Over the weekend, a leaked audio recording from a Republican Party of Texas policy committee ignited controversy over the definition of “Freedom” according to Gov. Greg Abbott and his GOP colleagues.
The audio, which allegedly features committee members advocating for the use of taxpayer dollars for non-education related expenses such as abortions and big-screen TVs, has yet to be independently verified. Inside sources say it was Policy Director for Texas Young Republicans, Jason Vaughn who leaked the audio, and Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, who took it down.
The conversation sheds light on the ongoing debate over Education Savings Accounts (ESAS), a.k.a voucher programs, and their potential impact on public education.
Most importantly, it shows a big issue Abbott and the GOP party have no control over: the people’s’ freedom.
Abbott has been touting parental choice as the main factor to incorporate school vouchers, but once the money is in the hand of the parent, Abbott loses jurisdiction. Will the Governor be okay with parents buying flat-screen TVs or getting abortions, with taxpayer money that should be educating the future of Texas?
In the audio, you can clearly hear that ESAS will be implemented as a no strings attached program, and when one unidentified man uses Wisconsin as an example of what “no regulations” would look like, an unidentified woman counters that “freedom is freedom.”
Unidentified Man: “I talked to a guy from Wisconsin today where they implemented school choice and when they initiated the programs, you could take the card to an atm and pull money out. People were using those funds for abortions.”
Unidentified Woman: “I think that that is called freedom. If we are truly going to give people freedom, if they want to go piss their money away or use it on awful things like that, we can’t control them. Freedom is freedom.”
How far will Abbott let GOP members enforce freedom at the expense of Texas children?