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The Good Old Boys in the Texas Legislature Still Haven’t Learned How to Treat Women

A quarter century after Ann Richards became governor, men in Texas politics continue to sexually harass women.

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Ann Richards.
Illustration by Anna Donlan; AP Photo/File

Ann Richards—having just defeated a Republican who joked about rape and admitted to visiting prostitutes in Mexico as a young man—took the oath of office as governor in January 1991 with a promise of a new Texas that would shake up the good-old-boy network. As governor, she joked about going turkey hunting with a group of men. “Naturally, you understand few women are allowed at these events because women might keep good old boys from doing serious manly things, like going to the bathroom outdoors and kicking rocks,” Richards told more than one audience. But Richards knew that having a “manly” job like governor gave her the privilege of joining men at a campfire where they do what men do best: “drinking beer and staring at nothing in particular.”

Not long after Richards took office, the women members of the Texas state House grew fed up with one of their own good old boys. Edmund Kuempel, a fellow member of the House, continually kissed their hands and cheeks, and had on one occasion popped the bra strap of a legislator from Houston. In response, a group of the women lawmakers bought an inflatable sex doll, named it Edwina, and put it in his office with a note attached: “Edmund, Edmund! You’re my man. Kiss my hand like no man can. Edmund, Edmund! You’re so fine. Pop my bra strap any time. Edmund, Edmund! You’re no louse. I’ll be your main squeeze in the House.”

At first, the burly Republican from Seguin was unrepentant. “I try to shake every gentleman’s hand and kiss every lady on the cheek every morning. I’ve done it for ten years, and I don’t plan on stopping now,” he said at the time. “I don’t make it a habit in any way, shape, or form of going around and stepping on people’s toes, or pulling on somebody’s britches, or popping somebody’s bra strap.” But after some time Kuemple apologized. He never again was accused of inappropriate behavior and continued to serve in the House until his death in 2010.

Apparently, a lot of other men at the Texas Capitol have not learned their lesson.

The most disturbing thing about Olivia Messer’s new piece for the Daily Beast on sexual predators in Texas politics is that apparently nothing has changed in the almost quarter century since my former Houston Chronicle colleague Cindy Rugeley wrote, “From snide remarks to popped bra straps, the Texas state Capitol still shows signs of being a boy’s club.” In her new story, Messer reports on a secret list of 38 men in Texas politics who have been anonymously accused of impropriety. “Its accusations run the gamut from pay discrimination to creepy comments and sexual assault,” Messer wrote. The story outlined intimidating behavior and sexually suggestive comments, and raised questions about whether a legislator kissed a reporter without her permission. In 2013, Messer wrote in the Texas Observer that “women in the Capitol rarely talk about, except in the most private discussions, the misogyny they see all the time. It’s just the way the Legislature has always been.”

In her January 1993 piece, Rugeley offered a portrait of what the Capitol was like for female lawmakers. She reported that Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock told Senator Judith Zaffirini, who still serves in the Senate, that she’d pass more bills if she raised the hem on her skirt and wore higher heels. She spoke with then-House member Karyne Conley about her experience with a male colleague. “I had a very prominent senator say something to me that my husband has never even said to me,” Conley, a Democrat from San Antonio, said. “I had a choice to turn around and slap his face and never have another bill of mine passed out of the Senate or just kind of let him know that I didn’t like that remark.” Conley added that she didn’t consider it sexual harassment, “just bad manners.” Rugeley also noted in her piece that when governor Richards was introduced at a meeting as “the prettiest governor in Texas history,” she responded by saying, “I hope someday you will think I’m the smartest.”

And these were women who were elected officials with some power. Think of the staff.

When I first came to the Legislature in 1983, sexual misconduct was widespread but only whispered about. On one occasion, at the end of a legislative session, I found a group of almost ten lobbyists, all women, in the House gallery looking dejected. They opened up—on the condition that I would not write a story for the paper—and told me that a lobbyist was using sexual acts to get her clients’ bills passed, and now some of the male legislators were expecting the same from them. “I didn’t go to law school to become a prostitute,” I remember one of the lobbyists telling me. “I went to law school to become a professional paid advocate.” I pressed them to go on the record, but none would.

Former state representative Debra Danburg of Houston told me this week that she’d also heard about the lobbyists’ claims. “Some of the lobby groups had so many people that they could literally have one very attractive lobbyist assigned per senator, and that was the person who took them out every night for dinner,” Danburg said. “Where it went from there behind closed doors, who knows, but the rumors were out there.”

In the eighties, the Legislature was filled with lawmakers from small towns. The state was just turning urban, and the legislative district lines would favor the election of rural lawmakers until the early 2000s. The men were big shots in their hometowns, and they came to Austin often without their families. Liquor flowed freely and lobby expense accounts were wide open. (The joke at the time was that there is no such thing as a free lunch—except in Austin when the Legislature is in session.) In one well-publicized 1987 incident, a lobbyists and four lawyers with an interest in legislation flew the House speaker to a Mexican golf resort with six single women, including a former topless dancer.

