Taxpayers witnessed a rather candid moment for State Sen. John Carona (R – Dallas) today. While laying out his bill to expand gambling, Mr. Carona took time to bash conservatives, and the Republican Party of Texas, for their stance against cronyism and bigger government.

Mr. Carona’s comments came during the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, which he chairs. Mr. Carona was laying out his late-filed bill to expand gambling in Texas by legalizing resort-style casinos and slot machines—all while creating a brand-new government bureaucracy to oversee and regulate it.

The Dallas Morning News reported this morning that Chairman Carona dismissively questioned Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair Melinda Fredericks for pointing out the party’s explicit opposition to gambling in the party platform, and said of the Tea Party, “We never know what the hell they’re going to say on any given issue.”

Given the senator’s self-described status as an “independent voice who is not afraid to go against the Republican establishment,” the question should instead be about what Mr. Carona will say on “any given issue.” Remember, this is the same “Republican” who colluded with former State Rep. Vicki Truitt to support hiking the gas tax in 2009. He has a lifetime score of F on our index and a 61 career score on the Young Conservatives of Texas ratings. 

What Sen. Carona doesn’t seem to understand is that grassroots conservatives and the Republican Party of Texas have all been consistently calling for free markets and limited government, neither of which they would get if his bill became law.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told taxpayers after the 2012 elections that he wants to have a “conservative session” in 2013. That absolutely will not happen if this crony gambling legislation moves. It’s on his shoulders to make sure the bill is DOA by the time it hits the Senate floor, because Speaker Straus and his leadership team certainly will do nothing to stop it in the house.

Frankly, taxpayers should be concerned that the bill was late-filed in the first place.

Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the CFO and COO of Texas Scorecard. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.