As we have come to expect, advocates of big-spending corporate cronyism are rushing to the aid of liberal Republicans. They may have succeeded in the past, but taxpayers won’t be fooled again.

A new group called “Texas Future Business Alliance” is mailing into the districts of moderate and liberal Republicans, trying to convince voters that their pro-bloat legislator is a conservative. But doing so requires that they re-define the word as synonymous with corporate cronyism.

The Houston-led effort began with fiscal-moderate/social-liberal State Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston). Many might remember Rep. Davis as the only Republican who sided with the liberal Democrats in fighting against pro-life legislation this summer.

Or you might remember her for voting to increase legislators’ pensions, legitimize the ObamaCare navigators, hike state spending 24 percent, and keep corporate-cronyism funded instead of putting money into tax relief.

Suffice it to say, no one remembers her as a conservative.

All the energy spent fretting about Battleground Texas is for naught if we’re stuck with “Republicans” like Sarah Davis (supported by the corporate-crony lobby) working in Austin to help Democrats impose liberal legislation on the state.

The TFBA is a coalition of pro-big-business lobby entities. These are the guys who throw bucks around the Capitol in exchange for special access, regulations that stifle competition, and sweetheart contracts.

Their mailing says Davis is “’A’ rated.” It’s uncertain what that means, since the organization didn’t actually score legislators or legislation. Heck, it didn’t even come into existence until after the most recent session ended! No, this is a shill campaign for corporate-cronyism, pure and simple—big spenders and shakedown artists.

The budget they call “responsible and efficient” is the same process the Wall Street Journal said increased state spending 25 percent. They say she voted for tax relief … without noting it was targeted for a few friends. They praise her support of “infrastructure” spending, without mentioning it came by pulling money from the rainy day fund without spending a penny of the historic revenue increases the state saw.

Nothing conservative to see here!

The effort harkens back to same sort of anti-conservative, pro-cronyism effort a while back operating under the moniker “Texas Conservative Roundtable.” They got laughed off the state stage.

The organizations participating in this latest charade read like a who’s-who of the entrenched pro-bloat lobby in Austin: Texas Chemical Council, Associated General Contractors, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Texas Bankers Association, Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association, Texas Association of Builders and the Texas Association of Realtors.

These groups routinely fight against conservative and tea-party candidates and incumbents, many supported the implementation of ObamaCare, and all treat incumbents like a special class of Texan.

According to media reports, these types of establishment groups are coming together because they don’t like the resurgent conservative citizen-activist movement, as embodied by the Tea Party. (As an aside, TMA was full-throated in their endorsement of Obamacare implementation through Medicaid expansion.)

Regardless of what they tell their member companies, more often than not, these are the groups wandering the halls of the Capitol agitating for new regulations, more spending and more cronyism.

The head of one of the groups several weeks ago challenged me over our “F” rating of Davis. He demanded that Davis had to be given a pass as a moderate because her district was “pro-choice.” And that explains her fiscally liberal voting record … how, precisely?

I cannot speak to how the life issue plays in her Houston district; that’s not what we considered when we compiled the Fiscal Responsibility Index (which this year included more than 70 votes in the House).

Being pro-bloat isn’t fiscally conservative. Entrenched corporate interests might like that Sarah Davis votes for crony handouts and regulatory policies that stifle competition, but that’s not what conservative voters expect of their legislators.

The fact of the matter is that Rep. Davis is dishonest with her constituents on tax and spending issues. She claims to be a fiscal conservative, but she is not. Not by any measure.

Neither Davis nor the entrenched business lobby will own up to their big-government intentions or her record, so they define up as down, and left as right.

It’s up to the voters to make sure they aren’t fooled by the pro-bloat crowd of crony-corporatists working to reach deeper and deeper into our pockets.

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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