October 28, 2003
Strayhorn pounds Perry again

It's Carole vs. Rick again, in what's sure to be the longest-running soap opera between now and 2006.


On Monday, Strayhorn repeated her earlier attacks against Perry over budget cuts in health care and funding deficiencies in the public schools and added community colleges to her list.

"The community college finance system was built around the notion that the state should cover instructional costs and the local (college) district should be responsible for providing the buildings and other facilities," she said.

"This administration, however, has not funded the formula at a level where the state's paying the full cost of instruction. Instead, community colleges through local revenues have been paying a chunk of instructional costs, as well as paying for facilities."

The comptroller said community colleges, which raise local revenue from property taxes, will see a further decline in state funding while their enrollments continue to increase.

The state funded 67 percent of the instructional formula in 2002-03, but that will drop to 52 percent during the 2004-05 biennium, Strayhorn added.

"That's unacceptable," she said.


You think Presidential campaigns are long? You ain't seen nothing yet.

I still have, and will probably always have, my issues with our Comptroller and her self-aggrandizing ways. I may never fully forgive her for sandbagging on the 2003 revenue projections and for blaming the shortfall on the 2001 Lege. She still doesn't have the right solutions - raising cigarette taxes and promoting video gambling are short term fixes that do nothing to address the erosion of the sales tax base and the continued upward pressure on local property taxes - but she's consistently right on about the problems and Governor Perry's utter inability to even recognize them. If she doesn't make Greg's party-switching dreams come true, I will have to give serious thought to voting for her in the 2006 GOP primary. We already get the Republican campaign mail, so what the hell.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 28, 2003 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack
Comments

Chances of Strayhorn switching parties? Less than 1%, imho. Remember who her son is?

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on October 28, 2003 9:00 AM

Being fully aware of who her son is, I'd argue that with her own penchant for publicity and a potential desire to be a bigger dog in the hunt, that 1% is a wee bit low. Might not even be 50-50, but I suspect her odds are at least in double digits.

The bigger issue for her to overcome would be her ties to the religious right, the Leiningers in particular.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on October 28, 2003 10:18 AM

Guys,

I think we should try to pull an Allan Shivers and see if we can get the next legislature (in cahoots with rural and moderate Republicans) to get a cross-endorsement bill through.

So Strayhorn could run as BOTH a Democrat and a Republican.

I think it would get vetoed, but if it happened, it'd be a powerful tool in bringing back partisan balance.

Posted by: Jim D on October 28, 2003 12:22 PM

Interesting idea that I hadn't given much thought to. Somehow, I suspect that whichever party Strayhorn is in, there will be some Dem with the gumption to take her on, however. Her bonafides on our side of the aisle are not solid, so she's vulnerable there. In the end, for her, I think it'll come down to money. If she can raise the type of money she's had in GOP statewide races, she'll move ... but if her options dry up financially, she may have no choice but to stay put.

Keep in mind that one of Tom DeLay's favorite tactics is to ask people to withold contributing even if they can't bring themselves to contribute to his side. I'd think that message is making the rounds regarding Strayhorn.

Where it gets dicey is whether that's making the rounds already, and Strayhorn could have no choice BUT to switch and hunt for Democratic donors.

Doesn't this just get more and more interesting with each new broadside that granny unleashes?

Posted by: Greg Wythe on October 28, 2003 12:34 PM

Funny. I did a search on Strayhorn and "self-aggrandizing" today, but couldn't turn up anything. And here it is.

Strayhorn truly might have to join a new party soon--she's definitely cutting off her support system. But one wonders if she'd have the same outraged tones if she wasn't trying to get elected to political office.

Posted by: omit on October 28, 2003 12:46 PM

I see it in very practical terms. Assuming Strayhorn wants to be Governor, and assuming KBH is not also running, she has a simple question to answer: Will her odds be better as a Republican in the primary, or as a Democrat in the general election? Greg's right, Tom DeLay can and will starve off the money supply to someone he sees as a turncoat, so that makes a GOP run dicier. Plus, running as a Democrat, she only needs to convince a small percentage of Repubicans that it's OK to vote for her. It's just a straight calculation, and whatever answre she comes up with will determine her choice.

As for who her son is: 1) He may not still be in that job in 2006, even if Bush still is, and 2) if Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver's daughter can be the First Lady to a Republican Governor, Carole Keeton Strayhorn can switch back to the Democrats.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 28, 2003 1:17 PM

Issues aside, I think it's really a lot of fun when she sneaks up and bashes Perry alongside the head. But then, I always liked the 3 Stooges, too.

