A man is defined by his actions and ability to move forward after setbacks. Greg Abbott is that man of strength, and courage. The Texas Attorney General did not go quietly after the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare. It appears the court decision has inspired him to fight harder for America, liberty, and the constitution. This week was a whirlwind tour of speaking engagements with different groups of Americans to explain the latest decision by the Supreme Court regarding Obamacare.
In Plano Texas, there was a Rally for Freedom sponsored by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. The crowd was anxious to hear what crumbs of hope the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott could give to them.
There were several states involved in the Supreme Court Case. Per usual, on high profile cases, they asked the Attorney General of Texas to be one of the key legal minds involved. We now have one option left to the American People. It is critical to vote in a new President, a conservative controlled Senate, and a conservative controlled House in November. This is the choice remaining, to protect America from this overreaching action by the Federal Government. It was clearly stated this was a disasterous Supreme Court decision that took everyone by surprise.
People in the courtroom were fairly comfortable when the decision began talking about commerce and how this argument was not a constitutional premise for the law. As the reading continued, a 180 was done, and the weaker reasoning on taxation privilege was introduced. The gallery was stunned and mouths were agape per others who were actually in the courtroom. The entire opinion document can be read here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/29/us/29healthcare-scotus-docs.html
The decision cannot be overturned, as this was the last stop on the judicial ladder. Arguing about whether the additional outlay of cash is a penalty or a tax is a waste of time. One option is left, America must work fervently, tirelessly, and focus on domination of all branches of government.
On the Americans for Prosperity call, there was a stunning moment of clarity for the thousands who crowded onto the call. One of the audience asked a question, using examples. “Could the government charge a penalty if people choose not to buy a smart car?”, stated the caller. Attorney General Abbott, said “yes, that is our problem now.” The Supreme Court has ruled the Congress has unlimited power to levy taxes on activity and inactivity. A pin drop could have been heard after that dash of cold water on the audience.
Liberty suffered greatly because of this decision. To overturn Obamacare, and get real solutions for Americans, we must not let a moment go wasted between now and November.
In 1775, Americans said enough and made their voices heard around the world. In 2012, we must do the same.
God bless America on this fourth of July. Give Americans courage for the fight ahead.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
People across Texas and the United States know the Straus family enterprises are focused on gambling. There are as many people for gambling in Texas as there are against it. The pros and cons of gambling are for another time and place. There are far more important aspects to the role of this particular Speaker of the House in the Texas 82nd legislature. Some of you are familiar with this information, while others are not. Over the coming months, information will be shared that shine a light on the manipulations and machinations which occurred during this legislative session.
The Speaker of the House position is one of two key leadership positions in active legislative sessions of Texas. This year was particularly challenging due to unfunded Federal Mandates, Redistricting Maps and a budget to balance for the biennium. There was a shortfall in the revenue looming large. The question of the hour was whether there had been a miraculous move toward a more conservative leadership since the last session led by Speaker Straus in 2009. Sadly, this was not to be.
The battle to be “crowned” Speaker again, was contentious at best. There was a challenge to his leadership by two strong conservatives. They could not get enough votes challenge Mr. Straus. Why? Joe Straus had people sign “pledge cards” to indicate their vote of support for him in the elections. His group of confidantes assisted by cajoling and coercing people to the inevitable conclusions of a pledge of support. Why is this important now? The story of this session and this Speaker begins with a brave Representative named Bryan Hughes who came forward with information about the whole intimidation process. Did you hear the rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey was so fond of saying in his broadcasts.
A June 2nd article by John Alaniz, revealed Speaker Straus and his crew made good on the redistricting threats to those who would not pledge their vote for the his re-election as Speaker. In November of 2010, several months before the 2011 Texas Legislative Session began; Texas State Rep. Bryan Hughes issued a press release stating that he had withdrawn his support from Rep. Joe Straus as Speaker (Bryan Hughes Press Release, 11/2010). Rep. Hughes explained a member of Straus’ leadership team had called and had “ brought up the subject of redistricting and explained to me how that process would be used to punish those members not on Speaker Straus’s list of supporters.” There was an ethics investigation, which raises more alarm bells than brings resolution to the matter. The chairman of the ethics committee gave Representative Hughes and Representative Phillips the option of whether to provide testimony under oath! Representative Hughes voluntarily took the oath and gave his testimony. Representative Phillips who allegedly made these veiled threats on behalf of Straus, did not testify under oath. This raises an important point. Perjury under oath could cause the loss of a license to practice law.
