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Yay! It’s House budget day!

Welcome, first time Texas Legislature watchers, to the next significant part of the budget process – the day the budget hits the House floor! The Senate’s budget floor debate is scheduled a few days from now.

As a LettersFromTexas tutorial for the benefit of you, the crap-reading public, here’s what you can expect out of the budget process in each chamber:

Typical budget day in the Senate: 5 amendments, 3 frowned upon, all quickly tabled. In extreme cases hurt feelings may extend all the way until high tea. Several mani-pedis may need to be rescheduled. This is a day of high stress for waiters at Jeffrey’s, 3 Forks, and Austin Land & Cattle, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Typical budget day in the House: 350 amendments, fisticuffs, and a possible food fight in the members lounge. Tea Party threatens to form 3rd party in next election, 3 committee chairs announce retirement from politics, and 7 agency Executive Directors found hanging from rafters. CSI team called in to investigate.

This has been your LettersFromTexas budget debate tutorial. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled House floor clawing, scratching, and biting.

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School “choice:” how to get away with robbery

Here’s the playbook:

1. Starve neighborhood public schools of necessary funding, claiming that it’s to avoid tax increases due to a gloomy comptroller’s revenue estimate that was dead wrong, under the logic that since throwing money at schools won’t make ’em better, taking the money away won’t hurt a thing.

2. When public schools have to lay off teachers, increase class sizes, and lessen individual attention to students because you slashed their budgets, express surprise and bitterly complain that the public schools aren’t doing their jobs, and proclaim that parents need a way for their precious snowflakes to escape failing schools. Say and do anything you can to make sure parents are as dissatisfied as possible with their neighborhood public school, creating a demand for private education that parents can’t afford. Conveniently ignore the fact that if money in schools didn’t matter, that private school tuition wouldn’t be so expensive.

3. The tax money saved by cutting public school budgets? Make some of it available as school vouchers, to help parents pay for private school tuition. Attempt to hide the fact that they’re vouchers by creating nifty new slogan, perhaps something like “school choice.” Either way, it’s handing over public tax money to private entities – either with no oversight (which, oops, ain’t “conservative”) or with oversight (which, oops, the private schools won’t want).

4. Those private schools? Some of ’em are owned and operated by the buddies of the folks in charge who cut neighborhood public school funding in the first place. Tah-dah! You just stole people’s hard-earned money, and put it in the pockets of your buddies! You win!! Drinks all around!

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Congressional candidates: you’re slackers

This guy’s running for Congress in four different states this election.

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Texas once again falls behind

Dear Texas politicians:

You’re falling way behind in your efforts to be the world’s wackiest officeholders.

If you’re pressed for time, skip to 4:25.

If you’re really pressed for time, skip to 8:05.

If you’re really really pressed for time, skip to 8:40.

(Thanks to Sarah for the tip!)

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An important message from the Texas Department of Massive Denial

These two tweets appeared adjacent to each other on my twitter feed earlier this morning:

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 11.24.23 AM

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Criminal mastermind of the day so far

Meet Walter Moore.


(h/t: Katie)

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Breaking news from Washington, D.C.

Federal agency falls for cheesy bar pick-up line.

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More evidence that Texas politicians are falling behind in the crazy train sweepstakes

Not particularly new: yet another elected official admits to extramarital affair. Yawn.

New and improved: with an alien from outer space.


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It would totally be worth the trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru…

…just to tell ’em you want McCrap.



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And they said Republicans are supposed to be for economic development.

Remember when I recently urged Sugar Land, Texas, to take seriously the offer of a website to change their name?

Too bad you people didn’t take me seriously. Now some place in  Georgia gets to have all the fun.

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Think Texas politics is interesting?

Me too, but Japan is quickly catching up.


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Capitol staff: have lobbyists delivered a stress ball to your office yet?

Because apparently they don’t work.


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Dear Sugar Land, Texas:

Take the money. Seriously.

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Sacramento radio stations continue to celebrate Rick Perry-related windfall

Funny thing about that dust-up between Texas Governor Rick Perry – who famously arranged for a tiny radio buy inviting California businesses to move to Texas – and California Governor Jerry Brown, who called Perry’s efforts “barely a fart.”

Turns out they’ll let just about anybody put up a radio buy in Sacramento. The Lone Star Project did so this morning – warning Californians about Rick Perry’s snake oil salesmanship. Listen up:

I guess Rick Perry really can create an economic windfall – for California radio stations.

Read more on this from the Lone Star Project.


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Here’s a side of George W. Bush you’ve never seen before

…and one which you’ll never, ever, want to see again.


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