Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
March 16th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
Former CA U.S. Senate Candidate Moves to Texas

Former California Assemblyman and 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore explains why he gave up on the Golden State and moved to Texas in an article for National Review.

Here’s just one example of the differences between the states:

In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, “Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . It’s the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.”

Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.

California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:40 pm
Texas’ Marco Rubio Makes Unforced Error

I’ve written previously about former Texas Solicitor General and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.  He’s a towering legal intellect and a conservative’s conservative.  His Cuban heritage and up-by-the-bootstraps story from son of immigrants to Princeton and Harvard Law are legendary.  His ill-chosen words about Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) are not.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News reported by Roll Call, Cruz said he was “not going to prejudge” the upcoming Senate GOP leadership race where Cornyn is running for GOP whip, one step below party leader.  Based on his comments, Cruz seems to be saying that if he becomes Texas’ next U.S. Senator he might vote for someone besides Cornyn if the opponent is more of a constitutional conservative.

That’s all well and good, and Cruz’s scenario may even come to pass, but the first-time campaigner made a rookie mistake by refusing to support his fellow Texas Republican in what amounts to little more than deference to a party elder.  After all, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Cornyn has his hands on millions of dollars in fundraising that he could use to either hurt or help Cruz in the latter’s current primary battle.

So far, Cornyn has honored his pledge to stay neutral in the primary.  Chances are he’ll keep that pledge, but Cruz’s unforced error makes it more likely that Cornyn would be fine if David Dewhurst, Cruz’s primary opponent and sitting Lieutenant Governor, frames Cruz’s comments as a signal he can’t be both a conservative and a Republican at the same time.

By contrast, Florida’s Marco Rubio isn’t having that problem.  Without sacrificing any of his conservative bona fides Rubio has managed to win the confidence of party elders and is no doubt on the vice presidential short list of every remaining Republican presidential candidate.  Cruz needs to take a page from Rubio’s playbook because Texas – and America – needs as many constitutional conservatives as we can get in the U.S. Senate.

November 18th, 2011 at 7:08 pm
Ted Cruz is the Next Marco Rubio

In case you didn’t read the National Review cover story about him, the New York Times has a nicely condensed biographic piece on Ted Cruz, the former Texas Solicitor General running to be the state’s next U.S. Senator.  Here’s a sample of his background:

Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, where his parents were working in the oil business. Back in Houston for high school, he entered speech contests run by the Free Enterprise Institute. Students learned the “Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom,” a government-out-of-the-economy manifesto based on the work of libertarian thinkers like Mr. Hayek, Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, then wrote and memorized 20-minute speeches about it. As one of the citywide winners for four years, Mr. Cruz traveled the state, speaking to civic groups for $50 or $100 a speech.

The institute then chose him to be one of its “Constitutional Collaborators,” who spent hundreds of hours debating the Constitution. Using a mnemonic device to memorize it, they toured the state, writing it out for audiences.

It made Mr. Cruz an early adopter of the worldview that now characterizes Tea Party politics, where federal involvement in health care or the economy (and many of the roles it has assumed since the New Deal) is socialism and an abuse of the Constitution. At Princeton, he wrote his thesis on the Ninth and 10th Amendments, the core of the states’ rights argument.

It also directed him toward politics. He graduated from Harvard Law School, then clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and served in the Bush administration at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department.

How many U.S. Senators do you know who could write out the Constitution from memory?  Perhaps the Lone Star State will give us at least one.

October 14th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
Perry Getting Hit from the Right

The hits just keep on coming at Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.  The governor of Texas is in increasingly hot water as he tries to parry away charges that he’s soft on illegal immigration and insider tax breaks for friendly corporations.

In Texas, Tea Party activists are demanding that Perry sign an executive order or call a special session of the state legislature to pass an Arizona-style law authorizing state police to check a person’s immigration status.  On the business front, Perry’s use of a governor-controlled “emerging technology fund” is drawing criticism for producing more misses than hits for taxpayers told that tax holidays for some would create jobs for many others.

Perry can’t run away from his record.  He can, however, enhance it with better defenses of it.

We’ll see if he’s up to the challenge.