The Texas Tribune provided this golden nugget of testimony from Representative Phillips: “Representative Hughes statement is unequivocally false,” Phillips said in response. ”I did not tell Representative Hughes that maps were already being drawn to get rid of Representative-elect [Erwin] Cain or Representative Flynn. I also did not tell Representative Hughes that there was a plan to use redistricting to punish those who were not on Speaker Straus’ support list.”
The House map was finalized and signed into law. The new map was exactly what Representative Hughes had indicated was in “the warning”. The facts now vindicate the elected officials who earnestly tried to warn the people and the legislators of the power that was being wielded to re-elect Joe Straus.
The House Redistricting map was a carefully orchestrated event, utilizing powerful lobbyists, legal resources, and some expert negotiation with various legislators. The map that emerged as the winner, punished the strongest conservatives who had stood together to vote for an alternative leader of this session. Somehow, it was voted through by the House legislators, despite what had been done to their colleagues. Read what actually happened beginning with a point of order by Calendars Chairman Todd Hunter which was specific to this bill (this timetable forced work on Good Friday and the Easter Weekend): http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/82r/pdf/82RDAY60FINAL.PDF#page=4
This map was expedited much like the notorious Obamacare, presenting many obstacles to people who would like to have a voice for their constituents. Speaker Joe Straus presided over final proceedings for the House Bill. Representative Hunter and Solomans indicated this was an “emergency” that must be finalized and moved to the Senate. Who uses the same strategy in Washington that everything is a crisis and must be rushed through prior to people having input? In the above link, please read through a few pages, when Representative Hunter (Calendars Chair), and Representative Solomons (Redistricting Chair) explain their rule which would cause Christians to be working on Good Friday and Easter Weekend to accommodate the point of order.
Redistricting maps are always difficult, is the mantra of every person in the House and Senate. There is difficult, and there is contrived. I draw your attention to a speech given by Representative Cain in the House Journal when this map (which punished those who opposed Straus) was coming up for the final vote: http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/82r/pdf/82RDAY64FINAL.PDF#page=37
The people of Texas got exactly what they feared with the re-election of Joe Straus. This session reflected a liberal leadership from day one. Speaker Straus had a far reach and was able to “convince” many people to overlook things that were glaring throughout the session. A conservative majority was elected, and great hopes were pinned on this session. There were a limited number of conservative bills that were passed which kept the public from noticing many of the appalling decisions/actions in this session. Think for a moment about what is being said by the politicians. Over 10,000 bills were filed. More than 1400 were passed, including resolutions. Yet, the representatives boast about the same 5-6 bills in speeches across the state. Odd. Not to worry, over the coming months, many of the passed bills will be discussed with the public. You may find it illuminating. Texas may have a spooky dude…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
Texas has moved into the special session now, primarily to focus on the budget completion. So many emails, blogs, articles have appeared with partial information and misinformation, an overview of the special session was in order. I’ve put together a few facts to help all of us as we monitor/engage with our state reps and state senators on specific bills.
The Governor of Texas issued a proclamation which announces the special session timeframe, and also defines the primary focus of this session. To add other bills outside of this focus, will require the agreement of the Governor. The legislature may ask for particular bills to be added that are outside the original scope of the proclamation. It is important to reach out to your state representatives and state senators to let them know if there is a specific bill of importance to you. The legislature (specifically Straus and Dewhurst as management) can make a request to the Governor for new agenda items for the special session. Further to this point, you can see the letter request from Dewhurst to the Governor here: http://americansforprosperity.org/053011-lt-gov-sends-letter-gov-perry-regarding-special-session-issues . The text of the proclamation can be found here: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/govdocs/Rick%20Perry/2011/proc053011.pdf The Governor outlined the specifics he wanted dealt with in this session. The primary focus must be on the budget and budget related items. The schools, in particular, must see the approved budget as soon as possible, to prepare for the coming year.
The majority of the proposed bills fall within the purvue of the proclamation, or have been approved additions by the Governor. Other than fiscal related bills, the Healthcare Compact has been added to the tasklist, per the Governor’s request. Another one which is not yet approved for this session, but is filed, pertains to sanctuary cities. There are many great bills which could be added, but the time constraints and efficient use of taxpayer dollars is of utmost importance.
