Looming Questions: The Race for Governor of Texas

special guest editor Bryan Thome of Texas

Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina ran and lost on a platform that championed property rights, including a proposal to eliminate Texas property taxes. While these ideas resonated with many and won her over 275,000 votes, there is no absolute reason that the platform should be implemented. Despite the loss, Mrs. Medina’s unsuccessful bid leads to a lot of questions for those who voted for other candidates with regards to how they will be mindful of fellow Texans who desire a state that will live up to their standards of what it means to live in a free society.

To those who voted for opposing candidates I ask the following:

To what degree will you fight for there to be arable land in Texas that has…

…No property tax and no possibility that it can be forced onto you by vote?
…No possibility of the government taking your land?
…No possibility of the government forcing you to vacate your home?

These are all basic issues tied to our fundamental right to be left alone. While these standards do not need to be implemented state wide, isn’t Texas big enough to offer diverse choices of communities to live in, with differing standards of property rights, for a diverse population? Or do the majority of Texans not care to address the matters that some consider to be at the heart of what it means to live in a free society? Why can’t some areas, such as major cities, have property taxes to pay for desired local services, while others, perhaps various rural counties, have no such taxation and fund those same services with only opt-in revenue models? Why can’t there be someplace in Texas where one can own land and rest assured that the state will never take it from them? How can one be free and at peace in their home if they do not have any way to achieve these simple things?

Many conservatives subscribe to the notion that Texas Governor Rick Perry, while not perfect, has a strong record on property rights. This is a position that I find befuddling when looking at the facts.

Most notably, Rick Perry has pushed to take hundreds of thousands of acres of farm and ranch land from Texans to build the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). In 2008, there were dozens of town hall meetings across the state where citizens came out en masse to fight to keep their homes and land from this arguably still-not-dead project. I captured the spirit of one of these town halls on video to help bring the matter to light:

While the future of the TTC is still unknown, the fact that Rick Perry supported the taking of the land against the will of the property owners provides insight into his principles. It would seem that his bottom line is that if the state justifies taking your property, it will do so.

Rick Perry’s position on the TTC leads me to ask further questions to his supporters:

1) Would you be one to argue that Rick Perry has a good record with property rights in regard to eminent domain?

2) How do you rectify his stance on property rights with his push for the TTC, which promises to take multiple hundreds of thousands of acres of farm and ranch land from Texans?

3) How is a vote for Rick Perry anything other than a vote that it is OK for the state to take your land against your will, since he is in favor of it?

4) Would you really be okay with the state taking your home?

I have posed these questions directly to several Rick Perry supporters. None of them responded.

As if the TTC wasn’t enough, Rick Perry has signed a bill that would allow police to force citizens from their home if an area is “threatened by a disaster”, with the criteria to allow the use of force being arbitrarily specified by the state. How does this support property rights?  See here >>

Rick Perry’s record does not define his future, but the question remains, should Perry win another term as governor, will his supporters hold him accountable to support the property rights of the minority or not?

If the majority of Texans reject the minority’s desire to be left alone, where should these individuals go to pursue a life that matches what’s in their hearts? As the United States proclaims to be a free country, is there such a place which satisfies their desire of being left alone where they can move to? If so, where?

The fundamental questions are ones of liberty: Do the people of the United States know what liberty means in regards to property rights? Most importantly, will those who have taken the Pledge of Allegiance truly stand for “liberty and justice for all”?