Communicating Progressive Values in Texas

April 30, 2013 To: CC: State Representative Brandon Creighton Chair, House Republican Caucus Texas House Republican Caucus Members

Chairman Creighton: The GOP Sequester Plan you offered as an amendment to House Bill 11 and urged the Texas House of Representatives to consider needlessly brought Washington D.C. politics to the Texas Capitol. The GOP Sequester Plan indiscriminately cut money across-the-board for all budget items, including public schools, hospitals, and pay raises for Texas state troopers. No area of the budget was left untouched; for example, your GOP Sequester Plan would have cut $166,000 in funds for the Alternatives to Abortion Program currently in the Texas House version of the budget.i The last Governor to fund a State Water Plan was a Democratii. The GOP Sequester Plan jeopardized our state’s best opportunity to fund water infrastructure in 16 years. iii Despite Governor Perry’s call to use the Rainy Day Fund, you offered and urged your Caucus to vote for a reckless amendment to use general revenue dollars, then admitted you had no idea of your amendment’s consequences and ignored the near certainty that it would never survive conference committee negotiations. Thankfully, there is a more responsible option that would create a fair and equal investment in education, transportation, and water for our future, using money we already have in our state’s savings account. I strongly recommend you consider working on all these issues together, at once, rather than a divide-and-conquer approach that relies on a GOP Sequester Plan that harms everyone. As you said yesterday during debate on the House floor: S. TURNER: Do you believe that water, on the floor of this house today, has a greater precedence or higher priority than the financial support we have given to our schools this session? CREIGHTON: I believe that they are coupled, and we cannot consider either in a vacuum. iv Sincerely,

Phillip Martin Political Director, Progress Texas Phillip@ProgressTexas.org, @PhillipMartin

Communicating Progressive Values in Texas
Notes
i

Senate Bill 1, as it passed the Texas House on April 4, 2013, appropriated $4,150,000 in each year of the 20142015 biennium of the HHSC’s budget to the Alternatives to Abortion Program [ Page II-78]. A 2% cut to this budget item would represent a $166,000 cut to this program in the biennium.
ii

According to State Sen. Tommy Williams, who says 1997 was when the plan was first written, which is when Republican George W. Bush was Governor of Texas. Sen. Williams was quoted saying this in Quorum Report, “Senate Passes Plan to Restructure Water Development Board,” 4/19/13: “If we don’t have that water we have a problem,” Fraser said, noting that the state water plan was first written 16 years ago and has never been funded.
iii

The money needed to pay for the State Water Plan has increased since the Legislature first failed to fund it in 1997. The plan cost $4.7 billion in 1997; $17.9 billion in 2002; $31.0 billion in 2007; and $53 billion in 2013. [Source: Dallas Morning News]
iv

This exchange is from the remarks reduced to writing and placed in the Texas House Journal for April 29, 2013 on the discussion of Amendment 3 to House Bill 11. [Source: Texas House Journal].

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