Monday, January 7, 2013

Joe Straus: Supports New Taxes & Obamacare, Opposes Gun Rights, Pro Abortion, Betrayed Republicans – Texas MUST Elect a New Speaker!

Please forward this to all conservative Republicans in Texas. We must Stand up for Conservative Values and Joe Straus MUST be defeated. The Texas Speaker Election is tomorrow, Jan 8th, 2013. Contact your State Representative and tell them you do not support Joe Straus! This really should be national news because of how shocking it is. The conservative Republican running against Joe Straus is David Simpson.

Breaking News: The Republicans hold the majority in the United States House of Representatives, but in a shock move, a few Republicans teamed up with all the Democrats which has given the Democrats the majority to be able to select Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the majority Republican US House.
Just kidding, that did not happen and probably would not ever happen. If that ever happened then there would be uncontrollable outrage from Republicans.
This DID HAPPEN IN TEXAS though. Back in 2009, a few Texas Republican traitors teamed up with the Democrats to elect the Speaker of the Republican Majority House. Texas had a slim majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The Republicans of the House had the majority to be able to vote as a Republican body to decide which Republican would become speaker. Instead, the power to select the Speaker was given to the Democrats. How? A handful of moderate Republicans in the Texas House teamed up with ALL of the Democrats in the Texas House. This gave the Democrats the power to select someone who was moderate and much less conservative that the current Republican Speaker of the Texas House. The Democrats and the handful of Republican picked wealthy moderate Joe Straus as the Speaker.
This is a complete act of betrayal. Republicans should consider these State Reps as traitors for turning their backs on their Republican Party and not allowing the Texas Republicans (who had the majority) to pick the Speaker of the Texas House.
If I did not know anything about Joe Straus I would still NEVER support him simply because of the fact that he was a traitor to the Republican Party and sold himself to the Democrats to allow the Democrats to pick a new Speaker instead of the Republicans. Without knowing anything about Joe Straus, I already know that he cannot be trusted because he has already teamed up with Democrats before. I also already know that he cannot be very conservative because the Democrats would have never gone along with this to team up with the handful of Republicans unless they were guaranteed that the new speaker was going to be considerably less conservative than the current one.
After knowing everything I just told you above, if you still believe Joe Straus when he lies and says he is a Conservative Republican then you simply just do not understand what it means to team up with Democrats to select a new speaker because the current one was too conservative. Maybe you will understand that Joe Straus is not conservative if you knew a little bit more about Joe Straus.
The voting record of Joe Straus and the statements and actions he has made are very clear that Joe Straus supports Abortion, supports raising taxes, gives money to Democrats to beat Republicans, hurt conservatives in redistricting, selects liberal chairmen for committees to kill conservative bills, will not stand up against Obamacare in Texas, and much more…


See end of this article for a FULL LIST of the History of Joe Straus (Voting History, Support for Abortion, Killing conservative bills, Selecting Liberals for Committees Chairmen, Supporting Tax Increases, Campaigning for Democrats over Republicans, etc)
Wait though, Joe Straus will say that there are more Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives now than before he became speaker of the House: Yes that is true, but that has nothing to do with Joe Straus. Joe Straus snuck into office of the Speaker in 2009 when Republicans everywhere were down and Obama even just won the Presidency. Obama winning woke up America and the 2010 election saw a Republican Wave all over America. The Republican wave was especially big in Texas because, In addition to Obama getting elected causing Republicans to get out and vote, Texas also had a large number of conservative Representatives who got elected out of outrage that moderate Joe Straus was elected to Speaker.
These conservative Representatives were sent to Austin to oppose Joe Straus and they did. Unfortunately, Joe Straus had the power of the Speaker and was able to keep power by threatening anyone who opposed him with bad committee placement and getting hurt in redistricting. He also of course still had the backing of all the democrats and did not have a person stand up to oppose him for Speaker until last minute.
Wait though, Joe Straus will say that there were many conservative bills passed in the 2011 Legislature, including a pro-life sonogram bill. How can Joe Straus not be conservative if there were conservative bills allowed to be passed in 2011?: This is true that there were conservative bills passed in 2011, including a sonogram bill. This conservative legislation in the 2011 Texas Legislative Session passed, not because of him, but in spite of him. Joe Straus is not stupid and there was a super majority of Republican in the Texas House. He is a slick politician who wants to keep power. He knows he could not openly oppose some of the major conservative bills supported by the majority of the House so he did not stand in the way of the bills. For instance, Straus, even though he is not pro-life and supports Roe V Wade, did not stand against the pro-life bills because he knew the pro-life bills would pass anyways with a super-majority of Republicans in the Texas Legislature. What is more telling though is that he also did not stand for them or promote them. Given different circumstances, like less Republicans in the House, I believe Straus would stop playing to the super-majority and play both sides because he will need the Democrats in a split house.

