NO ONE can increase spending and cut revenues at the same time like Republicans)
Although there are a few reps that aren’t in “safe” districts that would prefer to “govern to be elected” rather than “be elected to govern”, the bigger problem here is in the Senate. You need look no further than Sen. Ogden to see that cutting the budget is going to be a problem. I’ve said this since shortly after the November election but for some reason many groups continue to focus on the House and Speaker Straus. It makes me wonder if there isn’t more to the anti-Semitism we saw during the speaker’s race than I thought.
Cory’s second point:
B. They just suck at getting their message out. (There’s ample evidence for this as well. NO ONE can bungle a message like the State GOP.)
No question about this one. There are some darn good ideas out there: I’ve highlighted the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s proposals and there are others out there such as the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. If school districts wish to have local elections to raise their raites from $1.04 to $1.17, let ’em. But there doesn’t seem to be a coordinated effort by the Texas GOP, or the House leadership, to push these ideas or their own. I’ve reached out to both Speaker Straus and to Chairman Pitts but haven’t had a response. Hey, I want to help and I’d bet others have tried to help as well to no avail. Maybe they think all bloggers are just here to attack them and I can’t blame them for that but it isn’t true. Who knows? All I know is that Cory is right on this point.
But mark my words; I’m right on the larger point. Republicans will hold firm and send the Senate a budget that shows that Texas can live within our means, and they will do it without budget tricks such as pushing some expenses into the 2014/15 biennium. Hopefully, the Senate won’t fold like a cheap suit and force the House to compromise during conference because if that happens, an awful lot of primaries are going to be contested and contested hard. We may not be able to remove any incumbent Senators but we’ll darn sure remove a few House members if they cave on the budget.