While most voters are concerned about the economy and jobs, it’s interesting that liberal State Rep. Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) is hosting a “transportation community forum” to take place just weeks before the election, and will welcome one of the state’s biggest tax hike proponents.

This event comes on the heels of accusations that Rep. Maldonado has been avoiding a debate with her conservative challenger, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock.

While she may be concerned about talking issues with her opponent, Rep. Maldonado won’t hesitate to share the stage with one of the Texas House’ lead gas tax hike proponents, State Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso). Mr. Pickett is chairman of the influential House transportation committee, a post he was appointed to by Republican Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio.

To his credit, Mr. Straus has said he’s against new taxes, a position held by a vast majority of Texans, but that hasn’t stopped the speaker’s key committee chairs – like Mr. Pickett – from pushing for them anyway.

Of course Rep. Maldonado’s endorsed candidate for governor, Democrat Bill White, agrees with Chairman Pickett’s liberal tax scheme that would allow cities and counties to impose new gasoline taxes to fund inefficient boondoggle projects.

Since transportation issues aren’t making the list of voter’s concerns this election cycle, we wonder if Rep. Maldonado really wants citizen participation in the discussion, or will it just be an insider’s pep rally for a gas tax hike?

Whether or not Rep. Maldonado will publicly announce support for the Pickett-White tax hike scheme before the election, her actions in giving Rep. Pickett this forum, and the fact that she hasn’t signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, should speak volumes to HD-52 voters about where she’ll stand if given the opportunity next session.

For those interested in attending: The event takes place on Monday, September 27th, and will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Round Rock City Hall (221 East Main Street, Round Rock, Texas 78664).