What Straus will also not tell you though is that, even though there were some conservative bills passed in 2011, there were many more super conservative bills that were killed by in Joe Straus’s Committee’s and even some bills killed by Joe Straus himself. (see list at end of article)

Joe Straus has REFUSED to pledge his support for the right to keep and bear arms.
He has fought efforts to restore your God-given right to keep and bear arms every step of the way.
He even mocked efforts to restore law-abiding citizens' right to carry a firearm on a college campus saying:

"Guns on campus, guns somewhere else? Are we really fixing problems or do we just think we do?
(Scharrer, Gary, "On-the-job training pays off for Straus as House speaker," Houston Chronicle, 6/7/2009.)


In Texas, you expect the leaders to oppose Obamacare and oppose tax increases. No state leader in Texas even has to think about whether or not to oppose Obamacare and new taxes. Why? Because this is Texas and we are a pretty conservative state and if you do no oppose Obamacare and oppose new taxes then you might as well resign because you will not get elected again to a statewide office in this state. All of the Texas leaders are very vocal about their opposition to Obamacare and are opposed to new taxes instead of spending cuts.
Except for Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus…
Alice Linahan of Voices Empower explains more:
Joe Straus is on the record as stating that we cannot “cut our way to prosperity,” which echoes the sentiments of Barack Obama nationally. Rick Perry (Texas Governor) and David Dewhurst (LT Governor TX Senate Leader) have both signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a firm pledge to oppose any tax increases, while Straus (TX House Speaker) has not.
Rick Perry and David Dewhurst have come out and stood firm against implementing Obamacare on Texas. In fact, of the top 3 leaders in Texas, Joe Straus is the only one who is unwilling to oppose enacting Obamacare in Texas. When pressed, he said he had to bring all the stakeholders together and decide. Why is this a hard decision? Obamacare is harmful to the strength of our state and its economy.
As Alice Linahan points out above, Joe Straus is not standing up against Obamacare and is open to the idea of raising taxes instead of cutting spending.
Wait, how is that possible that Joe Straus is a state-wide leader and is not strongly opposed to Obamacare and tax increases? How was he ever elected to that position? The reason Joe Straus is the Speaker of the House in Texas is because the people of Texas do not vote to make him Speaker. If the people of Texas voted for speaker in a state-wide vote then Joe Straus would never be elected to lead this conservative state. The only reason he ever got elected to be Speaker is because he was a traitor to the Republican Party. Joe Straus was elected speaker by teaming up with the DEMOCRATS in the House. He got all the Democrats in the House to vote for him. Straus also has money and has wielded his money and power as Speaker to threaten and hurt people who oppose him as Speaker.
This is not a man who should be leading our conservative state. The Republican State Representatives in the Texas House need to stand up and elect a better, more conservative person to lead the Republican majority Texas House of Representatives.
How can a conservative Republicans in Texas go along with a traitor like Straus after knowing the liberal history of Joe Straus?



Joe Straus
2005 – 2009

Fiscal Policy
·         voted to create a payroll tax in Texas, several industry specific taxes, and a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax in the name of reducing property tax burdens. This would have created an 80 percent net tax increase on 80 percent of Texans (HB 3, RV 119, 79th Legislature)
·         voted against repealing the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Tax on local telephone companies in 2005 (HB 789, RV 153, 79th Legislature)
·         voted to levy a “granny tax” on nursing home residents (HB 3778, RV 1048, 80th Legislature)
·         voted against making tuition deregulation subject for review in 2008 by the Sunset Commission (SB 1227, RV 810, 79th Legislature)
·         voted to expand welfare by changing the basis of eligibility for the Children’s Insurance Program from “gross income” to “net income”, and expanding the eligibility period from 6 months to 12 months (HB 109, RV 266 & RV 299, 80th Legislature)
Social Issues
·         voted in favor of allowing homosexuals and bisexuals to become foster parents (SB 6, RV 328, 79th Legislature)
·         Supported making it easier to get a 3rd trimester abortion. Original language of the bill allowed it only when the mother was at risk of death or the fetus had severe irreversible brain impairment. Straus voted to expand the exemptions to if there was “substantial risk of serious impairment” to the mother or if the fetus had a “severe and irreversible abnormality” (SB 419, RV 672, 79th Legislature)
·         Joe Straus received a $1,000 donation from Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas (Texas Ethics Commission, 08/27/2008)

