Often times, the point of political discussion is to criticize the government. Unfortunately, people appreciate political realities less frequently.
In this state, there is certainly room for criticism, as our public education system lags at the bottom of the nation’s rankings and state infrastructure begs immediate attention. But, Texas has prospered overall under Republican leadership. It might surprise some, especially younger individuals on this campus, to know that the Republicans have only controlled the state legislature in Texas since 2003. As for the governorship, the Republicans have only maintained it for twenty straight years.
Texas is not a red state of perpetuity, but the improvements made while it has been controlled by Republican leadership mean it should not change any time soon.
“I would certainly say that Texas has prospered under the Republicans,” said Paul Burka, former senior executive editor of Texas Monthly who has covered Texas politics for more than 40 years. “The economy has been strong. Tax collections have likewise been consistently good. The Rainy Day Fund is bulging with money. On the economics side, all the news is good.”
Some may argue that Texas is prosperous not because of Republican leadership but simply because it is blessed with natural resources such as oil.
“Texas’ overall economy has tended to track the fortunes of the petroleum industry,” government professor David Prindle said.
That being said, being blessed with resources means nothing if there is no pro-business policies that encourage the development of such resources. Case in point, California is not generally thought of as an oil-rich state yet actually has the third most proven oil reserve among all 50 states, only behind Texas and Alaska. The difference is that California does not encourage oil production as Texas does.
It is this pro-growth, pro-jobs Republican policy that makes Texas one of the fastest growing states in America. Economist Stephen Moore notes that over the last 20 years, Texas has had four times the job growth of California, has an unemployment rate far lower than California’s, has income growth greater than California’s, and regularly ranks in the top five states for business climate while California consistently lands in the bottom 10.
Texas has prospered for the last 20 years; we should not go back to the Democratic policies from the time before then. However, there is still room for improvement from Republican leadership. The state should pass tax cuts for everyone and not just the few, shift to a full time legislature and eliminate affirmative action in University admission — to name a few suggestions. Texas as a whole is a lot better off today under Republican leadership than it was in the past under Democratic leadership.
Hung is a second year law student from Brownsville.