the following blog post is from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility:
|QUOTING... "Politicians are worse than thieves. At least when thieves take your money, they don't expect you to thank them for it." -- Walter Williams|
When legislators denounce legislation bringing sunlight into government, one has to wonder what they’re hiding. And by the looks of a recent committee hearing, three legislators must have some really dirty closets.
Despite opposition from US Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Texas House GOP caucus, Speaker Joe Straus said this week it was time for Texas to “move beyond the word ‘no’ to something the administration might entertain” on ObamaCare implementation.
The Obama Administration wants Texas to expand Medicaid, something that will bankrupt the state. Conservatives have uniformly opposed the policy as a bad idea, even while some Republicans here and around the country are caving in.
Speaker Straus told his hometown newspaper that Texas needs to “get our heads out of the sand” in order to find a “Texas solution” President Obama likes. Of course, you can safely assume any solution the Obama administration finds acceptable will be unacceptable to Texas.
Mr. Straus’ call for capitulation came just days after the Republican Party of Texas’ governing board – the State Republican Executive Committee – passed a resolution opposing Medicaid expansion. Party chairman Steve Munisteri wrote lawmakers expressing the GOP’s “unwavering opposition to the expansion of Medicaid in Texas.”
Unfortunately, we can expect a steady stream of grow-government liberals and moderates to keep trying to push sugarcoated poison pills down Texans’ throats. As our friends at AgendaWise noted on Friday, Texans should remember Nancy Reagan's catch-phrase regarding addictive, deadly substances: "Just say no."
A new talking point for the Medicaid expanders/ObamaCare implementers – like Speaker Straus – is the heavy cost being borne by local hospital districts. The argument goes like this: Local taxpayers are paying a lot of money providing free health care for the local indigent and poor, therefore we need the state taxpayers to pick up the tab, or to get the money from the federal taxpayers.
You probably already get the joke: the taxpayers stay on the hook, the same taxpayers even. It’s just a question of which pocket you’re paying out of, and how transparent the bill is.
Let's start with the obvious: local officials willfully sold the public on creating hospitals districts to provide a service about which they are now complaining. Think about that. Local officials are using the cost of providing indigent care, which they strenuously advocated, as a pretext to expand ObamaCare.
We should treat suspiciously any claim of concern for the local taxpayer. In fact, given hospital districts' (and hospitals generally) insatiable desire for access to taxpayer dollars, you can expect to see those local hospital taxes going up anyway.
This is why the rent-seeking local public hospital districts are pushing so hard for Medicaid expansion. They will keep jacking up your local property taxes in the name of providing access to care, while pocketing more money from the federal government funneled through the state.
Of course, in the interest of intellectual honesty it bears noting that any money provided by the federal government comes from either higher income taxes or your grandchildren’s credit card.
Legislators Live Large
A rare defense of dishonesty was on display in the Texas House State Affairs Committee, when three ranking members viciously attacked government transparency and all-but defended legislators making big paydays through undisclosed deals with governmental agencies.
Legislation filed by freshman State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) made good on one of his central campaign promises: to bring greater transparency to contracts lawmakers, their families and businesses have with government agencies.
That clearly doesn’t sit well with State Reps. Harvey Hilderbran, Patricia Harless and Dan Huberty. They were unsettled by the prospect of lawmakers reporting on business dealings with entities they oversee or governmental entities that rely on being in the good graces of their offices.
Rep. Harless expressed concern she might have to report on her husband’s contracts with local governments. Didn’t know he had any… until now. Similarly, Mr. Huberty – a former school board member – expressed shock and outrage that voters might need to know what deals he is making on the side.
Mr. Hilderbran’s outrage is even more interesting. This is a fellow who has been quietly exploring a statewide run for comptroller, a position charged with expanding transparency, not curtailing it. (Late last year, it was discovered that Mr. Hilderbran – a committee chairman – was using legislative staff to peddle his “real estate” business to new legislators.)
Whether or not Reps. Harless, Huberty or Hilderbran are abusing their legislative offices to secure unethical contracts for themselves and their spouses is unknown – mostly because of the lack of transparency they were defending.
But the amount of smoke they were blowing against commonsense disclosures might rightly cause voters to suspect there are some ethical fires burning there.
Light Better Fires
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Michael Quinn Sullivan
& the EmpowerTexans.com Team