Support of Gambling
·         Even before Joe Straus became a state representative, it was known his family has gambling interests – specifically horse racing. His father helped build Retama Park in San Antonio. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 12/17/2010, Straus: My Family connections hurt gambling bills’ odds)
·         In 2005, his freshman session, Straus voted to legalize “pull tab bingo,” an expansion of gambling. (HB 3, RV 670, 79th Legislature)
·         In 2007, Straus voted to expand gambling to Indian tribes in Texas, paving the way for casinos and racetrack slot machines in Texas. (HB 10, RV 939, 80th Legislature)

Scorecards
·         Heritage Alliance
o   2005 – 79%
o   2006 – 51%

·         Texas Eagle Forum
o   2005 – 58
o   2007 – 68

·         Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
o   2007 - 71

·         Texas Right to Life
o   2005 – 50

·         Young Conservatives of Texas
o   2005 – 73
o   2007 – 62

·         NARAL
o   2005 – 45
o   2007 - 100

2009 to 2011

Election as Speaker

Joe Straus was elected as Speaker of the House with the vote of the entire Democratic caucus and 11 moderate Republicans, whom later became known as the “Gang of 11.” A list of them and their career scores on the Young Conservatives of Texas scorecard are listed below:

·         Jim Pitts - 71
·         Brian McCall - 63
·         Byron Cook - 74
·         Charlie Geren - 58
·         Tommy Merritt - 56
·         Delwin Jones - 58
·         Edmund Kuempel - 78
·         Jim Keffer - 74
·         Rob Eissler - 76
·         Burt Solomons – 81
·         Joe Straus - 67

Punishing Conservatives

·         Liberal Democrat Joaquin Castro said at a press conference that he “cant think of a better person to lead us…” than Joe Straus. (Burnt Orange Report YouTube Video, 1/5/2009, Joe Straus Supporters at Press Conference)
·         Reports surfaced that conservatives were told there would be retribution if they failed to support Straus. (Texas Tribune, 11/10/2010, Bryan Hughes Withdraws Support for Straus)
·         With a 76-74 GOP majority in the House in 2009, Straus’ committee chairs averaged a 43 on the Young Conservatives of Texas ratings.
·         Straus headlined a fundraiser for Democrat Patrick Rose. Rose was defeated by Republican Jason Isaac. (Dallas Morning News Trailblazers Blog, 5/7/2010, Straus helps Democrat facing GOP foe this fall)

Pro-Choice
·         Straus revealed many pro-choice positions in a Texas Monthly Talks with Evan Smith in 2009 (Texas Monthly Talks with Evan Smith, 1/22/09):
o   Straus supports Roe v. Wade and does not believe it should be overturned
o   Straus called the pro-life movement “campaign fodder”
o   On Planned Parenthood: “they do so much good on the family planning and women’s health issues”
o   Evan Smith described Joe Straus as less opposed to abortion and more supportive of gambling – a family business interest – than most of his conservative brethren” in an introduction
·         Joe Straus attended a Planned Parenthood Patron Party in the Fall of 2009, where they thanked him for his “tireless efforts” on behalf of Texas women in the 81st Legislature (Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas Newsletter, Fall 2009)

Conservative Credentials
·         The New York Times called Straus a “centrist” that rose to power during the “Democratic tide that swept President Obama into office” (New York Times, 1/27/2009, Texas Rebellion Gives a Centrist a Lift)
·         The Economist referred to Straus as a “moderate” backed by “centrists” (The Economist, 11/25/2010, The resurgent right, and an unlikely possible ally for moderates)

Fiscal Policy
·         Joe Straus told lobbyist Fred Hill and the Texas Association of Counties – notorious opponents to property tax caps – “You have friend in the Speaker’s Office” (Fred Hill Email, 2/12/2009, Subject: From Fred Hill-Some fun but, serious)

2011 to Present

Gambling
·         The Texas Observer reported in 2010 that Straus’ family could earn tens of millions of dollars if the legislature voted to allow slot machines in racetracks. “It’s unusual – even in Texas – to encounter a single piece of legislation that has the potential to put millions of dollars in the pocket of a top state leader. (Texas Observer, 4/08/2010, Speaker Straus’ Other Horse Race)
·         Straus appointed a pro-gambling chair of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures committee – Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton. Hamilton voted pro-gambling legislation out of his committee in 2011. (Texas Tribune, 5/6/2011, House Committee Advances Gambling, Without Casinos)
·         Straus later fundraised for Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton while in a primary race against conservative James White. See “Punishing Conservatives.” (TREPAC Fundraiser, 2/29/2012)

