When I returned home from an out of town trip the other day I noticed the following postcard on the floor of the front foyer below the door's mail slot. Three very familiar but scary faces looked at me. I shuddered. Oh no. Now what fresh hell do these tea party rogues intend to visit upon the long-suffering residents of Texas this time? Will they raid all of the women's health care clinics in the state?
So I flipped over the postcard and read "Our State Leaders are Asking You to 'Get Texas Moving again!'" The top 3 GOP leaders are asking voters to vote yes on Proposition 7. Voters should be very wary if the top TX GOP are in favor. Knowing how these boys operate, Texas taxpayers will end up under the bus, in one way or another. Don't fall for their shell game.
The measure will also adversely effect low-income Texans, because sales taxes are a regressive revenue source. That effect will be compounded by the fact that poor residents are less likely to drive and will not benefit from the highway spending — indeed they will likely be hindered as destinations spread farther apart.
According to Governor Greg Abbott, vote for Prop 7 because:
Proposition 7 represents the single largest increase to transportation funding in the state's history. This will relieve traffic congestion and maintain our roadways to stimulate the economy bringing more jobs, commerce and visitors to our great state.
Lt. Governor Tea Party darling Dan Patrick grandstands on his soap box, as expected.
I'm enthusiastically voting from Proposition 7. It adds over $2.5 billion for transportation without any new taxes and will address traffic issues now and into the future.
Speaker of the House Joe Straus weighs in.
Proposition 7 will improve mobility in Texas by expediting work on critical projects. At a time of rapid growth in the Texas population, this plan will help relieve congestion and support economic activity across the state.
What's stopping you, dudes, from doing all of the above? Pass a budget that will address the state's transportation needs and road infrastructure. The state has a budget surplus.
It's that simple.
But wait. The Texas GOP refuses to raise taxes. It also refuses to close corporate loopholes. Such would provide the necessary funds to take care of the state's crumbling infrastructure. Our roads, especially in big cities like Houston, are potholed to the point drivers in this city have spent more than their fair share on new tires, wheel alignments, axle replacements and other car repairs. But taxes are low and jobs are plentiful so no worries, right? What's $700.00 for an axle replacement? At least that's what I heard from one of our city's mayors years ago.
So, since these craven anti-tax, small government Republican leaders refuse to raise revenues for education, infrastructure and healthcare, or anything, for that matter, the state's top cats are asking voters to dedicate sales tax to deal with what gutless lawmakers refuse to address. The three rogues above on the postcard live in fear of potential retribution from corporate lobbyists, their donors and the GOP's rabid anti-government base. This is what happens when we elect politicians who are subservient to political extremists, wealthy donors and their henchmen. The majority of us pay the price in more ways than one.
Below is the gist of Proposition 7 per Progress Texas. Basically the Texas GOP is asking voters to agree with its shell game. Dedicating sales taxes to roads means something else will be neglected.
“This isn’t new money,” said Crossley. “It simply requires that a certain amount of taxes go to this. So it likely will mean tax increases in the future or massive cuts to other things like schools.”
This proposal to dedicate sales taxes to a project instead of using the state's surplus funds or closing corporate loopholes is what happens when narrow ideology and piggishness trumps rational legislating.
The Texas Republican's Party knee jerk hoarding of budget surplus funds should encourage voters to ask questions. Why the stockpiling? Who will benefit from it? Certainly not the people who have to live everyday lives in a state with busted roads, low performing schools and one in which a whopping 766,000 residents cannot afford to pay for health care insurance.
For more information on the state's propositions please check here for explanations of all seven including the pros and cons. If this link doesn't work this one will.
PROPOSITION 7: NO
Text: The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation- related debt.
Just like Texas’ public schools and health care systems, Texas’ roads are chronically underfunded. The reason is that Republican state officials are unwilling to close egregious tax loopholes for big corporations in order to invest in the infrastructure the people of Texas deserve. One analysis by the New York Times found that Texas allows $19 billion in tax exemptions every year. With that kind of tax system, it’s no wonder we struggle paying for better schools, hospitals, and roads.
I obviously voted no today on Proposition 7. Friday, October 30 is the last day to vote early. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 3 at one's precinct poll. For information on polling locations please contact your county clerk's office. If it is not helpful please contact your county's Democratic Party or the Texas Democratic Party.
For those in Houston the Harris County Democratic Party's Headquarters is here.
Vote, baby, vote. It's the only way out of the Republican made messes we are in locally, statewide and nationally. All elections matter. Big time.