August 19th, 2011 at 11:43 am
We Already Have a “Department of Jobs,” Mr. President. It’s Called “Texas.”
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So almost three years after Barack Obama was elected President, he promises to unveil a “specific jobs plan” next month.  Very gracious of you, Mr. President.  Apparently, one of his brilliant ideas is to create an entirely new bureaucracy within the federal government, a “Department of Jobs.” Never mind that we already have a Labor Department, a Commerce Department, and so on.

But here’s something for Obama to ponder.  As noted today in The Wall Street Journal, “Over the past five years, Texas has added more net new jobs than all other states combined.”  Naturally, Team Obama and the desperate political left are already attempting to discredit Texas’s economic success.  But the facts, unsurprisingly, refute their claims.  For instance, for all of the attempts to mislabel those new jobs as low-wage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics “pegs the median hourly wage in Texas at $15.14, 93% of the national average, and wages have increased at a good clip:  in fact, the 10th fastest state in 2010 at 3.4%.”  Keep in mind the lower cost of living in Texas, where those wages therefore go further.

So as Obama ponders a “Department of Jobs” during his extended Martha’s Vineyard vacation while the economy stumbles, perhaps he will experience an epiphany.  Namely, that he should do at the federal level what Texas has done at the state level – bring legal reform, reduce taxes and allow the private sector to flourish.

August 13th, 2011 at 5:07 pm
Perry Declares Candidacy for President

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President of the United States today during a speech in South Carolina.  Though the text of the speech is worth reading in its entirety, here’s my pick for the best line:

I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.

If Perry’s campaign can reduce that sentiment to a bumper sticker, he might be able to sow up the GOP nomination by Labor Day.

July 21st, 2011 at 2:33 pm
Dominoes About to Fall for Texas GOP

Roll Call reports that Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has entered the race to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX).  The field is already crowded, with former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, an ardent conservative, angling to be the Lone Star version of Florida’s Marco Rubio.

Dewhurst’s substantial personal wealth and four statewide electoral victories (3 as Lt. Gov., 1 as land commissioner), are prompting some to say he’s now the frontrunner.  With Governor Rick Perry mulling a bid for president, this could signal a major shake-up of Texas GOP politics as two of the state’s highest profile jobs come open for the first time since 2002.

July 15th, 2011 at 7:05 pm
Rick Perry’s Lesson to Cautious Politicians: Get Out of the Way

The New York Times has an interesting biographical gap filler on Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry’s former life as a Democratic state representative.  The theme that stands out is Perry’s uncanny ability to run for office at a time perfectly suited for his personal ambitions.

Here’s an example from when he switched parties to become a Republican running for statewide office.

Rumors that Mr. Perry would defect to the Republican Party — and run against Jim Hightower, the populist Democratic agriculture commissioner — picked up steam by late 1989. On Sept. 29, Mr. Perry made it official at a Capitol news conference. At his side were Fred Meyer, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, and Senator Phil Gramm, a former Democrat, who was aggressively courting would-be converts.

Mr. Perry’s timing, now legendary, could not have been better. He was one of only two Republicans elected to nonjudicial statewide office in 1990. Eight years later, Republicans swept every one of them.

“Perry has been a risk taker,” said Mr. Hance, the party switcher who became the chancellor of Texas Tech University. “And if you look at Perry’s timing in every race, he’s been the golden guy.”

Could 2012 be another such moment for the Texas Tea Party governor?

July 15th, 2011 at 5:49 pm
California Higher Ed Cuts Researchers, Funds Diversity Czars

Heather MacDonald of City Journal highlights yet another example of California residents migrating to Texas for greener cash pastures.  (In this case, UC San Diego lost three top cancer researchers to Rice University after the latter offered a 40% increase in compensation.)  Facing a $650 million cut in state funding, the University of California system campuses are shedding faculty and programs, but not, unfortunately, the blizzard of “diversity czars” and their sizable staffs.

UC San Diego is adding diversity fat even as it snuffs out substantive academic programs. In March, the Academic Senate decided that the school would no longer offer a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering; it also eliminated a master’s program in comparative literature and courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.” Training computer scientists to compete with the growing technical prowess of China and India, apparently, can wait. More pressing is guaranteeing that students graduate from UCSD having fully explored their “identity.” Why study Cervantes, Voltaire, or Goethe when you can contemplate yourself? “Diversity,” it turns out, is simply a code word for narcissism.

