Thursday, October 13, 2011

AFP-Texas Expresses Support for Green Scissors Report, Cautions Against Tax Hikes

AFP-Texas Expresses Support for Green Scissors Report,
Cautions Against Tax Hikes

Report Urges the Termination of Wasteful Government Subsidies,
but Calls for Unnecessary Tax Increases

AUSTIN – Americans for Prosperity-Texas is pleased that Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and The Heartland Institute have joined forces to call for an end of wasteful government subsidies in the energy and agricultural sectors.
In a report titled Green Scissors 2011, the group makes recommendations on how the federal government could save billions of taxpayer dollars, but also includes some suggestions such as troubling tax hikes that AFP-Texas cannot support.
The Green Scissors 2011 report comes at a critical time when America is faced with over $14 trillion in debt. The report highlights critical and sensible ways to help solve our nation’s debt crisis, including ending ethanol subsidies, reforming agriculture subsidies, and ending the renewable fuel standard,” said AFP-Texas State Director Peggy Venable. “However, not all recommendations in Green Scissors 2011 are sound economic policy.”

Although AFP-Texas previously issued a release praising certain aspects of the Green Scissors 2011 report, that statement should not be considered a blanket endorsement of the plan. While the report goes a long way in stressing the importance of fiscal responsibility in Washington and identifying solutions such as wasteful government subsidies, the report also recommends policy changes that would harm our fragile economy. These concerns include increasing taxes on oil and gas companies which could spike gas prices, such as new taxes on intangible drilling costs, ending dual capacity deductions for foreign income, and further limiting traditional energy providers’ access to the domestic manufacturing deduction.

AFP-Texas applauds the coalition for their work towards a balanced budget and reduced national deficit. Excessive government spending must be cut immediately in order to stabilize the economy and get Texas and America back on the path to prosperity, but some of the ideas proposed – such as new taxes – work contrary to that goal,” Venable added.

AFP issued its own recommendations to the so-called Super Committee which lays out over $5 trillion in spending cuts over a ten-year period. AFP’s recommendations can be found here.


Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 1.8 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states.  AFP has 34 state chapters and affiliates. More than 90,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit
Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reporters don't want to admit they like Perry? Sounds right...

Today’s Houston Chronicle carries an article on Gov. Rick Perry’s policies and his background. I realize we will be reading a lot about Perry and his policy decisions.

The headline says it all -- "Perry Change Not For Better" -

But this one begged my response, which I provided in an email to the reporter:

Lisa, I read your article and want to point out that I believe Gov. Perry said that he made a mistake in how he did the HPV vaccine by executive order, not that he wanted girls to have access to the vaccine.

I am a conservative who did not oppose the vaccine, but his putting forth an executive order just before the start of that session, and not having briefed or consulted the health-related legislative committees, and not making it an “opt in” were things he considers could have been done differently.

I am a mother who has had cancer, and my daughter got the HPV vaccine.

I was with Gov. Perry at the budget signing in Amarillo recently and on the plane he talked to me about that decision and said that he realizes he could have done it differently. Then he said one thing that resonates with me – he’s said it other times too - “I hate cancer.” He believes that if there is anything he can do in his position to rid society of cancer, he will. He has a keen interest in medical research and including the use of adult stem cells.

This is not an issue we at AFP have taken a position on as we are fiscal-policy focused, but I admire someone who is willing to step out there, even if they occasionally admitting that they could have done it better. In my book, it beats voting “present”.

Thanks for your article. Frankly, I still see that guy from Paint Creek in the old car. I think what you see is what you get. But then I’m a West Texas gal.

Thanks for what you do, Lisa. – Peggy

What I failed to address was the obvious – starting her article with: "The strangest thing happened the other day. I started to like Rick Perry. This is something I haven't even discussed with my husband, or my very conservative parents.."

