Latinos For Texas Blog

2007-May-17

Bill to combat non-existent Voter ID fraud appears to be dead in the Tx Senate

A report over at BOR links to an Austin-American Statesman article proclaiming Dewhurst has pronounced the Senates version of HB218 ‘all but dead.’

There is some great discussion in that thread about how this voter id bill really is NOT about ‘non-dilution of American’s votes, and keeping the vote safe’ and the like, but about a clever way to reduce Dem vote by about 3%, according to even staunch Republican Royal Masset in this comment, and elsewhere.

If the Lege wants to increase the vote, enact same-day registration, and county-wide polling places efforts (replacing my-precinct-only polling place). If the State’s technology is good enough to arrest someone in Amarillo for a warrant in Brownsville, if should be good enough to span a county on election day.

There is no voter ID fraud problem. Even according to Dewhurst, if you believe him, almost a few hundred non-citizens have voted in the last, according to him, 14 years! maybe as many as, in his words, 41 voted in two years in all of Bexar county. does he know how to do math, do ratios mean anything!! talk about a speck of a speck.
he then takes that and says ‘what about the ones we dont know about, what if it is “twenty-five thousand?”‘ WOW! what if its 25 ka-billion!?! What if EVERYONE stole EVERYTHING from HEB. We better enact a law to treat ALL shoppers as shoplifters, or at least the old, young, frequent movers, and poor ones.
how about focusing on problems we know exist — like education, healthcare, and infrastructure — and when thats all solved, you can take some time to work up a exciting David Blaine-style conjuring routine .

2007-May-1

UPDATE: HB 626 passes

Despite wide-spread opposition, and a truly remarkable, even stunning, lack of evidence pointing to a need for its existence, HB 626 passed out of the house.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) released a statement which sums it up nicely

“Let’s be clear about this: there is no voter impersonation problem or voter fraud epidemic in this state,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “This is part of a partisan disenfranchisement effort to keep seniors, minorities, and the poor from voting.  I voted against House Bill 626 to protect the voting rights of every Texan.”

From the federal level on down, there really is a systematic effort by Republicans to win elections by manipulating the process, since they cannot compete on the merits. And, it doesn’t hurt that they find it morally easy to scapegoat the already tenuously involved, and their low-information, lousy-moral-compassed minions just plod along according to their marching orders.

is it too cliche to remind people of the banality of evil?

2007-Mar-29

Republicans Raising Gas taxes

Filed under: — site admin @ 1:20 pm

A helpful Texan writes in to make sure we all know who really is fiscally responsible and who just claims to be.

TEXAS GAS TAX GOING UP EVERY YEAR THANKS TO REPUBLICANS
SB 165 (Carona) adjusts October 1 annually the state motor fuels tax rate by a multiple of (a) the change in the HCI (highway cost index) during the preceding fiscal year and (b) the combined state and federal tax rate on gasoline and diesel fuel. HB 962 (Krusee) adjusts the state tax on motor fuels (gasoline and diesel) annually in accordance with the change in the consumer price index (CPI). Either bill helps transportation but SB 165 is far more beneficial.
The REPUBLICAN members of the Dallas (North Texas Delegation) are leading the charge on this bill to PERMANENTLY install an statewide annual gas tax increase. How times have changed in this red state.

So, i wonder, is there a comprehensive list of the subtle, semi-secret tax hikes in this year’s Lege offerings? Anyone know a source?

2007-Mar-6

Early Primary bills up for a hearing this Wednesday in Elections Committee

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 10:43 am

Representative Trey Martinez Fischer’s HB 996 is up for a hearing this week in Elections. The early primary legislation would move the Texas Primary from March 4, 2008 to February 5, 2008.

Rep. Martinez Fischer’s bill was the only early primary bill on the hearing notice posted on Friday. HB996 has Representative Roberto Alonzo signed on as a joint author.
Late yesterday afternoon, two other primary related bills were added to the agenda for this week’s elections committee hearing. Representative Trey Martinez Fischer is on board all three of these bills as either the main author or a joint author.

HB 993 by Representative Roberto Alonzo, has four joint authors; Representatives Homer, Martinez Fischer, Yvonne Davis and Hodge. HB993 also has five coauthors in Representatives Escobar, Gonzalez Toureilles, Herrero, Raymond and Rodriguez.

