Governor Greg Abbott has a new nemesis who threatens to upend his agenda for the Texas 85th Texas Legislature and even his 2018 re-election campaign. Thankfully for the Texas Nationalist Movement, the Governor’s adversary is none other than the TNM’s own nemesis: Speaker Joe Straus.
Straus has quite effectively quashed any progress on Abbott’s conservative agenda and has even sided with the liberal elite on a number of prominent issues such as property tax reform, school choice, and protecting Texas government bathrooms from federal meddling.
Governor Abbott named property taxes the “No. 1 issue” for the special session. “We are hearing stories about people who are being taxed out of their homes because of rising property taxes. You don’t really own your home, it seems like, it’s the appraisers. That must stop.”
“This isn’t a race,” Straus stated even as Texas taxpayers struggle to cope with rapidly climbing property taxes that threaten their ability to retain their personal property. Straus minced no words in likening Abbott’s proposed agenda to a pile of manure.
On this issue, at least, Abbott is exactly right. If property can be taken away if you don’t pay annual taxes on it, then you are merely renting your home or your ranch. You do not truly own it. It is crucial for us to remember that the primary consideration for conservatives is and always will be protecting personal property rights. Indeed, securing personal property and liberty so that we can participate in commerce without impediment is the reason that we establish governments at all! We should remember that our founders recoiled against oppressive taxes and were willing to fight a war to secure their property.
Straus was equally defensive regarding support for school choice. “I want Texas to be known as a state that makes decisions that attract people, jobs and opportunities,” Straus said. “And that begins in our public schools: The public schools that breathe life into every community in Texas, from cities to suburbs to small towns.”
Straus was silent on the fact that students of private schools and home-schools consistently outperform their public school counterparts when they enter college. But more importantly, the notion that citizens are being taxed out of their property to subsidize public schools was completely lost on the Speaker.
In a free state like Texas, shouldn’t citizens have the right to decide how to best use money that they earned for their own children? As conservatives, why are we against entitlements and wealth-redistribution, but in favor of the notion of a one-sized fits all publicly run school system. Let’s consider other publicly run institutions: prisons, healthcare, social security…Can you name ANY publicly run organization that is successful over time when compared to a private alternative?
Straus is also adamantly against the Governor’s position that Texas needs to protect public restrooms from federal meddling. “I don’t know exactly what all the issues are with bathrooms in our schools,” Straus predictably stated.
In fact, the rationale for HB2899 is a reaction to a dictatorial and ultimately illegal executive action to force all Texas schools to allow students of any gender to use whatever restroom they wanted. Understandably, fathers of daughters in every corner of the state called for action. Unfortunately, this issue is now being politicized as bigoted Texans trying to re-establish segregation.
“We do not want to do anything to tarnish Texas’ brand.”
This statement, made by Chris Wallace, the head of the most influential business lobby in Texas (Keep Texas Open for Business) most likely sums up the motivations of Speaker Joe Straus in stonewalling the agenda of Governor Greg Abbott.
The chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, Rep. Byron Cook, has refused to call a hearing on the bill.”‘Corporate America is stepping forward, speaking loudly about the fact that this [HB 2899] will have a chilling effect on business opportunity in this state,'” says Cook. “‘I’m hearing from many major corporations about this bill and the effect it will have.'”
So there we have it. Our liberties as Texans are trumped by the will of corporate America. A corporate America that has proven time and time again that it is anti-free speech, anti-gun, and against the very policies that it expects Texas to live by. The same businesses that are pouring PAC dollars into Washington and Austin are secretly pushing socialist policies because of the political whims of its executives and outright fear of being called out by the liberal media establishment.
As liberty minded Texans, let us stand up for local rule and not be bullied by corporate elites and media moguls.
It’s high time to oust Straus.