Historically the best way to Improve quality while keeping costs to a minimum is to apply free market principles and allowing competition. I believe allowing our public schools to "compete" for quality will incentivize them to focus their resources on the students and avoid wasteful spending. School choice is an important element of this and must be implemented. Other ideas such as a voucher program have the potential to promote the change everyone would like to see in our school system, by giving more power to the students and their parents.
Rainy Day Fund should NOT be used for normal budget items. I believe it should be seen as an emergency fund only used for aid in circumstances outside of our control, disaster relief, or in dire economic situations. however it is spent, responsibility and efficient allocation of funds must be a top priority.
Local control is important. however, there are certain statewide issues that should not be left up to individual cities. Gun rights, abortion, out-of-control taxation of citizens, banning sanctuary cities, these are some examples of issues that the state should take control over. In the end, these issues need to be addressed on an individual basis, with a basic principle of keeping as much local control as possible.
More Transparency needs to be implemented so the public knows how effective (or ineffectively) their tax dollars are being spent. this pressure will help with effective spending and raised quality. Corruption and deception have allowed foreign entities and special interest groups to take control of our toll road system. Toll Roads were meant to be a cheap and effective way to reduce congestion, but what they have done is make it more expensive to sit in the same traffic. No more publicly funded Toll roads.
I believe Property taxes will be one of the big issues this next session. People in Dallas are especially affected by high property taxes and is one of the reasons I am running for State Representative. The current incumbent supported HB 486 which would give School Districts the ability to raise property taxes without voter approval. As State Representative I would oppose legislation such as this and work to lower property taxes.
BA, Centenary College of Louisiana
Public education is haunted by poor allocation of personnel and resources. Our focus should be on student classrooms and the teachers who guide them. Our current focus on testing has crippled real education.
We must reduce the almost 1 to 1 ratio of teachers to administrators that has been created by the excessive focus on testing. We can then spend more on teacher pay and student success without a need for additional funding.
Right now, Texas is rocketing into deeper debt. Our combined state and local debt is among the highest of any state. We have been far too careless in approving bond issues that are poorly allocated or explained. Bond issues are nothing more than debt that becomes future taxation.
Until we enact limits on additional indebtedness, the Rainy Day fund should not be touched. Further, it should not be touched until we show significant progress on the debt we already have. If we're lucky and smart, we may never have to touch it.
We must curtail the ability of local governments to raise property taxes 8% annually without voter approval. The governor, lieutenant governor, and state senate supported a measure to cut this rate in half in the last session, but Democrats and Straus Republicans voted to keep taxes high. With new faces in the House, we can cut property taxes.
America is built upon constitutional federalism. This means that the state is the primary authority. State law supersedes federal law as well as local law. Cities cannot go their own way. The state must continue to assert federalism. Otherwise, we become increasingly tribal and less unified. We need to stand together as Texans and Americans.
We have wisely rejected more toll roads, and there is an awareness that highways are a funding priority. Additional funding has been moved to highways from lower priority areas, and this will continue. We will also explore alternatives that can save time and money, including design build contracting.
Texas is growing rapidly. The increased congestion is about more people as much as anything else, and it will take a while to catch up. But we're getting there.
1. Property taxes must be cut. Appraisals can be capped as well.
2. Limits must be placed on spending in both local and state levels. We should require voter approval for tax increases wherever possible, require more accountability for bond approval, and limit spending increases to the growth in population and inflation.
3. We must increase border security by strengthening the sanctuary city law and eliminating all financial incentives for illegal immigration.
4. Address the convoluted funding of Texas education and set new priorities for teacher and student support.
5. Revere and protect life.
Master's Degree in International Management Studies from UTD
Bachelor's Degree from Colorado State
First and foremost, put our students first in all the decisions we make. Education is the key to getting a job, providing adequately for our families and lifting a people out of poverty. The legislature needs to adequately fund and resource our Public Education system. Funds to Public Education were cut about a decade ago and never fully restored. Additionally, we need to find a way to relieve the overbearing burden of property taxes on our citizens. The only way we can do this is through school tax reform. Our citizens deserve property tax relief.
One time expenditures based on emergencies or debt reduction. I am open to exploring how we calculate the formulas within the Fund and how the state calculates how much money flows into the fund.
In general, cities need to keep their property taxes low and provide only those services the majority of citizens require. There is no question that our citizens are demanding lower property taxes. Some cities are carrying too much debt on their books and incurring debt for items that should be paid as ongoing expenses from their general fund.
Generally speaking, I'm in favor of the government closest to the people regulating the taxes they impose because the citizens have a stronger voice and more direct input.That being said, we must provide our citizens with property tax relief and I will be working with the Governor and the Legislature to help bring this about.
We need to restore the funding tools for transportation and allow the citizens in the region and those affected by congestion to have a say in the funding methodology for the construction and maintenance of highways.
Property tax relief and School finance Reform
BA - University of Texas at Arlington
MBA - Texas Woman's University
JD - SMU
As an educator, I believe quality public education must be our number one legislative priority. Our Texas constitution mandates we provide quality public schools, unfortunately we have consistently failed to do so. I believe we need to strengthen our public schools and renew our investment in Texas children and families. If we are to ensure a prosperous future for all Texans, we must stop diverting resources away from our neighborhood schools through privatization of public school funds. Additionally, the State must renew its investment in per-student funding allowing local school districts the freedom to enhance instructional and enrichment activities instead of being forced to cut programs that affect our most vulnerable students.
The original intent of the “Rainy Day Fund” or Economic Stabilization Fund was to “smooth out the roller coaster” during tough financial times. The fund was specifically designed to protect Texans during hard times by maintaining ongoing state services without the need to raise taxes or cut critical programs. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening. While the fund has grown significantly, the quality and availability of necessary and crucial public services has dramatically declined. I believe we need to return to the original intent of the fund creation. We can no longer allow our state to rank highest in uninsured, highest in drop-out rates, lowest in school funding while ignoring accessibility to an obvious, viable solution.
Local communities know what is best for their community. Texas consistently fights for state’s rights while taking away local rights. I believe in local municipalities’ ability to decide how to best operate their government and serve their citizens. Local city council members earned the trust of their voters to decide what works best for them in their local communities. Unfortunately, the state legislature has increasingly stripped away these local rights and has turned their back on local municipalities. The state has inserted itself in municipality matters while denying citizens their rights and freedom of speech. I support local control and renewing citizens’ rights to regulate their own communities.
I believe we should explore alternative options to addressing highway congestion without increasing toll roads. Although there is a space for toll lanes within our highway system, we need to invest in our infrastructure through a reasonable economic stimulus program. Our first response to addressing public highway congestion cannot and should not be privatization and double taxation. Additionally, we need to reevaluate public oversight, transparency and accountability of our tollway authority. End users and public consumers deserve a viable and user-friendly recourse to address common tollway concerns. Investing in infrastructure will not only improve our economy but also provide a better, quality of life for all Texans.
Texas children and families deserve better. To ensure a strong economy and a prosperous future for all Texans tomorrow, we must renew our commitment and investment in Texans today. As an educator, I believe one of the most pressing issues in the next legislative session is to protect and strengthen access to quality, public education including investing in community colleges and workforce training programs. An educated, skilled, and qualified workforce will attract strong businesses, ignite job creation, and generate sustainable, living wages. Our community colleges and institutions of higher education are key components to building a lasting, prosperous economy and to creating the American Dream for millions of Texas families.