GOP substitutes noise for water, energy fixes
Texas Republicans have ensured that Texas will have a less healthy and less educated workforce.
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.