Dewhurst for Lieutenant Governor (Again)
Lite guv wants another run as senate president
By Richard Whittaker,
8:42AM, Wed. Sep. 9, 2009
Surprising few, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has told his supporters that he's running for his current office again. Equally unsurprisingly, he touts as one of his achievements that Texas is "not facing a budget deficit." Which is true as long as everyone ignores the well-documented structural deficit.
There is a concession about that issue buried deep in the text, where he writes that he, Gov. Rick Perry and Speaker Joe Straus convinced the legislature to "not use any money from the Rainy Day Fund, meaning Texas once again will be able to balance our budget in 2011 without raising taxes." In that statement, he neatly sidesteps the question of whether they'll have any cash to cover the planned school property tax cuts scheduled for 2011, which could cause some conservative grumbling.
He also glosses over the fact that part of the reason that Texans are paying $4 billion less in taxes is that the reforms his Senate passed to the business margins franchise tax in 2006 have been a revenue disaster, while critics say it disproportionately hits small firms. There were a host of exemptions passed for small employers, but that was all done without adding any new revenue stream to cover those lost dollars, meaning the balance sheet may have got even worse. Plus, in 2011 he won't have the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the federal stimulus) to bail the budget out. But that's a different election cycle, so obviously doesn't count.
Here's Dewhurst's letter in full:
I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I am running for re-election as Lt. Governor of Texas, and I would like to humbly ask for your endorsement and continued support in my re-election.
It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your Lt. Governor the past seven years. When I was sworn in as Lt. Governor in 2003, I pledged to follow a conservative, progrowth, pro-family agenda, and I have kept my word. Texas has not been immune from the national recession, but compared to Washington D.C. and almost all other states, Texas is in good shape. I believe it is important for all Texans that we continue to build on our successes and work together to make our state an even better place to live, raise a family and grow a business.
This spring, we saw thousands of Texans peacefully organizing throughout our state to protest Washington’s unprecedented expansion of the federal government, and the Administration’s almost doubling the national debt; which we and our children will have to pay. Contrast that with what we have done in Texas. As President of the Senate, I have worked hard with the Legislature to keep Texas fiscally strong, our economy growing and our quality of life improving. We were successful in reducing the taxes Texans pay by over $4 billion per year, and our unemployment rate approximately 2% below the national average. Forbes magazine ranked Texas’ five largest cities as America’s best cities for jobs.
This makes me even more determined to keep taxes low, help businesses grow and add jobs. I not only have worked to balance the last four state budgets, but also in 2007, seeing the economic downturn coming, I led the effort to convince the Legislature to save $7 billion. Consequently, Texas is now one of six states this year in the black – not facing a budget deficit and not having to cut spending on public education and universities. This year Governor Perry and Speaker Straus joined me in insisting the Legislature not use any money from the Rainy Day Fund, meaning Texas once again will be able to balance our budget in 2011 without raising taxes.
In addition, during this year’s Legislative Session, we reduced taxes on Texas small businesses by approximately $172 million. The Texas Senate passed groundbreaking legislation fundamentally reforming our public school accountability system for the better. We passed legislation creating a framework to add more top research universities, which will create more opportunities for students in Texas. We cracked down on gang-related crimes and violence with new homeland security initiatives and the Senate passed landmark legislation to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of our Texas healthcare system.
I’m honored to serve as your Lt. Governor. I’m proud of our accomplishments over the past seven years. I’m as motivated as ever to continue fighting for the conservative, pro-growth beliefs and values we both hold dear. For this reason, I am asking for your endorsement and support for my re-election as Lt. Governor of Texas in the 2010 election.
We’ve done a lot, but there’s more to do and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With your help, I can continue my work as your Lt. Governor to help make Texas an even better state to live, raise a family and grow a business.