So while Texas’ ranking senator may have voted against earmark reform, she has been out working to make permanent the tax cuts passed by Congress several years ago. That’s good news, even if it does paint a complicated picture of Kay Bailey Hutchison as taxpayers and voters look ahead to a possible 2010 gubernatorial match-up.

Hutchison has a strong commentary in the Dallas Morning News decrying efforts by the left to let tax cuts expire.

She writes: “Today’s tax burden on American families is too high. Yet many in Congress are trying to take even more money out of the pockets of taxpayers and pour it into the vaults of big government.”

Very true. And she gets high marks for quoting Nobel prize winner, and tax cutter, Milton Friedman.

Hutchison is assumed to be preparing a 2010 run for the governorship, in which case she’d be up against David Dewhurst, the current lieutenant governor. On fiscal issues, the contrast is stark.

Hutchison has voted consistently for tax cuts, while Dewhurst not only presided over the creation of a new business tax, he was staunchly opposed to eliminating a tax (the TIF tax). Dewhurst likes to strut his businessman street-cred, but Hutchison draws more votes than any other elected official in the state.

Maybe with Hutchison nipping at his heels, Dewhurst will feel some pressure to lead efforts to eliminate the aforementioned business tax before it does too much damage. And maybe he’ll work to pull in the wild-eyed spending the legislature has engaged in (a 35% increase since Republicans took charge in ’03).

Or maybe not. Either way, the 2010 election cycle is well underway.

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."