Texas politics daily reading (6 April 2011)

Top Stories

  • UT System Adviser O'Donnell Explains Research Stance – Reeve Hamilton, Texas Tribune

    In addition to supporting research, [Rick O’Donnell] says, “I also am unafraid to look at the data, ask hard questions around productivity, cost-benefits and accountability because I think it is possible to measure the value of research to our common weal.”

    Why did the state’s higher education special interests react so violently to that last bit?

  • Ogden again says business tax needs attention – Jason Embry, Postcards

    Asked if the tax should be changed, Dewhurst said: “We will grow out of the structural shortfall over time, and if we don’t tweak that tax, then it’s going to take a little longer. If we do, then it will be shorter.”

    He also was vague about whether he would support a constitutional amendment.

    “Ultimately that tax ought to be changed,” Dewhurst said. “Whether it ought to be increased or not is a different subject. But to me it’s always unfair if someone’s losing money and they’re paying tax. It’s also unfair to startup companies that are oftentimes losing money but still have to pay a tax on their gross receipts.”

    Somebody sounds like a U.S. Senate candidate! That, and the anti-tax political environment suggest that modifying the business tax will be punted to a future session.

  • Barnett Shale: Legislation could jump-start solar power in Texas – Jack Smith, Barnett Shale Blog

    Under the bill, a charge would be added to monthly electric bills to provide an estimated $1.2 billion for solar rebates for residential, commercial and utility-scale projects over five years. The charge would be $1 per residential meter, $5 per commercial meter and $50 per industrial meter.

    Smart green initiative, or a subtle wealth transfer to benefit special interests and the affluent at the expense of average home and business owners?

  • Austerity Helps Economic Recovery, Recent Data Show – Investors.com
  • With [U.S.] House Republicans poised to unveil a plan to cut more than $4 trillion in spending, a growing body of economic literature suggests that extensive cuts are the way to go.

    The research comes not just from free market think tanks, but from mainstream and center-left groups too. The common thread: Cuts in services and entitlements are indebted nations’ surest way to a recovery.

    “It is not that cutting spending creates growth,” said Brian Riedl, an economist with the conservative Heritage Foundation. “It is that it removes the barriers to growth. Typically the private sector can spend much more productively than politicians and bureaucrats.”

    Don’t expect to see such empirical economic data featuring prominently in the state political media’s coverage of the Texas legislative session.


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