The New Year typically brings in ambitious resolutions of self-improvement and positive change, but more often than not those resolutions fall by the wayside just as quickly as they are made. Texans shouldn’t expect anything different from Senator Jeff Wentworth, whose new campaign vows of conservativism will be forgotten before it’s time to put them to practice.
Yesterday, Sen. Wentworth (R – San Antonio) attended a candidate forum in Austin for Senate District 25, defending his conservative credentials and the work done during the 82nd Texas Legislature. Unfortunately for his constituents, little he’s done as state legislator can be considered conservative.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the “conservative” votes he recently cast:
- Supported increasing the draw-down from the Rainy Day Fund beyond what was already negotiated (HB 275)
- Supported raiding the RDF again in the special session
- Supported spending $25 million per year on a Formula 1 subsidy (HB 4)
- Supported subsidies for natural gas vehicles (SB 20)
- Supported additional interference and overbearing regulations in the free market (HB 2594)
- Opposed removing franchise-tax speed-ups that balanced the budget with gimmicks (SB 1811)
- Opposed implementing a hiring-freeze for state employees (SB 1811)
- Opposed suspending longevity pay for state employees (SB 1811)
- Supported eroding transparency in higher education (SB 5)
- Supported statutorily eliminating the constitutionally created Railroad Commission (SB 655)
- Supported forcing telecommunications companies to provide services to government buildings and public schools at discounted rates (SB 773)
- Supported expanding “summer nutrition programs” when children aren’t even in school (SB 89)
- Supported forcing residential land developers to sell property to school districts below market value (SB 296)
- Supported expanding a statewide “cash-for-clunkers” style program that provides low-income vehicle repair (HB 3272)
- Supported new and overbearing regulations on dog and cat breeders (HB 1451)
- Supported funding an “urban farming” pilot program administered by the Department of Agriculture (HB 2997)
In 2009, he voted for more subsidies for the entertainment industry (HB 873), more transportation and gasoline taxes (SB 855 & HB 300), higher taxes and more funding for “mass transit” projects (HB 2510 & SB 1570), an expansion of the CHIP to over 300% of the poverty level (SB 841), and an expansion of government-funded Pre-K programs (HB 130). He also voted to accept $7 billion of “stimulus” money with strings attached that would have forced the state to permanently expand our unemployment compensation system (SB 1569).
There’s nothing conservative about Mr. Wentworth’s record, and it’s hardly worth defending. For that, he earned an F on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index, a 31 in 2009, and a 54 in 2007. But it’s not just our scorecard that he’s failed either.
In 2011, he barely mustered a score better than his Democrat Senate colleagues with a 42 on the Young Conservatives of Texas ratings, dropping his career score down to a pathetic 59. He earned only a 43 from the Heritage Alliance and a 44 from Texas Eagle Forum. He scored less than 59%, earning him an F, on the Americans for Prosperity – Texas scorecard in 2009 (they’ve yet to release their 2011 version).
But those ratings should come as no surprise. Remember, this is the same senator who thought his record of delivering pork should have earned him the chancellorship of the Texas State University System.
It may be a brand new year, but it’s still the same old Jeff Wentworth. No amount of campaign rhetoric will be great enough to overcome his liberal legislative record.