Speaking to students and administrators at the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Speakers Series, House Speaker Joe Straus essentially answered back this week’s calls in the press from Senator Ogden for some type of fast-fix of the business tax to bring in more money for them to spend.
Speaker Straus, “expressed serious doubt today about the prospect of revising the state’s main business tax during the current legislative session,” according to a report by the Austin American-Statesman.
“I don’t think in the next 54 days there’s much chance of that. It’s not something you want to do hastily. It’s something that has to be thoughtfully done,” Straus was quoted as saying during his appearance at UT.
While he did not completely throw out the idea of revising the tax during the current session, the Speaker made clear that he is waiting on the Senate’s action on the budget before commenting further. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Ogden, along with many of his Senate colleagues, seems to dislike, or be outright opposed to, the idea of smaller government in Texas. All these senators can talk about lately is finding more revenue in order to fund more government.
And then, there is this exchange reported in the Dallas Morning News between Speaker Straus and the UT Texas Politics Project director, Dr. James Henson:
“A top level, key senator said they’re wanting to add about another $10 billion (in state spending),” Henson said, and then gestured to Straus to react.
Straus sat still for a minute.
“Are we pausing for laughter?” he joked.
Then, according to DMN reporter Karen Brooks, “he said he didn’t know where the senators thought they’d be getting the $10 billion from, but he was open to their ideas and, hey – the House budget is just a “good, disciplined first step.”
I’m glad to hear the Speaker of the House take such a cautious stand on a quick money grab from Texas businesses. I guess even a self-professed moderate like Herr Straus can seem very conservative –- when you line him up with the satisfied-with-big-government technocrats who seem to make up the majority of the Republican caucus in the east-side of the Capitol these days.
Robert Pratt is host of the top-rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com
© 2011 Pratt on Texas