Representative Helen Giddings’ HB 2017 is the other primary related bill with Trey Martinez Fischer signed on as a joint author. That bill has Representative Pena as a co-author.

Houston Chronicle article 2/15/2007
Texas may move up primary to Feb. 5

House Speaker Tom Craddick seemed to give his stamp of approval Wednesday.

“Most (House) members that have talked to me about it are pretty well into doing that,” Craddick said. “They would like to move it up.”

Several other big states, including California and Florida, also are considering moving their primaries to Feb. 5 in 2008.

The effect could be replacing the old Super Tuesday in March with a new slate of impact primaries a month sooner.

“Super Tuesday is no long super, it’s just Tuesday,” said Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, who filed legislation to move the primary date. “If it moves up to February 5th, it’s ‘Super Duper Tuesday.’ “

The committee hearing is this Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in Room E2.028. The whole committee agenda is posted here.

The public is welcomed to speak at these hearings. These meetings haven’t been very short this year, so if you really want to speak, be prepared to stay a long time. You can however, fill out a witness affirmation form at the hearing and just voice your support for the bills. You have to fill out the forms in person, and they must be handed to the committee clerk at the hearing. The forms are available at the back of the hearing room when the hearing starts.

Here’s Matt Glazer’s Burnt Orange Report diary of Thu Feb 01, 2007 where he discussed the reasons we should support a primary move for Texas.
Lone Star Project: 5 Reasons to Move the Primary.

Let’s move that primary, Texas!

2007-Jan-26

Cuellar proposal is an $850 million fiasco in the making

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:19 pm

(tips to South Texas Chisme for the story)

McAllen Monitor Editorial 1/25/07

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley’s newest congressional representative — whose district was redrawn to take over the portion of the Valley previously represented by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin — last week introduced a bill calling for the United States to provide up to $850 million over the next five years to help train Mexican law enforcement and military personnel to better combat rising drug-related violence just across the border.

(snip)
On the surface, this all sounds pretty good. Maybe that’s why Cuellar’s bill has picked up the sycophantic support of other South Texas congressmen, including U.S. Reps. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi; Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio; and Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, however, is not prepared to say “amen” and join the chorus of support for Cuellar’s bill.

Treviño, in fact, told The Monitor he considers the proposed legislation “ludicrous.”

(snip)
Cuellar is not talking about using $850 million dollars to have skilled U.S. law enforcement agencies or military units train their Mexican brethren. That might make some sense and would give the United States at least some control over how the money is actually spent.

What Cuellar is proposing is that we simply hand over to the Mexican government $170 million for each of the next five years and trust that it will all be spent for its intended purpose.

I believe in nation building as a foreign policy. It certainly makes more sense than nation destroying, which is what I think the current administration’s policy really is. In fact if we were to spend just one week’s expenditures of what we are spending in Iraq (2 billion a week) in Mexico, we would start down the right path of building a stronger relationship with our sister border country to the south. But you can imagine the wailing that would also ensue from the extreme right wing about sending money into Mexico. They would just rather isolate themselves within a 700 mile wall. That proposed wall coincidentally would also cost about $2.2 billion. Spending a couple of billion in Mexico as nation building would start to correct the major threat that most Americans see, which is illegal immigration. Our current foreign policy creates a whole lot of jobs in Asia and I just think we should start a policy of trade that would favor companies that establish their factories in Mexico. Spurring the Mexican economy would create jobs there and slow the flow of illegal immigration and at the same time provide Mexicans with more disposal income to spend on US goods and services.

2007-Jan-23

TX Senator Dan Patrick files wire-money bill

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 8:34 am

File this under more wrong headed thinking.

Postcards from the Lege 1/22/07
Patrick, R-Houston, filed Senate Bill 268 which would place a fee on money wired out of Texas to any foreign country. The 10-percent fee on wire transactions under $5,000 would be collected to provide funding for border security.

So what’s wrong with this legislation? Let’s start with the fact that’s it’s basically foreign trade policy and the state of Texas has no authority to negotiate foreign policy on behalf of the U.S. Allowing states to start imposing a tax on international money transfers would be a nightmare for the federal government. Why would Texas or any border state be the only state allowed to take a cut of the billions of dollars that are sent out of this country. Every state would surely want a piece of that action.

