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Just Breaking – Gov. Rick Perry is being called back to Texas

Date posted: October 12, 2011

Coalition Releases Legislative Support for Sanctuary Cities Ban

Continues Call for Governor Perry to Act on His Own Emergency Issue 

October 12, 2011

JoAnn Fleming

Contact:  JoAnn Fleming, Chair of the Texas Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee and volunteer Executive Director, Grassroots America – We the People 

What:  A Thursday, October 13th news conference held as a follow-up to the September 19th news conference where coalition members delivered letters representing thousands of Texans to Governor Perry’s office.  The letters called on the Governor to act in the wake of the legislature’s failure to pass a ban on sanctuary cites in both houses during the 82nd Legislature’s special session.  A ban on sanctuary cities was one of Governor Perry’s own “emergency” legislative items.  [Note: TX House passed the ban on sanctuary cities during the regular session.  The TX Senate passed it during the special session.]
Please see JoAnn Fleming article:

Texas at Risk: Illegal Immigration, Sanctuary Cities

 

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Subject:  Coalition of Texas grassroots leaders will address the “no response” from Governor Perry and will deliver significant legislative support for their efforts to ban sanctuary cities in Texas.  Leaders will renew their call for Governor Perry to act on his unfinished business.

Where:  Texas State Capitol, Speaker’s Press Room 

When:  Thursday, October 13th, 11:00 am

Background details:

At the close of the 2011 regular and special legislative sessions, a broad coalition of local grassroots organizations in Texas signed an open letter calling on Governor Rick Perry to address the urgent unfinished business of emergency legislation personally identified by the governor at the beginning of the 82nd legislative session – namely, a ban on “sanctuary city” policies in Texas.  Over 3,000 local activists signed the letter, including representatives of over 100 local tea party, 9-12 and related grassroots groups.  Signatures of representatives of these local groups, in many cases, represent hundreds – even thousands – of local group members. 

Roberto Gonzales

One of the leaders scheduled to speak at the news conference: 

 “As legal immigrants in the late 1960’s, my family and I fled communism.  We came here with the mission to become Americans. We did so to become part of all that makes this country great. Today, we cannot sit by and have our laws ignored by politicians who take an oath to uphold the rule of law and then proceed to choose the laws they want to ignore.  We cannot continue to ignore the security threat of cities in Texas whose leaders insist on providing a safe haven to those who want to remain “under the radar” and use this country without any responsibility whatsoever. Texas elected officials need to do their job and quit playing games with our security and financial future.”   Roberto Gonzalez, Clear Lake TEA Party

Below is video of Roberto Gonzales at the September 19thnews conference 

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The Texas Budget Boondoggle Part 2

Date posted:

 Our Ongoing Fight to Cut the Size, Scope, and Cost of Texas State Government   

JoAnn Fleming

By JoAnn Fleming, Chair, Citizen Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the Texas Legislature; volunteer Executive Director of Grassroots America – We the People

“Don’t Spend All the Money!”  Heard that from several stumping the campaign trails?  Before you get stars in your eyes, you might want to check into the facts a bit before buying into all of the campaign sloganeering.

In spite of all the glowing rhetoric about how state leadership has done such a masterful job of not raising taxes and cutting spending, the truth lies somewhere just beyond that rainbow.  We just can’t let them get away with the spin. Texas is not the Land of Oz; and the fairy-tale budget logic has to go.  We just can’t afford it any more.  

And just so we keep the timeline straight, no public official is getting clothes-lined here. Nobody’s getting ambushed.  This follow-up message to our first Texas Budget Boondoggle Report should come as no surprise to anyone out campaigning.  Our message throughout the legislative session, during the special session, and after the budget was passed and signed by the Governor has remained the same.   We cannot support this budget because Texans do not need, do not want, and do not deserve the same kind of spending and budget trickery that goes on in Washington, D.C. 

