Republican State Senator Kevin Eltife of Tyler has publicly admitted what Democrats have been saying for years: Republicans are failing Texas.
Citing a litany of infrastructural improvements from water to roads, Eltife emphasized that Republicans are catering to the Tea Party base rather than responsibly addressing the needs of Texans.
In an interview with the Longview News-Journal editorial board, Eltife essentially gave a seminar on the way in which anti-tax Republicans are driving up state debt by outsourcing our state's basic needs.
Eltife is certainly conservative — in the interview, he emphasized his desire to keep debt low — and he is correct to point out the false Tea Party prophets who campaign on lowering taxes and then push policies that drive up debt.
From the News-Journal:
“Water's not fixed, TxDot's not fixed,” he said, naming two of four issues the Tyler resident accused his fellow lawmakers of ignoring in favor of red-meat topics that get them elected while the necessities of a growing population draw mostly lip-service.
“We've got the same problems today,” Eltife told the News-Journal editorial board, returning several times to a state debt that's risen from $17 billion, when he took office in 2004, to $42 billion now. Much of that debt growth has occurred by lawmakers opting to have the Texas Department of Transportation borrow money.
“It's real easy to run on, 'We just need to cut spending, and we don't need any new taxes,' ” he said. “At some point, the public is going to demand that we fix these problems. We have cities that are about to be out of water – Wichita Falls is one of them.”
While Eltife's argument is not necessarily new, even coming from him, it's worth noting that with an even more right-wing State Senate in office in 2015 the problems Eltife enumerates will likely only get worse.
And with the threat of Dan Patrick taking over the upper chamber as Lieutenant Governor, it's hard to see a path forward for Texas in which our state's “leadership” actually comes to terms with the needs to finance water, roads, education, and public health.
As long as Republicans are beholden to their Tea Party base that decides primary elections, Texans can only hope for sane policy solutions from Democrats, who will actually address the needs of our growing state.