TUE brief 11.9.21

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Today’s Stories

GREG ABBOTT yesterday afternoon signed SB8, the federal COVID money distribution bill, into law. Joe Biden’s COVID executive orders are now backed by Texas state statute.

Abbott issued a tweet announcing he’d signed the measure two minutes after yesterday’s newsletter dropped. It was the last possible day for his signature. With the signing, Abbott did what he does best, hand away leverage to Democrats.

This is a teachable moment for how Texas politics works in reality, instead of the fantasy Texas Republicans peddle on Fox News.

The saga began last spring when the Biden administration announced plans to transfer $16 Billion to Texas under the so-called “American Rescue Plan” act (i.e., the COVID bailout).

Because the money wouldn’t come into the state’s possession until after the adjournment of the regular legislative session, Governor Abbott tried to claim his office had sole discretion to allocate the funds.

For as much as Abbott treats the actual job of the Governor as an afterthought, he will never pass on the opportunity to hoard money and power personally.

Texas Democrats, during one of those rare moments when they act like a serious opposition party, (correctly) called foul. This was a cynical move; the Democrats were only interested in using the money for political patronage. Nevertheless, their constitutional point about the power of the purse was correct. It was a real-world application of Federalist 51.

Having had his bluff called, Abbott agreed to cut in the legislature. Thus, Abbott placed the distribution of federal COVID funds on the call for the third special session. The result was S.B. 8, which unanimously passed both legislative chambers last month.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration has placed strings on the federal contracts surrounding the “Rescue plan.”

In drafting S.B. 8, Texas legislators could have inserted a provision nullifying the federal strings. They chose not to. Thus, Joe Biden’s executive orders are now backed by state statute.

This issue is a hanging curveball down the middle of the plate that Abbott’s primary challengers can hit a long way as long as they take the bat off their shoulder.

The UNIVERSITY OF AUSTIN is not being founded by a group of conservative thinkers but by a smattering of intellectuals who understand the current model of higher education is decaying.

The school is an escape pod from the terminally infected woke institution of higher education bound to fail in the coming years.

On its own, this is a modestly interesting development. As an industry, higher ed. desperately needs innovation, and if these folks want to give it a shot, they should go for it—bonus points for choosing a convenient location.

But the left's reaction, especially on Twitter, leads us to think there might be more to this than meets the eye. If you haven’t done so, head over to Twitter, and search “University of Austin.” You won’t be disappointed by the triggered hordes.

That said, efforts to introduce intellectual diversity at the existing University of Texas and others are fights worth having. Like it or not, UT-Austin has a lot of land in West Texas with oil.  They also have a century and a half of built-up brand equity. That oil money and brand equity could go a long way if you ever had a Governor who made it a priority to do so.

Rick Perry had some commendable instincts on this subject, though his follow-through was lacking.

Lawmakers and statewides should take notice of the big splash that Wiess & Co. are making and not squander their asset and enviable position in the market.

PROPERTY TAXES are poised to become an issue in the 2022 election.

  • Before the first special session of 2021, Democrat lawmakers challenged Abbott to do something about the property tax. He didn’t.

  • Then, at the last possible moment of the third special session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ramed through a homestead exemption increase that will save taxpayers less than $200 per year.

  • Yesterday, political operative Matt Angle trolled Sen. Kelly Hancock on Twitter over property taxes.

Democrats need a sane issue to run on in Texas that will appeal to centrist voters but not offend their woke progressive dogma.

Property taxes fit the bill, and the Republicans who’ve been in office for the last two decades, during which they could have abolished the tax, are exposed to the downside.

Poll: Texans aren’t happy with property tax “reforms.”

Hit the Links

Federal workers with natural immunity to COVID-19 sue Biden

School districts are wasting COVID relief funds

P.S. Is anyone else seeing Let’s Go Brandon bumper stickers?