MacDonald also highlights how the multi-million dollar diversity industry has embedded itself into plumb positions at UC Berkeley and UCLA.  If UC students are upset about the coming hike in tuition, they should aim their picket lines at the faculty senates and diversity czars whose very existence makes such increases even higher than need be.

July 14th, 2011 at 2:32 pm
13 California Counties Petition to Secede

It looks like Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) isn’t the only person entertaining thoughts of seceding from a bankrupt government.  But unlike Perry who joked about Texas leaving the federal union to Tea Party activists, California citizens from 13 counties are trying to separate themselves from a state government that is far from golden.

“Onerous regulations on business” that are driving jobs out of the state and the California legislature’s attempts to balance the budget by “stealing” tax revenue from local governments are two reason why Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone said he is pushing for secession.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hold a meeting in late September of representatives from every city and county in California to decide if their grievances can be solved without secession.

If not, the group will hammer out the details of creating a new state.

“Obviously I touched a nerve that is felt not only among Californians but among people around the country who feel their voices are not being heard,” Stone said. “I’m hoping that the nerve that I touch with a lot of citizens will resonate and we will see dramatic changes in the way we do business in the state and the way we do business in this country.”

Only time will tell if Supervisor Stone’s nerve touching will result in the second coming of the Bear Flag Republic.  If so, one hopes representatives of the newly created state will incorporate at least some of that short-lived government’s founding document.  (A taste: “…believes that a Government to be prosperous and happyfying in its tendency must originate with its people who are friendly to its existence. That its Citizens are its Guardians, its officers are its Servants, and its Glory their reward.”)

June 29th, 2011 at 5:16 pm
Texas’ Castro Brothers Herald New Face of State’s Democratic Party

For anyone interested in whom the Texas Democratic Party will look to for leadership in the very near, consider rising twin brothers Julian and Joaquin Castro.  Both are Stanford and Harvard Law graduates.  Both represent San Antonio – Julian as mayor; Joaquin as a state representative.  Each is being groomed for higher office.

From his perch as San Antonio mayor, Julian could very likely seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.  By then, current Republican Governor Rick Perry will either be in the White House or in an uphill battle for election to his fourth term in office.  (Perry doesn’t have a history of landslides.  In 2006, he won a four-way race with 36% of the popular vote.  In 2010, he won just 51% in a three-way primary after more than a decade as governor.)

For his part, Joaquin just announced a primary challenge to nine-term Democratic congressman Lloyd Doggett.  A new redistricting map connects south Austin with San Antonio, making the state legislator a natural fit to represent the two cities he’s spent the most time in since being elected to office.

Texas’ demographic trend mirrors California.  Currently, no race is a majority in Texas, but by the end of the decade, Hispanics will be.  With the state and federal legislative delegations increasingly split between Anglo Republican and minority Democrats, don’t be surprised if someday Julian Castro becomes governor while his brother Joaquin serves in the U.S. Senate.

June 10th, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Media Faults Perry for being Conservative

Well, that didn’t take long.  On the day after Rick Perry for President speculation gained new momentum with two of his longtime political aides bolting Newt Gingrich’s campaign, the liberal media is attacking the Texas Republican governor for coordinating a “day of prayer and fasting” for national healing in Houston on August 6.

Putting aside the arguments for and against Perry’s event, the more the media explains Perry’s commitment to an evangelical Christian worldview, the more social conservative primary voters in Iowa are sure to perk up.  Moreover, Perry is already considered the first-in-the-nation-governor to pick up the Tea Party mantle of limited government, so perhaps those flinty New Englanders in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation-primary might take a look at a guy who takes the 10th Amendment seriously.

But what about foreign policy?  Let’s just say that as a former Air Force fighter pilot from Texas, Perry should have no trouble articulating something pleasing to pro-military Republican voters.

As with Sarah Palin, the mainstream media doesn’t seem to realize that highlighting Perry’s conservatism actually makes him more attractive to Republican voters.  So go ahead, journos!  Keep knocking Perry for being a social, fiscal, and national security conservative.  It only helps grow the brand.

June 2nd, 2011 at 5:59 pm
California’s Shameless Legislators Make Congress Look Good by Comparison
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In 2009 and 2010, the news out of Washington was dominated by stories of Congress rushing through legislation without reading it, voting in the middle of the night, and generally disregarding the adjective in the term “representative government.” Perhaps more than the specifics of policies like the stimulus package, Obamacare, and cap and trade, it was this disdain for honest dealing that set the public firmly in opposition to the Pelosi-Reid Congress and precipitated the blowout midterm elections of 2010.

