I’m about to make one correction to yesterday’s post about Governor Abbott’s showdown with the Lege, and I don’t want this one to get lost in the shuffle so I decided to highlight it here also. There are TWO legislators who have publicly stood up for the Lege so far: Speaker Straus, as I mentioned yesterday, and Senator Juan Hinojosa, who issued a statement on the subject on July 22nd. Since Hinojosa is a Democrat, I imagine some “conservatives” will dismiss his views as ideologically motivated. Since I am a fiscal conservative and a journalist known to be preoccupied with arcane Texas budget battles, I can pre-emptively confirm that Hinojosa, who represents the most “purple” districts in the Texas Senate, is not coming at this from a partisan perspective. He is the vice-chair of Senate Finance, a member of the Legislative Budget Board, and one of the senators I respect and take seriously, despite my concerns about the Texas Senate as a chamber these days. His statement reflects his expertise and experience:
Allowing the Governor’s line-item vetoes of riders would significantly expand the power of the Governor by allowing not only legislative appropriations to be vetoed, but also non-appropriation provisions of legislative direction and intent. The issue is not one of spending, but the issue of protecting the Constitution and the separation of powers of our executive, judicial and legislative branches under our Constitution.
While I’m at it, let me call your attention to a point WUSRPH made in the comments section of the previous quote. I agree with virtually everything he says there, and want to highlight this point especially:
The fact that other members of the Legislature have not spoken out in defense of Ms. Parks and in support of the Speaker does not mean that they do not have the support of a large majority. One of the roles of the Speaker is to take the point in fights like this, but no speaker is going to take on the governor without knowing that a majority of his members agree with him. They would rather not have to declare themselves in public….but they have certainly let him know in private.
I may return to the subject this week, because I have some things I’d like to say about the Legislative Budget Board. But for now, I’ll just say that I agree, and that observers can safely proceed on the premise that there are plenty of legislators who quietly agree with Straus and Hinojosa, whether or not they’re willing to say so.