Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

While Texas Legislators are furiously looking under every couch cushion to find more revenue this bienium, the Alliance for Clean Texas today highlighted a half dozen strategies that could help Texas close its $27 billion budget deficit.

Texas League of Conservation Voters Press Conference on Green Revenue March 29, 2011

Alliance for Clean Texas Members (l to r) Luke Metzger, Environment Texas; Tom "Smitty" Smith, Public Citizen Texas; Robin Schnieder, Texas Campaign for the Environment; David Weinberg, Texas League of Conservation Voters; Cyrus Reed, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club - photo courtesy TLCV

As lawmakers are loathe to talk about the dreaded “T” word (tax),  groups like Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Texas Impact, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Texas League of Conservation Voters, who sponsored this morning’s press conference, are offered alternative solutions to cutting needed education and health care services by raising $1 billion in revenue, while also protecting the environment.

These ideas include a severance tax, like oil and gas currently pay, for coal mined in the state and an import duty from out of state coal. Imported coal creates zero Texas jobs and pollutes the environment. If we’re going to ask oil and gas to pay a severance tax, we ought to ask coal to do the same.

Other ideas include making polluters pay the value they get from breaking clean air and water laws (ie, if by polluting you increase your profit by $15 million, you pay $15 million in fines), a surcharge on inefficient gas guzzlers and heavily polluting vehicles, and a recycling refund on bottles and cans (just clap your hands, just clap your hands!).

Cutting pollution would also mean fewer sick kids, fewer sick people in general.  Children and the elderly are most at risk for pollution-caused or -aggravated disease AND they are the most likely to receive assistance from government health care services, so cutting pollution will save the state untold millions, if not billions. AND, since sick children are less likely to attend and be successful in school, cutting pollution also improves the quality of our schools– a triple value for our pollution-cutting dollar!

Combine this with former Lt. Governor Hobby calling on the state to end the tax credit on high-cost drilling operations (read: fracking) valued at $7.4 billion between 2004 and 2009.  We had previously pointed out the hypocrisy of making the oil and gas industry’s culture of corporate welfare the only sacred cow in the budget due to their protected status resulting from all their campaign contributions.

Well, between the billions from the fracking exemption, the billion of Green revenue the ACT coalition mentioned… as they say in Washington, “A billion here, a billion there– pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Alliance for Clean Texas has a $1 billion check for the Texas Legislature

Alliance for Clean Texas has a $1 billion check for the Texas Legislature

State lawmakers who are serious about balancing the budget without brutalizing our schools, nursing homes, and hospitals ought to look carefully at these proposals and implement them.  Even in the coldest, darkest winter, a farmer cannot start eating his own seed, as it will impact his ability to plant in the spring. Cutting necessary services to the bone and then sucking out the marrow will leave Texas cupboards bare, both literally and figuratively, as we struggle out of this recession.

The answer is simple- cut pollution, not teachers, doctors, and nursing home beds. Don’t let big polluters get their way, forcing grandma out onto the street and your kids into overcrowded classrooms.

The Texas House will be taking up HB 1, the budget, this Friday, and debate is expected to last all day and into the night. Texas Impact, one of our colleagues in ACT, along with several other groups are organizing a vigil for Texas’ future during the debate. RSVP on Facebook and we’ll see you there!

Look! A press release! From today’s press conference! (more…)

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The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that early voting runs through this Friday at 7 PM for the primaries as it brings you this week’s blog highlights.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is amazed that anger is directed toward the Internal Revenue Service when Americans elect the very people who make the laws IRS enforces. Joe Stack targeted the wrong end of this chain. Taxpayers get end up owing money because they do not understand the laws their representatives make. Tax and Defiance – Short Sighted Protester, Joe Stack.

In times of depleting incomes, Republican Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack brags about his $2.3 Million tax funded soap box derby track.

Two Steps Forward One Step Back for Tainted Texas Air at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy reflects on the next 40 days of protest that are taking place at Planned Parenthood, and reviews a performance of the Vagina Monologues at Texas A&M. Also, a look at the poll numbers in the campaign to be the next governor of Texas, and a review of the week in headlines.

The Conservative Politicians Against Compromise convention picked an old-school nutjob as the presidential nominee in 2012, notes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Republicans hate education so much? Why make community colleges unaffordable?

In Lewisville, the school district has revoked consent for a community organization use their parking lots to gather signatures for a petition drive on the weekend.

In what will come as a massive surprise, McBlogger endorses Hank Gilbert. Find out why here.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that even without the severe decrease in sales tax receipts Texas would still be facing a budget crisis, Understanding the budget and Texas’ structural deficit.

Off the Kuff notes the humor of our Attorney General suing to protect the sanctity of divorce.

Libby shaw at TexasKaos does the accountability analysis on the GOP stimulus hypocrites. See her scorecard here; TX U.S. House Members Join Senators in GOP Hall of Hypocritical Shame.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Energia MiaCPS has a meeting today at Firefighters Union Hall (8925-IH10 WEST) from 6:00-8:00 pm. Anyone from District 8 is encouraged to attend and speak for the cause. Each person gets three minutes of talk time and the Local Power/Energia Mia Coalition needs to have its concerns about the South Texas Projects Proposed expansion voiced by as many people as possible. This is especially true of our concerns about the proposed reactors’ heavy water consumption during times of drought (like this one), the proposal’s high cost and the high likelihood of costs over-runs, and the huge financial burden this means for San Antonio ratepayers.

Next week another CPS meeting will be held Tuesday, August 4 (District 2) from 6:00-8:00 pm at Freeman Coliseum, 3201 E. Houston St.
(Held in Auction Barn. Enter through west gate off W Houston near railroad tracks. Parking available in Lot #9)

Here are some other important Local Power/Energia Mia events:

August 10 – Mayor Castro’s Town Hall Meeting (Part 1) from 5:30-9:00 pm at the City Council Chambers (across street from City Hall). Questions that were given to the Mayor’s office from some environmental groups will be answered by CPS, who will have them a week ahead of time so they can’t “wuss out.”

August 12 – Town Hall Meeting (Part 2) from 3:00-5:00 pm, same place. This will be a chance for City Council members to ask their own questions of CPS.

We need as many people to turn out at both meetings as possible. City Council must know that we care about this issue and that we have numbers on our side. Get as many people as you can to go to this – we want people standing in the aisles. Invite those at your district meetings who spoke to oppose nuclear expansion.

August 12 – same night! – Texas Public Radio will have its own Town Hall Meeting on nuclear energy. They are requesting audience members to bring and ask questions of their panel. I will pass information on as it becomes available.

Future CPS presentations that need to be attended in force; plan the ones you will attend:

Tuesday, August 25 (District 9)
Alzafar Shrine Temple (Terrace Room)
901 North Loop 1604

Tuesday, September 1 (District 10)
My Father’s House
3131 Nacogdoches Road, Suite 105

Wednesday, September 2 (District 3)
Holy Name Activity Center
6618 Fairlawn

Tuesday, September 15 (District 4)
Knights of Columbus
5763 Ray Ellison Blvd.

September 16 – San Antonio Clean Technology Forum’s panel discussion/luncheon with guest speakers. It will cost, but we need to show a strong presence, as this is the clean energy investment business community we have to persuade to oppose nuclear. More when we know more 🙂

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