Journalists were not immune. A married couple I knew were interviewing a state senator together when she walked off. The senator took a hard look at her bottom as she walked away and made a sexually suggestive comment. The husband snapped, “Hey, buddy, that’s my wife you’re talking about.” Women in the media also had to put up with inappropriate comments on their looks and “little lady” comments said straight to their face. Once, when I had written a tough investigative piece about university investments, members of the University of Texas board of regents wanted a meeting. My editor at the time, Wendy Benjaminson, nearly exploded when a regent told her not to strain her “pretty head” with complicated financial questions. (Today she is the managing editor of a national news publication.)

This is not to say every male in the Legislature or state government was a predator or libertine. There were many legislators about whom I never heard a word of impropriety. And things started changing when Richards and Bullock, both recovering alcoholics, banned alcohol from being publicly consumed in the Capitol. The advent of the religious right lawmakers also had a calming influence. Plus, there seemed to be some level of education going on. As former state representative Danburg told Rugeley in 1993, “Some of the older guys still act like my dad. Part of our job here is consciousness raising. That helps us, other women and our constituents.”

Apparently, the consciousness raising has been backsliding. I won’t repeat every accusation or incident raised in Messer’s story. I’ll just say I’ve seen enough over three decades at the Capitol to believe it is true and to be disappointed that much of it is as bad or worse than things that occurred in the 1980s.

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  • WUSRPH

    And they won’t UNTIL they have to pay a penalty for their behavior…..AT THE POLLS…..but I fear that will not be soon if only because last year we elected a man as president who bragged about grabbing women by their sexual organs….and that appeared not to matter.

    • roadgeek

      Do you have any comment about the feeding frenzy taking place in Hollywood? Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are both prominent Democratic supporters. Is the sexual harassment just a Republican thing? Will you have any comment about Bill Clinton, his intern and the cigar they shared?

      I’m just curious. I understand this behavior happens anywhere there are men in positions of power over women. I’m hoping you understand that it happens in Springfield, Sacramento and Albany, just like it does here.

      Right?

      • SpiritofPearl

        Roy Moore ain’t no Dem, Geek. You’d vote for the Marquis de Sade if he was a Republican . . .

        • roadgeek

          Well, sure, as long as he was in favor of a wall and inland enforcement.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Sometimes you exhibit a wisp of humor.

        • SeeItMyWay

          I don’t know Roy Moore from Adam; nor any of the other public figures named as sexual predators. I do know this…a young professional I know had his career ruined, went bankrupt, and, almost lost his marriage over a woman who worked for him’s filing a charge of sexual misconduct with the Tarrant County D.A.’s office.

          After over two years of delay in setting a court date to show jurers that testimony from others, along with phone records, showed that he was nowhere near the accuser at the time she alleged, and testimony from fellow employees that she was out to get the company for being passed over for promotion, the D.A.’s Office refused to drop charges until the woman herself, refused to show up for a trail.

          How easy is it for a life to be ruined by a vindictive lie these days? There has to be middle ground. Where is it? Where does the innocent until proven guilty part come in? Where does the compensation for personal and financial loss come from after one of these false claims gets a guy skewered?

          • donuthin2

            A false accusation is as bad or maybe worse than the accusation itself. Not sure how often a false accusation happens, but undoubtedly some. But in the Moore case, though it is old, it is reinforced by others who stepped forward as well as the young lady telling friends at the time as well as her mother at some point. It seems to me that he has a lot of culpability. Enough to put him in jail, maybe not but certainly enough that I would never vote for the creep.

          • SpiritofPearl

            When Trump was elected, Jeff Bezos hired 55-60 new investigative journalists. The WaPo investigation was well sourced.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I never used a man – other than my supportive spouse – to advance my career, but I’ve been sexually harrassed numerous times. Had to change jobs once when I politely said “no,” then he attempted to keep me out of grad school, out of other jobs. I kept quiet for fear of making waves – women do that a lot. I eventually spoke to the university women’s advocate when he sought revenge and she did nothing. I never sought money and the sad part of it was his wife was a friend of mine. His daughter was my son’s playmate.

            I know many other women with similar stories. I’ll bet your dear wife does, too. Most claims are NOT false.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Where did I say most claims were false, Pearl? My point is that all of them are not true…and that some lives are altered and ruined when the search for justice pendulum swungs too far to either side. Right now, it is about as far to the “hang ‘um” side as it can get.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I disagree that the pendulum is swinging in favor of accusers. I would say that women (and men) are now no longer afraid to speak out. I agree that in some cases, especially where the alleged “perp” has money, that some accusers are looking for money.

            They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I would also say that hell hath no fury like a man who thinks he’s hot stuff is rejected.

          • SeeItMyWay

            While on the same side of the arguement about their being no room for sexual predation anywhere…anytime…we, once again, find ourselves in disagreement on exactly how close to each other we stand.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We both dislike predators. I was not a victim of predation, but of harrassment. You and I differ on what constitutes predation and harrassmenr.

          • SeeItMyWay

            How do you know that we differ on the two? I just mentioned the one. From that,you know what I think constitutes harassment?

          • SpiritofPearl

            Didn’t you just say we differed?

            What do YOU think constitutes harassment?