Several groups/individuals have urged Texans to barrage the governor and ask for specific bills to be filed. After reading some of these published lists, it was clear that many of the listed bills in the emails/articles were already filed for the special session. Because the bill offerings for consideration are growing, it is best to run the report yourself for the most accurate data. To view the filings to date, please go to the Texas State Legislative website http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx . Select Bill Search. Be sure to select this session: 82 (1) -2011 from the drop down choices. On the right hand side of the page you will see a large box that says select action criteria. Click on this. Choose Filed (H001) . Click on the arrow pointing to the blank box directly opposite the list of actions. Repeat this process and choose Filed (S001). Now go to the bottom of the page and input a beginning date of 5/30/2011 (do this by clicking on the small calendar icon). Choose an end date of the current date. Go back to the top righthand side of the page and click search. This will give you a current list of proposed bills. It does not tell you which ones are approved by the Governor, but actions are posted immediately as they occur.
For further information about special sessions, go to this link: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/whatsNew/client/index.cfm/2011/5/31/Special-Session-FAQs
What is clear about these massive efforts, is that many well meaning people are spinning cycles without complete information. If conservatives want to succeed, the time should be spent on solid research prior to “firing from the hip”. A plan with inadequate data will likely yield inadequate results. -Just an opinion.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
We are in the time of final selection of redistricting maps! This year, the Texas legislature must determine new maps for the Schoolboard of Education, the Texas House, the Texas Senate, and the US Congress. We have the fate of the Congressional maps now in our hands. Texas will gain 4 Congressional seats.
During the past two years, we have witnessed two things in the Congress:
1) Democrats do not cross over and vote against the Democrat caucus
2) Democrats do not vote for fiscal responsibility
So, what does this mean to Texas and America? We must do everything possible to get more conservatives to Washington. How do we do this? Selection of a map that is fair and gives good representation of conservative values in Texas, will achieve our goal of taking the country back from a far left agenda.
Here are some reasons why the GRIT map (C116) is the better choice for Texas constitutional conservatives, instead of the offering from a legislator in the Dallas area:
In C116, the GOP would have a good chance to win 30 of the 36 seats. Only one of them is in a district with less than 55% GOP voting strength.
C116 DOES increase the number of likely Republican congressional seats: 30 of the 36 total seats have the likelihood of going Republican and yet meet the federal requirements of population, ethnicity, etc. The other map does not achieve this possibility.
C116 does NOT hand over half the state’s new seats to the Democrats.
C116 does NOT protect incumbent Democrats. C117 does. Under C116, potential Republican challengers would be at a distinct disadvantage.
C116 does NOT involve retrogression of any minority districts. C117 does. [This is the idea that a district cannot be redrawn in such a way that a protected minority is reduced in numbers (%, actually) from its numbers (%) in the current district. For instance, a minority district with 53 % cannot be lowered to the 49 % level of minority representation if other conditions are met.]
C116 DOES recognize the population changes in fast-growing areas of the state. The other map did not recognize the high growth areas.
C/116 DOES reflect conservative political philosophy which grassroots Texans expressed state-wide in the Nov. 2010 election.
C116 is NOT the work of just a few “incumbent protectionists”; rather, it had input from more than 100 people, including many grassroots activists and legislators.
There is no need to hand the Democrats the probability of winning half of the seats in our state. The liberals would not do this for the conservatives.
The Nov. 2010 vote in Texas clearly showed a rejection of Liberal principles by the voters.
Will the fair C116 map be challenged in court? Probably, as will any other map. Lawsuits are typically filed in every census year when new redistricting maps are chosen. However, to try and “appease” the Democrats by protecting their incumbents and giving them half the new seats is not a smart policy. Remember how “helpful” Mr. Lloyd Doggett has been to his home state.
Having conservatives in Congress, from whatever part of the state, helps all of Texas. Furthermore, having conservatives in Congress, from whatever state, will help save America!
Please call your state representatives today and say, “We want C116, for the Congressional Redistricting Map Choice! State legislative websiteRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
How many times have we seen environmentalists and the affiliated entourage “spin facts” to reflect their personal views? The same liberal tactics are being used to unnecessarily create fear among Texans. Thus far, several versions of scare mongering prose has been used by the motley crew.