Posted by: UncleBob on October 28, 2003 1:55 PM

Back to the original issue of this blog: community college funding. Why are we entitled to a higher education? Why are we entitled to have the government subsidize it even at 1%? They already pay through high school. Each individual student should be responsible for paying everything beyond that.

My private college operated w/o government subsidies, and still does to this day. I believe the students would be too proud to have it any other way. You have a better feeling of accomplishment when you realize you paid your whole ticket. I had one heck of a party to celebrate the last of my student loan payments.

I certainly am in the position to pay for my children's educations, but feel it is more important for them to carry that burden themselves. They already have an advantage by being legacies of my alma mater.

Iíll bet my comments will elicit a response from some saying Iím bitter with my parents for having to pay my own way. My opinion is contrary; Iíll be forever thankful that I didnít get a free ride. I learned the value of a dollar from the moment I knew I wanted to drive a car. I moved up to 18 yards per weekend to pay for my insurance and entertainment. By the time I went to college, I was already $30,000 to the good. My goal is to instill the same values in my children.

Try living your life without any help from the government. It's not that tough and you feel a lot better about yourself. I pay dearly for taxes. But on the same token, I donate very, very heavily to youth and homeless related charitable organizations. I donate because I choose to, not because the government makes me. If I were forced to pay, I would certainly change my mindset and only give the minimum requirement. It's the freedom over my own wallet that inspires me.

Regarding CKS changing parties, don't think it will happen. You're more likely to see a democrat switch to the republican side. A large majority of republicans can't neglect their private business affairs for multiple extended absences (in good conscience). The democrats are more likely to make politics a life-long career.

Posted by: Mike on October 28, 2003 2:05 PM

It appears that y'all took my cheeky reference to her son as relating to the press secretary. But I was referring to the fact that both her sons are federal Bush appointees. I'm sure most of you knew this, but I think you may underestimate the implications. That is, she's got a pretty strong Republican pedigree by this point. I doubt a mother would hurt her son's careers to such a degree.

Moreover, for both sons to be Republicans, it speaks that they both must have inherited some values from their mama. I doubt she's gonna switch, although she's clearly thinking about a primary challenge.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on October 28, 2003 3:26 PM

Mike--

So, was your alma mater a tax-paying institution, or was it exempt from taxes (including property taxes and income taxes)? Did its donors receive tax deductions for their donations to its endowment or operating costs? Were your student loans government-guaranteed? Was it big enough to handle every student who wanted to attend, even if the state schools had been eliminated? If not, would you have been willing (and able) to pay more, in order to obtain a place in competition with all those other students?

Posted by: precinct1233 on October 28, 2003 3:54 PM

From what I hear from my Repub. friends Perry is extreamly vulnurable. Unfortunately none of them like Strayhorn either (but prefer her to Perry).

Personally I want Matthew McConaughey to run as a Dem. Bongo Naked is such a kick ass political slogan.

Posted by: CN on October 28, 2003 3:57 PM

My alma mater was not a tax exempt school. It also has no religious affiliation. My loan came from a private individual at a fair interest rate.

The school is not big enough to handle every student that wants to attend. This is by design. I was granted admission by merit (high school graduation rank and SAT score).

The pool of money from which I drew to go to school was endless as far as I was concerned. I elected gainful employement after receiving my bachelors. It wasn't until I fulfilled my student loan obligations that I went back to obtain my masters degree.

I have no problems with tax deductible contributions. Similarly, I have no problems with student loans. I do think that one should pay back their original loan before pursuing advanced degrees.

My education is priceless. I would have paid what ever it took to obtain it. It has paid off many, many times over in the business world.

Posted by: Mike on October 28, 2003 4:07 PM

Mike,

So, do you feel the same about funding state universities like A&M and tu?

I paid my own way through school, as well, though that was back at the time when costs were much lower. Getting financial aid is also much more difficult, requiring two years of independence rather than one year.

The independence argument is a bit of a red herring. Look at it in terms of investment. And this perspective was the justification for the student loan programs--college degrees help people make more money ($350,000 more on average), which means more in tax revenues. It pays for itself.

You obviously understand this principle: You went into debt for what you thought was a worthwhile investment. Besides, you weren't so independent as you claim since you had student loans.

Given the number and frequency of career changes, community colleges are good options for working adults. This isn't my parents' economy where people could work for the same company or even in the same field for 20 years. With such dynamics, people have to be able to learn new skills as needed.

