Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tea party hosts evening with David Simpson

(Commentary:  David Simpson is a great asset to the TEA Party movement.  Also, to the author of this article, thanks for the coverage, but it's "TEA Party".... not "Tea Party". )

By Glenn Evans

Texas Rep. David Simpson of Longview got a free pass to criticize under-funded schools and a state budget wired by accounting gimmicks Monday at a tea party event envisioned as a debate between Simpson and fellow Republican Tommy Merritt.

It was reminiscent of the personal privilege speech with which Simpson closed out the 82nd Legislative Session last year by railing at state leaders he described as conservative in name only.

Merritt, of Longview, declined last week to attend Monday’s debate produced by We The People Longview, the tea party standard bearer for the Gregg County area.

The group’s two founders, he said, were biased against him. Half of that couple, Mike Schwartz, quipped Monday to a crowd exceeding 110 that Merritt’s claim lacked the promise suggested by his last name — merit.

“They had 30 minutes to go back and forth and go after it,” Schwartz defended the formal debate format the group had proposed in January. “Apparently, Tommy feels like answering the same questions that Mr. Simpson had to answer is somehow biased.”

The incumbent, who ousted Merritt after seven terms in Austin during 2010’s tea party wave, mentioned his opponent maybe three times, two of those times noting Merritt’s opposition to the bill requiring voters to show photo ID.

Passage of the voter ID bill was among successes Simpson touted from his freshman session.
The law requiring doctors to administer sonograms and describe the fetus in the womb 24 hours before performing an abortion was another success Simpson recalled to an applauding crowd.

He was critical of the two-year state spending plan, which he had opposed, noting it funded Medicaid only 18 of the 24-month period and short-changed schools, especially in rural areas.

Simpson during the session had proposed gutting the governor’s Economic Stabilization Fund used to give tax breaks and incentives to lure businesses to Texas. That money, he said then and repeated Monday, should have gone to public schools.

“Putting schools first is a much better way to attract businesses to Texas,” he said. “A workforce that is well-skilled and educated would do that.”

Simpson proposed setting statutory spending limits in given time frames on state government. He also called for greater financial transparency by projecting the likely future impacts of spending.

“We need to publish what those future liabilities are, and project them and update them,” he said.

He recalled his single-handed, losing stand against a bill requiring homeowner’s associations to allow residents to fly the American and veterans flags higher or larger than association contracts allowed.

“I’m all for flying flags,” Simpson said. “But, I don’t believe it’s the legislature’s job to override voluntary contracts that are entered into and formed when they form these associations.”

Simpson likened civil government to the wildfires that ran unchecked across Northeast Texas and the areas just east of Austin last fall to the combustion inside an engine.

“Government is causing many of our problems, it is causing many of our problems just like the wildfires here and in Bastrop,” he said. “We’ve got to be vigilant in containing and restraining civil government, like the fire in the engine is contained and controlled.

“And we are about to lose our country if we do not return civil government to its proper role. And that is to protect my life and liberty, and then it needs to get out of the way. It’s actually a lack of government that’s made our nation unique. That’s what we need to return to.”



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