We have witnessed articles featuring quotes from the Sierra Club, Mother Jones, SEED, and others. When the first version of “facts” was discredited, different environmental groups were brought in for a “press conference of sorts.
The most recent statements attack the free market system that is resolving the costly chore of waste management for Texas and other states involved in an interstate compact. Disposal of low-level hazardous waste is a high cost proposition for states. Many states have tried to manage the whole process and failed. Thankfully, the states were able to partner with a high quality private enterprise company for solutions. This company is Waste Control Specialists (WCS).
Innuendo and rhetoric about private enterprise and associated profits indicate an aversion by the leftists to the way business is conducted in the United States. Mutually beneficial business agreements not only survive, but thrive in America’s free market system. To insinuate inequitable profit margins and fees is baseless and proof can be found in the state code as to the review of all fees on a regular basis. Perhaps a review of economics 101 or supply and demand would benefit the naysayers.
Quote directly from the Health and Safety Code Section 401.245
(b) The commission by rule shall adopt and periodically revise compact waste disposal fees according to a schedule that is based on the projected annual volume of low-level radioactive waste received, the relative hazard presented by each type of low-level radioactive waste that is generated by the users of radioactive materials, and the costs identified in Section 401.246.
Again, the rabble-rousers have elected to mislead the readers. At any point in the business relationship, there is legislation ensuring regular reviews of fees.
As stated in my earlier article, https://texasfor56.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/texas-propaganda-on-hazardous-waste-bill/ , liability bonds are posted by the company prior to each delivery to Texas. The environmentalists seemed to be shocked that Texas would take control of the facility after deliveries are completed. A review of other states and their practices indicated this is business as usual for a state to assume oversight of the facility. It is the choice of the state.
In a thinly veiled final attempt to discredit the company and the state for the transactions, moral hazard terminology was introduced to the hypotheses.
What Does Moral Hazard Mean?
The risk that a party to a transaction has not entered into the contract in good faith, has provided misleading information about its assets, liabilities or credit capacity, or has an incentive to take unusual risks in a desperate attempt to earn a profit before the contract settles.
The Moral Hazard definition simply does not apply to these circumstances.
There are interstate compacts involved, Federal oversight, State Agency oversight, and a multitude of additional checks and balances. The best practices have evolved over the years out of necessity by the states and the Federal Government. Moral Hazard would imply a situation that is not present in this transaction. Nothing is done prior to the contract being settled. There are no advantages to risk taking, and no incentives to alter schedules.
My hope is environmentalists and their minions will begin to focus on areas that could use their help. They clearly got this situation wrong, and need to give up the repeated desperate attempts to form scandalous pieces of fiction. The biggest question for Texas, is who is funding these lame publicity stunts by environmentalists and liberals, and why?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Where does the budget process in Texas stand at this time? The Texas House passed a budget with various cuts, and identified a need for using 3.1B of the Rainy Day Fund. This proposal then went to the Senate. The Senate has their own budget proposal. It spends 12B more than the House Proposal. This budget process is going to end up in conference.
When the House and Senate offer two different solutions to the same bill, the legislation then moves to a committee made up of some members of the House and Senate. Their job is to negotiate a solution which satisfies the legislature as a final solution. In this instance, there will be debates about where to cut money and how much.
Mr. Talmadge Heflin, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation identified 3 priorities for the legislature with regard to the budget for the next biennium. Go to this site for more info on the House and Senate budgets: http://www.texaspolicy.com/legislativeupdates_single.php?report_id=3719
There are 3 things that lead to logical solutions on the budget.
- Make the necessary cuts
- Don’t raise taxes
- Don’t use the Rainy Day Fund
The Senate chose to disregard the advice of economists, experts, the Governor and the people of Texas. They have elected to spend more money when they are fully aware of the unfunded mandates the state is facing in 2013. New sources of money were used by the Senate to help pay for some of their programs, but it does not solve the future problem.
Before Texas gets into dire straits, there must be austerity measures taken in the state. In the past year, Americans have witnessed many states teetering on the verge of bankruptcy trying to make quick fixes. Several states have bond ratings now in jeopardy of a downgrade, due to excessive spending. Is this what we want for Texas?
