After coming out of a session that was more purple than red, those looking in from the outside must wonder if the governor of Texas is on a path to leave a state that has transformed from red to blue as his legacy.
Over the past several sessions, core values of the right have been front and center of legislative sessions with some progress being made on issues. Conservative budgets have been passed, social issues have been the topic of debate, and constitutional issues such as gun rights have made gains, but this session was completely opposite and one that has the left basking in the glory of victory.
One of the biggest successes that Gov. Abbott racked up was the passage of SB 11 with SB 10 amended in. This legislation, which came into existence through the Democrat Party Platform, was an emergency item that the governor called for in his State of the State address which will grow mental health services in the state. Not only will this legislation usher in a complete culture change for the state of Texas through the university and public-school system, it will seemingly benefit left-leaning groups such as the Meadows Foundation and the pharmaceutical industry.
The highly publicized HB 2 that the “Big Three” are touting as property tax relief is really a piece of legislation that no one understands. It seems that the effects that are being praised will really be nothing more than a vapor as they will not last beyond two years. The hundreds of dollars of relief that people are expecting on their tax bill will only be a flash in the pan and will not stop the rise of their taxes.
This legislature passed a bloated budget where a surplus of $10 billion was all spent. There were simple steps that could have been taken to make sure that the budget met the conservative budget formula of not spending more than inflation plus population, but that was cast aside as legislators acted like someone who maxes out their credit cards and looks for other ways to spend beyond their means. Over the past eight years, there has been an increase in the state budget from $174 billion to $250 billion. So much for Republican fiscal responsibility.
Massive amounts of new money were put into education spending, including raises for teachers. Do we even know if this spending will increase the quality of our Texas education system? There are rumblings from those in the legislature that there is no reliable state revenue source in place that is necessary to continue this plan. Does this “transformational,” as some are calling it, school finance plan really do what everyone thinks it will, or is this just another “same line, second verse” that we are all growing accustomed to? One thing that is for certain: The Democrat members of the legislature are jumping for joy as they now get to enjoy the full-day pre-K that they have been wanting for many years, as it was included in the legislation that is now law.
Now what? Conservatives in the state have not been given any direction from the governor’s office that would help them to understand where he is planning to lead the state. So far, the only indication has been given by Speaker Bonnen as he commented that he thought Texas would be very blessed if there was a Democrat majority and Joe Moody wanted to lead the House. (Joe Moody is the current Speaker Pro Tem and is a Democrat.) Is this a glimpse of what lies ahead? Is this what those in leadership are getting themselves prepared for?
What is the plan? The citizens of Texas would really like to know.
This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to firstname.lastname@example.org.