Kevin Eltife is demonstrating that reason still exists inside the Texas Senate.
He’s a former Tyler mayor who’s served in the Legislature for a decade. While many of his colleagues — perhaps most of them — want to cut taxes, Eltife is sounding a note of caution and restraint.
Let’s take care of some business, Eltife asks. Sure. Why not?
As the Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey notes: “This is a peculiar time in Texas: The state government has more money than its lawmakers are willing to spend. Political respect for a constitutional cap on growth of the state budget is high, as is the appetite for property tax cuts — especially among Republicans.”
Eltife is a Republican, but he remains part of what’s been called the “establishment wing” of his party. He has a few allies in the Senate. One of them is Kel Seliger, a fellow Republican, from Amarillo. The two men joined the Senate at the same time and have been trying to take a more moderate course in a body commanded by the more conservative wing of their party, starting with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“Everybody wants a tax cut,” Eltife said in an interview with the Texas Tribune. “I want one. I just think it’s more conservative to meet your obligations first.”
Those obligations include, say, public education, highway infrastructure and an assortment of other items that have gone begging back when money was tight and demand was high. Now it appears the reverse is true.
As Ramsey wrote of Eltife: “He wants the meat and potatoes before dessert. Most of his colleagues, however, have their eyes on the pies.”