Oregon is considering a "vehicle miles traveled" tax. Should Texas?
“Transparency” is a word that is frequently invoked in the Capitol. But it is honored more often in the breach than the observance. Take the current battle over transportation funding. The problem is that the state has chosen to finance transportation by issuing bonds. This is a clever way to
Joe Straus' statement on the failure of the House to agree on a solution to the state's transportation needs is worth posting, because it lays bare the failure of the state's leaders to address the real problem.
Last week I wrote a post regarding Dan Branch’s announcement for attorney general, in which I lamented whether candidates will ever again run for higher office by explaining how they will execute the specific duties of that office. Branch took exception to my analysis and has sent in
Last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the City of Farmers Branch, located northwest of Dallas, which sought to pass an immigration enforcement ordinance that would have prohibited landlords from renting to immigrants who were deemed unlawfully present and authorized arrest and prosecution of landlords
George Mitchell, one of the greatest Texans of his time, has died at the age of 94. He had been in failing health for several months. In addition to the contributions he made to Texas, Mitchell was a generous benefactor to Texas A&M and to his (and my) hometown of
Today the Washington Examiner published the results of a poll that was provided by Ted Cruz’s staff and taken six weeks after the 2012 general election. The survey shows that Hispanics favored Democrat Paul Sadler over Cruz 60 percent to 40 percent and Obama over Romney 59
When I read about Dan Branch’s announcement of why he is running for attorney general — “I’m running to fight against an overreaching federal government, to fight for open and accountable government, and to preserve limited government in Texas” — it caused me to wonder whether anyone will
CSCOPE is an Internet-based curriculum developed for Texas schools and teachers by state-funded education service centers. The reason it was created is that many small school districts do not have the expertise to develop their own curricula. CSCOPE fills that void. It became controversial because some elements of the curriculum
The Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents writes to the powerful state representative to defend the actions of Regent Wallace Hall and states that Pitts’s opinion of Hall “may have been intentionally mischaracterized.”
Now that HB 2, the omnibus abortion bill, is on its way to the governor’s desk, who are the winners and losers in the battle over abortion? Winner: Wendy Davis, who became a national figure by virtue of her filibuster and has the chance to reenergize the Democratic party in
Is it possible that Susan Combs, having already announced that she will retire from public life after serving out her term as comptroller, is still trying to find a niche for herself in the 2014 primaries?Here’s an article she sent to her mailing list, which was forwarded
Following the filibuster by Wendy Davis, I wrote a cautionary post on Burkablog in which I pointed out that the euphoria that flourished in the wake of her memorable performance was not a game-changer; that Democrats would be wise to keep their enthusiasm in check, lest they raise
As Act II of the Wendy Davis show returns to the Capitol, the Democratic state senator has become an instant national star thanks to her filibuster against the Republicans' abortion legislation last week. What happens next?
With another special session set to begin on July 1, the issue arises of how the Senate will handle the two-thirds rule. Will there be a blocker bill? Will the tradition be honored?The history is that in 2003, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst made the decision that the two-thirds rule would
In the epic flood of news these past few days, I wanted to return to a U.S. Supreme Court decision from earlier in the week. After ruling on Fisher, a more far-reaching case came down: Shelby County v. Holder, in which the justices decimated the Voting Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court made the right ruling yesterday in Fisher v. University of Texas by remanding the case to a lower federal court.
The abortion debate in the House yesterday strengthened my longstanding conviction that this issue has done more harm to American politics than any other. It's where our politics began to jump the rails because it is a fight that cannot be resolved.
In the ongoing sniper fire that is taking place between Senate Finance chair Tommy Williams and Education chair Dan Patrick, I am in total agreement with Williams. If you are appointed to the Finance committee, you are obligated to support the committee’s work. This has been the practice
The battle over securing the border has shifted from Arizona to Texas, according to the New York Times.
Poor David Dewhurst. He occupies what was once widely considered to be the most powerful office in the state. Now he is reduced to begging Rick Perry to help him pass his pet legislation so that he can have something to take to the voters. Dewhurst has had plenty of
They should have stamped “fragile” on the House budget package. That is how tricky it was to assemble. Chairman Pitts tried to explain to the tea party members that there was no money in SJR 1; it’s just a vessel for moving future payments into the Rainy Day Fund for
Haven’t we seen this picture before? Speaker Straus performs well for most of the session, but when crunch time comes, he can’t close the deal. His team has no cohesion (except for Geren), and there doesn’t appear to be a strategy. So Straus falls back into his old persona of
UPDATE: The Nominations Committee has approved all three nominees the UT System Board of Regents. The full Senate will take up nominations next.I walked in the east door of the Capitol yesterday with Senator John Whitmire. He asked if I was going to nominations. I said I was.
These were the final elements of the budget deal that was reached yesterday: –Add $200 million to the Foundation School Program –Use a portion of TRS funding to get to $3.9 billion, the Democrats’ target amount for restoring the school cuts The major point of disagreement arose over the System
This morning I wrote about the prospects for a budget deal, the topic du jour that is uppermost in everyone’s mind. The post contained, among other comments, this line: “House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had ‘misled’ them.” That is what I was told by
As we tweeted last night as events were rapidly developing, the hopes for a budget deal that would send everyone home happy appeared to evaporate yesterday. House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had “misled” them. Dewhurst showed up in the House chamber and disappeared into the back
UPDATE: REP. DARBY HAS PULLED DOWN HIS BILL, AND IN DOING SO SUGGESTED THAT IT WOULD BE TAKEN UP IN A SPECIAL SESSION.Michael Quinn Sullivan is at it again. Writing on the Empower Texans website, he assails the House leadership for scheduling a bill raising fees for transportation.
Yesterday’s scene at the end of the floor session in the House was all too familiar. The proceedings limped to a close. Members milled about in the aisles. A major tax-cut bill, HB 500, was on the calendar but hardly anyone knew what was in it. Or cared. This scene
In February, Judge John Dietz ruled that the state's current school finance system was unconstitutional. However, the legislature's restoration of some of last session's deep cuts to schools during the 83rd legislative session could be a game changer for the lawsuit.