Please call your legislators and state clearly the need for fiscal restraint prior to the emergency! Let’s show the rest of the country how it’s done.
As a final thought of what to say to the legislators: We pay you to be smart and do the very best for the citizens that elected you to office. Show you have the integrity and character to do what is best for Texans.
- Get rid of duplicity across departments
- Freeze all discretionary spending for two years
- Freeze hiring in all departments of the state for two years.
An article that implied there was an irresponsible bill specific to Hazardous Waste activity in Texas was circulated this week by a local Houston talk show host. While reading the piece, a lot of alarm bells started going off. I saw the same article on a website called wetexans. The latter site belongs to Debra Medina, former gubernatorial candidate. My concern was triggered by a mention of a compact with Vermont. Those of you who know me, realize much of the past two years, my focus has been on usage of interstate compacts in strengthening state powers and protection on the healthcare issue. The article did not reflect indepth knowledge of how interstate compacts work, particularly this one. I decided this was a strong accusation about the bill in question and I wanted to learn more. More troublesome is the fact the Sierra Club was quoted in the article as raising the initial doubts about the power of this bill. Fear mongering for any reason, is not appropriate as an action. The Sierra Club is an extremist leftist organization which puzzled me more, as the two sources for the article claim to be conservatives. In Dallas, an article was written by a liberal blogger who quoted Mother Jones (yet another leftist organization).
Here is the link to the first opinion piece that was circulated with false accusations and inaccurate information: http://community.icontact.com/p/thecivilright/newsletters/thecivilright/posts/the-patriots-digest
Here is the link to the second opinion piece on Hazardous Waste: http://www.wetexans.com/dumping-on-texas/ Originally this second article was identical to the first one. It was changed one day after news of my investigation n Austin was brought to the attention of the ladies. Although “facts” of this news article are cleaned up a little, the inaccuracies are still there.
The opinion piece was regarding Texas House Bill 2184. Click on the following link to go the Texas State Legislature site for the complete information on the bill: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/billlookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=78R&Bill=HB2184#
Sierra Club had issues with the vagueness of the article and were worried about the implications of “any kind of waste could be dumped in Texas” by taking away part of the necessary process. The two ladies perpetuated blogs that took this bit of information, coupled it with the fact a private company is involved and developed a story of political favors, taxpayers that would suffer, and the overall horrors of Hazardous Materials and Texas. A piece of journalism that capitalizes on fear, doubt, and uncertainty at the expense of Texans. Who were the two women attempting to “help”?
I went to two sources for fact checking. First, I read all the published materials on the Texas legislative website to discern what we are talking about. Most importantly, I went to Austin yesterday, to speak directly with the legislator who sponsored the bill. Texas State Representative, Tryon D. Lewis spoke with me at length about the initial state compact previously developed around the disposal of hazardous waste and the why of it. The states simply cannot afford to develop their own solutions, so the usage of private companies is not unusual. Representative Tryon does not know Mr. Simmons, the head of the private company used in Texas(note the accusation of political favors in the article) . The facts I found to refute the premise and the focus of the article are abundant. The “compact” mentioned previously is actually an interstate compact. Texas agreed several years ago, that low level hazardous materials could be disposed of in remote Texas locations. It was the most cost effective way to dispose of Texas Waste and provide help for disposal of waste from Vermont. As with any Interstate Compact (especially involving hazardous materials), there are a lot of reporting checkpoints and safeguards on this process.
Here are the facts for Texans: Texas taxpayers are not in jeopardy on these projects. There are bonds and securities put up by the private company prior to any project. Another fact is low level radiation waste becomes benign after a relatively short time. The amount of waste and type of waste is fully regulated and this bill does not change the substance of the interstate compact. Texas does receive some revenue on these projects.
The current bill does not change anything, but the mechanics of an existing state compact.
The blogs by the two ladies mentioned, indicated there was a lot of room for latitude and misuse of the law with regard to the type of hazardous waste, etc. This simply is not the case. A Sierra Club quote was used to support their theory. Other blogs that are all fired up about the possible misuse of this law, have appeared in other parts of the state use quotes from Mother Jones, another leftist article.
