EDITORIAL: Abbott blunders with special session agenda

June 7, 2017 GMT

Short of proposing to bulldoze the Alamo, Gov. Greg Abbott has come up with the worst idea in Texas in a long time - a pointless return to that time-waster known as a bathroom bill for the agenda of a special session. A close second would be equally unnecessary state limits on local spending - frequently and erroneously called property tax “reform.”

Abbott’s copout here is embarrassing. When he was the state’s attorney general, he was a fairly logical conservative. Now that he is governor, he is terrified of being challenged on the right flank in the next Republican primary by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, so he is caving in to Patrick’s obsessions.

Where does one begin to point out this folly?

How about this: The only reason a special session was needed was to tie up loose ends that weren’t addressed in the regular session, like enabling the Texas Medical Board and four other state agencies to continue operating past September.

And why wasn’t that routine state business taken care of? Because countless weeks were wasted on Patrick’s potty problem.

Worse, that formula is likely to be repeated in the special session because many sensible Republicans in the House (again, a group that used to include Abbott) want to flush this nonsense.

They have seen the economic damage suffered by North Carolina from various boycotts and canceled conventions over its bathroom bill, and they don’t want that happening here.

Patrick’s other focus on local property tax rates is almost as frustrating. Local taxes are held in check reasonably well by local taxpayers. They can vote out local officeholders who spend too much.

But if they need more revenues to take care of their communities - or handle unfunded mandates from the state - they can do that too.

Patrick also conveniently ignores the fact that state taxes have increased the same or more than most local rates in recent years.

All of this is a huge disappointment for Texans who live in the real world. They have legitimate needs that are being ignored by politicians in Austin in favor of ideological crusades.

God bless Texas; we need it.


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