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:

dan patrick, greg abbott, sales tax, texas legislature
Economy

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

Politics

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
Politics

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
Politics

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
Politics

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

labor, sb 17, creighton, unions, paid sick
Economy

Texas Republicans’ War on Workers Roars Back to Life in the House

One of the GOP’s top priorities — banning local labor protections like mandatory paid sick leave — stalled for much of the session. Now, Republicans are putting their foot on the gas.

The Texas GOP has finally returned its attention to its perpetual war on workers. After unexpected delays and with less than a month left in session, Republicans are rushing to achieve one of their top legislative priorities: banning local labor … Read More

Politics

Governor Abbott’s Sales Tax Ploy Diverts from the Real Problem: Huge Tax Breaks for Corporations

The Big Three’s proposed sales tax hike obscures the real culprit behind the state’s broken property tax system: corporate plunder.

Homeowners are getting smothered by skyrocketing property tax bills. Republicans would have you believe this is because big cities and school districts are led by spend-happy liberal bureaucrats. In fact, the state government has let highly profitable corporations off the … Read More

local control
Politics

Progressives Scramble to Fight Back Against Texas Republicans’ Attacks on Local Control

From capping property taxes to banning paid sick leave ordinances, GOP lawmakers want to stomp out liberal policies in cities across the state. A progressive network is going on the offensive.

There hasn’t been a steady stream of protests at the Capitol and no lawmakers have called ICE on activists (yet) this session. In fact, the Legislature is on the verge of actually increasing funding for public schools. But one thing … Read More

Politics

‘Democracy at its Best’: Texas Regulators Approve Gig Economy Rule Written by Unregistered Lobbyists

With more questions than answers about the gig economy giant Handy’s role in lobbying for a labor rule, state commissioners ignored concerns and voted to approve the rule instead.

A couple dozen workers and activists stood outside the Texas Workforce Commission’s office at the Capitol complex Tuesday morning holding signs, including one reading, “Ruth Hughs got caught with her Handy in the Cookie Jar.” The sign was a reference … Read More

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