Then let’s get into the cost of bureaucracy of the legislation. There isn’t a fiscal note on this bill yet, but there surely will be. The bill calls for banks and wire transfer services to file paperwork and monies remitted to the Comptroller and have the Comptroller deposit funds in a special account for border security.

Oh and to make the bill more palatable to American citizens who just might have to wire money outside the country, they can go through some more bureaucracy to apply for a refund of their fees with the Comptroller. Maker sure you have your copy of your birth certificates you lazy slackers.

Here’s the only safety valve on this type of legislation

Patrick’s bill: SECTION 4. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007. Reality: This bill never takes effect because it never passes in the Senate so long as Democrats control 11 of the 31 votes. The 2/3 rule is still in effect for the Senate this session, and that essentially means the the Democrats alone can block putrid immigration bashing legislation like this from ever coming to the floor for a vote.

2007-Jan-12

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez showing love for citizens, even the blogging sort

An excellent start to the Lege, from LFT-endorsed State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), which not only allows, but, can it be true, actually encourages people to be more involved in politics, and the process.

Representative Eddie Rodriguez to propose amendment to support Bloggers

AUSTIN– Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) will propose an amendment to the house rules today that will give established Bloggers access to the House floor.

“With the rise of citizen journalism, it no longer makes sense to limit access to House business solely to the traditional press outlets,” said Representative Rodriguez.

Political blogs are some of the limited media that focus solely on reporting the happenings at the Capital and many of these Bloggers regularly break stories that show up in the traditional media.

Bloggers, as defined by this revised rule, produce original reporting and informed comment worthy of credentials. This amendment will allow increasingly popular non-traditional media, the privileges necessary to more effectively inform citizens on governmental issues.

“This kind of measure would encourage citizen participation in government and help demystify the system for the general public,” said Rodriguez.

2006-Nov-29

Republican Henry Bonilla profit from the war?

(This is some very interesting documentation about Republican Henry Bonilla, promoted from a comment below. - mario)

Bonilla-a war profiteer? Documentation says “yes”

by Larry Romo, Texas Demvets Chair

Researched by Larry Romo

Henry Bonilla + Alliant Techsystems Inc. Relationship

The Facts:
In early 2002, Bonilla bought through his spouse, tens of thousands of dollars in stock in defense contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc.

Later In 2002, the House Appropriations Committee designated and Congress voted authorizing $1.25 billion dollars for Alliant Techsytems, Inc. to provide Army munitions, $94 million more than the Department of Defense requested.

That same year, the Alliant Techsystems, Inc. Employees Political Action Committee (PAC) contributed $1,000 to Bonilla’s congressional campaign, in addition to the $500 he received in 2001.

With his vote in 2002 as a congressman and as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Bonilla boosted the value of his own stock in Alliant Techsystems, Inc., a company that is receiving more defense appropriations as the war in Iraq continues, meaning higher stock values and more money for campaign contributions.

This conflict of interest is highly unethical for a public official. Bonilla used his position as a congressman to boost his family personal finances and his campaign.

Documentation:
Bonilla’s 2002 Personal Financial Disclosure: http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/pfd2002/N00005985_2002.pdf

Alliant Techsystems 2002 Fall Report: http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/Krause/Alliant_TechSystems_F02.pdf#search=’Alliant%20techsystems%20%20Defense%20appropriations’

Bonilla’s 2002 Campaign Contribution Report:
http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_give/2001_H2TX23058

2006-May-17

Special Session Wrap-up from Matt

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:09 am

JustAnotherMatt has an excellent wrap-up of the going-ons and what it might mean from the dearly departed Special Session at the Lege.

HB3 and the franchise tax is the most interesting piece of the “tax legislation”. It created an interesting windfall for large corporations. Your apartment complex owners, strip mall owners, and mega corporations like Exxon-Mobil will get tax breaks. In 2007, Utilities will see a net tax break of $90.4 million, Insurance/Finance/Real Estate will get $227.5 million, and Manufacturing will see $114.6 million. This is close to the $400 million originally budgeted for education.

In the wave of record-breaking profits, I am glad the state found some time to give them tax cuts.

