"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
It's not a secret that the "leadership" of the Texas House of Representatives pretends to be conservative during election season, but Joe Straus' new campaign website is an impressive collection of half-truths, revisionist history, and taking credit for the accomplishments of others (primarily Rick Perry and Dan Patrick) even by their standards.
[Author's Note: You can read our report card for this past legislative session here.]
Economic Issues, what he claims:
Economic Issues, what really happened:
- Spending: The 2013 budget, which was the one over which Straus had greatest influence, was a disaster. The 2011 budget was "balanced" via gimmicks.. The 2015 budget was 100% due to Dan Patrick.
- Taxes: In 2015, Dan Patrick came into office with a mandate to reduce property taxes. In an attempt to derail property tax relief, Joe Straus and House "leadership" came up with a screwy plan to cut a sales tax no one is complaining about. Patrick held his ground and Straus caved.
- "The Spending Cap": The current 'spending cap' in the Texas budget is a joke. Under Straus, attempts to create a spending cap with teeth have died 3 sessions in a row. This claim is akin to a 6 year old bragging about a participation trophy.
- Rainy Day Fund: Most of the money that goes into the rainy day fund come from "severance taxes" that result from Oil and Natural Gas extraction. During the early part of this decade, Texas was blessed by a shale energy boom that filled state coffers. Straus, meanwhile, attempted to raid the rainy day fund several times and did so successfully on....
- Water: ...a "water infrastructure development bank" more accurately described as a slush fund. This was an idea originally proposed by Franklin Roosevelt and most recently championed by the former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania Fast Eddie Rendell. Franklin Roosevelt and Fast Eddie Rendell aren't exactly conservative heroes.
Education Issues, what he claims:
Education Issues, what really happened:
- "Expanding School Choice": This claim is laughable, Joe Straus and his handpicked education committee chairman Jimmie Don Aycock are the primary obstacles to meaningful school choice.
- A through F grades for schools: Dan Patrick's idea that Straus couldn't stop.
- "Improving Higher Education": LOL, Joe Straus is one of the worst offenders in the abuses of power we've seen at U.T. Joe Straus drove the Wallace Hall impeachment. But at least he spent a lot of money and created a new slush fund for them last session.
Border Issues, what he claims:
Border Issues, what really happened:
- While none of Texas' "leaders" (except the outnumbered Dan Patrick) have covered themselves in glory on border issues, Straus has habitually been one of the worst offenders. In 2014, when Rick Perry belatedly sent DPS to the border, Straus dragged his feet. Straus later attempted to play games with the funding. The final 'border security' package that passed the #TXLEGE did little more than spend money.
- The interstate compact for border security passed the Texas Senate then died in the Texas House.
- Suffice to say, efforts to end subsidized tuition for illegal aliens and sanctuary cities went nowhere.
"Conservative Values," what he claims:
[Author's note: The fact that Straus links unrelated issues like Election Integrity, Life, and the Second Amendment under "Conservative Values" illustrates the disdain he has for all three.]
"Conservative Values," what really happened:
- Life: Whatever his shortcomings on other issues, Rick Perry was a warrior for life. In 2011, Perry made the Sonogram bill an emergency item. In 2013, Rick Perry called multiple special sessions to pass the bill that ultimately became HB 2. In 2015, absent Gubernatorial leadership, 8 pro-life bills died in the Texas House and the 2 that did pass felt like pulling teeth. The only reason the Texas House has done anything to protect innocent human life is because the politics of the issue have become so one-sided.
- Second Amendment: Considering his role in illegally squelching the debate over constitutional carry, this claim is particularly galling. No one denies that the Texas Legislature passed a watered down version of licensed open carry. Unfortunately, more meaningful pro-Second Amendment legislation languished.
- Voter ID: Another 2011 Rick Perry emergency item.
- Religious Liberty: Straus doesn't even discuss it, but it's worth mentioning that House leadership squelched numerous pro-Religious Liberty bills this past session.
Bottom Line: The fact that Joe Straus had to build his campaign website around half-truths, revisionist history, and taking credit for the accomplishments of others tells you everything you need to know about his record.