True, there were substantial cuts in some areas. Indeed, $12.1 billion in cuts came from the one-time federal stimulus funds.  The overriding issue is this — we cannot support the budget because it has once again been balanced with poison pills – accounting gimmicks, deferrals, one-time fixes, tax payment speed-ups for some businesses, and a “Medicaid credit card.”  We cannot support the crony capitalism that doles out tax dollars and steers some pretty lucrative perks to chosen “winners.”  We cannot support a budget that continues to ignore the high cost of illegal aliens to this state because there’s no political stomach for interior enforcement of the rule of law.

The planned state budget deficit for 2013 comes to $7.1 billion.  How did we arrive at this number?  There’s no complicated chart or formula (simple math at work here).   A $2.3 billion payment deferral to the Foundation School Program + an underfunded Medicaid caseload growth estimated at $4.8 billion = a $7.1 billion budget deficit.   The pure, unvarnished truth is – the Rainy Day Fund is spent!

The numbers we use for the minimum expected shortfall for 2013 have been verified by statewide conservative organizations and confirmed by our own research.  The only way the Rainy Day Fund is not tapped in 2013 for this planned deficit will be the convergence of several miracles.  The Medicaid/Health & Human Services caseload growth will have to drop precipitously and state revenues will have to exceed projections.  We don’t see either of those two things coming to pass.  So while we appreciate no increase in state taxes, state government remains anti-taxpayer because it still plans to spend way more than it takes in, and the way the state funds public education helps drive up local property taxes.  This is unsustainable. 

Adding insult to injury, the state budget contains $500 million in overt pork spending for Fortune 500 companies (advertising grants and other goodies) and $25 million for Formula One Racetrack funding in Austin.  We asked the Governor to line item veto this nonsense.  He did not.  Every time we got Formula One stripped out in the House and Senate, the Budget Conference Committee – urged on by state leadership – raised it from the dead and put it back into the budget.  It is not within the basic, core constitutional function of state government to act as an investment banker or venture capitalist for the entertainment industry or to act as a central economic planner by earmarking tax dollars for certain business interests. 

The fully volunteer and “funded from our own pockets” TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee worked very hard this session on spending issues.  We watched as certain Republicans struck down amendment after amendment that would have made sensible cuts to state spending.  We did not get our favored 2-year hiring freeze, even though the freeze would have exempted law enforcement, the state courts system, and corrections.

Photo Courtesy of the Texas Tribune who named Senator Robert Duncan one of the Best in the Legislature. Interesting.....

Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) led the charge to strike down budget amendments calling for a 5% state employee pay cut for those making more than $60,000 per year, a 5% cut for those making over $100,000 per year, and a 10% cut for those making more than $200,000 per year.  [Note: teachers are not state employees, thus were not under consideration in these proposed cuts, but statewide elected officials were!]

There were no taxpayer protections this session.  Leadership shut out bills for appraisal district relief, spending caps, and curtailing services to illegal aliens.  Likewise, there was no real interest from House or Senate leadership for zero-based budgeting or restructuring state government to streamline numerous overlapping, duplicative departments, agencies, commissions, and programs.  There was zero leadership from the top to identify and eliminate spending that falls outside the core constitutional functions of state government.  To put this lack of bold, decisive leadership into perspective, remember the elements present during this year’s legislative session: a huge budget shortfall, an out-of-control federal government, a constituency calling for less government, a super-majority of Republicans in the House, self-proclaimed “conservative” leaders Speaker Straus and Lt. Governor Dewhurst, and “Don’t Spend all the Money” Governor Perry.  We expected more – much, much more.  After all, none of these folks ran as big-spending, big government advocates, but as conservative problem-solvers!

But yes, Virginia, they did spend all the money.  It’s just that all the bills aren’t in yet, but in 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislative session will be awash in a sea of red ink.   Short of some pretty big miracles, the budget struggles of the 82nd Legislative session will pale in comparison.  It will be tough.  It will be messy, and some folks running for higher office are hoping they won’t be around when the calls for “Clean up on aisle nine!” go out.

