Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Several reveals in Patrick's agenda

We have to take his word at face value -- always a tenuous proposition with the newly-crowned lieutenant governor -- but in this case I don't think he's bullshitting anybody.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday again emphasized that he will push for significant property tax and business tax cuts this year even in the face of lower oil prices and scaled-back state revenue projections.

“I am not playing small ball on tax relief,” Patrick said. “That is what the people want us to do. We have the capability to do it and we need to do it. People need tax relief.”

No surprise here.  Cutting taxes as oil keeps dropping, as the hedge fund managers keep going short, will IMHO be the biggest mistake this legislature makes.  They're blowing a hole in their budget the size of the Permian Basin, and sooner than later it will be obvious to them.  For all the rest of us, sadly, they will be the last ones to know.  This, however, is a great surprise...

“Open carry is important, but I don’t think there is support in the Legislature to pass it,” Patrick said. “The votes have not been there.” By contrast, he thinks the odds are much better for passage of a bill to allow licensed persons to carry handguns on college campuses. A campus carry bill in the Senate already has 19 co-sponsors, enough to approve the measure.

This is the first negative word I have read about open carry.  It obviously won't make it if Patrick stands against it.  And why he would incur the wrath of the gun nuts by so openly defying them in the session's first weeks is, in a word, puzzling.  I can't decide if this is another giant miscalculation on his part or something else, some machination to drive a different course.  For now I am going to wait and see how this unencumbered message gets interpreted by its recipients.

Vouchers, like tax cuts, contain no ambiguity.

Patrick also said school choice legislation is one of a handful of measures this session that he will throw his weight behind because of its importance to him. “I believe we will pass a school choice bill in the Senate and we have a good chance of passing it in the House,” he said.

In the past, Patrick has supported a proposal to give tax credits to businesses that donate money for scholarships to private and religious schools. The proposal would initially be aimed at lower-income students who attend public schools with low performance ratings.

The lieutenant governor also joined other legislative leaders in predicting that major decisions on school finance will wait until after the Texas Supreme Court has ruled on a lower court decision that overturned the current funding system. The high court is not expected to hear the appeal until the fall, well after the current legislative session has ended.

This leaves a final decision in the hands of the 85th Texas Legislature, convening in 2017.  No doubt to require lower and higher court clearance again, meaning the matter won't be settled until 2018 or '19.  Assuming the judicial branch agrees with the legislative's fixes, of course.

Every time the Lege fails on funding public education in Texas, it pushes the repairs five years into the future.  That's a wonderful legacy they're leaving the children of Texas, isn't it?

More on Patrick's agenda from Texas Leftist and Texas Politics, and still more on the just-released budget from Trail Blazers and the Observer.

Update: Lauren McGaughy at the Chronicle explains open carry's dilemma, and Dan Patrick is revealed as a flip-flopper.  I still don't quite understand why he's against it -- sometimes -- when he's said so often he's for it -- on occasion -- but that's his tea to steep in now.  Maybe someone with OCT can try to nail him down as a firm yes or a no.


Gadfly said...

Supply side economics — sigh.

Gadfly said...

And, per your update: OCT, or OCD? :)

PDiddie said...

Either/both. After the opening week debacle, they've toned down their act. I expect them to be among the first to loudly call out Patrick.

Gadfly said...

Per my Tweeting today, I'm surprised they weren't out looking for Mooslims.

PDiddie said...

I saw a FB post that mentioned "spawn of Satin" in reference to some back-sliding Republicans. My response was "Muslin"?