As with most pathologies in American politics, what’s bad in Washington is usually even worse in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee reports today:

Numerous bills to crack down on California lawmakers have been shelved quietly by the Legislature in recent weeks.

Casualties included proposals to bar middle-of-the-night legislative sessions, to restrict lawmakers from receiving pay for serving on state boards within four years of leaving office, and to require annual disclosure by public officials of their pay, benefits, travel and other compensation.

Legislators opted not to dock per-diem pay for absences or to create a “do not call” list for campaign robocalls.

What’s consistently fascinating about California politics is that, for all the dysfunction of state government, the Golden State doesn’t have a criminal political culture akin to Illinois or New Jersey, states where the capstone of a successful electoral career is often a stint in federal prison. And why would it? With six-figure legislative salaries and virtually guaranteed appointments to one of the (literally innumerable) state boards and commissions that act as legislative rest homes, one need not break the law to plunder the taxpayers.

As with most of its deficiencies, California would do well to replicate the example of Texas, a state that has shown that a massive population and a sophisticated economy do not necessitate governmental incompetence. Texas has a part-time legislature that only convenes once every two years. The stated goal of this policy: to protect the liberties of the people of Texas. Considering that Texas has created more jobs in the last five years than every other state combined, that seems to be a decent formula.

The upshot: California can take Texas’s principles or Texas can take California’s jobs. Reforming the way the Golden State’s feckless legislature does business would be a good start towards the former end.

May 18th, 2011 at 6:14 pm
Texas’ Perry Moving Closer to a White House Run?

Yesterday, RealClearPolitics broke a story about Texas Governor Rick Perry being a sleeper candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  Today, RCP says that Perry’s Tuesday speech to Republican National Committee members in Dallas is raising his profile significantly.

Republican strategists in Washington told RealClearPolitics that GOP operatives who attended Perry’s speech Tuesday afternoon called them with reactions ranging from “This guy should be our nominee” to “He wowed the crowd.” They said he ditched his notes and spoke extemporaneously, firing away.

The Washington Times went so far as to report that the reaction to Perry was so unusually good from a wide array of attendees at the meeting that there is already discussion of a draft movement under way.

Having worked in Texas state politics while Perry was governor in 2003 and 2005, I can say that his approach to governing is decidedly hands-off.  That works in culturally conservative, constitutionally limited Texas.  It’s easy to talk about the 10th Amendment when you’re a governor, and it’s not that hard to keep the status quo of low taxes and rugged individualism in a state that pioneered the ethos.  With all this, Perry looks and sounds Texan.

But it’s a different ballgame going to Washington, D.C. as the elected head of Leviathan armed with a Tea Party mandate to repeal ObamaCare.  Moreover, any Republican elected president next year will have to be able to put the federal government on a different fiscal and cultural trajectory; one that moves away from government dependency, and toward economic growth and personal opportunity within a traditional American framework.

I’m not saying Perry can’t be the conservative savior many in the GOP are waiting for.  It’s just that so far, his record indicates little more than a politician who knows how to get elected and leave things as they are.  After Obama, that won’t be enough.

April 22nd, 2011 at 2:08 pm
The Trouble with California in One Paragraph

John Fund gives an excellent distillation for the reasons California businesses are relocating en masse to Texas:

Andy Puzder, the CEO of Hardee’s Restaurants, was one of many witnesses to bemoan California’s hostile regulatory climate. He said it takes six months to two years to secure permits to build a new Carl’s Jr. restaurant in the Golden State, versus the six weeks it takes in Texas. California is also one of only three states that demands overtime pay after an eight-hour day, rather than after a 40-hour week. Such rules wreak havoc on flexible work schedules based on actual need. If there’s a line out the door at a Carl’s Jr. while employees are seen resting, it’s because they aren’t allowed to help: Break time is mandatory.

Indeed, California policymakers are enjoying an extended break from economic reality by focusing on everything else but job creation.

If the trend of 4.7 businesses a week abandoning California continues, pretty soon the great weather will be the only reason to visit the once Golden State.

