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Texas House Civil Practices Chairman Joe Nixon’s Omnibus Tort Reform Bill is Good For Texas, Good for Texas Citizens
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Press Release

Texas House Civil Practices Chairman Joe Nixon’s Omnibus Tort Reform Bill is Good For Texas, Good for Texas Citizens

Texas CSE commends House Civil Practices Committee Chairman Joe Nixon for filing House Bill 4, an omnibus civil justice reform bill. CSE’s policy position Litigious trial lawyers rob decent, honest Americans of their money, trust and peace of mind. Fear of lawsuit impacts our daily lives both at the workplace, at home and while enjoying recreational activities. It’s time to finish the civil justice reforms began in Texas. Highlights of Chairman Nixon’s legislation and impacts on consumers are:

02/14/2003
Pass the President's Economic Package
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Press Release

Pass the President's Economic Package

***** Treasury Secretary John Snow makes strong statement on the President's plan -- text follows: UNITED STATES TREASURY SECRETARY JOHN W. SNOW REMARKS TO THE DETROIT ECONOMIC CLUB FEBRUARY 13, 2003 DETROIT, MICHIGAN

02/13/2003
Senator Chafee: Making Life Difficult for the President and the Party
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Press Release

Senator Chafee: Making Life Difficult for the President and the Party

Breaking ranks with your caucus and the president’s agenda is nothing new for politicians, but in times such as these, when control of Congress is separated by a few seats, every vote taken or opinion expressed that goes against the party’s position can create seismic disturbances.

02/13/2003
A Look at Reaction to State of the State Address
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A Look at Reaction to State of the State Address

Quotes from legislators and others after Gov. Rick Perry's State of the State address on Tuesday: "He has a new view from the top. ... We are rebuilding the engine and we are starting from zero." - Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano. "It's unfortunate that it took a month of pressure for the governor to propose cuts. One-fifth of the session is over, OK here's what he wants to cut. Now it'll take us a while to digest that. I think any proposal he makes is a good one, because he hasn't made one before today." - Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "We'll reach a consensus on what are essential services and then at the end of the day we'll balance the budget because I believe we share the governor's commitment to balancing our budget, maintaining essential services and not raising new taxes." - Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. "The governor's recommendations seemed to be a little hard in their hits on higher education. But again, we're going to look very carefully at this during our budget process." - Dewhurst. "We will consider every recommendation as is on the table. But for every recommendation that is made, we will not only look at it seriously but also raise questions about the impact. ... We don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish." - Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. "Job creation is important and I support his efforts to bring jobs to Texas. But if we want to reap the benefits of economic security and fiscal responsibility we must first invest in the health and education of our children." - Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. "I agree with the governor's comment that there is no clear solution currently on the table regarding school finance. That is why many of the members from both parties are wary of doing away with our school funding without an existing alternative." - Gallego. "Gov. Perry talked to families when he vowed to set spending priorities and live within the available funds, just as families are doing." - Peggy Venable, director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We view the governor's message as a positive sign that he will follow through on his promise not to cut education funding, and in fact plans to increase spending on our students. We are pleased that, despite the budget shortfall, the governor recognizes that education is the greatest investment we can make in the prosperity of Texas." - Doug Rogers, executive director of the Association of Texas Professional Educators. "Governor Perry is to be commended for making access to affordable health care for all Texans a priority. ... The Legislature must put the brakes on out-of-control health care lawsuit abuse and skyrocketing malpractice premiums." - Kirsten Voinis, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas. "Perry is acting on the will of the people, the pleas of the small business owner and the demands of the state by balancing a budget that some say is impossible to reconcile without raising taxes. ... It's time to take a hard look at every dollar the state spends just like every Texas family." - Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business. "I'm afraid you're looking at denying people health care." - Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

02/13/2003
Social Security Means a Strong Economy
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Press Release

Social Security Means a Strong Economy

Working in the shadows of the Iraq crisis, the president’s economic team has produced an ambitious agenda to strengthen the American economy. Both proponents and opponents have discussed at length the tax proposals announced by President Bush. However, other proposals deserve attention as well, especially the president’s approach to savings and his continued commitment to reforming the nation’s Social Security system.

