(Already lean Texas faces a bitter diet, Rick Casey, ChronBlog)
I don't mean to complain, but there is precious little evidence of massive waste in Austin.
For once, Casey is correct. The problem is that while identifying the symptom (no evidence) he's failed to identify the cause. You see, there is evidence of waste and bloated spending in Austin. It's just not being reported on with much vigor by the State's lazy, ineffectual political media.
Take a look at the landscape:
Paul Burka, Texas Monthly: Here's a guy who epitomizes the fallacy that longevity equals expertise. He's been a round for a long time, and consistently gets his analysis wrong, adds nothing of note to the discussion and runs under the (false) assumption that the single-party Republican Texas is playing by the same rules as the single-party Democratic Texas was. Add to that the fact that he doesn't have the strength of will to be an investigator.......
Wayne Slater, Dallas Morning News: Now mostly known for his unhealthy Karl Rove obsession which has led to the creation of the Slater/Rove drinking game. Once the Bush administration jumped to Austin Slater (much like Burka) lost their contacts. Also like Burka, Slater's more a political commentator who's been around for a while and doesn't have the will to be a watchdog investigator.
ChronBlog/Hearst: To be honest, the Houston Chronicle is not a major player on the State level. They have a couple of reporters whose job it is to attend press conferences and report the news (and R.G. Ratcliffe does a decent job at that) but they lack a significant lead presence. (Sorry Ms. Fikac) In actuality, their content is derived from the Hearst "Pool" so nothing they really report from Austin is original anyway.
Harvey Kronenberg: His Quorum Report is useful, but Harvey is a beat reporter not an investigator. He doesn't have the time, or funding, to embark on big, expansive investigations. He's best covering elections and lege sessions. To be fair: He's very good at what it is he does.
Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune: Ramsey's been around for a while, and he's got a stable of young, energetic reporters seemingly ready to go. Unfortunately, when put to the test their results have been somewhat formulaic and superficial. With all of that trendy eye-wear better is expected.
Texas Watchdog: Their mission is to expose waste, corruption and abuse in Government and they've done a fine job. Often producing reports that traditional begrudgingly must approve, TW is leading the pack. Unfortunately, they're still a web-only news outlet in a media market that's still trying to decide what it's going to be.
The Interleft: Blogs as news has always been somewhat laughable to me because of two things: 1. Most political bloggers don't have the training or resources to produce investigative reporting on a meaningful level. 2. It's party-blogging, which typically results in the production of pieces that are either attack pieces, or carefully regurgitated press releases from candidates of the chosen party.
Bloggers O' the Right: I don't lump them in with the InterLeft because, as bad as the InterLeft is, their Republican equivalent is worse. If anything, Republican party-bloggers are MIA from the State scene, choosing instead to focus on soft targets, such as Pelosi, Reid and Obama, instead of dabbling in the minutia of State and Local government.
I'm not suggesting that every State agency is a bloated, fetid cess-pool of excess where grapes are peeled while the commoners suffer etc. Far from it. I'm sure, given budgetary restrictions, that many Government organizations are running on shoe-string budgets and making ends meet with creativity. What I don't believe is that 100% of Texas Government is running fat-free 100% of the time. Scant evidence produced by a disinterested media is hardly proof of case. Nor am I suggesting that the names listed above are responsible for the mess we've gotten ourselves into. The fault with media in Texas goes way beyond the heads of each outlets Austin bureaus.