Burnt Orange Report
Rep. Deshotel Challenges Gov. To Drug Test Elected Officials Not Just Needy Texans

On Tuesday Governor Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced their support for drug testing applicants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. TANF was created to help families in need, particularly children, and already includes a provision that requires applicants to, “Train for a job or look for employment if capable” and, “not abuse drugs or alcohol.”

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Gov. Perry and AG Abbott take on Atheists, Anti-Defamation League Cries Foul

The saga continues in Kountze, Texas over cheerleaders using religious scripture on football banners. Governor Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott say they support freedom of all religion but their actions show their intent is to establish a defacto Christian government claiming there’s a “moral basis for the legal code” outlined in the Ten Commandments. The truth is as more nonpartisan groups review the facts in this case its increasingly beginning to look like the cheerleaders are being exploited for political gain.

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Gov. Perry Skypes With Kountze Cheerleaders, Reads Scripture In Support Of Religious Freedom

Governor Perry Skyped with Kountze cheerleaders and expressed his support for putting Christian scripture on their high school football team’s run-through banners. In the short video the Governor cited scripture and compared the school board to the Sanhedrin that commanded Jesus’ disciples not teach or speak in his name.

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Texas Students Fight Ban On Religious Banner at Football Games, Gov Perry Cites “Spiritual Warfare”

Hidden behind the pine curtain, a small East Texas town has erupted into a frenzy after school officials banned religious banners held by cheerleaders during high school football games. Kountze ISD Superintendent Kevin Weldon told the students to cease the practice after he received advice from his legal council to comply with an anonymous complaint. 

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Primary Runoff News Dump: Republican Turncoats and Tax Havens

Quick wrap-up of news pertaining to the ongoing Republican primary runoffs here in Texas:

Crazy People for Cruz! Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Rand “Son of Ron” Paul an Mike Lee are coming to Texas to campaign for Ted Cruz. Also actively supporting him is shamed radio psychopath Glenn Beck and one-man Dick Armey, who will also attend a rally in Dallas for Cruz. Source: AP

Rick Perry stumping for JM Lozano: This week in advance of the Democratic turncoat’s runoff next Tuesday, our Republican Governor has taken a trip down south to bolster his campaign. This comes after Lozano voted against two of Perry’s “emergency items” — photo voter ID and sanctuary cities legislation — during last session. I guess when Lozano sold his soul, he exacted a pretty high price from the Republican leadership. Maybe they’re just desperate to find a Hispanic Republican who won’t get “Victor Carillo’ed” this cycle. Source: KRIS TV

$21 Trillion in Tax Havens: The Guardian published a lengthy piece on the $21tn in assets currently hidden offshore, wealth that would close many developing nations’ budgetary gaps and alleviate the need for much humanitarian aide. You know who hides his money in offshore tax havens? Mitt Romney! Source: The Guardian

Any news in your neck of the woods? Post about it here

Governor Rick Perry Ridiculously Accuses Eric Holder of Inciting Racial Tension

Rick Perry wasn’t happy about President Obama’s visit to Texas last week. His office released this statement:

Gov. Rick Perry released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s visit to Texas:

"Perhaps while the President is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his Attorney General’s offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law.

"In labeling the Texas voter ID law as a "poll tax," Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face.

"The president should apologize for Holder’s imprudent remarks and for his insulting lawsuit against the people of Texas."

Attorney General General Eric Holder is, in fact, challenging Texas’ Voter ID laws passed in May…because they do disenfranchise minority voters. Specifically, Hispanic voters who make up such a significant part of Texas’s voting population.

ThinkProgress explains:

Texas passed an election law overhaul last May which included a requirement that voters present a certain form of government-issued photo ID or be turned away from the polls. Neither Student IDs nor Social Security or Medicaid cards, and no exceptions are allowed for the poor or elderly. Unlike some states which ask for photo ID but have recourse such as a provisional ballot for voters who lack an acceptable ID, the Texas law simply turned away these folks.