Punishing Conservatives
·         With a GOP supermajority in the House in 2011, Straus’ committee chairs averaged a 57 on the Young Conservatives of Texas ratings.
·         Ralph Sheffield said Joe Straus punished GOP members (AgendaWise Video, 11/29/2011)
·         Paul Burka said Straus oversaw a budget meant to help Democrats brow-beat Republicans (Texas Tribune, 6/20/2011, Video: Burka and Blakeslee at TribLive)
·         Those who voted against Straus for speaker in 2011 were given slim pickings for committee assignments:
o   Rodney Anderson – Economic & Small Business Development, Land & Resource Management
o   Leo Berman – Defense & Veteran’s Affairs, Elections
o   Cindy Burkett – Criminal Jurisprudence, Elections, Human Trafficking
o   Erwin Cain – Corrections, Government Efficiency & Reform
o   Wayne Christian – Criminal Jurisprudence, Ways & Means
o   Dan Flynn – Defense & Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Public Safety
o   Bryan Hughes – Agriculture & Livestock, Human Services, Oversight of HHS Eligibility System
o   Jason Isaac – Agriculture & Livestock, Elections
o   Phil King – Elections, Urban Affairs
o   Jim Landtroop – Agriculture & Livestock, Defense & Veterans Affairs
o   Jodie Laubenberg – Environmental Flows (Joint Cmte), Human Services, Public Health
o   Tan Parker – Corrections, Oversight of HHS Eligibility System, Rules & Resolutions (Vice Chair), Urban Affairs
o   Ken Paxton – County Affairs, Urban Affairs
o   Charles Perry – Corrections, Defense & Veterans’ Affairs, Rules & Resolutions
o   David Simpson – Border & Intergovernmental Affairs, Urban Affairs
o   Van Taylor – Defense & Veterans’ Affairs, Human Services
o   James White – Corrections, County Affairs
o   Bill Zedler – Criminal Jurisprudence, Government Efficiency & Reform
·         Of those listed above, none were appointed to the Appropriations, Calendars, Higher Education, Public Education, Licensing and Administrative Procedures, House Administration, Redistricting, State Affairs, or Transportation Committee. Only one was appointed to the Ways & Means Committee.

Conservative legislation authored by those who voted against Straus were killed by Straus’ committee chairs:
o   Ending State Unfunded Mandates, HJR 46 by James White

o   Ending In-state tuition for illegal immigrants, HB 1387 by Erwin Cain
o   Appropriations transparency bill, HB 2804 by Cain, et. al.
o   Spending limits for local governments, HB 2952 by Erwin Cain
o   Replacing longevity pay with merit pay for state employees, HB 2954 by Erwin Cain
o   10% reduction on paperwork for state unfunded mandates on public schools, HB 3463 by Erwin Cain
o   Prohibiting hospitals from using tax dollars on abortions, HB 561 by Wayne Christian
o   Prohibiting state or other political subdivisions from forcing you to buy health insurance, HJR 51 by Wayne Christian
o   Ending property taxes below the state levelHJR 53 by Wayne Christian
o   Prohibiting the state from punishing direct payment for healthcare or non-participation, HB 203 by Bryan Hughes
o   Allowing businesses to subtract payments to contractors in addition to employee salary from their taxable margin of the franchise tax, HB 817 by Bryan Hughes and Dwayne Bohac
o   Constitutional amendment requiring 2/3 majority to raise taxes, HJR 37 by Bryan Hughes et. al.
o   Retention of $1 million revenue exemption for franchise tax, HB 476 by Phil King
o   Eliminating school district M&O property taxes, HB 780 by Phil King
o   Requiring a 4/5 vote by House of Representatives to raise taxes, HJR 124 by Jim Landtroop and Jodie Laubenberg
o   Retention of the $1 million exemption of the franchise tax, HB 146 by Jodie Laubenberg
o   Creating the Health Freedom Act, HB 97 by Ken Paxton
o   E-Z computation of the franchise tax, HB 98 by Ken Paxton
o   Spending limits, HB 756 by Ken Paxton
o   Businesses posting a loss wouldn’t pay the franchise tax, HB 932 by Ken Paxton
o   Phases out property taxes for senior citizens by 2021, HB 1104 by Ken Paxton
o   Requires all other taxing units to ratify a tax increase instead of relying petitions to rollback tax rates, HB 3186 by Ken Paxton
o   Requiring franchise tax increases to pass by 2/3 majority, HJR 25 by Ken Paxton
o   NOTE: Ken Paxton was only able to pass 2 bills the entire session, all other bills he authored died in committees
o   Zero-based budgeting, HB 187 by Charles Perry
o   Determination of resident-status of students at public universities, HB 1857 by Charles Perry
o   TSA Groping bill, HB 1937 by David Simpson
o   TSA Body Scanner bill, HB 1938 by David Simpson
o   Taking away public employee pensions of those convicted of felonies, HB 1085 by Van Taylor (also HB 246 by Eric Johnson died in Calendars)
o   Exempting school districts from certain state unfunded mandates, HB 458 by James White & Wayne Christian
o   Temporary tuition limits on students at four-year public universities, HB 459 by James White
o   Abolishing property taxes and limiting rates of state and local sales taxes, HJR 142 by James White
o   Requiring school districts to post their check registers online, HB 1236 by Bill Zedler
o   Requiring public universities to post their check registers online, HB 1237 by Bill Zedler
o   Uncapping total number of charters given to schools by the SBOE, HB 1603 by Bill Zedler,
o   Requiring a 2/3 vote to create an entity with taxing power, HJR 105 by Zedler

