Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Greg Abbott's Speech: The Good, The Bad, and the UGLY!!!

"The wicked man does deceptive work,
But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward."
Proverbs 11:18

Texas State Capitol -- Earlier today, Governor Abbott gave his State of the State address.  It was a VERY mixed bag.  While it started out badly, it got substantially better in the second half.  Governor Abbott designated 5 emergency legislative items: Pre-K, pork for University "research," transportation, border security, and bolstering ethical standards.  Of these items, 3 are good, 1 is bad but basically harmless, and one is AWFUL.  Abbott's speech below:


The Good:
  • School Choice - Speaks about it favorably (and more openly than Perry ever did), but doesn't make it emergency legislation.
  • Transportation - Dedicate half of the motor vehicle sales tax to construction.
    • While we would prefer to have heard about reform of TxDOT, but this was a completely reasonable proposal.
  • Border Security - Expand DPS at the border; keep National Guard in place until DPS is ready.
    • Clear rebuke of Straus.
  • "Permanently Reduce" (NOT eliminate) margins tax.
  • Property Taxes -- Must be LASTING.
    • Cannot rise with valuations.
  • CONSTITUTIONAL SPENDING LIMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Author's Note: But will he fight for this any harder than Perry did?!?
    • Assuming you hold all the R's (not a given on something like this), you still need two D's in each the House and Senate to place it on the ballot.
  • Requiring state agencies to reduce "general revenue" spending by at least 3%
    • Exempts Public & Higher Ed, which is 60% of the budget by itself.
  • Ethics Reform -- Disclosing contracts with state agencies.
    • Not letting legislators vote on bills they can personally benfit from.
    • Geren's carrying it.
The Bad:
  • Half billion for Higher Education "Research"
    • Translation: Pork for University Administrators.
  • "Supporting Community Colleges."
  • More funding for "women's health programs."
Bottom Line: For the most part, this was a solid speech from Abbott.  Good ideas outnumbered questionable ones 7 to 4 (3 to 2 among emergency items).  That being said, pre-K as AN EMERGENCY ITEM...WTF?!?


Update: We largely concur with Jonathan Stickland....

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