          • SeeItMyWay

            Any extended begging, demands, actions or threats after hearing “no”.

          • SpiritofPearl

            How about wheedling?

          • SeeItMyWay

            That’s a joke, right?

          • SpiritofPearl

            Yes and no.

      • donuthin2

        Well both of those guys have been fired, heavily criticized and will probably be charged and could do time. It is interesting to me that the holly rollers are often the worst offenders. Lots of Elmer Gantrys out there.

        • John Bernard Books

          Lots of Bill Clintons out there….I corrected it for you.

        • roadgeek

          Elmer Gantry. One of my favorite movies. Haven’t seen it in years, and need to again. A reminder that Burt Lancaster was one of the finest actors of the 20th Century, and that Shirley Jones was vastly underrated as an actress. I read the book, but didn’t get much out of it; it’d probably mean more to me today. I’ll probably give both another try.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Oh Geek Geek Geek. Have you got amnesia? Remember Denny Hastert, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, Donald Trump?

        • roadgeek

          My point, which I suspect yo are missing on purpose, is that this is not a party thing. It’s a power imbalance thing. Went on in the Communist and Nazi parties as well, so there’s not a political component at all.

          • BCinBCS

            The biggest difference between the two tribes is that one does not constantly claim to have a superior relationship with god and morality in all of its actions.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Amen!

          • SpiritofPearl

            Then why did you mention only Dems? “Fair and balanced,” eh?

          • John Bernard Books

            ” Is the sexual harassment just a Republican thing?”
            pearl you’re an idiot……no other way to put it

    • SeeItMyWay

      Kinda telling that you want to rail against everyone except Bullock…. the guy you worked for, and defended when he twisted off and did something stupid. You feel any guilt in not quitting and finding another job instead of sticking around watching all that immoral stuff and just sitting there with your mouth shut? Must have been tough. Must still be.

      • WUSRPH

        “Yes, I did. Not justifying his retorts, but someone always fires the first round. There are a few regulars here with hair-triggers it seems. Have watched this play out several times since I logged in the first time. I love open, loosely “policed” blogs, but feel that chronic, openly hostile, name callers should be warned and then banned if they keep it up.” SeeItMyWay

        “Just checking in. I see that you still have a few posters who go out of their way to get nasty and personal”. SeeItMyWay

        Maybe you should practice what you preached,. Name calling, personal insults and attacks are your specialty.

        There were at least two Bullocks: The drunk Bullock who many questionable personal acts and the sober Bullock who was happily married and did not. I worked only for the sober Bullock. But it makes no difference…He was a man with many personal flaws…but in spite of that he achieved much. If you want to know what I felt about him you might read Paul Burka’s summation of Bullock from shortly after Bullock’s retirement. Meanwhile clean up your act.

        • SeeItMyWay

          Your retort is just perfect as far as I am concerned, and paints the true picture of you. I’ll leave it to others to decide how they dechiper it.

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems have paid women to falsely allege Judge Roy Moore a fine upstanding christian has sunk to their level. As we all know some will do anything and say anything for money. If you think dems have sunk as low as they can go….think again.
    Remember when Bill Clinton was exposed as a sexual predator as most dem men are, he didn’t deny it he had Hillary accuse GH Bush of the same behavior.
    That justifies it with the looney left women….”see all men are like that.”
    There are smart men who refuse to be in a room or go to lunch one on one with women so they won’t be falsely accused by these sick puppies.

    Dems are sick and it will get worse as they continue to lose.

    • Kay Ketzenberger

      Any woman with a bit of sense in her head will stay as far from a Rethuglican man as she can get, given they are nothing but reptiles (cold-blooded dinosaurs who will eat their own kids for a dollar). Roy Moore is a pedophile who hides behind a religion that has been taken over by soulless selfish people who have prostituted Jesus into making money for themselves. Just like you, you ignorant, woman-hating, cult-worshiping defender of child molesters.

      • John Bernard Books

        Yes thats exactly how it works….if you’re a looney leftie

        • Kay Ketzenberger

          It’s OK, John. I won’t bother you with the facts. Your mind’s already made up (probably has been set in stone since the stone age) so facts are just “fake news” to you. But Roy Moore is a child molester who Jesus will disown when the time comes, probably along with you. Although I honestly don’t know about you, since I don’t know anything about how you’ve lived your life, just how you defend child molesters and make false accusations of others. Bad enough.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Booksie is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Save yourself from an interaction.

          • Kay Ketzenberger

            🙂 Yes, seems that way. Thanks for the heads up.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Stay around. I’m short of female company on Burka Blog!

          • Kay Ketzenberger

            I only found it because of this article. I’m not familiar with the blog itself. Seems a bit more right than left, but as this is my first time here, that could very well be off base. What’s the blog about/for/from/etc?

          • SpiritofPearl

            It was a blog started by Paul Burka years ago and was designed to discuss state politics. I started reading it while I still lived in Indiana so that I could learn about Texas. Burka retired and the blog was picked up by Erica Grieder. She departed – as did the former staff – after last year’s election. Now a series of guest writers post blogs.

            It’s an Old (Mostly) White Boys Club, some on the left, some in the center, and a few on the right.

