craig eiland

Pre-filed amendments to budget bills set the stage for culture wars on spending

Mar 30, 2011 By R.G. Ratcliffe

The next several days of Texas House budget debate may be as much about the culture wars as state spending. Pre-filed amendments to the three budget-related bills before the House contain limitations on private school vouchers, funding for Planned Parenthood and directives to higher education to fund centers for traditional family values if they provide funding for support centers for gay students. Debate is set to begin Thursday on House Bill 4 to erase a deficit in the current budget and on House Bill 275 to take $3.2 billion out of the state's so-called rainy day fund. Debate is set for Friday and into the weekend on House Bill 1, a bare bones spending plan for the next two years. Some of the pre-filed amendments may never be debated because there is a possibility that they are not procedurally proper for an appropriations bill. But they do show state spending is about more than just spending – or in this case cutting.

All not quiet on the Western Front

May 24, 2009 By Paul Burka

A mostly mind-numbing day during which Democrats slow-played the local calendar by asking questions for just short of ten minutes on every bill ended with Republicans and Democrats defending their parliamentary maneuvers as being consistent with the rules of the House. Republican caucus chairman Taylor produced a lengthy list of…

Wrong division

May 13, 2009 By Paul Burka

Eiland and Truitt just engaged in a major debate over Teacher Retirement System bill that expanded the types of companies eligible to offer 403(b) retirement accounts to certify with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Eiland offered an amendment sought by the Houston Independent School District. Truitt, aided by…

The TPPF unemployment insurance debate

Mar 31, 2009 By Paul Burka

The Texas Public Policy Foundation hosted a debate last week on the subject of whether Texas should accept the stimulus funds for unemployment insurance. The audio is available on the TPPF web site here. The participants were Republicans Kelly Hancock and Dan Gattis and Democrat Mark Strama. Craig Eiland, who was originally scheduled to participate, had a conflict. I am going to summarize the arguments below: Hancock I heard people saying that the way to fix this is to add more people to our system, because we're paying out faster than we're bringing in [money]. This didn't sound right, that we need to add people to our rolls while we're paying out money in a fund that is not keeping up with the payments that we're paying out today, because we'll get a lump sum of money up front. I look at this as what's best for Texas long-term instead of a short-term kind of mentality. If you look in a very short-term perspective, these funds are extremely beneficial to us. My wife and I started a new business, a farm and ranch store, it's been successful. Our business is up significantly. With our business, I had to borrow money up front so I could make more money in the end. The unemployment insurance money actually does the opposite. Rather than increase the revenue side long-term, it increases the expense side long-term. It does increase the revenue side short-term. The impact of business is insignificant except when you draw the lines [Hancock and Strama both used slides that were provided by the Workforce Commission, although they did not have the same data] out to infinity and beyond.

On Eiland Time

Feb 11, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

A renowned medical facilities consultant has recommended to the UT Board of Regents that UTMB’s inpatient hospital in Galveston—which was hit hard by Hurricane Ike— be mostly relocated to League City where it would be both easier to rebuild and more financially viable. Under this proposal, one of three options…

Day One: Free at Last

Jan 14, 2009 By Paul Burka

The first day of a legislative session always has the festive atmosphere of a high school reunion, but this one had something extra. It was also Bastille Day—the moment that the masses stormed the battlements and freed the prisoners. I have never seen so many members look so happy. Charlie…

No Time for Tom

Dec 29, 2008 By Paul Burka

Everyone wants to attend Craddick’s funeral, but the corpse is still breathing—barely. One more nail in the awaiting coffin: The Democrats  published their names. It’s vital, as January 13 approaches, that the insurgents do everything possible to bolster their credibility, and the best way to do that was lay out…

Smaller Talk

Nov 19, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Honorably Mentioned: Burt Solomons, Jim Keffer, Craig Eiland, Brian McCall, Rafael Anchia, Charlie Geren, Warren Chisum, Phil King, and Rob Junell (naturally). If you do not see your name on the list, you have given us no reason to talk about you. (Go watch it on our homepage so I…