Friday, March 17, 2017

Straus' Priorities: Minimum Wage Hikes and Rainy Day Fund Raids!!!

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,"
Galatians 1:6

One of the interesting dynamics of this session is the degree to which House leadership is being open about their left wing priorities; this past week saw two humdingers.

First the budget:
The institutions that we entrust with our future are facing serious setbacks that would harm our entire state. Our economic success begins in our schools, colleges and universities. In order to compete, we need a well-educated workforce with diverse skills.

And the cuts would hardly be limited to education. Across Texas, state mental hospitals are crumbling. Without significant repairs, for example, the Rusk State Hospital in East Texas will remain a public health hazard. Nursing homes could be forced to reduce their staffs.

And perhaps nobody should watch this debate closer than the retired teachers who put so many of us on the path to success. There is a $1 billion shortfall in the health care program for retired school employees. Without an injection of hundreds of millions of dollars to address that shortfall, retired teachers could face massive increases in their health insurance deductibles and very sizable increases in monthly premiums.


Another idea is to combine spending reductions with a modest withdrawal from the state's Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the rainy day fund.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
Read the whole thing here...but, honestly, what would you expect from a guy who uses identical language as Barack Obama to describe the economy?!?

Then there's this:
In a stunning move, the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to support Democrat efforts to hamstring the state’s economy by raising the minimum wage.

Earlier today, State Rep. Hugh Shine (R–Belton) moved to suspend the rules and fast track a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage by almost 50 percent.

Authored by the chairman of the House Democrat caucus, State Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington’s HJR 56 would amend the Texas Constitution to raise the minimum wage in the State of Texas from the federally required $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

Loyal to the Democrat-coalition that governs the Texas House, Shine serves as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Business & Industry and likely made the motion at the behest of his committee chairman State Rep. RenĂ© Oliveira (D–Brownsville).

And he succeeded.

Despite the Texas Republican Party Platform’s call for a complete abolition of the minimum wage and a long history of free market rhetoric, Republican members voted overwhelmingly in favor of Shine’s motion, with only 21 members voting against the motion to suspend the rules.

That vote was sharply condemned by conservative State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) who is serving his first term in the Legislature after dispatching a liberal Republican.
The minimum wage hike won't pass, but it will be used to waste time late in the session.

And there will be nine minimum wage related bills getting hearings on Monday; in other words, whatever your legislative priority, nine minimum wage related bills are going to get hearings first.

Priorities indeed.

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