On the other hand, your local dry cleaner, family restaurant, farmers market, or corner store will be paying the same rent while their landowner is paying less.

So, i admittedly do not know my Texas Lege history. Has there ever been a time when the Lege did such a terrifically short-sighted run-around of their core and judicially-mandated assignment? In other words, anything to learn from history on whats likely to come next for the schools?

2006-Apr-24

79th Texas Legislature Special Session : : HB3

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 9:34 pm

CSHB 3
House Floor Amendments

There’s lots of action on the House floor with all of the amendments to HB3. Some notables:

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez offered two amendments. One would require landlords to reduce rent after they’ve realized savings from the reduction in property taxes paid. The other would “stop the windfall for oil companies” by (if I have this right) requiring companies to pay the severance tax when oil prices top a certain threshold (like where they’re at now). Both amendments were tabled.

Rep. Pete Gallego sought to “decentivise the building of water pipelines” in order to secure future affordability of the resource. That got tabled, too.

Rep. Anchia brought the issue of immigration to the House floor. He opened discussion on his amendment to hold “illegal businesses accountable” with a strong offensive on those individuals that dehumanize migrant workers. I’m paraphrasing…

They call them illegal aliens like they came from a UFO. Or they say illegals like they are not human beings. Day after day, week after week, they subsidize our economy. On the federal level, HR 4437 wants to make them felons, make their families felons, make Catholic churches and charities felons, and ignore thousands and thousands of illegal businesses operating everyday. No one wants to talk about the demand side.

The amendment (which passed) would allow the Comptroller to adopt rules and provisions to review, audit, secure affidavits, etc. of certain companies suspected of taking tax deductions for undocumented labor by reducing it from their cost of goods sold. Revenue would be generated from fines on accounting improprieties.

Anchia called the federal government a disaster and Congress do-nothings. He reiterated that taxpayers subsidize these “illegal businesses” with public schools and county hospitals. “The undocumented workers are exploited by Texas companies while contributing to the community so mightily,” he said. “Businesses are breaking the law everyday… Proposals at the federal level to build a wall are laughable. With strong demand [for labor] no wall or physical measure will keep workers out of this state. The sucking sound is not coming from Mexico. The sucking sound is coming from the United States.”

2006-Apr-6

Senate approves immigration bill…?

Filed under: — kevin @ 3:46 pm

From the New York Times:

After days of painstaking negotiations, Senate leaders today hammered out a broad, bipartisan compromise that would put the vast majority of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

The plan would also create a temporary worker program that would allow 325,000 foreigners to fill jobs in the United States each year. The Senate was expected to vote on the measure late today or early Friday and, if passed, it would mark the most sweeping immigration accord in two decades.

Under the agreement, illegal immigrants who have lived here for five years or more — about seven million people — would eventually be granted citizenship if they remained employed, paid fines and back taxes and learned English. Illegal immigrants who have lived here from two to five years — about three million people — would have to leave the country briefly and return as temporary workers. They would also be eligible for citizenship over time, but they would have to wait several years longer for it.

Those immigrants who have been here less than two years — about one million people — would be required to leave the country. They could apply for spots in the temporary worker program, but there would be no guarantee.

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warned that there were many obstacles ahead: Any legislation that passes the Senate will have to be reconciled with a tough border security bill passed by the House in December and House Republicans have said they would not tolerate any legislation that amounted to an amnesty for lawbreakers.

This is not a complete victory for immigrants and their allies, but it’s a great compromise. We’ll see if the vote occurs and then continue to advocate for just and humane immigration legislation as the two vastly different bills are reconciled in committee.

2006-Mar-10

DailyKos’s Georgia10 on Anti-HR 4437 March in Chicago

Filed under: — kevin @ 4:46 pm

Click here to read an amazing account of tens of thousands of people standing up for human rights for all here in America.

P.S. I work for a non-profit in Austin, Manos de Cristo, that serves the working poor in Austin–many of whom are immigrant families from Mexico and Central America. If the Sensenbrenner bill passes, we could all go to jail.

