Naked City

As the Door Revolves

In yet another sign of the increasingly explicit symbiosis between state government and the business lobby, this week the Texas Public Policy Foundation announced its new president, Mrs. Brooke Leslie Rollins. A graduate of Texas A&M (where she was the first female student body president) and the UT School of Law, Rollins has been a federal law clerk, a litigator, the governor's deputy counsel and ethics advisor -- and currently just happens to be Gov. Perry's policy director. Since TPPF, the conservative San Antonio-based think tank, has steadily taken on the roles of consulting on state policy, tutoring legislators in state policy, and drafting state policy, Rollins' appointment should allow a streamlined efficiency in the continuing privatization of government. TPPF board chair Wendy Gramm -- most recently distinguished for her role, with husband Sen. Phil, in the deregulation of energy trading that facilitated Enron's collapse -- welcomed Rollins' "exciting energy, experience, and vision" to TPPF. (Presumably Rollins' experience as an ethics advisor will also come in handy.)

Rollins replaces Jeff Judson, who will step down as TPPF president Dec. 31 "to pursue opportunities in the private sector." In his last months, Judson presided over TPPF's aggressive lobbying of textbook publishers and the State Board of Education to make certain public school textbooks exhibited no signs of latent left-wing deviation from conservative orthodoxy. Just before his resignation, he distributed an op-ed to the state's newspapers blasting the proposal of the Center for Public Policy Priorities for tax reform to help balance the state budget. "While CPPP might believe Texas can raise and expand taxes without doing economic harm," wrote Judson, "the research is undeniable: Taxes hurt the poor and will reduce economic growth." Judson helpfully described CPPP's proposals as "a brand of economics [that] has not held water since the Berlin Wall fell." Expect that sort of insightful analysis to be featured in the TPPF's upcoming "Policy Orientation" for legislators, to be held in Austin Jan. 28 through Feb. 4. The gathering has already been endorsed by Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov.-elect David Dewhurst, and Speaker-presumptive Tom Craddick.

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