Thursday, May 19, 2005


Soechting: "It's official -- Republicans can't govern" - May 19


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                    CONTACT:  Mike Lavigne

Thursday                                                512-478-9800


(AUSTIN) -- With the legislative session about to move into its final full week, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting today said that the past five months have removed all doubt about whether ideological extremists should be in charge of state government.


"It's official: Republicans can't govern," Soechting said.  "They have become living proof of the Peter Principle -- mediocre management will always attain the highest level of its incompetence."


Soechting said the 'tax-and-spend Republicans' in charge of state government have failed to meet their stated goals of reforming public school funding and delivering significant local property tax relief.


"They have simultaneously raised taxes and cut services," Soechting said.


Republicans outnumber Democrats nine to one on the conference committee currently trying to reach a compromise on major differences between the House and Senate versions of a historic GOP tax bill.  The bill features the single-largest tax hike in Texas history, less than half the local property tax relief initially promised by Republican lawmakers, and a variety of measures pushed by ideological extremists.


While failing to significantly reduce local property taxes, Soechting said, GOP leaders have muscled through a bill that raises their own pensions while cutting funds for retired public school teachers.  Despite raising state government spending by a record 12 percent, Republicans have failed to find any new resources for public school classrooms -- and are still pushing a measure that would siphon billions of tax dollars out of public schools to fund a private-school voucher scheme pushed by top GOP campaign contributors.


In addition, Soechting said, the Republican tax hike seeks to expand the number of small businesses paying the state franchise tax from approximately 150,000 to more than one million.


"These small business owners are going to be hard pressed to lay their hands on the 'tax relief' Republican politicians are going to try to claim they delivered," Soechting said.


Soechting noted that even the troubled Child Protective Services agency, declared an emergency by GOP Gov. Rick Perry before the start of the legislative session, has been shortchanged by Republican lawmakers in the current budget.


"The uniform disappointment Texans feel with the current Republican leadership crosses partisan, regional, ethnic, and gender lines," Soechting said.  "It is one thing to advocate for less government or even for more government, but when Texans look at the Republicans in charge, what they long for most is better government."



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