What is clear is these are not the works of conservatives, nor was the articles accurate. The biggest question in all of this: “what are writers hoping to achieve by circulating these articles”.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
Today was spent in Austin speaking with legislators. It was most discouraging to realize what is about to happen with the budget and rainy day (Economic Stabilization) fund. As many of you know, I originally thought we had a reasonable solution with deep cuts and a small portion of the rainy day fund to be used. This was based on the House making every available cut prior to using the rainy day fund. I am completely reversing my original view, based on the new data gained by speaking with numerous legislators and staff.
The House has passed the budget bill. Early next week they will vote on using 3.1B of the Rainy Day Fund (Economic Stabilization Fund) to facilitate a balanced budget. The House did not make enough cuts and want to use part of the Rainy Day Fund to achieve a balanced budget as required by Texas law. The next stop is the Senate.
Today we discovered the Senate will unveil a budget proposal of their own that makes fewer cuts to the budget. Why?
This is not a comfort to taxpayers who supply the revenue to the state . If legislators are unable to make difficult choices, perhaps they should not be on the finance committee. We have a 30B dollar price tag coming in the next session for Medicaid predicated on new federal rules increasing the number of eligible participants. The current bill for Medicaid is approximately 16B. It is imperative to cut discretionary spending and preserve the Rainy Day Fund. The next Biennium there will not be a safety net to help us, other than increasing state revenue possibly with additional taxation.
The hallways were crowded today with special interest groups including a lot of unions and community action groups. The throngs of people were inside the legislative offices and spilling out by the dozens into the hallways. Numerous buses were parked outside. It appeared there are many special interest groups who are definitely making their “votes” heard in the capitol, which will likely result in future burdens to Texans. Is this why the House and Senate are reluctant to make necessary budget cuts? WHY are we funding an arts commission when there is a large shortfall? Why do we still have dozens of other discretionary programs being funded? The Economic Stabilization Fund should not be used when there is so much waste remaining in the budget.
If the Senate passes their proposal, the bill will go to conference as a final step. This means Senate and House committee members will negotiate and arrive at a final budget. This changes everything. The current budget passed by the House, was not the strongest possible budget, but is better than what will be offered by the Senate.
What can we do, to ensure the Senate understands our expectations of making all the necessary budget cuts? The list of individuals below are the members of the finance committee. Call them and say you expect deeper budget cuts than the House bill and that we do not want them to touch the Rainy Day Fund. Ask them to remember Texans are on tight budgets due to rising prices of fuel and food. Texans are making necessary budget cuts in their finances, and we expect the legislature to reflect the same level of fiscal responsibility. There isn’t a good reason to risk the future of Texans by continuing to fund programs not critical to the running of the State. Let’s ensure we have a voice in the Senate plan.
Please call the following people from the Senate Finance Committee and say you want deeper cuts in the Senate Bill and not to touch the Economic Stabilization Fund:
Chairman: Steve Ogden 512-463-0105
Vice-Chair: Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa 512-463-0120
Bob Deuell 512-463-0102
Robert Duncan 512-463-0128
Kevin Eltife 512-463-0101
Craig Estes 512-463-0130
Eddie Lucio, Jr. 512-463-0127
Jane Nelson 512-463-0112
Dan Patrick 512-463-0107
Kel Seliger 512-463-0131
Florence Shapiro 512-463-0108
John Whitmire 512-463-0115
Tommy Williams 512-463-0104
Judith Zaffirini 512-463-0121Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Wrong information on the education situation in Texas and in America is being circulated by leftists who continue the exercise of attempting to divide conservatives. This week the focus is on clarification of misinformation circulating about education and teaching professionals. Americans for Prosperity sponsored a teleconference featuring Senator Florence Shapiro. Senator Shapiro was a former educator and small business woman who truly understands budget challenges facing Texans. Currently the Senator is chairman for the Education Committee in Texas. Her ability to paint the picture for listeners was useful, and showed a great depth of caring for children and the education system. The Education budget will necessarily need to make cuts, just as many other state government departments will need to do in this biennium. What does this mean to children, teachers, and everyone concerned about quality education in Texas?
- Many people have received fliers in their children’s weekly take home information, stating Texas wants to cut teachers and are going to hurt the children. This simply is not true.
Fact: The education budget is bloated and necessary cuts will need to be made, just as all the other departments in the Texas budget are facing cuts. The budget cuts for education will be left up to the local School Districts as to how it is handled.
- What is causing the “bloat” in the education budget? We know the teachers must supply schoolroom materials from their own money in a lot of cases.
