Tag Archives: Texas legislature

Sen. Patrick: New Tea Party Caucus, ICRoT “Different”

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7) defended the formation of a new Tea Party Caucus today from critics who said its shared goals of Patrick’s Independent Conservative Republicans of Texas invalidate the need for the latter group.

But, according to the state senator, both groups represent the same goals with very different capacities.

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

Patrick announced the formation of a Tea Party Caucus in the Texas Legislature today, created to represent the interests of followers of the conservative political movement.

According to a press release from Patrick’s office, The Tea Party caucus will be active throughout the session, meeting with conservative leaders from the Tea Party movement, discussing issues, and building support for important conservative legislation.

Meanwhile, the ICROT, Patrick’s post-Republican primary pet cause, serves another purpose, he said.

“The ICROT was never intended to be an active caucus.  It was intended to be a statement of what our party stood for as each member signed the pledge,” Patrick said, via email to TL.  “The voters will decide moving forward if those elected officials keep their word.”

Members of the Tea Party Caucus will meet more rigorous requirements for eligibility.

Membership, which will be determined by Sen. Patrick prior to the start of the 82nd Legislature, will be determined based on three requirements, including:

“The Tea Party is the most important political  movement of my lifetime and I want to be sure their voice is heard loud and clear in Austin after the election is over,” Patrick said.  “This caucus will work with Tea Party leaders across the state to be sure promises made during campaigns are followed up in the legislature.”

Despite Patrick’s enthusiasm, critics said it appears he is abandoning the ICRoT.

David Jennings, of Big Jolly Politics, charged Patrick was already moving on from the organization formed in April, previously predicting the senator would probably “have moved on to something else” before the 83rd Legislature.

As a conservative blogger, Jennings is often critical of the senator for moderate politics, choosing to refer to him on his blog as “D_nny.”

“This might be a record-time dropping of a “cause” for [Dan] – the website hasn’t been updated since April 21st,” Jennings writes. “Remember when, at the start and even during the middle of the Tea Party movement, that [Dan] said the Tea Parties wouldn’t survive if they didn’t tie themselves up in knots with Republicans?”

“Remember, Julie [Turner of the Texas Tea Party Patriots]? Remember what TEA stands for? Now you’ve gotten yourself locked up with a bunch of guys that care way more about what you do in your bedroom than what they take out of your pocketbook.”

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Dan Patrick Errs on Side of More Government, Taxes in Harris County

Dan Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

As part of his KSEV drive time radio show tonight, Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7) and caller Guy discussed (well, Guy tried…) the wisdom of giving unelected boards the authority to implement and collect local taxes, in this case an improvement district in Magnolia.

On the ballot in Magnolia, voters will decide November 2 whether to approve a two-cent sales tax, as advocated by the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District.

In response, Patrick, who authored 12 pieces of legislation granting such unelected authority, said:

“It’s been part of government a long time… that’s how things get done.”

Business improvement districts are unelected bodies and boards which are authorized by the state legislature to form, designate members and collect a sales tax all without taxpayer or voter approval.

Improvement districts are generally located in large municipalities, and rarely found in Texas outside Harris County.

As a conservative Libertarian, I am opposed to giving any sort of authority to an unelected board, only because they are largely unchecked in their exercise of that power. What should be especially disconcerting is that Sen. Patrick is supposed to be one of the most conservative members of the Texas Legislature, and yet he offered his help on nearly a dozen pieces of legislation that would result absolutely in more taxes for Texans.

While Republicans are quick to point fingers (and rightly so) at Democrats for using such unchecked authority in the Obama health care bill, it is rare to find one who will also shine a light within their ranks.

To his credit, Patrick said he didn’t approve all of them, but decided based on the arguments for the districts. If that’s the case, Dan Patrick has never seen a unelected taxing authority he didn’t like.

In the 81st Legislature, Patrick’s bills providing taxing authority to unelected boards include:

  • SB 1038, for the Northampton Municipal Improvement District
  • SB 1039, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 478
  • SB 2455, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 495
  • SB 2467, for the Waller Town Center Management District
  • SB 2472, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 14
  • SB 2473, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 13
  • SB 2496, for the Westchase District (and sponsored by Democratic Reps. Hochberg and Thibaut)
  • SB 2510, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 18
  • SH 2536, for the West Harris County Regional Water Authority
  • SH 2537, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District, No. 524
  • SH 2542, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 17
  • SH 2552, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 1

If you haven’t voted yet, I might recommend you cast a ballot for Libertarian Lee Coughran for Texas Senate this year.  This isn’t the same Dan Patrick CLOUT guy we voted for in 2006.