2006-Mar-9

Why the GOP’s efforts to win Hispanic voters is at odds with the racist right-wingers who are the heart of the Republican Party

Charlie Savage, of the Boston Globe, writes about the efforts made by Hispanic evangelicals to reverse anti-immigrant legislation.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of a group he says represents 15 million Hispanic evangelical Christians, said his fellow social conservatives are making a historic mistake. By spurning proposals to give illegal immigrants a shot at citizenship instead of deportation, they are making it easier for supporters of abortion and same-sex marriage to win elections.

‘’This is a watershed moment for the Republican Party,” said Rodriguez, digging into a steak at an American flag-festooned restaurant near the US Capitol, where he had been lobbying GOP leaders last week. ‘’Hispanics are social conservatives. Their votes can determine the next 25 years of national elections. But all that is in jeopardy, based on what is happening.”

What is happening is that the GOP-led Congress is on the verge of making sweeping changes in border-security laws this year that could shape political alliances in the Southwest for decades.

Republicans are split over what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants already inside the United States.

Some support intensifying efforts to deport them all. Others, including President Bush and Senator John McCain of Arizona, favor letting them stay as legalized guest workers if they come forward and pay a fine and back taxes.

Rodriguez, chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and a handful of other religious activists said they hope Congress will adopt a version that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the country with a shot at becoming citizens.

They contend that taking an immigrant-friendly approach could help social conservatives win the culture wars for decades to come.

The numbers help make Rodriguez’s case: Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about 80 percent are from Latin America. And, according to a 2002 Pew Hispanic Center poll, 77 percent of foreign-born Latinos believe that abortion is unacceptable, and 73 percent reject homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

But Rodriguez has not gotten far with his contention that social conservatives who advocate deportation are being short-sighted. The House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for stepped up deportation efforts. Many conservative lawmakers in the House balked at giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, saying that would reward lawbreakers.

Last week, the Senate began work on its own immigration bill. Several lawmakers have filed versions that would allow the undocumented to stay legally as guest workers, but some lawmakers most opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage are urging their colleagues to focus only on deportation.

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work. Here’s what Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, says in reaction to mainstream Christian activists who support helping immigrants become citizens :

‘’The faith community must step forward and tell left-leaning activists that undermining border security is not a religious imperative,” he said.

And this is why the long-term GOP project is going to fail: Christian nationalists have more in common with atheist racists than with Christian immigrants. And it isn’t Christ that they share. The whole article is a must read, and page 2 reminds us that Christians are biblically called to care for immigrants, along with the weak, sick, and suffering.

2006-Feb-24

La Polituquera, Feb 2006 has the numbers

Alfredo Santos writes in to let us know another fact-and-figures-packed edition of La Politiquera is available, and i can tell you it is packed with interesting information, and a timely reminder:

On the question of voting, I had a man tell me a few years ago, “No, si yo tuviera la ciudanania, you saldria a votar cada vez que me tocaba. Yo veo que hay muchos de ustedes que no cuidan lo que tienen aquí en este país.” (No, if I was a citizen, I would go out and vote every time I could. I see that a lot of you are not taking care of what you have in this country.)

Headlines include ‘The Race for the 28th Congressional District Seat’ and

  • On the Question of First Class Citizenship
  • Diana Davila Named Board President of Houston ISD
  • Armando Villarreal Now in Iowa
  • Latinos by the Numbers
  • Hispanics and Texas Politics
  • Maria Luisa Alvarado Head of Democratic Ticket

Download the 800k PDF right here.

2005-Nov-16

Day Laborers at risk in Austin

Read the following message below that I got from a friend at the Equal Justice Center:

Support Day Laborers!
City Council is proposing to expand a city wide anti-solicitation ordinance that would make it illegal to look for work at informal corners in Austin. This would violate day laborers constitutional rights to free speech, and criminalize honest workers. We need your support: come to the hearing, wear white to stand in solidarity with Austin day laborers.
November 17th 6pm Public Hearing at City Hall (S. First and Cesar Chavez).
December 15th City Council will vote on the proposed Amendment.
If you can’t come to the meeting on the 17th you can still take action: tell City Council to vote NO! on the proposed ordinance amendment by registering your opinion at the kiosk at City Hall: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Nov 15, 16, 17) between 8am and 6pm.

Essentially police would have the power to fine/ticket/arrest anyone “loitering” around Home Depots (or other locations) in Austin where they have traditionally found day labor jobs. The official day labor site in Austin, First Worker’s, is run by the city and operates on a lottery system and usually only the first 75 people get work on any given day.