If this sounds harsh, so be it.   We live in harsh times.  Liberty is at stake.  The more government spends and grows, the less we are free.   In Texas, we plan on living free.  That’s why we won’t back down.

Coming soon:  “2013 Go Forward Solutions:  The TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee’s Plan to Put State Government into a State Constitution-sized Box”

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Watch the video below and ask yourself are we being fed more propaganda by the career politicians so we will help get them elected to higher office? Should it be about them or should it be about what is best for Texas?

Gov. Perry: Fiscal Responsibility Will Guide Texas through Budget Process

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Texas Budget Boondoggle

Date posted: October 9, 2011

Fairy Tales, the Medicaid Credit Card, Formula One Racing & Pork
By JoAnn Fleming

During the 82nd Legislative Session and the subsequent special session, Texas lawmakers dealt with the budget shortfall and balanced the budget with no new taxes and no tax increases, but $12 billion in cuts were the one-time federal stimulus funds used to balance the 2010-2011 biennium budget.  The 2012-2013 budget is balanced with some cuts, tax payment speed ups, accounting gimmicks, and deferrals.

“Budget writers had to rely heavily on gimmicks and one-time fixes, like a $2.3 billion payment deferral to the Foundation School Program and underfunding Medicaid caseload growth to the tune of $4.8 billion. Perhaps even worse than these budget shenanigans is the fact that, despite having a golden opportunity, lawmakers failed to make any substantive changes to how and why state government spends money.”  Source:  Texas Public Policy Foundation

In other words, the leaders of our state government and key legislators once more engaged in “fairy tale budgeting” by declaring a balanced budget.  The budget may be balanced, but the Rainy Day Fund (or the People’s Savings Account) is spent!   Delaying the $2.3 billion payment for public school funding and charging $4.8 billion to a “Medicaid credit card” means the budget is short by $7.1 billion.  That’s right!  Texas has a planned budget deficit for 2013!   If kicking the can down the road and delaying tough decisions is wrong in Washington, DC, what makes it right for Texas?

The legislature left many commonsense spending cuts on the table.  Texas Republican leadership refused to champion and push for sensible cost-cutting measures offered by conservative legislators in both the House and the Senate, for example – pay cuts for statewide officials and state employees (not teachers) who make $60,000 and above and a hiring freeze for all state agencies (excluding law enforcement, corrections, and the court system).  Texas still has many overlapping, duplicated departments, agencies, and programs.  Twenty-three plus agencies alone manage natural resources. If waste is wrong in Washington, DC, why isn’t it equally wrong for Texas?

The budget approved by Governor Perry also includes $25 million for Formula One Race track funding for a billionaire promoter and special interests in Austin.  No matter how many times we got this pork stripped out of the budget by the few conservatives in the House and Senate, it always rose from the dead in conference committee and made it back into the budget.  Several state officials deeply desired this project and arm-twisted to bring it back to life. Also included in the state budget is $500 million in pork for special interests, including film and music makers, video game companies, and commercials for Fortune 500 companies. If crony capitalism and pork are wrong in Washington, DC, what makes it right for Texas?

The State of Texas has no business serving as an investment banker or venture capitalist for entertainment venues. Leveraging tax dollars for private special interests is not a core constitutional responsibility of state government.  It’s just plain wrong.

JoAnn Fleming is Chair, Citizen Advisory Committee to the Texas Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus and Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People.

 

Watch the video below and ask yourself are we being fed more propaganda by the career politicians so we will help get them elected to higher office? Should it be about them or should it be about what is best for Texas?

Gov. Perry: Fiscal Responsibility Will Guide Texas through Budget Process

 

 

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Voices Empower

Check Out Voices Empower Articles 

  Please attribute to Alice Linahan  with Voices Empower 

I would appreciate  the opportunity to stand side by side with you in the battles ahead!

Knowledge is Power~ Click and share with your friends!