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Your increasingly regular Sid Miller update

What a piece of work this guy is.

For years, a sticker affixed to more than 170,000 gas pumps in Texas featured a straightforward headline — “Fuel Feedback?” — alongside a toll-free number, email address and instructions for consumers with questions.

But in his latest effort to remake the embattled Agriculture Department, Commissioner Sid Miller opted to give the often overlooked stickers a makeover. Under the new design released last week, Miller’s name is in a larger font and is now featured prominently across the top. And near the bottom, he’s added a new disclaimer likely to rub some lawmakers the wrong way.

“All motor fuel taxes are set by the U.S. Congress and Texas State Legislature, NOT by the Texas Department of Agriculture or Texas Agriculture Commissioner,” the new sticker reads.


When asked why the commissioner’s name is larger on the new sticker, [deputy Commissioner Jason] Fearneyhough said, “The individuals involved in the design are not currently in the office.”

The new language on the sticker is unlikely to help Miller’s already strained relationships at the Legislature, where he clashed with lawmakers last session after asking for a major increase in state revenue for his department.

So what’s the big deal? Ross Ramsey explains:

Miller, who has been in the job since January 2015, unveiled revised stickers this month in response to a legislative change — but revised them in ways lawmakers didn’t require or foresee.

He made his name more prominent, increasing the font size and moving it to the top of the sticker — you never know how many voters might remember it just enough to nudge them next time he’s on the ballot.

State officials are notorious for that kind of stuff, putting their names and faces on everything where it might fit.


It’s the other stuff on the sticker that elevates Miller’s latest stunt — the notice that the high gasoline taxes detailed on the stamp are not his fault. He’s a good guy, right? He wants the taxpayers to know it.

“All motor fuel taxes are set by the U.S. Congress and Texas State Legislature, NOT by the Texas Department of Agriculture or Texas Agriculture Commissioner,” it reads.

The tax information itself is required by a new law passed last year. The disclaimer was not. And Miller, a former legislator himself, certainly knows that even as he covers his tail with that disclaimer, he’s tweaking the noses of his former colleagues in the Texas House.

So basically, a guy who might need some friends down the line, depending on what the Texas Rangers do with him, went out of his way to alienate (or at least annoy) the people who by virtue of being former colleagues ought to be in his corner. It takes an advanced aptitude for self-aggrandizement to do that, and in the world of politics, that’s saying something. I’ve said several times that I can imagine a convicted-but-appealing Ken Paxton on the 2018 general election ballot. I have a much harder time seeing Sid Miller survive a primary if he gets nailed on either or both of those complaints against him. I just don’t think his act will wear as well. But hey, I could be wrong, and Lord knows I’ll be rooting for him to make it that far. You keep doing you, Sid.

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One Comment

  1. brad says:

    Glad Miller is not a self-important blow hard.