Monday, February 21, 2011
What's the one thing Leo Berman and John Whitimre agree on? Abolish the Driver Responsibility surcharge
Okay, there may be more than one (if you include stuff like compass directions), but the headline refers to the fact that both state Sen. John Whitmire and state Rep. Leo Berman have filed bills this session to abolish Texas' Driver Responsibility Surcharge. Whitmire's bill is SB 624, while Grits discussed Berman's HB 299 here. Chairman Whitmire, a conservative Democrat (to the extent such rare beasts still exist) runs the Criminal Justice Committee and is the "Dean of the Senate," its longest serving member. Berman is a Tea Party darling (and my hometown, rep, fwiw) perhaps best known for legislation clamping down Arizona-style on illegal immigration. It'd be hard to find a better example of the adage, "politics makes strange bedfellows," but what this tells me is that, as a government program, the Driver Responsibility surcharge is an equal-opportunity public-policy catastrophe, with observers from every ideological stripe agreeing it should be abolished or radically scaled back. The main source of hesitation will be discontinuing the revenue stream (which has never lived up to expectations) but the program seems to gain new critics with every new election cycle.