Same song, different verse. Like taxpayers around the state, the people ofÂ El Paso are getting hit hard by their city council with an 8.4 percent increase in property taxes. The reason? â€œWe don't have enough police officers,â€ according to the El Paso Times. Translation: Pay higher taxes, or the rapists will be dropped off in your neighborhood.By Michael Quinn Sullivan|August 29, 2007
So the cut-and-run retreat of Republicans from conservative values and principles continued this week. While the modern French are widely known for a willingness to surrender before a battle is fought, it seems Republicans in the Texas House are even willing to retreat from settled victory!
Republican legislators voted to unravel the reforms to the Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program, with only 19 legislators exhibiting any backbone. The rest? Cut and ran; theyâ€™d rather be loved by the left than govern from the right. (Hereâ€™s the list of the Republicans: The Good, The Trying Hard, and the Cut-And-Run Caucus.)By Michael Quinn Sullivan|April 4, 2007
For the last decade, Texas has been the national leader in making moves toward substantive, free-market reforms as means to solve problems and improve the quality of life.
T exasâ€™ accomplishments have played an important role in helping other states, and even Washington, take the same direction. Today, many of these accomplishments are threatened, most notably with plans to re-regulate the electric markets. This change could have national implications, and it certainly does not bode well for anyone doing any type of business in the state.By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 27, 2007
We know now that the stateâ€™s Texas Youth Commission was obscenely managed. The Texas Lottery was a scandal ridden mess a while back. The abuses of the Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program are a lesson in lunacy. Name a government agency, and itâ€™s been scandal plagued, mismanaged, or worse. And those are things legislators are supposedly elected to manage!
So it is nothing short of stupefying to find that the Republican-controlled Legislature seems to think they can accurately manage the private business of business better than the business owners.By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 23, 2007
Nothing is worse than having a fire, with no way to put it out. There is a clear public purpose to be served in using tax revenues to fight fires. That's why people can, with a local vote, implement an Emergency Services District. These districts levy property taxes to fund fire, emergency rescue and ambulance services.
But not content with letting local voters decide tax priorities, legislators – led by Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) – want to add a new tax on all property insurance policies in the state to fund fire protection services (HB2421). So if you and your neighbors have a fire department (full-time or volunteer), which you fully fund and staff, you'll be taxed to pay for people who haven't done so somewhere else.By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 23, 2007
In case you missed it, the Texas House this week approved the elimination of the Texas Infrastructure Fund tax. This egregious little tax has been levied on your phone bill for a decade. Everyone agrees the job the TIF tax was levied to do was finished (wire rural schools, hospitals and libraries to the Internet). […]By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 23, 2007
With Texas taxpayers struggling under rising property taxes, the former Democratic candidate for governor, Chris Bell, calls them greedy. In demonstrating why 70 percent of Texans voted for someone else, Bell says taxpayers shouldn’t be asking for a refund of the tax surplus. In a commentary being distributed by the failed candidate, Bell chastises […]By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 9, 2007
Another great open-government bill is HB640 by State Rep. Byran Hughes (R-Mineola). This bill would require that all expenditures by each state agency, be easily available online. The posting would also have to include the purpose of the expenditure. This will let taxpayers see exactly how our money is being spent, track waste and improve efficiency.
This is a great piece of legislation. Every member of the legislature who has promised to "protect taxpayers" should be a cosponsor of HB640.By Michael Quinn Sullivan|March 9, 2007