          • John Bernard Books

            BS….TM is owned by Bill Hobby…he leans so far left he walks in circles all day.

          • Kay Ketzenberger

            It seems pretty interesting. I see a lot of Texas Monthly articles – is the blog just the comments to the articles, or something separate, too? If it’s separate, where would I find it?

          • BCinBCS

            Kay, the blog may or may not talk about articles in Texas Monthly. To find the articles that appear in the magazine, click on the Texas Monthly header at the very top of this page or click on one of the subject areas that are listed to its right. Articles that are “related” to the subject of each blog are in the boxes after the posting but before the comment section. Comments that follow a blog listing may or may not talk about what was in the blog and they may not even talk about Texas. This is a fairly free flowing comment section. Please join in.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Log onto texasmonthly.com, then scroll to the very bottom to “blogs.” You’ll find Burka Blog there.

          • donuthin2

            I hope you stay as it appears that you have a lot to contribute. And as a guy with a wife, two daughters and four grand daughters, I have come to appreciate the female perspective. I once considered myself just right of center and in the last couple of years have gravitated to just left of center. You will find opposing views here and some of them are well thought out and many are not so well thought out. I, too, have blocked booksie as he is reprehensible.

          • Kay Ketzenberger

            It seems pretty interesting. I see a lot of Texas Monthly articles – is the blog just the comments to the articles, or something separate, too?

          • John Bernard Books

            “Seems a bit more right than left,” geez this blog leans so far left…….do you know your right from your left?

          • John Bernard Books

            the banned pearl loves her gin….

          • 7819647

            You got it sister, and the best thing with these people is to call a spade a spade.
            Pardon my upbringing.

          • John Bernard Books

            Actually I didn’t I defended a Christian, apparently you don’t know the difference.

      • SM

        He’s not a paedophile – he’s a child molester. Both are horrible and disgusting but there is actually a difference in that a paedophile tends to prey on pre-pubescent kids.

        • John Bernard Books

          everyone knows dems own the pedophile rights to your children…..

        • Kay Ketzenberger

          Well, OK. True enough. But we may just not know about everyone he’s abused. Still, you’re right.

    • SM

      It’s nice that they allowed you out of the mental hospital for the weekend…

      • John Bernard Books

        shoot up any churches lately?

        • SM

          What kind of comeback is that, you ridiculous little man?

          • John Bernard Books

            WELL HAVE YOU”!”

          • SM

            You’re hilarious. Do you mean “We’ll have you.”? As in “We’ll have you as soon as me and my buddies have had our penis extension operations so that we can be REAL men?”

          • SpiritofPearl

            I’ve blocked him, so if he’s insulting me, it’s nothing.

          • John Bernard Books

            I banned you pearl.

          • John Bernard Books

            English much? WELP HAVE YOU?

          • SpiritofPearl

            He is very large.

  • John Bernard Books

    We’re entering crazy lady territory…..
    “A Democratic state senator from Minnesota is facing calls to resign amid allegations that he sexually harassed several women involved in state politics.”
    http://www.americanpress.com/news/national/minnesota-state-senator-accused-of-sexually-harassing-women/article_b0524424-c568-11e7-9fc7-bfaa4e21ee51.html

    will it stop?….nope

  • John Bernard Books

    Can anyone go as low as dems….
    “Legend has it that LBJ, in one of his early congressional campaigns, told one of his aides to spread the story that Johnson’s opponent f***cked pigs. The aide responded “Christ, Lyndon, we can’t call the guy a pigf***cker. It isn’t true.” To which LBJ supposedly replied “Of course it ain’t true, but I want to make the son-of-a-b*tch deny it.”
    https://www.democraticunderground.com/1002579626

    The pedophiles are calling a good Christian man a child molestor….yes they can go lower……

    • BB53

      Heh. You obviously meant to say the Christians are calling a good pedophile a child molester……. And what’s wrong with that, anyway?

  • WUSRPH

    Here is The National Review’s comments on people who refuse to condemn Roy Moore because of politics:

    http://tinyurl.com/yba4qjmb

    “disgusting” is only part of what we should say about such truly despicable people.

    • John Bernard Books

      The sickos are people like you who push their hatred through identity politics…..

  • WUSRPH

    This is off topic….but it is something that you might want to start thinking about and—especially if your state rep and senator are GOP–asking them about:

    From the Quorum Report:

    “November 10, 2017 3:44 PM

    With Straus planning his exit, the sales tax solution for Public Ed returns

    But skeptics fire back “To replace school property taxes with the sales tax would require that the state roughly double the current sales tax rate” leaving Texas with “a very unbalanced tax system”

    Some in the conservative wing of the Texas House continue are once again pushing a sales tax increase as the solution to the woes of rising property tax rates in this state. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was one of the earliest leaders to float the idea of substitute pennies on the Texas sales tax rate to pay for education back in 2013. By 2015, lawmakers had siphoned off “excess” sales tax for transportation.

    And in 2017, Speaker Joe Straus and House leaders called on lawmakers to put more state funding into education to decrease tax bills.