Fiscal Policy
·         Joe Straus refuses to sign the Texas Budget Compact (Press Release, 4/16/2012, Statement on Texas Budget Compact)
·         Refuses to sign the Taxpayer Pledge (www.taxpayerpledge.com)
·         Straus confidant Jim Keffer opposes property tax reform (www.texastaxtruth.com), despite the State Republican Party Platform calls to abolish property taxes (page 18). Keffer is the author of a bill to impose a payroll tax in Texas (HB 3, 79th Legislature), and of the now defunct Gross Margins Tax (HB 3, 79th Legislature, 3rd Called).
·         Despite a supermajority of Republicans, the House failed to pass spending limits.
·         Straus only came out in support of eliminating budget gimmicks until after the 2011 session, after the budget was passed and after the Governor released the Texas Budget Compact. (KXAN, 7/9/2012, Speaker urges end to crafty accounting) (Houston Chronicle, 4/16/2012, Perry touts anti-tax ‘Texas Budget Compact’)
·         Pro-Straus businessmen don’t want the “tea party to run the show” (Dallas Morning News Blog, 5/14/2012, A Texas dividing line: business community v. the tea party)
·         Straus told the El Paso Times “we have no choice… you can’t cut your way to prosperity,” almost verbatim to a quote from President Obama’s Weekly Radio Address in 2011 (El Paso Times, 10/28/2011, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus: We have to correct the deficit) (The Hill, 6/25/2011, Obama radio address: ‘Can’t simply cut our way to prosperity’)
·         Straus told the Austin American-Statesman he doesn’t know whether Texas needs more tax revenue (Austin American-Statesman, 11/5/2011, Margins tax, economic development at top of list for Legislature’s business-focused agenda)

Redistricting
·         Joe Straus’ Redistricting plan punished conservatives (RedState.com, 4/22/2011, Texas Redistricting Plan Punishes Texas Conservatives)
·         Hispanic conservatives were drawn out of GOP-friendly House districts, including Raul Torres of Corpus Christi, Aaron Pena of Edinburg and Jose Aliseda.
·         The first House redistricting map had 7 GOP vs. GOP incumbent pairings (Texas Tribune, 4/13/2011, First House Redistricting Maps Presented)
o    The final maps drew Jim Landtroop and Wayne Christian into approximately 80% new districts
·         Straus lackey Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton moved into conservative James White’s district to run against him (unsuccessfully), despite being originally paired with Allan Ritter. (Texas Observer, 7/15/2011, Is Tea Partier James White Under Assault From His Own Party)
o    Straus previously told The Texas Report “I made it very clear that I would not campaign against incumbents of any party” (The Texas Report, No rest in off-season)

Miscellaneous
·         Straus called the TSA Bill “nothing more than an ill-advised publicity stunt” (Texas Tribune, 6/24/2011, Updated: Straus Calls TSA Bill “Publicity Stunt”)
·         Kenny Jastrow, the disgraced former CEO of Temple-Inland and board member of Guaranty Bank who presided over “one of the largest financial institution failures in U.S. history,” called Joe Straus a “steady, responsible and principled leader” in a fundraising letter. (Joe Straus fundraising letter, 10/19/2012)
·         Joe Straus’ spokesman Jason Embry told the Texas Tribune that anyone has questions the speaker’s conservative credentials “either has a special interest agenda or is not paying attention” (Texas Tribune, 10/12/2012, East Texas Republican Takes on House Speaker)
·         Five of Straus’ committee chairs suffered defeat in the 2012 primaries. Vicki Truitt, Rob Eissler, and Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton were defeated outright in the primary. Sid Miller and Chuck Hopson were defeated in the runoff.

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