Doesn’t that just say it all – that reporters don’t want to like conservative officials. At least she prefaced her diatribe with that. At least readers know where she is coming from. Thanks for the honesty, Lisa Falkenberg!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Agenda 21 Revealed

The revelations on Agenda 21 have come from many directions. Here are three instances...
1. Larry Bell is a columnist for Forbes magazine and recently wrote a blunt critique of Agenda 21. (Prof. Bell is an architecture professor at the University of Houston and recently published a book on the flaws of the global warming trend. He will be a speaker July 29 at the weekly friday lunch of the Houston Property Rights Association. For details send me a message.):

A quote: "Realizing difficulties in getting some national governments – the U.S. in particular – to enact massive regulatory control over virtually all aspects of energy production and consumption, UNCED leaders launched a campaign to advance the same agenda through state and local initiatives. Since Agenda 21 was a “soft-law” policy recommendation, (not a treaty) it required no U.S. congressional authorization. President Clinton established a President’s council in 1993 on Sustainable Development by Executive Order for the specific purpose of implementing it in the U.S."

Prof. Bell's background: I am a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston where I founded and direct the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and head the graduate program in space architecture. My background deals extensively with research, planning and design of habitats, structures and other support systems for applications in space and extreme environments on Earth. I have recently written a new book titled "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax". It can be previewed and ordered at Additional information about my book and views can be found on my YouTube address:
2. The World Bank attacks Sustainable Development (SD), a policy goal at the heart of Agenda 21 thinking.
It is nice to see one government funded international group confront the flawed thinking of another such group by raising questions that expose the vapid thinking in the assumptions that drive the Sustainable Development fad...

The documents linked to below are designed to help school children think through the assumptions that underlie the drivel of the sustainable development program which predates Agenda 21.......
Lastly...This report by Mother Jones, a left wing publication, is helpful as it summarizes the anti-Agenda 21 movement:

The writer reveals a smugness about urban matters and shows her ignorance of the negative outcomes in cities that are converting bus-only systems to bus and rail, as partly admitted by the Federal Transit Administration in a speech by FTA head Administrator Peter Rogoff. This is a 2010 video of Rogoff's speech and his speech notes: (In Texas The Houston transit program has been losing ridership for several years and Dallas light rail is sufferimg severe ridrship losses.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gov. Perry's recent back surgery hasn't slowed him down

I had opportunity to travel with Gov. Rick Perry to Amarillo yesterday (along with Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts) and am amazed at his vitality and quick recovery from recent back surgery. He may not be jogging again yet, but he maintains a schedule grueling enough to tire a 25 year-old.

He was on and off airplanes, carrying bags, energetic and optomist.

Let's just set the record straight -- if Gov. Perry were to decide to go run for President, no doubt he could physically do the job.

He should challenge any nay-sayer to keep up with his schedule!

-- Peggy Venable

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gov. Perry has not announced, but the attacks begin

No elected official has been in office for 10 years and voters agree with every decision they make – unless they vote “present” consistently. But Governors don’t have opportunity to take a pass on decision-making.

During a campaign, every vulnerability of every candidate is vetted. And though Gov. Perry isn't a candidate now, his record is under the microscope.

I was interviewed yesterday by KXAN-TV in Austin and the interviewer talked about some issues that are not AFP issues, so I spoke on behalf of myself on those issues. The individual interviewed heads an organization Back to Basics PAC funded by a trial lawyer focused on defeating Gov. Perry.

I have not agreed with every decision the Governor has made, but when he is criticized for his move to provide HPV vaccines for young women, I may not agree with the methods he used (he did not go through the legislative process and it was an “opt out” rather than an “opt in” vaccine). But his motives appear to be to eradicate cancer…a laudable goal, indeed!

As a cancer survivor, I agree with the goal to help citizens avoid getting cancer, we should. It is the humane thing to do, and it is also fiscally responsible.

The interviewer from KXAN-TV, Josh Hinkle, is a good reporter, but didn’t have time to include all that I said so I want – for the record – to include my comments during the interview:

The HPV vaccine is a non-issue.

It appeared Texans didn’t want another state-provided vaccine, and the Governor didn’t move forward on it.

Curing cancer is a laudable goal:
• More than 38,000 Texans will die of cancer this year.
• More than 100,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Texas this year.

The question is: whether or not this is the appropriate role of government.

Though I personally opposed it as did AFP-Texas, Governor Perry, the legislature and many Texans wanted the state to get involved in cancer prevention and research.
• Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2007
• That established the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and
• authorized the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.

We can differ on whether or not the HPV vaccine plan was good public policy, or the role of government in finding a cure for cancer, but if that is all the anti-Perry crowd have to criticize him for, they’ve got nothing.

The HPV vaccine issue controversy is old news.

