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medical school wound up in Lubbock. The relative fortunes of the two cities haven’t changed since the 1960s. After singer-songwriters, Lubbock’s leading export continues to be powerful politicians, like Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock \(a Laney, House Appropriations Chairman former Senate Finance Chairman John Not surprisingly, Lubbock continues to capture more than its share of state funds. With a population of less than 200,000 \(and state offices than does El Paso, which has a rapidly increasing population of 600,000. El Paso still has no medical school or law school. In fact, as Caballero points out, the residents of Lubbock have access to about five times as many Ph.D. programs as do the roughly four million border-region residents. Texas Tech does have a Health Sciences Center in El Paso, which uses the city’s Thomason Hospital as a teaching institution fOr its Lubbock-based medical students. But Caballero, along with El Paso Senator Eliot Shapleigh, characterizes that relationship as “predatory.” Tech relies on El Paso’s population to train its students, yet it does not invest any resources in El Paso. Shapleigh has called for Tech to expand the El Paso operation into a four-year medical-school campus, with its own research budget and autonomy over how resources are allocated. One place where Governor Bush could have made a difference in funding equity is in the appointment process. Regions underrepresented on the state’s powerful boards and commissions such as the University of Texas Board of Regents or the Texas Transportation Commission don’t fare well in the money chase. \(The Governor did name Tony Garza of Brownsville, and later Al Gonzales, Secretary of State hardly a position of real pointments, such as Tony Sanchez of Laredo to the U.T. Board of Regents, he has largely ignored the border. “He reeks of equity,” when he speaks in El Paso, Caballero says of the Governor; yet his appointees have been “pretty much the same breed of cat” from Houston and Dallas, with a significant number from Bush’s West Texas hometown of Midland. Bush, in fact, has fallen well beldw the standard set by Ann Richards, whose appointments 18 percent Hispanic and 13 percent African-American closely matched the state’s demographic make-up. Of Bush’s roughly 2,500 appointments, about 11 percent have been Hispanic and 7 percent black. According to the Dallas Morning News, Bush continues to neglect the border region, making appointments instead from districts in which he won a majority of votes in 1994. . Nor has the Governor offered much in the way of policy proposals specifically designed for the border region. Indeed, as viewed from the border, policy debates in Austin appear to take place in some other state altogether. Nowhere is this more evident than in the tax-system debate the Governor himself started on the eve of the 1997 legislative session. Seizing on the state’s billion-dollar “surplus” created by unexpectedly high revenues, the Governor unilaterally demanded that the money be returned to taxpayers in the form of property-tax relief. Although he had wanted a much larger tax cut, what he ended up with, after the House revised his plan, was a popular, if modest, token for middle-class voters. It was little help along the border, where roughly 400,000 colonia dwellers lack basic sanitation services, much less a house on which to receive tax relief. Some have questioned the very idea of a surplus, in a state that perennially ranks near the bottom in spending on social welfare and public school teacher salaries. Bush’s position hasn’t changed. “One of the greatest challenges of the next [legislative] session,” Bush recently said, “will be to resist the temptation to spend all the available money….” To dispose of the next projected surplus, he has proposed a series of sales-tax exemptions and a repeal of the franchise tax on small businesses. Meanwhile, according to Dick Lavine of the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, under Bush the state continues to suffer from “desperately underfunded public services.” And unspent state revenue is not a solution. According to Lavine, the 1997 Legislature left $300 million unspent. “It was stupendous they knew they had the money available, they just wouldn’t allocate it,” he says. And although unspent revenue and using a surplus to write small checks for middle-class taxpayers fits Bush’s philosophy of limited government, Lavine suggests that in some regions government is so limited that it barely functions at all. He advocates distributing the unspent revenue to local governments, many of which do not have enough local tax revenue to provide basic services like police, fire protection, water, sewage, and garbage collection. Texas ranks last nationally in state revenue transfers to local governments, according to Lavine. Recently the Center studied a cross-section of Texas cities on their ability to raise funds through local property and sales taxes. El Paso and Laredo were at the bottom of the list. And the Governor is tangled up in another issue that has already cost him support in the Hispanic community: the proposed siting of a radioactive waste dump at Sierra Blanca, eighty miles from El Paso. With a large, majority Hispanic population, and a long history of supporting Democrats, El Paso is the linchpin in the Governor’s strategy to attract more Hispanic voters. “They think if they can take El Paso, it’d be like taking the Alamo,” says Laura Barbarena. But Bush’s failure to defend the region from what many there see as the national nuclear industry’s effort to unload its radioactive waste in their backyard could create problems for him in El Paso, where his early poll numbers have been impressive. Although the Governor’s approval rating has been hovering in the 50-percent range, an El Paso Times poll conducted in early September showed that 84 percent of the city’s residents oppose the Sierra Blanca dump. “He’s been a goodwill governor and this is a meat and potatoes issue,” says El Paso Representative Norma Chavez. “The community wants to know where he stands on the issue.” Bush opponent Garry Mauro has made the dump issue central to his campaign. The dump site is about eighty miles southeast of El Paso, downriver from the city’s current water supply. But it is dangerously close to the city’s “water ranches”: land purchased to secure drilling rights in the underwater lake that lies below. In other words, the dump may well 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 25, 1998 E.14,1051.1e,eroMoMpoprytgehRelp,