January 7, 2011
Groups like plan to let budget lay out, panel continues look at Willingham case today and the Washington Post says pale blue is the new red.
(Happy birthday Saturday to conservative activist Cathie Adams.)
BULLETIN: U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in December, unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent. Rate is lowest since May 2009.
Sen. Kirk Watson wrote on his website this week that he will propose a Senate rule saying the conference committee report on the state budget — the final version of the budget — must lay out for five days before senators vote on it.
“Taking one business week would help us all evaluate whether Texas, even in the midst of a tough economy, is maintaining its commitments to schools, health care for seniors, border security, and other moral priorities that will keep Texas economically competitive,” Watson wrote. “It would allow Texans to see whether the legislature is adopting basic reforms that will open the state’s books to its people, help Texas avoid these budget crises in the future, and eliminate gimmicks, diversions and cost-shifts that might force things like property taxes to go up. And it would guarantee that we all have enough time to know everything we need to know about how Texas is spending its (make that ‘our’) money.”
We’ll see in the coming days how Watson’s fellow senators feel about the idea. But it’s already drawing praise from staffers at two groups usually on opposite sides of things: The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation and the liberal Center for Public Policy Priorities.
“In the spirit of transparency, it would give people more time to look at the budget,” said Talmadge Heflin, TPPF’s Talmadge Heflin said on the group’s website. “We need to try to get more legislators to know what they’re voting on.”
And look for this praise today from CPPP’s Scott McCown: “The Center for Public Policy Priorities has always supported maximum transparency in the budgeting process. Having the final version of the budget lay out for five days would give the public time to learn what is, and what is not, in the single most important bill of the session – and ensure that Texans have time to communicate with their legislators before any votes are cast.”
Will this be the last point of agreement until sine die?