“The Texas Model”: A GOP Solution For National Cohesion

By Alex Gonzalez

It is obvious by now that  Democrats and Obama presume they have a winning strategy after the “fiscal cliff debacle” in which both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate agreed to a tax increase for those who are single and earn more than $400,000 and couples who earn more than $450,000 dollars. The deal adds an annual $600 thousand to the National Debt with a combined $4 trillion in the next ten years since, in reality, this deal does not prevent the lavish spending on entitlements.

This bi-partisan deal, or fiscal “debacle,” was one where many Republican were persuaded to vote under the assumption that it divert an economic chaos in the markets.  Yet,  it also has created an illusion that the Republican Party in Congress, and nationally, lacks power in Congress, and a cohesive conservative national agenda. As a result, Obama and Democrats in Congress believe that by promoting more this deceptive deal Republicans can be weakened by creating a greater division within the GOP. And this may be true, for now.  However, unlike the Republicans in Congress who have become on opposition party, many Republican states do successful mantras, and the best example of this winning conservative platform is the Texas Model.

Republicans in Congress, including the Republican National Committee, is still scrambling for leadership. However, Texas, which is the only large Republican state with a large delegation in Congress, has a solid economic and political record from the last four years. Texas has a conservative platform of low taxes, business-friendly environment, and yes it even scores better on education than many other states.

For example, no other conservative state matches Texas’ success in job-creation, and high school-school graduation records.  For example, Houston and Austin still remains the top market for job creation.  Also,  Texas tied for the third highest high school graduation rate in the country for all students and ranks number one in graduation rates for Asian and white students, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education. Among Hispanics, Texas has a graduation rate of 82% while wealthier states like California and New York—which spent more per pupil on education and yet ranked lower among graduating  Hispanics with a 73% rate.

For higher education, Texas does more, than any other liberal and conservative states, to make sure the Latinos have access to higher education. Those programs include the Top Ten Percent admission, in-state-tuition, and Bachelor Degrees for only $10,000 dollars aimed at helping low-income students.  Essentially, Texas with less is achieving more an education; and all these programs can be real policy options for other states.

Nationally, Texan legislators  can use these program as a great example with Hispanic outreach and as a model to attract Hispanic voters who seek to charter schools as an alternative from  failing public schools, who refuse to fire unqualified teachers.

Texas is the also the only large state with similar populations  like California and New York where the Texas legislature has a majority strong enough to do something about immigration at the state.  Understandably, Texas cannot regulate illegal immigration, nor can they grant legal status to many of those in the state illegally.  However,  Republicans in Texas can do something at the state level to help those in the state without proper status, in obtaining a Driving Permit, as the one provided in the state of Utah.  A driving Permit, which falls into  state rights,  can comply with all the bureaucratic mess required under the REAL I.D.  Federal law, which was supposed to implemented by now but keeps been pushed back since many states have complained that it is an unfunded mandate.  Therefore, a Driving Permit for those working in the state,  will comply with all the necessary laws, and will make Texas’ roads safer, and will foment more  business people will be encouraged to get a driving permit, buy a car, and buy insurance.

More importantly, since the RNC does not seem to have a plan to revamp its image with Latino voters, a Texas legislature bill aimed at helping those working in the state with the un-documented so as to can convey the positive message that Republicans are serious about doing something about illegal immigrants.  Moreover, this can set a new trend in the region by which the Republican Party, through Texas, can initiate a series of policies, at the state level, to get rid of the anti-Immigrant image many Latinos have about the GOP.   This is not to suggest that the Texas GOP take over the RNC, but rather that the Texas GOP take the leadership on Hispanic outreach through sensible state policies that are also beneficial for state economy and will send a positive message to Latinos voters.  Texas is the only large Republican state capable of setting a new regional trend.

The Republican delegation in Congress is one of the most anti-tax cohesive voting blocs.  This was apparent when all of the Republicans for Texas in the House voted against the “fiscal cliff”. This cohesive Texas anti-tax voice may encourage other Republicans to reject any other tax hikes during the upcoming battle on sequestration and raising the debt ceiling in two months.

Now that corporate taxes have increased to 39.5% with fiscal cliff “deal,” Texas can encourage other conservative states in the region may  to follow its model by eliminating their state corporate taxes. The fact that Texas does not have state or corporate taxes, has won the state national recognition as the best state in which to conduct business.  Consequently, now that the federal cooperate tax is 39.5%, corporations maybe looking for states with do not have state taxes, or corporate taxes or where those taxes can be invested in hiring more people.

The way Texas solved its deficit two years ago by some cutting services, including $4 billion in  education.  Every democrat attacked Republicans because they refused to raise taxes and opted to cut services. However,  the fact that in 2011 Texas ranked 3rd in high school graduation– with a 82% graduation rate among Latinos—and all the programs offered to low-income students  under the Top Ten Percent and the $10,000 degree clearly shows that Texas is doing something  right in education without raising taxes on business.

Texas  will have  a deficit. Cal Jilson, from Southern Methodist University, in his books The Lone Star Tarnished suggest that because Texas is an energy state, most like Republicans will not change state subsidies to energy companies.  Instead, Jilson estimates, the creation of a 0.5%  corporate tax can generate up to 3.5 billion. Conversely, Bill Peacock from the Texas Public Policy Foundation suggest that Congress needs to allow the expiration of federal renewable energy subsidies through the production tax credit. More than anything, these subsidies are responsible for harming the prospects of reliability in the Texas electricity market.  Regardless of what side you are on, in Texas nobody believes that raising taxes on businesses will get you out of a deficit without cutting spending. And that is the Texas way, and it has won the state high recognition. As result, this is something that Republicans in Congress, and other states, need to emulate from Texas.

It is true that Republicans in the Texas legislature will have a tough year since they will have to revisit congressional and legislative redistricting.   Perhaps this time Republican will see a better opportunity in drawing Hispanic minority-majority, and then, work to appeal to Latino voters.

If Texas wants to take this leadership role, Texas can do it. Texas is the only large state and Congressional delegation to block any increase on taxes, Texas can encourage other state to jointly create a regional low-taxes and no cooperate taxes bloc region.

As for the Republican Latino outreach strategy, Texas can in be charge of any new immigration policy formulation like the Texas Immigration Solution passed by the Republican Party Platform and incorporated into the National Platform in Tampa.  So whether it involves taxes, education, immigration, cutting inefficient government program, the Texas Model can be unifying stimulating force to bring all Republicans nationally together.

Alex Gonzalez  is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote!  He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics,  from San Francisco State University.
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