Described in today's Wall Street Journal as "an obscure candidate" threatening to force a runoff between Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Debra Medina sat down briefly with Unfair Park yesterday afternoon as she's in town for tonight's Belo debate.
While Medina told us that the Tea Party, which she describes as "a dynamic and fluid grassroots movement," has given her an audience and contributed to "boots on the ground" for her campaign, she hesitates to point to any one thing that has attributed to her rise in popularity as a relatively unknown former chair of the Wharton County Republican Party. She does, however, give credit to "the growth and prominence of social media."
Before she was whisked off to another interview, we asked her to elaborate on her stance that property taxes should be abolished -- that's right, not cut, abolished. She points to an April 2009 position paper by the Texas Public Policy Foundation as the foundation for her belief that a revised sales tax is a better option.
Medina says income and property taxes are the biggest drags on the economy, while sales tax has the least effect. She compares it to putting a heavy load on a mule's shoulder instead of spreading it across its back. And because Texas taxes only about half of the 168 items that other states do, she says there's a lot of room to broaden the base.
"For me, it's not about just the fiscal idea," she says. "It really is about understanding that it's an essential element of freedom. That's why you have to do it, but freedom and prosperity walk hand in hand. When you do things that give people more freedom, you see that the whole society will be more prosperous."
Isn't the scary part about that, though, is that it's less predictable what people are going to spend money on, whereas people have to pay their property taxes?
"But it gives us the real accountability that we need out of government," she says. "That's why we're hurting so bad right now."