We anticipate the Texas House taking another vote on transportation issues tomorrow. Below find the message I just sent to all the legislators who consider themselves to be members of the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus. Feel free to post and to use as you see fit.
Still watching them…JoAnn
July 17, 2013
During the entire 83rd legislation session – regular and special – we’ve been repeatedly crystal clear (in writing) on what we do and do not support regarding transportation funding; however, just so everybody knows we are still watching votes, I reiterate our position:
1) We view the 24% increase in session-to-session GR/ESF spending to be excessive and more than sufficient to have funded transportation and water without another raid on the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund). Reckless spending decisions have consequences. To deliver baseline budgets out of the House Appropriation and Senate Finance Committees without properly funding transportation as a core constitutional function of state government was a big red flag to us that the legislature was on a spending binge. The budget passed certainly proved our prognostication to be true. Thank you to those of you who voted against the budget. To those of you who did not, please don’t compound that bad decision by supporting a vote to raid the ESF with no protections for that fund!
2) We do NOT support any bill for transportation that does not protect the ESF (Rainy Day Fund). It is a commonsense safeguard to stop funding diversions if the ESF balance falls below a minimum threshold. The ESF should always maintain a balance that will ensure the state’s AAA credit rating. The ESF should always maintain a balance to cover a true emergency due to a downturn in the economy. The ESF was never instituted by the People of Texas to cover reckless fiscal policy and an emergency created by undisciplined elected officials so shortsighted as to jeopardize our state’s fiscal health because they were willing to hang all our tomorrows on the very volatile oil and gas industry and just keep spending like there’s no tomorrow.
3) We do NOT support any bill that dedicates existing sales and use taxes on vehicles to fund corporate welfare/taxpayer-subsidized profits for toll companies, the associated P3/CDA funding schemes, and to leverage more road debt. We do not support a dedication of this revenue stream to light rail/trolley car/transit boondoggles. We will only support a clean bill that gets us back to “pay as you go” to the highway fund for non-tolled roads. For all the people who keep saying that our goal is not possible — they are the same people who refuse to hold TxDOT and the wasteful regional mobility authorities accountable for the flagrant examples of waste that we and other conservative activists have brought forward.
Make no mistake, a vote to raid the ESF with no protections and a vote to dedicate our tax dollars to fund more creative financing schemes that undermine the sovereignty of Texas will be considered the same as a vote to increase taxes.
If you have any questions or would like to debate this, please feel free to call the numbers below.
JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People www.gawtp.com
Chair – Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus
(903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell