Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

By Justin Miller:


The Cost of Carve-Outs

by | Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 6:00 am CST

Meet Maria Espinoza, the Texan Elevating ‘Angel Moms’ to the National Stage

Espinoza, a Houston native, is founder of the Trump-endorsed Remembrance Project. She seeks to squelch amnesty efforts, deport anyone who’s here illegally and harden the border.

On March 15, 2019, Donald Trump sat behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and signed the first veto of his presidency, blocking a resolution passed by Congress that would have reversed his declaration of a national emergency at … Read More

vince gunn photo illustration

Top Economist for Texas’ Most Influential Policy Shop is Headed to the Trump Administration

Vance Ginn, who orchestrated TPPF’s radically right-wing economic agenda, is the latest staffer from the influential think tank to work for the president.

The revolving door between the Lone Star State’s powerful right-wing think tank and the Trump administration continues to spin. Vance Ginn, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s senior economist, is going to Washington, D.C., to work for the Trump administration, the … Read More

big three, dennis bonnen, 86th, texas legislature

The Power Politics Behind the House’s Bipartisan, Kumbaya, Feel-Good Session

House Speaker Dennis Bonnen altered his party’s near-term agenda in service of the GOP’s long-term political project: Power. Will it work?

Weeks before the 2019 legislative session even began, Jeff Leach foreshadowed the shifting political winds that would ultimately animate lawmakers. In early December, the tea-party conservative publicly resigned from the insurgent Texas House Freedom Caucus. Leach declared himself politically born … Read More


Trump Megadonor and Houston Mayoral Candidate Is a Top Sponsor for Democratic Fundraiser with Hillary Clinton

How Tony Buzbee, a wealthy insurgent trying to oust Sylvester Turner, went from bankrolling Trump to being a “White Pantsuit Sponsor” for Hillary Clinton-headlined event.

There’s a long list of sponsors for the Harris County Democratic Party’s annual Johnson Rayburn Richards Luncheon, a marquee fundraiser that this year boasts Hillary Clinton as the speaker. The event this Friday features the typical benefactors of party functions, … Read More

dan patrick, greg abbott, sales tax, texas legislature

The GOP Failed to Ban Paid Sick Leave and the Business Lobby is Livid

Texas businesses are growing increasingly disgruntled that Dan Patrick appears unable to stop poisoning their political agenda with right-wing social warfare.

One of the the biggest priorities for Texas Republicans this session appears to be on the verge of legislative death. A series of bills that would broadly prohibit local governments from regulating employee benefits in the private sector died quietly … Read More


The $9 Billion School Finance Problem in Speaker Bonnen’s Backyard

While legislators focused on school finance and property taxes, a silent culprit continued to metastasize. If Chapter 313, a corporate welfare program, is left unaddressed, it could undermine any progress made this session, critics warn.

There’s a $9 billion (and growing) problem looming in the backyard of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. That problem is formally known as Chapter 313. As Texas’ largest corporate welfare program, it allows school districts to give big corporations steep discounts … Read More

ted cruz, elections

In Battle Between Big Oil and Big Corn, Ted Cruz Finally Called Out Trump

Cruz has studiously avoided confronting Trump. But when it came to helping oil refiners get a bigger share of the EPA's deregulatory spoils, the senator was more than willing to play hostage politics.

Ted Cruz has finally found the courage to call out the Trump administration. He’s demanding that the president and his bureaucrats stop providing cover for the ethanol industry and stand up for fossil fuel rights. Oil companies have long complained … Read More

Confederate Soldiers

The Texas GOP’s War of Municipal Aggression

With their approval of a bill to “protect” Confederate monuments from liberal city halls, Senate Republicans exposed the raw racial dynamics of the party’s preemption crusade.

For more than a century, a pillar of granite and marble has loomed 60 feet high in downtown Dallas, topped with a statue of a Confederate soldier. Statues of four other rebel leaders encircle the monument. As of 2017, the memorial … Read More

dan patrick, greg abbott, sales tax, texas legislature

GOP Leadership’s Tax Swap Tests the Limits of the Texas Trickle-Down

Abbott, Patrick and Bonnen are doubling down on a proposal that raises taxes on the majority of Texans and help only a rarified few. Even Republicans are spooked.

Dan Patrick’s face said it all. At a Friday afternoon press conference in the Texas Capitol, the lieutenant governor looked downright sullen as Governor Greg Abbott finally admitted what everyone in the Legislature had known for months: Republicans’ high-profile plan … Read More