April 26, 2006
What is the sound of one party debating?
This really annoys me. One could read this Chron piece on how HB3 was passed and come away with the impression that the only debate over the bill was between conservatives who wanted to cut property taxes by raiding the surplus and conservatives who wanted to cut property taxes by swapping them for the TTRC business tax plan. No other possible reason for opposing HB3 is mentioned, let alone explored, even though the crux of a big swath of HB3's opposition is right here:
In addition to the surplus spending bill, the House also passed a bill dedicating all future new business tax revenue to property tax cuts and one that raises an estimated $60 million a year through better collection of sales taxes on used vehicles. A bill to raise $700 million through higher cigarette taxes is scheduled for House debate Thursday.
Emphasis mine. This is what united the Democrats in opposition to HB3, and what has them grumbling about the ten who broke off to support it. (The 2008 version of Al Edwards
can be found at the top of the list on the right sidebar of the Chron story.) In a vacuum, HB3 has its merits. It's not adequate
, to be sure, but it's at least a semi-decent starting point for finally fixing the laughable franchise tax. HB4 and HB5 have things to recommend them, too. But once HB2 passed, once the business tax was essentially severed from school finance, none of that mattered. That's what the Democrats were fighting about, and it's an argument that deserves to be heard. Apparently, since Janet Elliott and Clay Robison didn't bother to collect any quotes from anyone making that argument, it's up to the likes of me to make it audible. Thanks, guys.
For what it's worth, the Statesman has a very similar story, though they at least managed to quote one Democrat. The DMN, Express News and Star Telegram have all moved on to the Senate.
UPDATE: If the comments in this DallasBlog post are any indication, HB3 is not very popular among Republicans. Again, their reason for not liking it is not the same as mine, and I'm still cheesed at the Chron for so blatantly short-shrifting the Democratic perspective, but this is nonetheless worth reading.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 26, 2006 to Budget ballyhoo
Chris Elam had the accurate observation yesterday that the Chronicle politics section had more coverage of New Orleans than it did Houston/Texas, despite the goings on in the lege. There's really no excuse for that.
The Chronicle simply does not devote adequate resources to covering Austin, and the resources in place have their own inadequacies. Wouldn't it be grand if that useless D.C. bureau were shuttered and those resources were committed to covering Houston and Texas (especially Texas, as I think the metro coverage has improved over the last couple of years)?
Interestingly, Dan Patrick had Rick Noriega on KSEV yesterday afternoon, and he did discuss Democratic objections to the plan. It was good radio, and seemingly covered the Dem point of view better than the Chronicle.
I heard Patrick's conversation with Noriega. First time I've ever tuned into Danno's show. Obviously, I don't agree with his underlying premises, but I do agree that at least he acknowledged that there was more to this debate than just Republican-on-Republican action, and had a discussion about it with a prominent spokesperson for that ignored-by-the-Chron part of that debate.
More Metaphor than adding to the facts of this topic:
From Altercation by Eric Alterman
The Dog Whisperer — The New York Times Book Review offered a capsule review of a new book by TV dog trainer Cesar Millan (host of the show Dog Whisperer):
Millan likes to talk about the importance of being a pack leader and projecting what he calls "calm-assertive" energy around your dog. The thing to avoid, he writes, is being "angry-aggressive," a trait he identifies in Bill O'Reilly of Fox News. This type of person "would not make a good pack leader," Millan writes, "because the other dogs would perceive him as unstable." (Our presidents are often unable to control their dogs, Millan said in a recent lecture. He added, "We are the only species that follows unstable pack leaders.")
again, dog trainer Cesar Millan, quoted from Eric Alterman's site:
"the importance of being a pack leader and projecting what he calls "calm-assertive" energy..."
"Calm-Assertive," You know who that sounds like:
"The thing to avoid, he writes, is being "angry-aggressive," a trait he identifies in Bill O'Reilly of Fox News. This type of person "would not make a good pack leader," Millan writes, "because the other dogs would perceive him as unstable." (Our presidents are often unable to control their dogs, Millan said in a recent lecture. He added, "We are the only species that follows unstable pack leaders."
You can guess who that sounds like:
Thelma Bush & The Louise GOP
Their Armageddon Fundamentalists
Mutually Assured Destruction
Job Performance with
The GOP Shills Have Messed With Texas and the Whole Planet
So Far, We Have Allowed Them to Mess with Us...