In a shake-up of senatorial proportions, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has reorganized several committees in the Texas Senate. Most notably reorganized out of a job is tax-hike proponent John Carona (R-Dallas), who will no longer helm the powerful Transportation Committee.

This is very good news for Texas’ taxpayers.

Last year, big-government advocates like Sen. Carona (and House member Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake) pushed a big-tax agenda to fund more unaccountable spending. Their program was known as TLOTA, and every conservative organization in the state roundly opposed it.

But the issue was the darling of local governments, who were eager for new avenues into the taxpayers’ wallets – and not to mention contractors to build more boondoggle “light-rail” systems. The legislation kept the public in the dark about spending, while ensuring dollars could flow to the most inefficient transportation programs.

The Dallas Morning News reports today Carona says the TLOTA issue is dead. And that “the appetite for new taxes for transportation is zero.”

That’s some sharp political senses at work there. Every pro-Carona-tax candidate lost in open-seat races in the Dallas area, while those incumbents who supported it faced more difficult re-elects than those who opposed it.

And then there’s that pesky sluggish economy. Hiking taxes tends to make those situations worse, not better.

Perhaps, Senator, that’s also because everyone looks at the wasteful spending of the Dallas and Austin mass-transit agencies, the still unresolved mess at TXDOT, and recognize that, just perhaps, we need to get the spending under control before we trust these entities with any more of the taxpayers’ money!

It’s not that people don’t want to fund transportation appropriately, it’s that we’re tired folks pushing higher taxes and more spending for projects that clearly benefit so few at such a massive cost.

The new Transportation chairman will be Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands). His been a more reliable voice for conservatives, and is an accountant by trade – known more for scrubbing spending than foisting taxes. While he did vote for the Carona bill last Session, it’s doubtful he would lead the state down such a reckless path.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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