April 5th, 2011 at 3:48 pm
Texas Legislature Considers New Taxes On… Thin Air?
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Two bills before the Texas legislature, H.B. 259 and H.B. 3675, propose new and unwarranted taxes on satellite television providers.  This period of high unemployment and economic uncertainty is no time to be raising taxes in the first place.  But here’s the kicker:  those two bills would essentially tax thin air.

H.B. 259 and H.B. 3675 would impose taxes on something satellite television providers don’t even use – the physical public right of way.  Obviously, reasonable people could understand why entities that actually use the public right of way under city streets or along physical power lines must help maintain those rights of way.  Since satellite video doesn’t even traverse any physical right of way, however, H.B. 259 and H.B. 3675 constitute a tax on thin air.  Moreover, Texas already taxes video services, so imposing yet another entirely new tax upon physical rights of way that satellite providers don’t even use makes these two bills even more manifestly unfair.  Additionally, it is estimated that only 10% of right of way taxes actually go to maintenance, with 90% of collected revenues diverted to general city funds.  In other words, these two proposed bills are a transparent money grab.

We at CFIF have therefore sent a letter of to the House State Affairs Committee to assert our opposition on behalf of 17,000 activists and supporters in the state of Texas.  But you can also help by contacting them as well via this link

Make it clear to these legislators that now is not the time to raise taxes, especially when what’s being taxed is nothing more than thin air.

February 26th, 2011 at 5:50 pm
Texas Anglos Adjusting to Life as a Minority Group

With a Rice University demographic expert projecting that only 20 percent of the state’s public school enrollment being Anglo by 2040, the makeup of the Lone Star State’s population will be decidedly more Hispanic.

Reflecting on the fact that Anglos are already a minority in Texas (at 42% still the largest minority), a group at Texas State University, San Marcos announced a new scholarship offer for white males with at least a 3.0 GPA.  Says the group’s leader, “We’re not looking for blond-haired, blue-eyed, stereotypical white males.  My feeling is that if you can say you’re 25 percent Caucasian, you’re Caucasian enough for us.”

Welcome to a new America.

November 11th, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Conservatives Aim to Retake Texas House Speakership

As a former staff member in the Texas House of Representatives, I have an interest in news that the chamber may be headed for conservative leadership.  This morning, Rep. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) announced his bid to unseat current Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio).  If successful, Paxton would be the third Republican Speaker in under three years, since Straus ascended to power by beating former Speaker (and my old boss) Tom Craddick (R-Midland) in 2009.

What does an intra-party fight in one of the reddest states in America mean for citizens outside the Lone Star State?  Plenty.

Texas is already the exemplar of low-tax, low-regulation state government.  Moreover, because the legislature only meets for 140 days every two years, Texas government has not had a chance to weigh in legislatively on issues like Arizona’s approach to illegal immigration and Virginia’s response to block implementation of ObamaCare.  With the kick-off of the legislative session next January, a more conservative Republican House majority will be able to make some big statements about the power of the 10th Amendment in our federal system.

That is, if the House is run by a true conservative.  Stay tuned…

October 19th, 2010 at 1:20 am
Texas Still Thumping California on Economic Policy
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Last month, we profiled how federalism is alive and well in economic policy — as exemplified most explicitly in the sharp contrast between California and Texas (a topic we’ve been exploring for nearly a year).

As John Steele Gordon points out in the Contentions blog over at Commentary’s website:

It is often pointed out that the states make great laboratories for political-science experiments. And an experiment has been underway for quite a while testing the liberal model — high taxes, extensive regulation, many government-provided social services, union-friendly laws — against the conservative model — low taxes, limited regulation and social services, right-to-work laws. The results are increasingly in. As Rich Lowry reports in National Review Online, the differences between California and Texas are striking. Between August 2009 and August 2010, the nation created a net of 214,000 jobs. Texas created more than half of them, 119,000. California lost 112,000 jobs in that period.

California has always prided itself on being a leading indicator for the rest of the nation. We’ll see how well they like that designation when it turns out to mean being the canary in the coal mine.

April 12th, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Advertising Only Goes So Far…

The numbers don’t lie: Californians are voting with their feet when it comes to protecting their pocketbooks…all the way to Texas.

Though it’s hard to believe that more taxes don’t create more jobs, it’s down right shocking to realize that taxpayer financed commercials like this one are failing to draw people to the Golden State.

To answer the Governator’s question: as soon as Sacramento adopts a tax and regulatory regime WAY more friendly to businesses.