Deep in the Heart of Texas: a political opportunity

Texans can better their lives in 2010

Governor Rick Perry is up for reelection.

The incumbent governor does NOT deserve another term in office. There are so many reasons Texans should NOT reelect this lackluster governor it’s hard to know where to start. Perry’s ongoing promises to voters is spin that goes nowhere.

For many years lawmakers have diverted tax dollars funded for one issue to other interests. Remember back in October 2006 “proper” Perry pounced on the diversion of tax dollars as though he was going to be everybody’s hero?

One month before the elections Perry “the political Prestidigitator” pretended he was concerned about how legislators take tax dollars collected from one issue and divert it to another? A good question is “Where has he been for 8 years?” [sarcastic rhetorical question]

Seldom do things change quickly or for the better in the Texas Legislature and embedded loopholes in the system have enabled elected officials to take money they promised taxpayers would go towards, say, building and maintaining roadways (via gas taxes) and instead divert those tax dollars to higher education and the Department of Public Safety. We are told by lawmakers and the Office of the Attorney General that it is all perfectly legal — but is it ethical?

Back in 2005 the governor and legislators pushed through a bill that deregulated higher education. Since then, higher leaning institutions, e.g., the University of Texas (UT) increased their tuition costs at least 4 times, yet they continue to get those diverted tax revenue dollars collected from gasoline taxes and also from state lottery earnings. Other universities and colleges followed suit.

Why are higher education institutions still getting these diverted gasoline revenue tax dollars? Aren’t they ripping-off Texas parents and children enough?

During the past 8 years I’ve been writing the governor and legislators about this general “slush fund” loophole. It is unconscionable that our tax dollars continue to be diverted from what the taxpayers were told by lawmakers where their tax dollars were going but instead are being diverted to other special interests. In part, because of these diversions our funds for transportation needs have greatly been diminished, which is part of the reason the state continues to push for toll roads. Naturally, the greater reason for this effort is the ongoing push for toll roads by wealthy special interests, who stand to gain profits in the billion$.

So, in 2006 one month before the elections Perry was doing everything to convince voters that he was a great governor and good guy, and that he wanted to do what’s best for Texans and their families. However, if you review the governor’s 8-year record, in reality he has done little to improve the quality of life for most Texans and their families. In fact, the truth is that most Texans are worse-off than they were 8 years ago.

Another effort by Gov. Perry and “his band of merry lawmakers” was to approve legislation to deregulate the electric industry. Once that pushed through under the guise of lowering costs via competitive markets, during the next several years electric costs mushroomed for consumers. Perry again successfully used “smoke & mirrors” strategy to get what he wanted for his wealthy campaign contributors.

In addition, Perry’s poor leadership has enabled the Texas Legislature to remain in chaos. In fact, once again, with the exception of a few scattered bills here and there Texas lawmakers couldn’t do “diddly” during the regular 81st Legislative Session, which has been the reoccurring theme throughout all the legislative sessions during Perry reign as Texas governor.

Perry has made become famous as the Texas governor who has called for the most unproductive Special Legislative Sessions in the state’s history at a cost of $2 MILLION per session. If any governor knows how to waste the tax dollars of hardworking Texans it is Rick Perry.

Gov. Perry must think that most Texans are idiots. He was reelected in 2006 by a paltry 39 percent total votes, thanks to an iron-clad Texas law that does NOT require a run-off gubernatorial election when the winner receives less than 50 percent of the total votes. In truth, most Texans are in worse financial shape since Perry replaced George W. Bush when the latter became President in Year 2000. Because of Perry and a “do-next-to-nothing” legislature Texas government and its taxpayers remain in the dark ages.

Exactly how much abuse can Texas residents handle?

Rick Perry is up for reelection again in 2010. Texans actually have an impressive opportunity to remove Perry from office in the GOP Primary by voting for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. This time my bet is on Texans to see through the “smoke & mirrors” and to elect a candidate more deserving of the job and to remove the oppressive social, political and economic stake deep in the heart of Texas.