The Texas Tribune reports that HJR2, the new compromise transportation funding measure the Conference Committee just came up with, was dead on arrival in the House of Representatives late Monday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), would have done some interesting things. From the Tribune:
If the compromise plan before lawmakers on Monday had passed, Texas voters in 2014 would have been asked to approve a constitutional amendment to divert half of the oil and gas production tax revenue currently earmarked for the state’s Rainy Day Fund toward road construction and maintenance.
But both Democrats and Republicans found fault with the compromise language hashed out by House and Senate negotiators over the weekend regarding a so-called floor on the Rainy Day Fund. Some Republicans had pushed for a provision that would have blocked the diversion of tax revenue to the state highway fund if the Rainy Day Fund’s balance fell below a certain level. Many Democrats argued that would put a new, tighter restraint on tapping the fund to address the state’s needs.
Under the plan presented to both chambers Monday, the 10-member Legislative Budget Board would periodically set the minimum balance after which the diversions would be blocked.
I tend to recall something about Pickett’s plan funding more of the transportation & infrastructure directly from taxes, revenue normally earmarked for education. In return, the rainy day fund would be drained to pay for education. This might have been thrown out in the Conference Committee.
Anyways, the House only voted 84-40 in favor oft he bill, sixteen short of the supermajority required for passage. Among the 40 dissenting votes, only 13 were Democrats. This means that even if every Democrat in the room had supported the bill, it would have failed. Make no mistake, the Tea Party killed HJR2.
Off the Kuff has more about the Transportation bill unfortunate demise.
At about 2:50 today, the House adjourned sine die. The Senate is expected to do the same somewhat soon. The Dallas Morning News also reports that Perry will be calling a third special session immediately to deal with this issue. Like today immediately, that is.
My grandfather used to tell a joke with all of his old war buddies that ended with the punchline “that’s beautiful, just f—–g beautiful.” I take it, for all of the Legislators who now must extend their leases until the end of August in Austin, a city where the half the population moves in during August, that would pretty much sum up everything right about now.