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December 3, 2018      6:11 PM

Pauken: How to win by losing

From the Right: Former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken argues Beto O’Rourke will be the first Democrat in modern history to run statewide in Texas whose career isn’t ended by his loss

Beto O’Rourke may have narrowly lost the race for the U.S. Senate in Texas to Ted Cruz (the final results show Cruz with 51% of the vote and O’Rourke 48%), but he outperformed any Democrat in a statewide race since the 1990s.

 Moreover, he was able to raise and spend over $70 million in his campaign, the largest sum ever raised for a Senate race in Texas – and nearly twice as much as the incumbent Ted Cruz raised.

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By Tom Pauken

November 20, 2018      5:04 PM

Coppedge: Thoughts from Behind the Pine Curtain

In this guest column, Dr. John Coppedge argues “we are entering a new but familiar phase in Texas electoral politics...the same kind of phase occurred in the late 1980's and early 1990's when the dominance of the Texas Democrats faded and the Republican era of the last three decades began."

The 2018 General Election will go down as a pivotal election for Texas, especially for the Texas judiciary. Just as 1988 began the quantum shift to the Republican column, now some 30 years later the pendulum is swinging back the other way.

Long predicted because of demographic trends, Democrat dominance in the major Court of Appeals this cycle is the forerunner of what will come next. While Republicans continued to win all the statewide races, the margins are getting thinner.

And buoyed by the 2018 results, Democrats will come out breathing fire in 2020.

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By Dr. John Coppedge

November 19, 2018      12:07 PM

Moseley: Texas Association of Business legislative priorities for the 86th Texas Legislature

In this guest column, TAB President and CEO Jeff Moseley lays out what the largest group representing employers in the state wants to see accomplished next spring

January marks the beginning of the 86th Texas Legislature and a fresh start for Texas. Each session, thousands of bills are filed, and a significant portion of this legislation will have an impact on business within the state.

By supporting initiatives that encourage economic growth and provide good paying jobs for more Texans, the Texas Association of Business has always been at the forefront of making sure Texas is the best place to work, run a business, and raise a family.

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By Jeff Moseley

November 15, 2018      5:12 PM

Crosby: The Beto Blues

In this guest column, Democratic strategist Jeff Crosby says new voters who helped push Beto to the brink of victory have more to be proud of than they realize

Democrats in Texas have suffered through a political drought for decades. Every election, we’ve searched the horizon for a gathering storm that would end our misery. Finally, a pretty damn big storm arrived November 7, 2018, and it swept away Republicans thunderstruck by change.

To be clear, we didn’t turn Texas blue, but it would be hard to argue it’s not purple now. Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties were solidly blue. Tarrant is the only holdout among the big urban counties, but Republicans dramatically underperformed there in comparison to recent elections.

But just consider this: Democrats didn’t lose a single congressional or legislative incumbent in the general election. Not one. I am too lazy to look it up, but I’d imagine the last time that happened was a long, long time ago.

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By Jeff Crosby

November 13, 2018      4:16 PM

Grusendorf: What happened on election day

Republican former House Chairman Kent Grusendorf argues losses for Republicans were not about issues; instead he says it was more about the mechanics of elections

Republicans got their butts kicked.  Democrats deserve credit – they successfully embraced and implemented a winning strategy for Texas. Republicans must examine what happened and learn from this drumming.

Although Republicans held every statewide office, they won by much lower percentages than expected in each race. 

Governor Abbott won by 13 points, against an opponent who spent little money and was not actually seen as a serious candidate by most Texans.  Sen. Ted Cruz won by only 3 points after being significantly outspent by a candidate who ran the most aggressive and most expensive campaign in Texas history. 

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By Kent Grusendorf

October 31, 2018      3:18 PM

Greenfield: How much more can be cut from the Texas budget

In response to the TPPF-led “conservative budget,” economist Stuart Greenfield argues that “what these proposals don’t recognize is that growth in population varies over space and that using the CPI understates the increase in prices local governments experience. But what’s a methodological error among conservative friends?”

Before beginning my analysis of state spending over this century, I would like to wish both Ursula Parks, director of the LBB and Mike Reissig, Deputy Comptroller the best as they head off into the joys of having a defined benefit plan pension for the rest of their lives. I would also like to thank them for their willingness to assist my less than sterling efforts at providing readers of the QR analysis on various public policy issues.

In Shakespeare’s Most Famous Soliloquy, Hamlet states, “to be or not to be that is the question.” This soliloquy must have been modified by the recently organized Conservative Resolution Underfunding Many Basic Services (CRUMBs), whose motto is “to spend or not to spend, what a stupid question.” Alternatively, the group might have named itself, Conservative Actions Killing Education (CAKE), as in Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake.”

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

October 9, 2018      3:57 PM

Greenfield: State Expenditures in FY18 should leave conservatives pleased and liberals depressed

By the numbers, economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield lays out what’s happening with the Texas budget, this time on the expenditure side of the equation

With the close of FY18, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced state tax collections and revenue increased at a substantial rate. The Comptroller noted that both All Funds tax collections and total revenue increased at substantial rates, 12.0 percent, and 8.1 percent, respectively.

Comptroller Hegar did not comment on total state expenditures, which increased (3.5 percent), a rate substantially lower than the increase in state revenue. The agency will soon release the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and the Annual Cash Report.

Both reports document state revenue and expenditures for FY18.

For now, I’ll offer an overview of state expenditures for FY18 based on the cash report.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield