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Lone Star Project Report

Harvey Hypocrisy

Fair accountability requires examination of Texas GOP actions before & after Hurricane Harvey
Four Republican members of Congress abandoned their fellow Texans and voted “no” on Harvey recovery funds.  The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board called them out, saying the four Texas Republicans put “politics before humanity” and said that our “country deserves better.”
 
The criticism was earned.  However, it’s important to remember that negligent actions, hypocrisy and cronyism that make things worse for Texans who have been hurt by Harvey aren’t limited to four irresponsible Republican congressmen.  Ideally, the Texas press and others will look back as well as forward to assign accountability when reporting the difficulties Texans are encountering while recovering from Harvey.  Any fair examination of the full record will expose a history of negligence, blind ideology and cronyism.
Greg Abbott camera ready but not storm steady
No politician is more crassly seeking attention and hurricane camera time than Greg Abbott.  Abbott even took credit for the U.S. Air Force spraying mosquitoes implying that he personally deploys the U.S. military.  Remember that Abbott inexcusably insulted U.S. military special forces during the Jade Helm troop exercises in Texas.  However, no matter how often he tweets or maneuvers himself into camera range, Abbott can’t undo the damage done by:

Abbott is not alone.  Texas Republican legislators – some whose districts are damaged by Harvey – sided with donors and/or ideologues over homeowners who now must face the consequences of those irresponsible actions.

Sarah Davis covered for scammer contractors
Neighborhoods hit by major storms are the hunting fields for unscrupulous contractors.  Following Hurricane Ike a few years ago, FEMA and the Texas Attorney General had to issue scammer warnings even months after the storm had passed.  In response, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1711 to protect Texas homeowners from rip-offs when repairing storm damage.  
 
The bill passed easily.  In fact, only one member opposed it – Sarah Davis (HD134 – Houston), whose own district suffered damage from Ike and Harvey. 
 
Sarah Davis breaks with Republicans and sides with Democrats on Choice and some other women’s health votes, so she is considered less ideological and perhaps more reasonable than some other Republicans.  However, siding with crooked contractors and leaving constituents vulnerable to rip-offs brings her integrity into question.
Lois Kolkhorst & Konni Burton voted to block tax break for storm & hurricane supplies
In most parts of Texas, preparing for floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms is a necessity.  Families should be well stocked with emergency items.  In 2015, the Legislature created a sales tax holiday to help Texans prepare for the storm season and to make it more affordable.  Items like axes and hatchets to escape rising waters, first aid kits, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights and other survival gear are now exempt from sales tax for a weekend thanks to this bipartisan sales tax cut.
 
Real need and rational thinking should have made the tax break noncontroversial.  However, 23 Republican legislators, driven by ideology over common sense, opposed the disaster relief sales tax cut.
  • One of those voting “no” was State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (SD18 – Brenham) whose district includes large portions of the Texas coast that saw some of the worst damage from Hurricane Harvey.
  • State Senator Konni Burton (SD10 – Colleyville) also voted “no” and says tax breaks like the one on hurricane supplies is "manipulation.”  If Burton had gotten her way and killed the bill, the big loss would have gone Texas taxpayers.