August 11, 2005
Craddick, standing astride the Lege, yells "Stop!"

You kind of have to admire ol' Tom Craddick. Once he decides on a course of inaction, by golly he sticks with it.

"The House of Representatives will not be a party to passing legislation that does not contain meaningful property tax relief and proper education reforms," said Craddick. "We should not pass a bill just to present the appearance that some action has been taken."

His comments make it likely that this summer's second special session on school finance will sputter to an end on or before Aug. 19 without any action on teacher pay raises, new programs for students or less reliance on local property taxes.

Aaron Pena is predicting the sine die motion will come on Tuesday the 16th. We'll see if he's right.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Gurwitz raises a point about Craddick and his do-nothing style that I haven't seen mentioned before anywhere else.

Many can share in the blame for this predicament, but few can claim more of it than Speaker Craddick, who has acted as a political impediment to Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and is now leading the legislative retreat in Austin. By Craddick's lights, the Legislature should just go home and let the courts settle this nettlesome school issue.

There could scarcely be a belief that demonstrates more lack of fidelity to conservative, Republican principles or less leadership.

At the heart of the Texas GOP and millions of conservative voters lies an issue that derives it potency from a high court usurping the legislative process. Craddick, with regard to education, would willfully hand that process over to the court.

I'm not sure if Craddick at this point is hoping the Texas Supremes will simply rule that there's no need for school funding to have any equitableness or adequacy to it, which would let him finally deliver that much-needed tax relief to the long-suffering citizens of Highland Park (assuming, of course, that his traitorious minions in the House can push it through), or if they'll give him and the rest of the Lege the political cover to raise everyone's taxes.

Gurwitz might, of course, have noted that neither Perry nor Dewhurst, nor anyone else in a position of leadership in the Republican Party for that matter, has made this criticism of Craddick. On many counts, it's hard to see what kind of leadership, conservative or otherwise, that those two have demonstrated lately. But one can at least give them credit for doing something to ensure that the issue is addressed legislatively. I just wonder why Craddick has gotten off so easily on this point.

(Thanks to Carl Whitmarsh for the pointer to the Gurwitz piece.)

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 11, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

Just goes to show you that the old GOP saw about "judicial restraint" really means "judicial restraint except when judges make decisions that we like." It's one of those crowd-pleasing phrases that appeals to social, economic, and libertarian conservatives without having any basis in reality.

Posted by: RMG on August 11, 2005 1:39 PM

Kuff: " ... issue is addressed legislatively. I just wonder why Craddick has gotten off so easily on this point."

Residential property taxpayers organizations already have a general target list for the elections, but as this session is not over as yet, some of the potential targets can still redeem themselves before the coming election backlash and armageddon which, in just a few short months, will engulf and lay waste to the reps and senators and a large number of county and municipal politicians who have been obstructing the tax cuts, including a host of elected officials who belong to the Texas Municipal League. This grwoing list will also include many members of Texas school boards who have been involved in the lobbying efforts as well.

Who will be on that list, for sure? While there are certain elected officials who are on it and who will stay on it up until the hour the votes are counted at the ballot boxes and they discover they will be retiring, as for the rest, we'll see when the time comes to finalize it. That time won't come until the leg is out of session, and we are certain it's not coming back for another try.

RMG: Waiting for the courts to "settle it", if that is really what some of them are up to, is just another nail in their political coffins.

Posted by: tyler5 on August 12, 2005 3:33 AM