Fact: The current ratio of non-teachers in the education systems in Texas is 1 to 1. This means for every teacher there is another person! Why? The non-teachers on the education payroll account for billions of dollars in salaries and benefits. In a recent call with Governor Rick Perry, it was pointed out that the non-teaching staff in Texas has grown 300%! This is the same kind of outrageous growth across the country.
- The teachers deserve more money. This isn’t fair.
Fact: The state will have to make significant decreases to the overall Texas general budget at all levels. No one is mandating teachers be taking pay cuts or be let go. The decisions are being left up to the local ISD as to where they cut the budget. Studies have shown there are many duplicate efforts that should be eliminated, “perks” that should never have happened, and services that can be shared among multiple ISD administrations. All Texas citizens will need to share in the sacrifices being made due to the strain of the unfunded mandates. Budgets can be cut, without cutting teachers.
- Why are the teacher unions protesting in other states, if teachers are not being hurt? It looks like the government is out to “get” the teachers!
Fact: When the union negotiates with the government for pensions and raises, it is the taxpayer that must pay for additional benefits and monies. A good example is the state of California. Example: There are currently over 9,800 people who retired from a public job and are receiving over 6 figures for the rest of their lives. These people did not contribute anything to the pensions and many are under the age of 50. Economic hard times prevail currently in the country, and the pensions and spending levels are unsustainable.
Closer to home in Texas, data is offered on the Local ISD. Please take the time to read the charts. There are dozens of bureaucratic positions that make no sense, look redundant in functionality, and also…….they are not teachers in the classroom!
Go to this website, to gather the data on your local ISD and hold them accountable: http://www.redappleproject.com/
Want to know what cuts are being made in education and other departments? Look at the following legislature passed this week in the Texas State Senate on budget: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB4
The quarrel is not with the teachers. In fact, the teachers should be up in arms over the money being wasted by the bureaucrats in the ISD. The money stops at local administration level, and does not reach the classroom. Less than half of each dollar intended for education, actually reaches the classrooms.
What is the answer? The state is leaving the power and decision on how to change the system at local level. This plan on budget cuts and how to achieve them is sponsored by the state legislature. These are bi-partisan members that came up with the plan. The children deserve benefits afforded by a system focused on education. Instead, the children and the teachers are currently getting the crumbs left over by the ISD bureaucracy. It is not the Governor, nor the legislature causing the problem for the local schools. It is time for the parents, grandparents, and taxpayers in general to stand up and say ENOUGH!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
There have been a lot of wakeup calls during the past few years in America. In Texas, we have learned there are major problems in our education. There are people in the ISD’s who are given a $61,000 King Ranch truck to drive for their purposes. In other ISD’s manicures were paid for by the taxpayer. What is wrong? What are we doing?
We have a bloated education budget for the state that has not improved our overall education system. What has occurred is a lot of administration has been added at local level with large salaries and amazing perks. This has done nothing for the actual education of the children. It has lined the pockets of many greedy, self-centered individuals. Looking at elimination of bloat, and innovative new ideas for our schools, there is no reason to cut any teacher’s jobs. This would result in an efficient school system that directly benefits the children.
This is a short, to the point blog. The intent is to share a few sources for everyone to get involved in the transformation of their ISD and in the state education system.
Actions to take and resources to utilize:
1. Find qualified new people to run for local school boards and the state school board.
2. Attend all school board meetings.
3. Look at the school budget to see what is going on in the district.
The following resources are for education/assistance/ideas in resolving the bloating education budget in Texas:
1. The Red Apple Project has gone live with a brandnew website that focuses on ideas/information for education reform. It is sponsored by the Texas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. It is an amazing resource. I’ve spent the last hour on the site, and realize this is a first for our state. Kudos to Americans for Prosperity. Ck it out to learn more about your school ISD: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas
2. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a thinktank in Texas that focuses on research that helps to further best practices in Texas state policies. http://www.texaspolicy.com/publications.php?cat_level=1
3. Governor Rick Perry gave his state of the state speech in January. His speech gave many new ideas for efficient, high quality education without the current high costs. http://www.rickperry.org/issues/education
Citizens of Texas who care about the future of education and the future of Texas have a multitude of resources to get involved, and help with the transformation of education for Texans. Time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it!
It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.