Texas can pass a water plan, but what if the Tea Party boils up?

Posted Friday, Oct. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy If the Tea Party and business Republicans are at odds, they have three weeks to work it out.

See, we’re having this election Nov. 5 to authorize $2 billion in funding for water projects, and we really need that passed.

As usual, the Tea Party says no.

Not every Tea Party faction is campaigning against the plan promoted by business leaders and signed by Gov. Rick Perry.

But some of the same Ron Paul libertarians who usually oppose new spending are lining up against the new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT).

You might say they’re not so SWIFT.

Local opponents include Bedford conservative state Rep. Jonathan Stickland.

In a position paper published by the Grapevine-based NE Tarrant Tea Party, Stickland urged a “no” vote because the water fund “gets Texas into banking.”

The plan seeds money taken from the state “rainy day fund” to guarantee bonds for $30 billion in water projects.

In Texas, we really don’t worry so much about a rainy day.

What we’re most worried about are dry days.

If the plan passes, state and local agencies will have an easier time building lakes or pipelines to bring needed water, and promoting conservation plans to save what we have.

Tea Party libertarian darling state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, fought the plan in the House, calling it “state-sponsored banking.”

First of all, don’t trust anyone from East Texas on water issues.

They’ve got plenty, and they’re worried that the rest of Texas might get it.

Independent Texans, a Bastrop-based group, leads “Nix Prop 6!”

Its handouts and website accusingly call the plan the work of “big business and trade associations who make their money off of the growth.”

Well, yes.

Businesses like growth.

It beats the heck out of failure.

The group also worries about “dividing rural and urban Texans” and says “none of us want wasteful reservoirs.”

Wasteful reservoirs?

On the other hand, Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, two of five touted local Tea Party freshmen, have signed on to support Proposition 6 and the Water Texas PAC.

House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, campaigning here this week, called the plan a compromise that includes all business groups, chambers of commerce, the state’s mayors and also conservation advocates including the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy.

“This is a very well-thought-out, consensus plan that helps kick-start a lot of water projects,” Straus said, calling the agreement of business leaders and conservation groups “truly historic.”

The opponents, he said, are “fringe groups.”

“A small number of Texans want perfection and purity,” Straus said.

“But most Texans just want our state to thrive and the economy to grow.”

We just hope those Texans vote.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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