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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Texas House, District 115

2 year term. Must be 21 or older, a US citizen, resident of Texas and the district represented. Responsible for representing the citizens of the district in the Texas House of Representatives.
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    Matt Rinaldi (Rep) Healthcare Attorney & Corporate Director

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

EDUCATION: What changes, if any, should be made to public education and its funding in Texas?

RAINY DAY FUND: What uses are appropriate, in your opinion, for the Rainy Day fund?

LOCAL CONTROL: Are you in favor or opposed to additional restrictions on cities’ ability to raise property taxes? If in favor, how would you implement? Last session saw restrictions placed on cities’ ability to regulate fracking, gun sales, etc. Are you in favor of these restrictions and would you favor additional restrictions?

HIGHWAY FUNDS: How would you address the growing need for funding for highway maintenance and construction? What is your position on allowing tolled lanes to reduce congestion on crowded highways?

OTHER ISSUES: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing in the next session of the Texas Legislature and what is your position on these issues?

Age 42
Education J.D., Boston Univ. School of Law, Cum Laude B.B.A., Economics, James Madison Univ., Cum Laude
Twitter @MattRinaldiTX
Robin Hood is the number one problem in Texas public education and must be abolished. In addition, school funding is systemically flawed and must be reformed from the bottom up, with an emphasis on driving dollars to the classroom and increasing teacher pay. I would eliminate costly mandates, thereby freeing up more resources for our teachers and students, and return local control to promote greater efficiency in our public schools. Furthermore, competition between schools should be encouraged through a system of school choice, whereby the individual student’s share of state funding moves with the student, who is freely allowed to home school or attend the institution of his or her parents’ choice.
Texas voters approved the ESF, or "Rainy Day Fund", "to offset unforeseen shortfalls in revenue" caused by the fluctuations of the oil market and unpredictable Texas weather. However, since its inception, legislators have used less than one-third of the more than $11 billion spent from the ESF to fund budget shortfalls or natural disaster relief. In 2017, if not for many of us fighting to preserve the ESF, much-needed money for Hurricane Harvey relief would be available from the fund. We should restrict attempts to use the ESF to fund legislators' pet projects and limit expenditures to their intended purpose--to offset unforeseen shortfalls in revenue during economic downturns and for natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
The #1 issue I hear from voters is that they are fed up with local government raising property taxes and increasing spending, while honest, hardworking homeowners struggle to pay their tax bills. I'm proud to have worked with Gov. Abbott to craft his plan to rein in property tax growth and improve transparency at the local level and will continue to work to implement this proposal next session. This plan would (1) establish a cap to limit local property tax revenue growth to 2.5% per year; (2) allow the cap to be exceeded only for specific priorities like increasing teacher pay and hiring additional police officers, and only then upon approval by taxpayers; and (3) improve local debt transparency and require a 2/3 vote to issue new debt.
I believe that additional appropriations for transportation are needed from existing funds without raising overall tax rates and the passage of Proposition 7 in 2015 was a good first step in prioritizing transportation spending in the overall budget. I oppose any new tolls to fund transportation spending and I would meet our transportation needs by dedicating existing vehicle sales tax revenue to fund new transportation projects.
Stopping skyrocketing property tax growth and school funding reform are the top two priorities next legislative session. I would also like to see us address ethics reform, such as banning taxpayer-funded lobbying and preventing former legislators from becoming lobbyists. In addition, corporate welfare should be completely eliminated in the State of Texas. I would eliminate wasteful corporate handouts from funds like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Film Commission use of those funds to shore up existing obligations of the Teachers Retirement System and reduce TRS-care premium payments.