Chisum too strongly echoes the rural, right-wing Craddick years, but Paxton has tea party street cred and metro-area sensibilities. Normally, this newspaper would lean toward a North Texan, and there's much about the fiscally conservative Paxton to like. Unfortunately, he also opposes the revised franchise tax to help fund public schools and local-option revenue ideas to expand mass transit. He also strays too far toward the punitive in his immigration ideas.
The coming Legislature will require thoughtful solutions on a number of major issues, including a massive budget shortfall estimated at $21 billion or more. Republicans certainly have the numbers in the House to force through a conservative-only agenda, but is that ultimately wise for an entire state? Does one party – or one faction of that party – own a monopoly on good ideas?
We think not. Straus has shown he's a man of his word on giving members a far greater say in how the House operates, and, coming from San Antonio, he's urban in an increasingly urban state. Unquestionably, the House's political center has moved right, just not all the way to the edge.
Straus recognizes this and says he would manage a 99-51 House differently than a 76-74 House. He deserves the chance to prove that.
His critics should remember how it felt to see one ideology dominate Congress the last few years. Texas, thankfully, isn't Washington.
The more of these "Paxton opposes higher taxes, therefore he is not qualified to be speaker" type editorials I read in the newspapers, the more I am inclined to oppose Straus.