The Texas Association of Business has been beefing up its anti conservative bona fides. Last session TAB used teachers and grandma lead blocking to keep lucrative subsidies and the group’s leader Bill Hammond advocated for spending gimmicks and draining the rainy day fund.
This primary while conservative groups were lining up to support freshman Representative David Simpson TAB bestowed an endorsement on his liberal predecessor Tommy Merritt. Merritt’s endorsement was the only one TAB made against an incumbent. Simpson is an outspoken critic of corporate welfare – a TAB soft spot – and was far more conservative than Merritt in his first year in the House.
In addition to it’s opposition of Simpson TAB spent over $100,000 in House District 121 on behalf of Joe Straus attacking the character of his conservative opponent, Air Force veteran Matt Beebe.
Following the election liberal reporter Patricia Kilday Hart derided the political non-profit Empower Texans for helping Beebe in HD 121 but gave no mention to the work of Texas Association of Business. Both groups spent similar sums but TAB’s opposition to Beebe was bitter and personal, while Straus was attacked on his record alone.
TAB’s practical reason for helping Straus stay elected is that Texans overwhelmingly support spending limits and zero based budgeting, both bad for those seeking handouts and special deals, and both defended by Speaker Straus.
Straus has once again positioned himself to fight the stiff headwind of more than 90% of GOP primary voters for constitutional spending limits. As leader of the house the past two sessions Straus has killed the measure and he notably left it off his interim charges heading into next session.
Last Tuesday 94% of GOP voters approved a ballot measure calling for spending limits. Straus and TAB are on the wrong side of that bloc.