Texas is the top state for job creation and business relocation. Around 1,000 people move to Texas every day because Texas is the beacon of fiscal responsibility in the country.

If Gov. Perry decides to run for President, the economy will be the top issue and that is what voters will care most about.

We must keep the focus on the country’s most challenging issues.
Here is the interview as it aired:

Here is an interview talking about Back to Basics PAC:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Congress can and should cut spending - start here

These are all the programs that the new Republican House has proposed cutting. We can and must cut federal spending.
• Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy. $445 million annual savings.
• Save America's Treasures Program. $25 million annual savings..
• International Fund for Ireland. $17 million annual savings.
• Legal Services Corporation. $420 million annual savings.
• National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annual savings.
• National Endowment for the Humanities $167.5 million annual savings.
• Hope VI Program.. $250 million annual savings.
• Amtrak Subsidies. $156.5 billion annual savings.
• Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
• U.S. Trade Development Agency. $55 million annual savings.
• Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy. $20 million annual savings.
• Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding. $47 million annual savings.
• John C. Stennis Center Subsidy. $430,000 annual savings.
• Community Development Fund. $4.5 billion annual savings.
• Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid. $24 million annual savings.
• Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings
• Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%. $600 million annual savings.
• Essential Air Service. $150 million annual savings.
• Technology Innovation Program. $70 million annual savings.
• Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. $125 million annual savings.
• Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.
• Beach Replenishment. $95 million annual savings.
• New Starts Transit. $2 billion annual savings.
• Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts .. $9 million annual savings
• Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants. $2.5 billion annual savings.
• Title X Family Planning. $318 million annual savings.
• Appalachian Regional Commission. $76 million annual savings.
• Economic Development Administration. $293 million annual savings.
• Programs under the National and Community Services Act. $1.15 billion annual savings.
• Applied Research at Department of Energy. $1.27 billion annual savings.
• FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. $200 million annual savings.
• Energy Star Program. $52 million annual savings.
• Economic Assistance to Egypt. $250 million annually.
• U.S. Agency for International Development. $1.39 billion annual savings.
• General Assistance to District of Columbia. $210 million annual savings.
• Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. $150 million annual savings.
• Presidential Campaign Fund. $775 million savings over ten years.
• No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
• End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
• Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.
• IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget. $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
• Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings.WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees.. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
• Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
• Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress..
• Eliminate Mohair Subsidies. $1 million annual savings.
• Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. $12.5 million annual savings
• Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings.
• USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings.
• Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). $93 million annual savings.
• Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. $56.2 million annual savings.
• Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs. $900 million savings.
• Ready to Learn TV Program. $27 million savings.
• HUD Ph.D. Program.
• Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

Thursday, December 16, 2010


From the Heritage Alliance:

DALLAS, Dec. 8, 2010 – In the first round of an ongoing, informal telephone poll, Heritage Alliance found more than 89 percent of registered Republican primary voters in favor of a more conservative Texas House Speaker to lead next year’s session.

In polling that began one week after the November elections, Heritage Alliance surveyed 8,238 “1R” voters—those who had participated in at least one recent GOP primary— in 43 of 99 GOP-held State House districts. (Voters were not polled in 21 districts where the State Representative had already called for a new State House Speaker.)

When asked, “If you want your State Representative to support a true conservative Republican for House Speaker, instead of a moderate Republican, press 1,” more than 89 percent indicated they wanted a more conservative Speaker.

Michael Smith, Executive Vice President of Heritage Alliance, said his organization called only registered voters because, “to quote pollster Scott Rasmussen, it’s the people who vote who ultimately decide everything.

“These are the voters who show up even for the primaries, when 9 out of 10 registered voters stay home,” Smith added. “They pay attention, and they act. Clearly this matters to them.”

Voters who favored a more-conservative House Speaker were given the URL to Heritage Alliance’s advocacy site ( and invited to call or e-mail their State Representative directly. In the case of districts where new Representatives take office in January, respondents had the option of calling or e-mailing their Representative-Elect.

“The 30 new Republicans elected in November called themselves ‘conservative’ throughout their campaigns,” Smith added. “This poll tells us their voters expect them to fulfill that promise.”
As of December 8, Heritage Alliance had polled less than half the 1R voters in 43 State House districts. Polling is expected to continue in these and additional districts for several weeks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Texas Voter Guides Available

Texas voters: early voting starts Monday, Oct 18 – you may want to check out these voter guides:

The Texas Model - good policies continue to produce good results

The Texas Model
The Lone Star State speeds up its recovery with pro-business policies.