This is a big middle finger to the immigrant labor force that keeps Texas running. Record your opposition to this proposition.

And for the record, I think that people who stand on street corners with signs asking for money are usually not in need. There are plenty of resources in Austin to feed, clothe, shelter and help lift up the least among us.

2005-Nov-2

Go Vote!

Filed under: — kevin @ 11:32 am

If you haven’t voted yet, please do so! And join us for blockwalking on Sunday (see front page of the lft site).

Oh, and FYI, Central Presbyterian Church (my place of worship) voted as a Session to formally oppose Prop. 2. Yay! We are “Deliberately Diverse, and Fully Inclusive.”

2005-Jul-14

CORRECTION: VoteRescue meeting: Electoral Reform, paper-trails and you

VOTERESCUE IS ORGANIZING FOR ELECTORAL REFORM in TRAVIS COUNTY

Please attend a planning meeting to target our Travis County Commissioners and Austin City Council to upgrade our voting system eSlate to a voter verified paper ballot system. Lets build a broad coalition to help us lobby to demand verified voter paper ballots in Travis county. VoteRescue and ACLU-TX worked this session on e-voting issues and want to keep these efforts moving forward. Please pass this along and/or post to your blogs.

When: 6-8pm, Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Where: Vinny’s Italian Cafe 1003 Barton Springs Road (Just east of Lamar)
(enclosed patio area)
Contact VoteRescue@aol.com
512-294-9527 or 512-496-7408
Kat Dean and Karen Renick

2005-Jun-28

SPIT Musings

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:14 pm

Previously, we have posted about the attempts by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) to introduce legislation that would allow Texans to vote on the fairness and accountability within our state’s taxing structure. Eight days into the (first) special session of the 79th Legislature and many of our opinions have not changed.

“Good schools are where Teachers know how to teach and love to do it and Students believe they can learn and they do it con ganas!”
— Senator Eliot Shapleigh

Sen. Shapleigh’s presentation of A New Texas: Invest in our kids, invest in our future is delivered with passion, easy to understand, and filled with vital content.

With the elimination of Robin Hood, 867 school districts would lose approximately $230 per student and wealthy districts would gain $1,969 per student.

What is Texas’ Future in 2030? Household income will decline by $5,000 – pulling $60 billion out of the Texas economy. For the first time in our history, the next generation of Texans will be less prosperous than the generation before them.

Shapleigh’s straight-forward approach proves he is not messing around. He will ask you where to cut and what to tax in order to raise enough revenue to cover the giant crater the elimination of Robin Hood would create. More importantly, he is sincere in his message – we all agree every child in Texas deserves a first-rate education rich with great teachers, the latest technology, and challenging course work.

“The system as it stands now is not equitable…with an income tax, most property taxes will go down, even for the rich. And don’t be fooled by the Republican rhetoric against raising taxes… Plans to increase fees are taxes by another name.”
—Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, The Texas Observer, January 31, 2003

Rep. Rodriguez is a rare leader who engages in real dialogue with his constituents. He doesn’t mind delving into the details of any issue or explaining in length HB 33 and HJR 13, which would allow for a voter-approved State Personal Income Tax.

The legislation would abolish the Maintenance & Operation portion of property taxes for all homeowners and remove the possibility of it being reinstated. It also calls for a state-wide vote on the implementation of a low-rate State Personal Income Tax.

A Personal Exemption of $3,200.00 is allowed for every filer and for each dependent declared by that filer. This is the only exemption provided.

On all remaining income the rate of the tax is:
1 % on the 1st $25,000.00
2% on the 2nd $25,000.00
3.5% on the 3rd $25,000.00
5% on the 4th $25,000.00
6.5% on the next $50,000.00
7.0% on the next $50,000.00
7.5% on additional income (all income above $200,000.00)

In a press release last Thursday, Rep. Rodriguez said, “…the total tax on a family of four, with yearly income of $100,000.00, is less than two percent.” That amount would also be deductible on your federal income taxes. Not the case if the Republican leadership has its way with the corporate franchise tax loophole and wage tax, a.k.a. back-door income tax.

