As did many other Republican freshmen state representatives, Dee Margo of El Paso campaigned against higher state spending and for smaller government. On his campaign website, Margo even mentioned a nonexistent state “surplus.”
So, now that the Republican leadership in Austin is planning deep cuts in public education and other important services, what does Margo do when he goes back home to face questions from worried (and maybe angry) constituents?
At least, according to the El Paso Times, that’s what he did at a town hall meeting over the weekend in El Paso, as several of his colleagues doubtlessly have in similar meetings in other communities in recent weeks.
Margo acknowledged there is a “lot of bleeding” in pending budget proposals, but he told the audience that he and other lawmakers from the El Paso area were working behind the scenes to keep their community from taking a large hit. And, since the final version of the state budget hasn’t been written yet, he was able to say that the eventual impact on El Paso’s public schools, universities and other public services is still “up in the air.”
The reality, of course, is that El Paso will take a huge hit in critical public services, and so will hundreds of other Texas communities, unless Margo and lawmakers like him defy the governor and the tea partiers and pass a realistic state budget. That would include taking steps like spending all the Rainy Day Fund and finding new revenue in order to minimize some of the looming cuts.
Pretty soon, Margo will have to stop dancing and start voting.