Texas already looms large in its own imagination. Its elevated self-image didn’t need this: More than half of the net new jobs in the U.S. during the past 12 months were created in the Lone Star State.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period. If every state in the country had performed as well, we’d have created about 1.5 million jobs nationally during the past year, and maybe “stimulus” wouldn’t be such a dirty word.

What does Austin know that Washington doesn’t? At its simplest: Don’t overtax and -spend, keep regulations to a minimum, avoid letting unions and trial lawyers run riot, and display an enormous neon sign saying, “Open for Business.”

At bottom, the struggle between national Republicans and Democrats is over whether the country will adopt a version of the Texas model, or of the Michigan, New York, or California model. Will government allow the private sector to thrive, or stifle growth with its hyperactivity and favoritism for anti-business interests? If migration were a referendum, the Texas model would be winning in a rout — more than 1,300 people a day moved there between their 2007 and 2008 tax filings, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

It’s not as though Texas has been exempt from the Great Recession. Its unemployment rate is 8.3 percent — high, though beneath the national rate of 9.6 percent. It faces a recession-driven shortfall of roughly $15 billion for its next two-year budget, a significant challenge to its low-tax ways. But it has weathered the storm better than the nation, and better than its mammoth competitor on the West Coast.

A new Texas Public Policy Foundation report notes that Texas experienced a decline of 2.3 percent from its peak employment, while the nation declined 5.7 percent and California 8.7 percent. During the past 12 months, California nearly canceled out Texas’s job creation all by itself, losing 112,000 net jobs. Its unemployment rate is above 12 percent.

Texas is a model of governmental restraint. In 2008, state and local expenditures were 25.5 percent of GDP in California, 22.8 in the U.S., and 17.3 in Texas. Back in 1987, levels of spending were roughly similar in these places. The recessions of 1991 and 2001 spiked spending everywhere, but each time Texas fought to bring it down to pre-recession levels. “Because of this policy decision,” the Texas Public Policy Foundation report notes, “Texas’ 2008 spending burden remained slightly below its 1987 levels — a major accomplishment.”

Less spending means lower taxes. Texas doesn’t have an income tax — in contrast to California’s highly progressive income tax — and it is among the 10 lowest-tax states in the country. Its regulatory burden is low across the board, and it’s a right-to-work state that enacted significant tort reform in the middle of the last decade.

It is true that Texas enjoys bountiful oil and natural-gas reserves, but its attitude toward those resources is what’s most important — “if you got ’em, use ’em.” If only the Obama administration’s Department of the Interior agreed. The state long ago defied the stereotype of an economy entirely dependent on bumptious oilmen. In Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, it has four diverse, thriving metropolitan areas featuring robust high-tech and manufacturing sectors.

In Texas in recent decades, the watchwords have been prudence and stability in the course of nurturing a pro-business environment, while California has undergone a self-immolation that Pres. Barack Obama wants to replay nationally. Joel Kotkin writes of California in City Journal, “During the second half of the twentieth century, the state shifted from an older progressivism, which emphasized infrastructure investment and business growth, to a newer version, which views the private sector much the way the Huns viewed a city — as something to be sacked and plundered.”

With predictable results. For policymakers wanting to restart the American jobs machine, forget the Alamo. Keep in mind the Texas model.

The entire article can be found here:

Texas is top state due to good public policies

Texas vs. California – Texas is the clear winner “by a mile”

I’m proud to be a Texan! Comparing California and Texas is a great example of how public policies matter - and they impact not only the economy but our very way of life.

In Texas, the payroll count is back to pre-recession levels. California is nearly 1.5million jobs in the hole. Why such a difference? Chalk it up to taxes, regulation and attitude.

The contrast between America's two largest states, in terms of both population and economic heft, is as stark as it has ever been. Texas is leading the country out of the recession; California is holding it back.

The difference in tax systems reflects a difference in attitudes toward business and the wealth that business generates. Capital gains are tax-free in Texas; in California, they are taxed up to 10.55%. To an entrepreneur choosing where to set up shop, the message is clear: Texas wants to reward success; California wants to tax it.

Investors Business Daily has a great piece worth a read: