Updates from Austin: Oust Straus 2.0, Budget Surplus, Big Spenders Panting.

As the 83rd Legislative Session gets underway, over the weekend the GCC team saddled up, loaded the wagons and moved to its Austin base camp. Some notable events so far:

Oust Straus 2.0 – The Battle Ensues Today

The patron saint of Barbara Meeks and other moderate, opportunistic Republicans everywhere, Joe Straus finds himself under seige yet again. Straus, as you may recall, was elected Texas House Speaker in a palace coup led by 11 RINO Republicans and 65 Democrats. Challenged for control of the gavel by Ken Paxton in the 82nd Legislature, Straus was successfully protected by Larry Taylor and others who feared the loss of plum committee chairmanships. This time around, a spirited campaign was led off early by Bryan Hughes to replace Straus as speaker, as attendees to the most recent state convention will recall. Hughes later backed out and endorsed a challenge by David Simpson. Given the huge advantages of incumbency, such challenges are always a long shot but there are some indications that Simpson has a fighting chance.

Why it Matters

Straus has consolidated power such that most conservative legislation dies in committee. Zero-base budgeting? Margins Tax Reform? Real Fixes for TWIA? Sensible School Finance Proposals? Pushback Against the Feds? Forget about it. The 82nd featured a Republican super majority yet was notable for its lack of conservative successes and its budgetary gimmicks. So long as country club Republicans and Democrats control the speakership, efforts to get the good guys elected at the local level and achieve real reforms that will ensure the prosperity of Texas and stop the growth of government will continue to achieve minimal results.  Did you enjoy the GLO shoving Austin-based solutions down our throats (hint: housing)? 

Update: Simpson withdraws, cedes to Straus.

Big Spenders Panting at New Opportunities to Grow Government

“Even a blind hog occassionally finds an acorn” is an old time maxim, indicating that good fortune at times finds some in spite of their individual efforts. So it is with the State fiscal situation. In spite of the budgetary gimmicks and massive debt kicked down the road by the 82nd Legislature, we find ourselves facing a budget surplus at the start of this session. Bloomberg has a good summary here. Some notable excerpts:

Lawmakers…in 2011 put off about $4.7 billion in future Medicaid costs and $2 billion for public schools under the current budget, and now must pay those bills. With Combs projecting an $8.8 billion surplus by Aug. 31 and a 12 percent jump in general-purpose receipts for the next two years, Democrats sense an opening.

“Given that we’re seeing an increase in revenue, let’s use this opportunity to fix those things that those in control of the budget have broken,” said state Senator Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat. “Some people clearly want to starve the necessities of our people, things like schools, health care and transportation.”

From whence cometh this newfound prosperity, you ask? Must have been all those green jobs, or the Obama stimulus – you know, all that government intervention, right?

As the taxable value of oil produced in Texas surged to $39.1 billion in 2011 from $18.4 billion in 2009, the state led the nation in employment gains, adding about 700,000 jobs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg…oil and natural-gas drilling rigs more than doubled by mid-2012 compared with two years earlier, and the industry’s workforce climbed 9.2 percent, Combs said.

The Texas economy is outpacing other U.S. states because it has the financial strength of Germany and the cost competitiveness of China,

Let’s keep it that way. Abolish the margins tax altogether and keep Texas strong!

More to come.




Party Chair Meeks’ War On Fellow Republicans Must End

If you’re an elected Republican official, you know firsthand the cost in time and dollars of campaigning. Does the fact that the local party chair is actively working to undermine the efforts of other Republicans seeking office bother you at all? Or, so long as her efforts are directed toward others, are you okay with this? Continue reading

Republicans Ahead with Hispanics: Voter Outreach Priorities for the Local GOP

If you’ve been tempted to believe that the presidential polls have swung decisively in Romney’s favor because of a strong 1 ½ hour television performance, think again. As Rush explains, the polls of June through September telling us that Obama has been in the lead were not intended to reflect public opinion but rather to shape it. Alleged weakness among Hispanic, youth and various other voter categories has not suddenly reversed.  Instead, the pollster bias identified in a previous post has been reduced as we near Election Day, enabling us to see a more accurate reflection of what has been in existence all along.

Conspiracy theory? A close look at voter behavior right here in Galveston County would suggest that Rush is right and the conventional wisdom – that Republicans overall and the Romney/Ryan ticket in particular trail Democrats badly among younger voters and Hispanics – is just wrong. Continue reading

The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Faircloth has publicly stated that the spirit of the Lord revealed he was called to be the next representative for Texas HD-23. We take him at his word; we believe the Almighty does indeed take an active role in our daily lives. And in a rough imitation of Moses acting on revealed word, Faircloth has steadily moved through the primaries with a self-assuredness (albeit with an arrogance and PAC money which Moses lacked) that anyone resisting was simply defying the Lord’s will; he was called to be “the man” after all.

The problem is the incumbent Craig Eiland does not seem to have gotten that same word. Or perhaps like the Canaanites, Mr. Eiland intends to resist Providence. In any case, Faircloth’s path to taking this seat goes through an inhabitant intent on keeping it. We believe a win by Mr. Faircloth is critically important to certain issues and offer the following assistance in hopes it is helpful to accomplishing his purpose. 

Continue reading

Don’t Believe the Hype – Romney Ahead by 7. Debates are Next.

Grandma is a dedicated FoxNews watcher. Last Wednesday she observes that “it’s not looking good for Romney, what with the economy rebounding and the polls showing him trailing in all the swing states.”

Having spent a couple hours that afternoon on a call with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), this was puzzling given that the current status of leading economic indicators are such that the nation’s biggest lenders are forecasting 2013 to be flat at best. Continue reading

“Most Conservative, Most Electable” – Precinct Chairs Encouraged to Vote for John Kinard

Described in a previous post, “Good…Candidates Needed…Apply Within”, the Galveston County Republican Party Executive Committee must choose a nominee for the District Clerk position vacated by Jason Murray. As a voting member of that esteemed body, we’ve a stake in seeing that the most qualified, most conservative and most electable Republican is awarded the nomination. We’ve received quite a few phone calls in recent days from fellow Precinct Chairs inquiring about our voting intentions. We intend to vote for John Kinard and are hereby encouraging all other Precinct Chairs to do the same. Let us explain. Continue reading

District Clerk Applicants Ford & Kinard Present Themselves as Ready for the Job

Described in a previous post, “Good Republican Candidates Needed for District Clerk. Apply Within”,  a questionnaire was assembled and submitted to all District Clerk candidates we’re aware of – John Ford, John Kinard and Patricia Grady. We’ve heard whispers of potential candidacies by Josh Alden and others but have not confirmed any other than Ford, Grady and Kinard.

Assembled from inputs provided by current elected officials, the questions are intended to get beyond whether or not a candidate is a ‘nice’ person or so-and-so knows them and instead provide insight into their respective merits and qualifications for the position.

Responses were received from Ford and Kinard and we applaud them for presenting themselves for inspection; they “showed up” for the interview, so to speak.  Continue reading

Good Republican Candidates Needed for District Clerk. Apply Within.

A few years back, we were pleased to host a meet-and-greet in our home for a slate of Republican candidates. We invited lots of people; a couple dozen friends and neighbors came. We encouraged all to vote for these folks; indeed, to vote straight ticket, keep it simple.

All those folks won their races. Many have gone on to make us proud through their performance in public office and some have even become good friends.  A couple did not make us so proud. Continue reading