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Perry Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion: What Texas Stands to Lose

Now that SCOTUS has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is mostly here to stay, Republican state leaders, with Rick Perry at the forefront, are doing everything they can to avoid implementation.

Despite the 4.5 million Texans insured through Medicaid who otherwise would not be able to afford coverage, Perry recently stated that adding people to Medicaid is like “adding people to the Titanic.”  Accordingly, he’s limiting Medicaid expansion in Texas - an expansion that would have been required as part of the ACA, but is now optional.  And the price paid for all the posturing is that a lot of people who could stand to benefit tremendously from the ACA now won’t. Politico reports: “Perry’s decision means as many as 1.3 million people who could have gained coverage under the Medicaid expansion won’t get it, according to figures from the Urban Institute. That’s more than any other state that has given a definite ‘no’ to the Medicaid expansion, including Florida.”

The chart below, courtesy of the Washington Post, shows that Texas has some of the most to gain from the ACA.  Currently only families under about 30 percent of the federal poverty line are covered by Medicaid - a fact that will fortunately remain unchanged despite Perry’s feelings about Medicaid.  It’s also fortunate that families between 100 and 133 percent of the poverty line will now be eligible for subsidies to buy a private plan, again regardless of Perry.  But families between 22 percent and 100 percent of the poverty line in Texas - families who were supposed to receive Medicaid - will receive neither Medicaid nor subsidies to help them purchase insurance.  Because they were supposed to receive Medicaid, the subsidies were never allocated for them.  

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Perhaps while the President is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his Attorney General’s offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law. In labeling the Texas voter ID law as a ‘poll tax,’ Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face. The president should apologize for Holder’s imprudent remarks and for his insulting lawsuit against the people of Texas.
New Texas Democratic Party Chairman Lays into Perry on Health Care

Texas Democrats have a strong new leader in TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. Today, he sent out this no-holds-barred email to Texas Democrats about the truly evil, wholly political decision that Rick Perry made to refuse to implement Obamacare. His decision leaves millions of Texans uninsured - and Chairman Hinojosa isn’t about to let it slide.

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Perry’s Refusal to Expand Medicaid Will Cost Texas Property Taxpayers a Bundle

We reported yesterday that Rick Perry has made clear his refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, in a gutless and inhumane effort to remain politically relevant and deny low-income Texans access to affordable, quality health insurance.

A recent article from the Dallas Morning News makes clear that Perry’s decision will just pass the buck down to property tax payers, since our emergency rooms and healthcare districts will continue to shoulder the cost of folks who don’t have health insurance. Perry could have helped put between 1.5 and 1.8 million Texans on the Medicaid rolls. His stubborn refusal to care for the working poor of his state is shameful, and it’s also bad economics for the county commissioners who now have to foot the bill for their ER care instead.

From the DMN:

If the Texas Legislature chooses not to expand its Medicaid rolls in 2014 to cover an additional 1.5 million people, counties and public hospitals would continue to shoulder the burden of paying for the uninsured, who often seek expensive care in emergency rooms.

Unlike many states, Texas does not directly subsidize the cost of caring for the uninsured. Instead, taxpayers in Dallas County and elsewhere help pick up that tab through property taxes that support safety-net hospitals such as Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Just because Perry won’t give low-income Texans health insurance doesn’t mean they won’t get sick or need medical care. The problem is, his decision forces many of these folks to continue to rely on the emergency room, and pass the cost on to the healthcare districts in their areas, who in turn may need to raise property taxes to keep up with our growing low-income, uninsured population.

Some experts have even suggested that the Medicaid expansion could result in lower county tax rates for healthcare districts due to the increased revenue these hospitals would receive from Medicaid patients — i.e. Medicaid would be paying for their care, not the county tax payers via property taxes to the healthcare districts.

While conservatives are patting Rick Perry on the back for sticking it to the feds and the poors, remember this — really, he’s sticking it to property taxpayers, who are going to end up footing the bill for medical care for those whom Rick Perry willfully forces to remain uninsured.