    Now Straus is on the way out, and conservatives have returned to the idea that the consumption tax is efficient because the taxpayer can regulate how much they pay without putting an asset like their home at risk. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, where Empower Texans Chairman Tim Dunn is Vice Chairman, convened a full day of panels this week touting a mixture of school choice and consumption taxes as the method to bring school finance under control.

    The rest of the story, subscribers only”

    While this might “save” the average homeowner a few dollars per year it would also:

    * save businesses and the oil and gas industry BILLLIONS while transferring the TOTAL LOAD for public schools to the consumer.

    * It would require at least a doubling of the sales tax (some estimates say it might have to go to 20%) which is the most “regressive” of our taxes.

    * Legitimate studies show that unless you make over $180,000 per year you will PAY MORE TOTAL TAXES with this sales tax than you pay now with sales and property.

    *80% of the people of Texas will pay more TAXES.

    Think about it. It will require a two-thirds vote (21 in the Senate, 100 in the House) to be adopted. Every vote is important.

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    • WUSRPH

      Subject: One for the lawyers: Can you abolish the property tax by statute?

      Whenever the TPPF or Dan Patrick have talked about replacing property taxes for public schools with an expanded sales tax those who oppose the idea have taken refuge behind the idea that it will require a constitutional amendment (and a two-thirds vote in both houses) and a belief/hope/wish that it cannot get the votes BUT is there possibly a way for them to effectively abolish school property taxes WITHOUT a
      constitutional amendment? Let me explain what I mean.

      Dan Patrick has tried several times to change the limit on increases set by the state constitution and expand it all other state spending……Each of his attempts to do it with a constitutional amendment have failed as he has not been able to get the 21 votes he would need in the Senate. So, two sessions ago—probably hatched by Walter Fisher—he dropped that approach and substituted the idea of doing it BY Statute……this meant he had to leave the current limit where it was (but it covers only a portion of state spending anyway) but he could establish a limit on ALL the rest of state spending, including out of federal funds, by statute. He has since twice passed this approach through the Senate, but has yet to get it thru the House……although that may well change next session if Straus is gone and Bonnen is no longer Ways & Means Chair.

      With that as background, what about this:

      1. Effectively abolish the collection of property taxes for public schools (other than for bonded
      indebtedness) by STAUTORILY FIXING the M&O tax rate at say five cents per $100.

      2. Make up that revenue by expanding and increasing the sales tax.

      This means that we would still be in “technical” compliance with the constitutional mandate that “all
      property” (other than excluded) shall be taxed, but at such a level as to have little effect on anyone.

      Could that be done?

      • Jed

        question: a state income tax famously requires (thanks to your former boss) a constitutional amendment.

        but what about cities (a la seattle)? does the state constitution reach to the level of dictating how cities can raise funds? what about school districts (i.e. independent from the state)? i could probably look it up, but i bet you already know … ?

        • WUSRPH

          First of all, NO constitutional amendment is required to adopt an income tax. The Legislature is perfectly free to adopt a corporate income tax any time it wishes. The ONLY constitutional restriction is on a PERSONAL income tax but even that DOES NOT require a constitutional amendment. The provision in question can be found at:

          http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CN/htm/CN.8.htm#8.1

          If you read it you will find that if authorizes the legislature to adopt a personal income tax by statute which does not require a constitutional amendment subject to two conditions:

          1) no less than two-thirds of the revenues be used to reduce school district property taxes;

          2) the law enacting the tax by approved by a majority of the voters at a statewide election.

          Thus, as you can see, although it may make it difficult, there is no need for a constitutional amendment for any income tax.

          As to your specific question: Yes, state law and the constitution limit the kinds of taxes local governments can collect.

          • Jed

            ok thanks.

            for practical purposes the same, since constitutional amendments themselves only need majority approval by voters (and since both would require legislative action in the first place). voter approval is not the problem, as virtually every proposed constitutional amendment passes popular referendum, for some reason (i have a terminal degree in political science and about 500 books on politics, but i don’t remember reading anything that explains texas voters).

          • WUSRPH

            Actually, because only a statute is required, it would be easier to pass the legislature as only 76 and 16 votes would be required after it got to the Floor…but, of course, getting even that many is probably impossible.

            The question I was raising was whether only that many votes might be required to replace school property taxes with a sales tax…..If that is possible, it is likely to PASS one day since it will be sold as “tax cut” while hiding the real tax increase in the sales tax where most will not notice it. It will also win a lot of support from business and industry who would walk away with billions in actual savings, leaving it to the consumer to pick up the cost.

          • Jed

            the only thng worse than property tax is sales tax. perish the thought.

            but what about replacing (school) property taxes with (school) income taxes? any sane legislature would be looking hard at that. if only we had one …

          • WUSRPH

            I thought this might be of interest to one or two of you. I prepared it for a group of fellow
            Capitol-exs and currents who like to try to get ahead of the upcoming issues. It also shows the REAL kind of work I did for Bullock in contrast to the crap that JJ keeps digging out of his putrid imagination.

            Replacing Property Taxes with Sales Taxes

            An attorney whose views I respect and whose knowledge covers almost everything legislative assures me that I am correct that Lt. Gov. Patrick/TPPF DO NOT NEED a constitutional amendment to replace local school property taxes with a sales tax.

