Legislators: Say "no" by saying "yes"

March 6th, 2009

Every day at the capitol, lobbyists and special interests are asking legislators to “say ‘no’ to…” something. Say no to toll roads. Say no to higher utility bills. Say no to certain kinds of federal stimulus spending. It would be understandable for our elected officials to be looking around for something – anything – better that they can say “yes” to.

They could probably say “yes” to bills that bring Texans a return on their investment. They could say “yes” to bills that protect private land, to new ideas that build a positive future for our state, that direct federal stimulus funds in ways that contribute to the economic development of Texas communities without creating undue burdens on future taxpayers. They could say “yes,” in other words, to any number of proposals that strengthen Texas’ economic foundation, create jobs now, and build the economic engines that will power our economy forward in the future without a broad expansion of government into people’s private lives.

Proposals like the common-sense ones supported by the Texas League of Conservation Voters.

The League’s backing the legislative agenda developed by a range of conservation, public health and environmental organizations that, like us, are part of the Alliance for a Clean Texas. Organizations like the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Texas Impact, Public Citizen and Environment Texas, among many others.

Today, legislators, instead of saying “no” once again, consider saying “yes” to:

Smart Growth policies at TxDOT that help prioritize creating multiple transit options versus toll roads.

A better Environmental Division at TxDOT, prohibiting land acquisition new roadways until an environmental impact study is completed.

More renewable power options – not just wind, but solar – and generation goals – not just continued dependence on coal-fired power plants.

Improve the energy efficiency of appliances and buildings, and help Texans weatherize their homes to save energy and save money.

Take steps to improve our air quality. Bad air is increasingly affecting Texas’ ability to compete nationally and globally on luring business to our state. The longer we wait to improve our air quality, the more it will cost in the long run, the more economic advantages we’ll lose out on to other, cleaner parts of the nation, and the longer children and families have to suffer from the health impacts of bad air quality, including high rates of asthma.

Pass “no regrets” legislation that finds out how Texas – by spending absolutely nothing – take some basic steps to address climate change.

Require television manufacturers to take back old TVs so that they don’t overfill landfills with toxic metals, and so that Texans don’t have to bear the cost of disposal themselves.

See, that isn’t so difficult. These seem like real proposals that Texans, and Texas legislators, can say “yes” to.

And these are precisely the kinds of bills, if they come before the full House and Senate, the League will look at really closely as we assess which votes will count in our post-session 2009 Legislative Scorecard.