Friday, January 22, 2010

Talking Taxes in the Texas GOP

Geoff Bailey / Stefani Carter
Geoff Bailey / Stefani Carter

The Dallas Morning News has made a recommendation in the GOP primary for Texas House District 102. The primary winner will face incumbent Carol Kent in November. Primary early voting begins February 16. Primary election day is March 2.

After the jump, what the DMN is looking for in a state legislator.

The DMN recommends Geoff Bailey over Stefani Carter mainly because Bailey is willing to touch the third rail of Texas politics: taxes. Two issues in north Texas grow in importance each year: water and roads. Most Texas voters see taxation as a separate and independent issue, when it's really a part of almost every other issue. Voters want a reliable source of water and they want safe, uncrowded highways, but they don't want to talk about how to pay for them. Bailey has suggested that the state define a specific funding mechanism for water projects and that the state gas tax be indexed for inflation. Both are not only reasonable positions, but almost obvious.

Bailey's willingness to discuss funding earns him the DMN endorsement. These same positions might doom Bailey before the conservative GOP primary voters, especially given the way his opponent, Stefani Carter, is stepping carefully around the issues:

"Carter, 31, a Harvard-educated lawyer, seems less informed and willing to commit to specific strategies. Carter said cutting inefficiencies and tightening spending would help address the state's budget crisis and transportation needs but offered no long-term proposals."

Blame our budget problems on "inefficiencies" (or waste and fraud). Promise to do something about the problems without saying exactly what. Kick the can down the road. It's a tried and true winning political strategy that just might carry Stefani Carter to the statehouse in November.

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