            They can, as I suggested the other day, simply:

            *Effectively eliminate most of the property tax for public schools by statute. This would involve capping the M&O tax at a minimum level, say 5 cent per $100, to be used for “local enrichment” above and beyond what the state provides. (This would leave the bonded indebtedness tax for facilities but it could also be capped.)

            *Expand the increase the existing state sales tax and use sales tax revenues to replace the revenues formerly generated by the local property tax.

            This could all be done with only 16 votes in the Senate (assuming the suspension of the ROB) and as few as 76 in the House. This means that it is vital that SOMEONE whose work is accepted as being valid produce a thorough analysis of the impact of this change that covers all the following, if not more:

            A thorough analysis of the amount of sales tax revenues that would be required to replace the local property tax (which now produces about $25 billion per year) that shows at least:

            1. The amount of that paid by single-family residences (which I guesstimate to be about 44% of the total).

            2. The amount paid (thru their rent) by the estimated 40% of Texas who rent their housing. (None of whom would receive any tax cut savings)

            3. The amount paid by each of the economic sectors such as business, rental housing, commercial, industrial, farm and agriculture, oil and gas, etc.

            4. Using those figures demonstrate the “tax savings” for each group that would result
            from cutting the M&O tax to 5 cents and, in the process.

            a.) The percentage of the sales tax revenue paid by the various sector such as
            consumers, business, commercial, oil and gas, farm and agriculture, oil and gas, etc.
            b.)The percentage of family income represented by the sales tax paid by various income
            groups and race and ethnicity.

            5. The sales tax rate that would be required to produce the needed replacement revenues using several approaches such as:

            a.) Simply doubling the current rate.

            b) The TPPF proposal to tax “every item or service taxed in at least one other state” which they claim would allow the STATE rate at 9% including in the analysis the impact on various group, particularly non-profits, from the repeal of their exemptions or special treatment.

            c.) A mixed increase and expansion.

            d.) The impact of each of these alternatives on the
            various economic sectors and on consumers by income group, etc.

            e.). An analysis of the NET impact on each of the groups, income level groups, etc. that illustrates the NET tax savings for business, etc. and how as many as 80% (last guesstimate) of Texas’ consumers will wind up paying MORE total taxes. (Of course, the political beauty of this scheme is that most will not notice it.)

            6.) The impact on the amount of “local control” of the schools when virtually ALL funding is coming from the state.

            7.) An analysis of the stability of the sales tax vs. the property tax as a dependable source of revenue and our the increase in revenues from year to year.

            8.) An analysis of methods to be used to distribute the sales tax revenues to local districts
            including simply using the current formulas and/or providing some “extra” funds
            to insure that the total funding available to districts is not reduced by the
            change.

            The purpose of this analysis would be to give members of the legislature, the makers of public opinion and regular citizens the information they would need to determine that this
            proposal should not be adopted. Of course, such information may be of little help when the proposal is adopted and pushed both by the state’s current leadership and by the hundreds of business, industry, etc. lobbyists when they realize the billions in actual tax cuts their clients would receive……

          • BCinBCS

            As the hot days of summer and its associated fight over health care comes to an end and the crisp 85º of fall replaces it, so does the latest political fight. As WURSPH delves into the possibility of changes to our taxation on the state level, politicians are doing the same on the national level.

            It has been argued by some that the tax reform reshuffling proposed by the Republicans benefits the rich to the exclusion of the middle- and lower classes. This thesis was demonstrated by an exchange between Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wa.) and Thomas Barthold, chief of staff for Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation:

            Will a teacher in my district who buys pens, pencils paper, for his students be able to deduct these costs from his tax return under this plan?
            Simple answer: No.

            Will a corporation that buys pens, pencils, and papers for its workers be able to deduct those costs from its tax returns under this plan?
            Simple answer: Yes.

            Will a firefighter from my district be able to deduct the state and local sales taxes that she pays from her tax returns under this plan?
            Simple answer: No.

            And will a corporation be able to deduct sales taxes on business purchases under this plan?
            Simple answer: Yes.

            Will a homeowner in my district be able to deduct more than $10,000 in property taxes under this plan?
            Simple answer: No.

            Will a corporation be able to deduct more than $10,000 in property taxes under the plan?
            Simple answer: Yes.

            And if a worker in my district had to move because his employer is forcing him to relocate his family or potentially lose his job, can he deduct his moving expenses under this plan?
            Simple answer: No.

            But if a company, a corporation, decides to close its facilities in my district, fire its workers, and move its operation to China, say, can it deduct associated moving expenses under this plan? Or stated another way: Can a corporation under this plan deduct outsourcing expenses incurred relocating a U.S. business outside of the United States?
            Simple answer: Yes.

            It would appear that now after the SCOTUS ruling of Citizens United (that stated essentially that corporations are people) the domination of government by business is complete.

          • WUSRPH

            And the political beauty of all of this—-and what makes it so wrong—is that it is well-off and business which will benefit most BOTH on the state and federal level…..

          • dave in texas

            You’ve got the wrong genre of books to explain Texas voters. I’m thinking you need fantasy, or maybe horror. 😉

  • John Bernard Books

    How funny a good old boy like Bill can’t rape women anymore.

