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Danno makes his choice

It seems that Sen. Patrick has made his choice: The constitutional spending cap outweighs property tax cuts.

Patrick said the folks in his district told him over the weekend not to break the cap.

“The people I talked to fully understood that such a vote might mean the promised property tax relief may not be fully realized,” he said. “However, to them and to me, a fiscally responsible state government is more important than the property tax relief that has been promised to them.”

He said he’s open to an idea that would allow voters to decide if the cap needs to be broken, which is essentially what some lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry are proposing. But he only wants to do that if the Legislature puts before voters a plan to lower the state’s cap on increases in residential property values. The appraisal cap is now 10 percent, but Patrick wants it lowered to 3 percent.

“Let the voters decide on both or let them decide on neither,” he said.

The Legislature is almost certain not to approve a constitutional amendment calling for a 3 percent appraisal cap.

Fine by me. I don’t think he’ll get what he wants, which in the case of the spending cap is deep cuts to other forms of spending, so I’m happy to have him gum up the works a bit. Who knows, maybe there’ll be enough resistance to lifting the spending cap that the property tax cuts will have to be scaled back. I can dream, can’t I?

Other conservatives, like Patrick, are making noise about sticking to the spending cap, which would force cuts in state spending in the neighborhood of 20 percent. Meanwhile, some liberal Democrats chafe at the idea that it’s worth busting the cap to cut property taxes but not put more money into programs such as Medicaid or public education. Isn’t there an old saying about politics and strange bed fellows?

Indeed. There’s also another one, about being careful about what one wishes for. Be cautious in how you play this, folks. That’s all I’m saying.

Long as we’re discussing Danno, I want to comment on this observation by Karen Brooks.

The debate on the suspension of the rules today in the House brought to mind the Senate’s now-famous “Rule of 21.”

First made popular, of course, when Lt. Gov. Dewhurst revoked it during the Congressional redistricting fight and Dem senators’ flight to Albuquerque.

Came to us next via Sen. Dan Patrick, a conservative R from Houston who ran – in part – on how much he hates the rule that lets the minority have some swat in the Senate.

He tried to revoke it a few weeks ago but got voted down 30-1.

The House vote that happened today, using only 34 votes to kill a routine motion to suspend the constution, gives the minority a little sway for a little while. So people were kind of buzzing about the Senate deal when someone noticed Sen. Dan Patrick on the House floor. Near the front. Shaking someone’s hand, I forget who.

I didn’t ask him what he was doing there, but could it really be a coincendence?
I mean … really?

Here’s the thing. In case we’ve all forgotten, pretty much every way the Lege is set up is designed to keep it from doing too much. Biennial sessions of only 140 days, the 60 day rule, tax laws only originating in the House, and yes, the Senate’s 2/3 tradition – all of them help put the brakes on. You’d think someone who favors small government would appreciate such mechanisms and the checks they put on the Lege. I guess “limited government” is only a virtue when it’s the other guys that are in charge.

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One Comment

  1. kevin whited says:

    Why do you call him Danno?

    Is there a joke I’ve missed?