GOP sub­sti­tutes noise for water, en­ergy fixes

Texas Repub­li­cans have en­sured that Texas will have a less healthy and less ed­u­cated work­force.

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEW POINTS - Dave Easterwood Austin

In

my life­time, both cham­bers of the Texas Leg­is­la­ture have been led by a group of bi­par­ti­san law­mak­ers who have sought prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to the com­plex chal­lenges fac­ing our state. Th­ese law­mak­ers were never per­fect, but they un­der­stood that both par­ties have so­lu­tions to our prob­lems and all per­spec­tives de­serve care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.

That legacy is cur­rently in peril. Since 2003, Repub­li­cans have con­trolled ev­ery as­pect of our state government, and they no longer de­bate Democrats on mat­ters of pub­lic pol­icy; they de­bate among them­selves over what it means to be a true con­ser­va­tive. Our state bud­get is no longer about in­vest­ing in our peo­ple and our pri­or­i­ties; it’s about how much can be cut from it.

To­day’s pol­icy de­bates are con­trolled by the small­est minds mak­ing the loud­est noise. The echo cham­ber yearns for less government, re­duced spend­ing and lower for new road con­struc­tion. Be­tween 2001 and 2010, Repub­li­cans grew our state’s debt faster than our na­tional debt over that same pe­riod. De­spite this enor­mous debt, our roads still need paving, and Texas needs bil­lions of dol­lars for new trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the con­tin­ued growth of our econ­omy and state.

Worse yet, Texas faces an un­cer­tain en­ergy fu­ture. In a state that has been an en­ergy hub to the world, it is an em­bar­rass­ment that Texas ranks dead last in the con­ti­nen­tal United States in en­ergy re­li­a­bil­ity. The state that fu­eled the eco­nomic ex­pan­sion of the 19th and 20th cen­turies now faces black­outs, fail­ing trans­mis­sion lines, and a lack of gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity to meet the de­mands of busi­ness and in­dus­try through­out the state.

Repub­li­cans have done noth­ing about th­ese prob­lems. In fact, they have thrown gaso­line on the fire by bor­row­ing un­con­trol­lably and cut­ting es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture from our bud­get.

To Repub­li­cans, the pledge they signed not to raise taxes is more im­por­tant than the oath they swore to pro­tect our way of life. Less government means no new roads, reser­voirs, or power plants. It also means fewer jobs and a darker fu­ture for our chil­dren.

If crip­pling our state’s water, en­ergy, and trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture was not enough, Repub­li­cans have also short­changed our hu­man in­fra­struc­ture. With record bud­get cuts in ed­u­ca­tion and health and hu­man ser­vices, Texas Repub­li­cans have en­sured that Texas will have a less healthy and less ed­u­cated work­force. In 20 years, the chil­dren whose ed­u­ca­tion we are dec­i­mat­ing will have to fix or pay for the prob­lems that cur­rent Repub­li­can politi­cians have cre­ated. This largely Latino work­force will be sig­nif­i­cantly less pre­pared to face th­ese chal­lenges be­cause of the fail­ure of Repub­li­cans to lead.

Lead­er­ship mat­ters. The choices your lead­ers make for bet­ter or worse will chart the course of this state for the decades to fol­low. Repub­li­cans have proven that they can­not or will not lead.

Democrats know what is re­quired. We are pre­pared to make smart in­vest­ments in our fu­ture. We know the hard choices that our state must face. And, we are un­afraid to ask Tex­ans to share in the sac­ri­fice. Smart in­vest­ments, hard choices, and ask­ing Tex­ans to share in the sac­ri­fice are the nec­es­sary steps to en­sure Texas’ legacy now and in the fu­ture.

The writer is wrong when he states that the wealthy are “job cre­ators.” Stud­ies have shown that this is not the case. The true “job cre­ators” are the mid­dle class who are re­spon­si­ble for more than 70 per­cent of the spend­ing in this coun­try. The group that is be­ing black­mailed is that same mid­dle class, and the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans back Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on this is­sue.

Martinez Fis­cher, of San An­to­nio, is chair of the House Demo­cratic Cau­cus.

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