Nothing is more inconvenient for politicians than their own voting records. It annoys them to no end that it’s possible voters might match legislative performance up with campaign rhetoric.
|Taken from a commentary originally published Nov. 22, 2011, at MyWestTexas.com.|
Or even just commonsense.
Take Kel Seliger, a Republican from Amarillo, as an example. The senatorial district he has held since 2004 is one of the more conservative in the state. It stretches from the furthest reaches of the panhandle, along the New Mexico border, to the Permian Basin. Free enterprise, not government largesse, is the currency there.
With tight budgets and economic constraints, small business owners have found themselves struggling to make ends meet.
Mr. Seliger didn’t help. He voted to speed-up the due date for the state’s complicated, inefficient and mostly unfair gross margins tax. It was an action that especially punishes start-ups, small businesses and struggling enterprises.
Of course, this is the same tax on business that Mr. Seliger helped create back in 2006.
He did amass quite the record this session of protecting… the highest paid government employees, while voting against the conservative members in the Texas Senate.
Mr. Seliger joined liberal Democrats in killing an amendment to suspend so-called “longevity pay” hikes for state employees. His vote forced struggling taxpayers to foot the bill for pay raises based solely on government employees showing up to work. What’s conservative about that?
Conservative state senators tried to lower the pay of state employees making over $200,000 per year. Not Mr. Seliger, who joined with the liberals in protecting highly paid bureaucrats.
That’s how he voted in the budget debate of 2011. His vote, not his campaign rhetoric, is what gets recorded in the Journal of the state’s senate.
I suspect Mr. Seliger doesn’t list those in his campaign literature.
On his campaign website, Mr. Seliger says he is all in favor of “lowering taxes.” Perhaps he is, but just not when serving as a member of the Texas Senate. Back in 2009 he voted for Senate Bill 55 which would have hiked the gasoline tax by 10-cents a gallon and imposed a radical set of new fees all in an effort to fund boondoggle projects in the Metroplex.
If you haven’t read it, Mr. Seliger’s “40 Point State Senate Action Plan” on his campaign website is actually an amusing ride through political tripe.
The contradictions can be sadly amusing. In bullet number seven he says that he will “strongly support local community control and oppose unfunded state/federal mandates.” In the next, he calls for a new mandate forcing teacher pay raises.
So he doesn’t trust the local community to pay their teachers appropriately? Remember: teachers are paid by the local districts, not the state; the legislature just sets the bare-minimum, letting the schools pay as much as they want.
So either Mr. Seliger wants to raise taxes at the state level and hope the school districts use the money for a pay raise, or he’d mandate the raise for the locals to fund. He is pushing for a tax hike, or a mandate, or both. Or, more likely, neither.
In recent press comments, Mr. Seliger’s campaign spokesman – a Fort Worth-based lobbyist – said that it isn’t “credible” to pay attention to the senate voting records. I think he meant “convenient.”
It’s terribly inconvenient that Mr. Seliger told voters in his 40-point, something-for-everyone plan that he would “[c]ut in half homeowner appraisal tax increases.” Yet when he had the opportunity to cut appraisal growth in the 79th Session, he voted against it. That kind of flip-flopping would make even Mitt Romney blush!
Like so many politicians, Kel Seliger doesn’t want you paying attention to his voting record. But then, they probably don’t want you paying that close of attention to their campaign promises, either.