  • John Bernard Books
  • WUSRPH

    In case anyone cares, I finally tired of JJ’s insults, personal attacks and now attacks on my personal morality….I have left him unblocked in the past because on very rare occasions he said something worth considering and his flights of total political fantasy are amusing….but no more. He has joined his colleague the Troll.

    • SeeItMyWay

      He can dish it out, but can’t take it. Instead of a drunk in this post, I am simply disagreeable…and he is right…I disagree with a whole bunch of his blather, and his ego doesn’t like having someone telling him he is wrong, or calling him out for claiming moral superiority after working as a spinmeister for years for one of the most immoral men to ever occupy state elected office. Calling his his chosen work environment a cesspool never has gone over well either. He still seems to think that our state legislature operates on morally high ground.

      Don’t expect me to follow suit and block him. I want to be able to disagree with his take on things whenever and however I see fit.

    • WUSRPH

      Actually, based on the list of people JJ hates, I am happy to be added to the list. I, however, will not hate him. That would elevate him to a level to which he is not qualified. All I can do for him is feel pity.

    • José

      A new coat of paint can hide the rust for only so long.

      • WUSRPH

        not sure what that means.

        • José

          The new kinder, gentler JJ seems much like the old

          • SpiritofPearl

            He’s unchanged. I blocked him again. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

    • John Bernard Books

      He needs to understand you like I do. He needs to accept that you’re a senile old fool that believes what he writes.

  • John Bernard Books

    How many women have old Bill raped….
    “Eileen Wellstone, 19-year-old English woman, said Clinton sexually assaulted her after she met him at a pub near the Oxford where the future President was a student in 1969. A retired State Department employee, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that he spoke with the family of the girl and filed a report with his superiors. Clinton admitted having sex with the girl, but claimed it was consensual. The victim’s family declined to pursue the case.”
    and Old Ted….
    “The Chappaquiddick incident was a single-vehicle car accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, on Friday, July 18, 1969, that was the result of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy’s negligence and resulted in the death of his 28-year-old companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, who was trapped inside the vehicle.”

    waiting for dem wimmen to say something….anything……crickets….

    • Carolyn

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    • BB53

      Which “dem”?
      And how stupid are you to believe anything in “The Daily Caller”?

  • John Bernard Books

    So the question is the same…why does the left lie?
    “According to PJ Media, veterans argue that the documentary series fails to mention key aspects of the conflict, “including the communist connections of North Vietnamese dictator Ho Chi Minh and the brutal repression after the war.”
    In an interview with far-left publication Mother Jones, neither Burns, who co-produced the series with Lynn Novick, or his interviewer mentioned the words “communism” or “communist” — not once, and it was a fairly length interview.”
    https://conservativetribune.com/vets-set-the-record-straight-after/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=lynx&utm_campaign=can&utm_content=2017-11-12
    Why would commies mention communism….

    • Jessica

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    • BB53

      Another moronic, off-topic post.
      And communism was mentioned too many times to count in referring to Ho Chi Minh in the series. Try to keep up.
      On second thought, don’t bother. There’s no way you could.

  • John Bernard Books

    Are all dems socialists?
    “The California state Senate voted 28-8 Wednesday to exempt itself from the pointless gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the populace. Legislators apparently think they alone are worthy to pack heat on the streets for personal protection, and the masses ought to wait until the police arrive.”
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/6/one-law-for-us-another-for-you/

    anyone who votes dem in today’s world is an idiot…

    • BB53

      Are you lost? Or just brainless?

  • John Bernard Books

    Remember when dems were in charge….
    “If you were deliberately trying to design the most arbitrary, painful and pointless tax possible, how would you go about it?
    First, you would structure it to inflate the cost of an essential product. Then, you’d create exemptions so vast that only 5% of taxpayers were subject to it. You might even ensure that it hit people only when they were particularly vulnerable—like when they’d lost a job. Finally, you would use it to drive enrollment in entitlements, so that it increased the federal deficit by $338 billion.
    In short, you would design something that looks very much like the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.”
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-individual-mandate-is-the-worst-tax-ever-1510521324

    dems in charge, throw in the low information voter and presto! Obamacare…..

    while this may be the worst tax ever…trust me dems can do worse….

  • Dee Dee Dunlap

    I was lucky enough to know Edmund Kuempel . He was the most genuine, caring and ethical man . He was an “old school” gentleman that shook every mans hand and kissed every gentle woman’s cheek, while being respectful of their personal space. I understand the point you were attempting to make, however the wrong person was chosen to make that point . Out of the hundreds of men and women that I met while working at the Capitol,there were maybe a handful of men and women that were disrespectful. Please don’t throw the “gentleman “ out with the bath water .

    • WUSRPH

      I agree. Rep. Kuempel was one of the nicest, best-liked members of the House for many years. You could disagree with him on issues, but not dislike him. Perhaps a few were setback by his more than out-going nature and his size…..but there is no question that any offense he gave was totally unintentional.