02/12/2003
Some Doubt Governor's Resolve
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Some Doubt Governor's Resolve

BY W. Gardner Selby

AUSTIN - Within 30 days, Texans will know if Republican leaders are sticking to budget-cutting plans or bending to pressure for increased taxes, a GOP leader said Tuesday. "Within the next month, we'll have a sense as to whether we have people bolting or not," said Rep. Talmadge Heflin of Houston, chairman of the budget-drafting House Appropriations Committee. "The ones that fold will have to be the leadership-the speaker, the lieutenant governor, the governor," Heflin said, referring to House Speaker Tom Craddick, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry. "If heat comes on them to where they say, you know, we can't do this, then we're screwed," Heflin said, adding he expects the leadership to stick together and "get the job done." Republican leaders have vowed to achieve a 2004-05 budget that absorbs a projected revenue shortfall of $9.9 billion without requiring additional taxes, possibly spending less than the $117 billion earmarked in the 2002-03 budget that runs through August. In his State of the State address Tuesday, Perry gave no indication of giving ground, saying voters "elected us to set priorities, not to raise the price of government," adding: "My friends, it can be done. We can balance our budget without raising taxes." Dewhurst, informed of Heflin's comments, said: "If we stand together, Democrats and Republicans alike, we can balance the budget without new taxes." Craddick, R-Midland, said: "I'm not bolting." "The three of us will stay together all the way through," Craddick said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that." Heflin supports a proposal to abolish the state's share-the-wealth public school funding system by 2005. He wants immediate research into overhauling the tax system so the 2005 Legislature can consider ideas like replacing property and franchise taxes with an expanded state sales tax. In early April, the House likely will take up a draft of the budget recommended by his committee, Heflin said. If approved, it will head to the Senate, whose members will probably substitute their own version and clear the way for House-Senate negotiations before the session ends June 2. Heflin on Tuesday asked the Texas Association of School Boards to support a lean budget along with his desire to overhaul school funding and taxes in 2005. "I'm asking that you partner with us to do that," he said. John McInnis, an Arlington school board member and past president of TASB, later objected. Describing himself as a moderate Republican, McInnis said: "If they're not going to come up with new resources to pay the bills, my question is: Who cuts where?" "They're going to bolt," McInnis predicted of the GOP leaders. "They simply have to. It's going to be an interesting rhetorical dilemma for the governor to wade out of." Peggy Venable, state director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, disagreed, saying taxpayers will need to remind the leaders that they are spending taxpayer dollars and not money that belongs to government. "Chairman Heflin is absolutely right," Venable said. "They are going to have to be steadfast in their focus on cutting spending and addressing the needs of Texas." The Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for programs serving poor Texans, noted Tuesday that health, education and criminal justice agencies are being asked to chop more than $4.5 billion from their budgets before taking them to legislative budget-drafting panels. Scott McCown, the center's executive director, called Heflin's comments "the best news I've had all day." "When fellows start telling you that they're not going to bolt, that means people have been talking to them about the desperate need to raise revenue," McCown said. "A lot of people are using their access to leadership with a private message that this is going to be devastating to balance the budget without additional revenue." "That means he's having to keep an eye on them, that things are happening," McCown said.

02/12/2003
The President's Recipe to Cook Up More Capital
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Press Release

The President's Recipe to Cook Up More Capital

© 2002 Copley News Service, 2/11/2003 For every rule, there is an exception that proves it. "There's no such thing as a free lunch" is a good example. There is a "free lunch" when you discover that its makings are already bought and paid for but foolishly wasted or spoiled before they can be combined into a nourishing meal. If you change whatever is causing the waste and spoilage, presto, you've got a free lunch.

02/11/2003
Governor Rick Perry’s State of the State Speech
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Press Release

Governor Rick Perry’s State of the State Speech

Governor Perry demonstrated strong leadership by showing we can balance our budget without raising taxes. He indicated his desire to work with the legislature to achieve that goal, and we stand ready to work with him to limit government. Since 1990, the Texas population has grown by 27 percent and inflation has increased 37 percent. Yet during that same time period, the state's budget increased 125 percent and state spending on Medicaid jumped 400 percent. In 2001, the Legislature increased spending on health and human services programs by $4 billion.

02/11/2003
Elizabeth Bookspan is the CSE Minuteman of the Month!
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Press Release

Elizabeth Bookspan is the CSE Minuteman of the Month!

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02/11/2003
Texas Lt Gov Dewhurst Takes Appropriate Action on Water Issue
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Press Release

Texas Lt Gov Dewhurst Takes Appropriate Action on Water Issue

Water rights have been important in Texas and are becoming more important as water will likely spark today’s version of the Sagebrush Rebellion. Lt. Gov David Dewhurst has asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to defer action on a major water permit application until the Legislature has an opportunity to clarify the Commission's authority to issue such a permit under Texas water appropriations laws.

02/11/2003

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