THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Everything old is new again.
Yesterday, Gov. Rick Perry proposed two constitutional amendments he’d like to see passed during the 2011 session. One would require a two-thirds super majority in both houses of the Legislature to pass a tax increase. Another would create a limit on state spending tied to inflation and growth.
“These two sensible amendments will engrave our proven fiscal disciplines into the bedrock of state law and make our state even stronger, no matter what challenges the global economy might present,” Perry said. He also called for the establishment of a statewide inspector general to maximize cost efficiency and effectiveness at state agencies.
Perry has proposed similar measures in the past, including during his successful 2006 gubernatorial bid.
“Rick Perry is trying to pull a fast one on Texans by recycling a budget reform proposal he first made in 2006 but then never implemented or cared to pursue,” said Joe Pounder, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign.
“Governor Perry's theatrics are perhaps worthy of local theater but they're certainly not providing leadership for Texans,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina.
During a Wednesday stop in Lubbock, Perry said, "I think it was a good concept in 2006, but I think today, the red lights are flashing, the caution flags are up because of what we've seen out of Washington, D.C."
Expect Perry to hit similar notes today as he travels to Houston, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio discussing “the need for fiscal restraint in Washington.”
• It’s turkey day for someone. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made a friendly wager with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., on the outcome of tonight’s BCS National Championship game between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. If the Longhorns take home the championship, Sen. Shelby will pony up a whole smoked turkey from Bates Turkey Farm in Fort Deposit, Alabama. In the event that the Crimson Tide roll away with it, Sen. Hutchison has to turn over a whole Greenberg smoked turkey from Tyler.
• The ozone, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The Environmental Protection Agency may announce today that it is lowering its standard for permissible ozone levels in the air. The current standard is 75 parts per billion. According to the Sierra Club, if the standard drops to 70 parts per billion, many Texas cities — including Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio — will join cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Beaumont in “non-attainment” status.
• Texas is set for its first execution of the new year. Kenneth Mosely is set to be killed by lethal injected for the 1997 murder of Garland Officer David Moore during a failed robbery attempt. This event comes on the heels of a newly released study by criminologist Raymond Teske at Sam Houston in Huntsville and Duke sociologists Kenneth Land and Hui Zheng, which concludes that a monthly decline of 0.5 to 2.5 homicides in Texas follows each execution.
“We all wish we could get a blood transfusion from Ralph.” — U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-TN, on 86-year-old U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall.
• Control of the Texas House in flux, with elections in N. Texas being significant — The Dallas Morning News
• Odds of Powerball sales in Texas? 100% — Houston Chronicle
• Hopefuls with 'Tea Party' ties take on Texas' U.S. House incumbents — The Dallas Morning News
• Federal stimulus money to help many train for green jobs — El Paso Times
• Democrats' Fero never lost faith in party's prospects — Austin American-Statesman