      • Jed

        “…..but there is no question that any offense he gave was totally unintentional.”

        don’t you think that could be said about everyone? is that a defense for putting women in uncomfortable positions? consider biden in general, or gw bush’s attempted shoulder massage of merkel. neither intended offense, i’m sure, but the looks on the women’s faces says it all.

        i’ve made that or similar mistakes myself in the past. i meant no disrespect, but i figured out eventually that how they were receiving the attention mattered more than my actual intent.

  • WUSRPH

    How many seats in the Texas House and Senate now held by Hispanics will become vacant come filing day now that Gene Green has announced his retirement from Congress? A once in a life time chance.

    • WUSRPH

      State Sen.. Garcia has announced….She will get a free ride as she is not up for re=election to the Senate this year……Wonder if anyone will take her on…….if she wins there could be a special election for her seat during the next regular session with free rides for all the House members in her district.

  • John Bernard Books

    No one is as well liked as Twanna Dukes…
    “Dukes’ supporters include 17 Democratic members of the Texas Legislature, four members of Congress, two Travis County officials and her predecessor, former Rep. Wilhelmina Delco, D-Austin.”
    http://www.statesman.com/news/dukes-challenger-leaves-democratic-race-will-run-independent/yUN3og2LI4BHLvd64y8UTO/

    dem voters are some kind of stupid….

    • BB53

      And yet no one makes as many stupid, off-topic comments as you.

  • WUSRPH

    On Roy Moore: should he be elected the US Senate could refuse to seat him and send it back for another election……which, of course, he could win again.

    • José

      Apparently Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., did just that. The House refused to seat him one time because he was under investigation. He ran again and won the special election to fill his vacancy.

    • BCinBCS

      On Roy Moore: should he be elected the US Senate could refuse to seat him…

      I know that JJ does not like when people prognosticate and I rarely do so but I’ll go out on a (sturdy) limb and predict that if Roy Moore wins his Alabama Senate election, the RWNJ Republicans will not hesitate to seat him.

  • John Bernard Books

    The hits just keep on coming….
    “A TV host and sports broadcaster on Thursday accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006.”
    http://thehill.com/homenews/news/360656-woman-accuses-al-franken-of-kissing-groping-her-without-consent

    Why is ok with wimmen if dems sexually molest them……

  • John Bernard Books

    Somehow you just gotta face facts….dems lie…
    “Can you say flatly that was not a forgery?” Blitzer asked.
    Allred did not directly address the question, just saying she would welcome a Senate hearing.
    “That is not a flat denial,” Blitzer pressed.”
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=GbRDFswFPfc

  • WUSRPH

    But what will they parade around at the next convention?

    Trump must really hate his “fellow” Republicans….Now he has made it easier and more attractive to kill their beloved symbol—the Elephant….by lifting the ban on important the tusks as trophies.

  • WUSRPH

    I am beginning to doubt that there is a man alive, other than The Troll, of course, who has NEVER offended a woman in an inappropriate manner even though most of us had no such intent. Looking back I can think of a couple of times I might have done something like that….Of course, we know that the Troll could never have done such things as, as he tells us everyday, only Democrats like Donald Trump and Roy Moore would stoop that low.

    • BCinBCS

      You know, W, I was thinking the same thing.

      I have read accusations described by a couple of women in some comments sections that appear to simply be men asking them out on dates. (Don’t get me wrong, I abhor sexism by men toward women and I believe the overwhelming majority of cases are true but some women are hyper-sensitive toward some men,)

    • John Bernard Books

      aww WASSUP you sad old man you’ve been reading my comments again….

  • John Bernard Books

    If it only happens in your mind…did it happen?
    “An Alabama woman who has accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually harassing her in the late 1970s said he was banned from the mall where she worked after she complained about his repeated, unwanted advances toward her.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/roy-moore-accuser-banned-mall/story?id=51195632
    let’s ax pearl the resident expert……

  • John Bernard Books
  • John Bernard Books

    Democrats are now saying they messed up on holding Bill Clinton responsible for his sexual peccadilloes…so they are going to hold Prez Trump accountable…..are you kidding me?

    • BB53

      Says the idiot who voted for Drumpf!

  • John Bernard Books
    • BB53

      It says you’re a moron. Is that what you meant?

  • WUSRPH

    No one asked my opinion, but if it turns out that there is more to the Franken story than has been revealed so far…..say something like a consistent record ala Trump and Roy Moore….I would hope that Minnesota, like Texas, has a law requiring a special election for a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. If it does, he should then resign and run again in that special to let the people of Minnesota decide whether they want him as their senator.

    • WUSRPH

      I see where the WH says it is okay to attack Franken–because he admitted it—but not to say anything about Trump since he denies it. I swear I thought I heard at least a de facto confession by Trump when he bragged about he loved to go up to women and grab their ……

  • John Bernard Books

    Bernie and Hillary serial harassers….
    “But each woman says she was sexually harassed by a fellow campaign worker — and that both campaigns were ill-equipped to address the allegations. Their stories show how political campaigns can prey on the same young people who power them with their work and energy.”
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/clinton-sanders-campaign-sexual-harassment_us_5a0dfdf2e4b045cf43705417

    dems love them some chillern….