A state income tax is a tough sell, but it makes sense. It would give across-the-board tax relief to all Texans while broadening the base of revenue earmarked for education. It would reduce the state’s reliance on property and sales taxes while every taxpayer made a fair investment into the future of Texas. It takes control out of the hands of the Legislature and into the hands of Texas voters.

Sen. Shapleigh and Rep. Rodriguez are the good guys. And their districts have a few things in common – they are largely Hispanic with moderate incomes and one-third of their constituents are high school drop-outs or have never graduated. When these guys talk about taxes, it is clear that they have the best interests of Texans (and not electoral games) at heart.

Spread the word.

2005-Jun-27

State Rep Eddie Rodriguez school finance plan

Filed under: — site admin @ 7:48 am

Perhaps this is a political mistake to say this, because someone will take it out of context, but more than three times in one week (twice at DemFest and once at AustinMovingForward) i was in a room full of Progressive people who genuinely see the futility of property-tax dependence as the means to a quality education. that is, Progressives not seeking ways to tax-and-spend, but not afraid to recognize that common good can come from common spending in the right ways! people cheered loudly and passionately for a state income tax to replace the non-fair, non-working system we have now which has led Texas to, something like, 49th out of 50 in education funding.

As Stace of DosCentavos blog says it: Go Eddie Go!

State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (Austin) filed the first school finance bill to address the long term needs of Texas’ public schools.

HB 33 and HJR 13 completely abolishes the “Robin Hood” property tax (or “Maintenance and Operations tax). While the Governor’s plan offers a temporary reduction (from $1.50 to $1.20 per $100 dollars in valuation), Rodriguez’ plan drops the rate to zero. It is the only plan which abolishes the M & O. It also prohibits reinstatement of the tax under the Texas Constitution.

read more at Go Eddie Go!

2005-Apr-19

Dem Response to Horrible GOP Voting Bills

Filed under: — kevin @ 11:59 am

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting issued a press release yesterday on HBs 1706 and 2405.
Here it is in its entirety:

“CONTACT: Mike Lavigne

Monday, April 18, 2005 512-478-9800

SOECHTING: GOP ASSAULT ON TEXANS’ RIGHT TO VOTE SHOULD STOP

(AUSTIN) — Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting today said on
every Texan who is registered to vote to stand up for their civil rights,
saying that GOP-sponsored bills scheduled to be debated in the Texas House
this week would impose a new “high-tech poll tax” to discourage wide-spread
participation in the democratic process.

Soechting said HB 1706 by Mary Denny (R-Flower Mound) and HB 2405 by Terry
Keel (R-Austin) are bad bills that should be unanimously opposed by state
lawmakers, and he called on the state’s 12.5 million registered voters to
let their elected state representatives know where they stand.

“The first bill is nothing but a high-tech poll tax, and the second bill is
just a cheap political stunt,” Soechting said. “Taken together, they are
irresponsible assaults on the civil rights and common sense of every Texan.”
HB 1706 by the GOP-appointed chairwoman of the House Elections Committee,
would require registered Texas voters to show one photo ID or two non-photo
IDs in addition to their voter registration card when trying to vote in
person even if their names appear on the official voting rolls. Republicans
pushing the measure claim that it is no different than people being asked to
show ID when boarding an airplane or cashing a check.

“Those are legitimate responses to the attacks we suffered at the hands of
foreign enemies,” Soechting said. “House Bill 1706 is an illegitimate
attack by political hacks on one of our most basic civil rights — the right
to vote.”

Soechting said HB 2405 by Austin Republican Terry Keel appears to be an
effort to use the taxpayer-funded legislative process to drive a partisan
message regarding purported fraud by elderly or minority voters in mail-in
ballot programs. The bill would declare voter-fraud to be a crime even
though it already is and require county elections administrators to turn
over any evidence of wrong-doing to the state attorney general not their
local district attorney.

“This is a cheap political stunt,” Soechting said. “The issue it claims to
be addressing is already against state law, there is little if any
documentation that the problem exists in the first place, and the
appropriate official to go after it if it does is the local prosecutor.”
Keel, a former assistant district attorney in Travis County, has an ongoing
feud with Travis Co. DA Ronnie Earle.”

To find who represents you (in the off chance that you care about, oh, VOTING,) go to Texas Lege’s website .


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