Now, do you *have* to go to school? Not at all. But let's not dismiss the value that they provide to the community.

Finally, let's understand our economy: We depend on consumption. The more money people have, the more they consume, the better our economy does. True, I wonder how far can we grow our consumption, but that is somewhat irrelevant. Getting people to buy more of anything ripples in this economy.

People complain about the government, which is certainly far from perfect. But let's look at where you would be without the progressive government of the last century:

+ You could expect to live to age 47 (owning in no small part to the absence of water and sewage treatment, workplace safety, child labor laws, and disease control).

+ We wouldn't have the infrastructure upon which many businesses operate. Instead, it would all be owned by private businesses. (Think of the court battles over lines owned by the ILECs and CLECs, and you get a taste of what it would be like.)

+ 40% of Americans would be living in poverty compared to 22% in 1963 and 13% today.

+ In terms of 1990 dollars, you'd be earning $5301 instead of $27,331.

"Living your life without any help from the government" is fantasy, pure and simple. So, stop pretending that you do.

Posted by: Tx Bubba on October 28, 2003 4:39 PM

Bubba,

Yes, I do believe the same should apply for state schools such as A&M & T.U.

I do argue your claim of my independence. I made a decision (not forced to) take a private loan. I could have gone a different route, but it was a win-win situation for me and my lender. It isn't uncommon for people to go to schoool for a year, then take time off to work so they can earn more money. You enroll in classes as you are able to afford them.

Regarding the services provided by government, I do believe some are needed and I'm more than happy to pay for them. Services such as police, fire, domestic and waste water, storm drainage and basic infrastructure. I vehemently object to funding social programs. They should be funded by individuals that parallel with the vision of the the programs.

I also believe that some of our services should be privatized. City services are not held in a hign enough accountability rating. Let a private company manage water service. If they perform poorly, they go out of business. Take AquaSource (now under a newer name) for example. These guys had a great idea. Buy as many M.U.D.'s as possible that were poorly managed. Manage them all with the same goals and similar rates. Concentrate the billing in a single location. They took failing operations and made money hand over fist with them. They sold out and are now looking for newer and better ways of privatizing government.

Social programs suchs as SPARKS (the school playgrounds turned into public parks) should be funded purely off of donations from individuals in the adjacent neighborhoods.

I'm an avid golfer, but I didn't advocate city management of the P&R Dept's golf courses. Look at what has happen since the city relinquished management rights. They sent them out to bid. The city now gets the best of both worlds; they own the property, make a tidy percentage of the revenue, and have none of the burden of maintaining the courses. The golfers who play these courses benefit, as well. Those of you who have played Memorial or Hermann Parks recently can attest to this. These places are now in better shape than half the private country clubs in the greater Houston area.

Regarding the wage issue as it relates to consumption. I'd like to see more of our own citizens performing work that migrant worker currently perform. I like the fact that I have skills that are in demand. My salary reflects this. I don't want every Joe Blow off the street getting a mediocre education from a community college and devaluating my earning potential. As it stands, I'm still safe. I don't know of any community colleges that prepare you to become a engineer. With the vast amount of knowledge I had to grasp, I don't think it will ever be that way. Couple that with masters in business, and it keeps you a cut above the rest in regards to earning potential.

You're right, some governement is good. A lot of it is seriously flawed. .....and a lot of it is unnecessary altogether.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2003 10:58 AM

I don't disagree with your last statement about government. If I believe anything good about government, it is this: It is the tool of the people. But I don't want to get off in the weeds, which I unfortunately started.

Not many people have access to people who can give them private loans. But I don't really understand why, if indeed you do, anyone would protest government-subsidized loans. They're repaid. (The stories you hear about default loans are actually by people going to trade colleges, like beauty colleges and the like.)

I think you're in a minority that would say that state colleges and universities aren't worthy public investments. Businesses are attracted by such sources of employees, not the mention the research benefits.

Public education has helped make this a great country. It provides the essence of equal opportunity (or I should say "can provide").

Again, I go back to your experience, which is the same for me and many others: You saw that going into debt for an education was worthwhile. Few people would argue with that risk. So, the reasoning at the individual level works at the community, state and even national level. If helping people become better trained, more educated, or more adaptative to the changing economy is beneficial, then it's a worthwhile expense.

Nothing better illustrates that than the G.I. Bill. True, we were rolling off a wartime economy, but that funding helped us continue a strong economy and arguably helped evolve our economy with a wealthy supply of engineers and other educated professionals.

Posted by: Tx Bubba on October 30, 2003 9:41 AM