Texas Governor Abbott Will Burn Thru $1 Million Tax Payer Dollars Over a “Bathroom Bill”

We all work hard for every single dollar we make. We expect the state of Texas as well as the National Government to spend them wisely when making financial decisions. But has Texas Governor Greg Abbott actually made a wise decision in the way he has called his special session with twenty pieces of legislation he wants passed? Absolutely not!!

The biggest cost of a special session is the $190 per diem that all of the members of the House and Senate collects for every day they work. That’s a whopping $34,580 a day. If Abbott had called a special session just to pass a measure keeping the Texas Medical Board and four other agencies functioning, he could have cut the cost to $100,000. If all 182 legislators work all 30 days, it will end up costing tax payers a little over a million dollars. That’s almost a million dollars that could have gone to programs including education that Abbott cut drastically in his budget.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick knew when he held the “Sunset Bill” hostage at the end of the 85th legislative session that it would force Gov. Abbott to call a special session. Although Speaker Joe Staus and the Texas House had passed a “Sunset Bill” and sent it over to the Texas Senate Dan Patrick never had any intention of looking at it, much less trying to work out a compromise with Speaker Straus.

flushing-money
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to flush taxpayer dollars down the toilet to get his Right Wing discriminatory “Bathroom Bill” passed into law during the special session!

As we all know Patricks biggest piece of legislation he wanted passed was a “Bathroom Bill” to reinforce his EvangelicalReligious Right base. There was no way Patrick was going to let the session end giving Gov. Abbott his property tax bill or sunset bill that protects state licensing board such as the “Board of Medical Examiners” that licenses new doctors and renews licenses for doctors. By not passing this bill to renew the sunset commission the following boards of licensing would end on September 1st: Link

Could Governor Abbott have just called a special session with his top two bills concerning property tax limits and the sunset bill and thrown in Patrick’s “Bathroom Bill” to keep his base happy and make for a short special session? The answer is YES!

However, Abbott has chosen to play it smart and have a special session with 20 pieces of legislation he wants passed. Abbott has also demanded that his top pieces of legislation be passed first and the “Bathroom Bill” be placed at the end of the list. Will the TX Senate and House have time to get to the bathroom bill in 30 days? Most likely not. This will not only save face for Abbott but give him his out so his Republican base cannot say he did not include the bill. Is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick happy about this? Absolutely not!

While Speaker Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick volley back and forth on who is to blame for the calling of a special session Abbott sit’s back and blames mainly Speaker Straus for not passing the necessary legislation to end the 85th session in a timely manner.

In several interviews Abbott was quoted as saying ““The conversations were almost constant for the last two, maybe three, four weeks of the session. For pretty much the entirety of the month of May, I was doing shuttle diplomacy between both the House and Senate leaders to cut a deal that involved not just this issue of the sunset legislation for the Texas Medical Board, but on these other issues in which there was a great divide.” “In my conversations, and also in my perceptions, it seemed that (Straus’) priorities differed from, for example, from these priorities that I have on the special session call. His priorities differed from the deals we were trying to broker at the end of the session.” Link

While Abbott casts blame on Speaker Straus, Straus’s spokesperson Jason Embry was quoted as saying “The House voted unanimously to empower property owners with better information that would help them participate in the setting of local property tax rates. More than half of local property taxes are school taxes, and that’s why the House passed House Bill 21, the only bill that addressed school property taxes in a meaningful way. Speaker Straus listens to the members of the House and encourages the members to vote their districts,”

At the same time Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick states “Almost every issue he addressed passed the Senate during the regular session and I am confident the senators are ready to hit the ground running to move these issues forward.”

So now Abbott claims there is no reason that his 20 pieces of legislation cannot be accomplished in 30 days. He has given the Senate and the House their homework to be done before returning to the special session. “It’s pretty easy because for almost all of them, nothing new needs to be created. I am resurrecting bills that were already proposed, that were largely debated on, many of them already passed out of the Senate. I know with my conversation with the lieutenant governor that these are items that can be passed out of the Texas Senate in short order. It’s just a matter of getting them to the House floor, getting a vote on them. Are they going to stand for them and vote for them or are they going to evade them and/or not vote on them. So they need to be putting the work in right now, for the next five and a half weeks so they come to Austin ready to vote on these matters. We don’t need to have them waste time by coming in at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and then adjourn at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. They need to come to Austin with their work hat on. Go to work at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning, work all day and pass things out. They’ve got plenty of time to get it done. If they don’t get it done it’s because they’re lazy. It’s because they lacked the will. They lack the desire to get this done, and the taxpayers of the state of Texas are not going to tolerate it.” Link

So it is now quite clear that Abbott wants to throw Speaker Straus under the bus for the special session while teaming up with his bromance buddy Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The rub is that Speaker Straus is speaking for the majority of Texans when, as he said in the past, the bathroom bill is a solution looking for a problem, a manufactured problem. Speaker Straus is also looking out to protect the state’s economy. We have already seen several conventions for 2018 cancelled and moved to other states. Now many businesses are no longer looking to move to Texas because of SB 4 the “Sanctuary City-Show Me Your Papers” law and SB 6 the “Bathroom Bill”. These are both discriminatory pieces of legislation that will not only destroy large parts of the Texas economy including conventions and vacations but also keep businesses with diversity and inclusion in their work ethics from ever looking to move jobs to Texas.




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