Well, the 86th Texas Legislative Session starts this Tuesday. The GOP lost some numbers but still has full control And, with new leadership provided by Dennis Bonnen, there is actually MORE hope for a productive session than the last one. What will be our top priorities?
- Property tax REFORM that leads to FAR slower growth: This is different than a ‘tax cut’. A cut is a single-point of impact; it can quickly overrun by effective tax rate growth in just a couple year. We had a small case of that 2 sessions ago via the increase in homestead exemption- that was immediately swamped by appraisal growth.
- Public education refinancing to put Robin Hood on the path of elimination: Austin gives up $500 million/yr, Plano $209 million/ yr. to other districts- and has no say in HOW those funds are used. Including, in one case, both building & maintaining a school water park. State funds must DIRECTLY be provided the needy districts- with ASSURANCES it is spent on CLASSROOM needs.Fully elimination of Robin Hood in 1-2 years is likely not fiscally possible but it should be doable in 3-6 years.
- Vote Integrity, especially elimination of dual votes & non-citizen voting. First, they need to permit matching of court summons reply claiming non-citizen status to voting records, Then they need to permit matching of folks with multiple addresses (like college students) and check for voting in multiple locations. State-run University residence records should be made available, for example, as should voting at residences where the owners do NOT claim homestead exemptions.
- Increasing E-Verification usage & keeping citizenship designation on driver licenses: Every effort should be made to assure that money that the state has control over does NOT go to employ illegal aliens. That include SUB-contracted labor. Every state site should have EVERYONE drawing pay be E-Verified.
- Franchise Tax on direct path elimination, emphasizing small businesses first: this tax has high compliance costs on businesses and needs to be eliminated over the next 3-4 years.