B.B.A. - Real Estate
University of Texas at Arl
Education spending is the largest single item in the Texas budget and I strongly support keeping education spending as the largest investment of taxpayer dollars. As a father with three children who have all attend(ed) public schools in Grand Prairie, I am invested in the success of our school systems. That is why I have been an advocate for removing unfunded mandates, including the reduction of standardized testing, so our teachers can focus on the growth of our students to make them college or workforce ready. However, I also believe our students and families are best served when their school districts are ensuring the dollars they receive are reaching the classrooms and our teachers rather than being spent on Administration.
The Economic Stabilization Fund as it is properly called is the savings account of the State of Texas. It is the envy of every other state in the union, and I believe we should only use this fund in cases of extreme need such as in 2013 when the legislature voted to use $2.3BB of the fund to create the State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) for long term water planning during the drought. That is an example of an investment of taxpayer money that has helped start the fix for the long term water needs of this state. Those are the types of investments where I would approve of utilizing the Economic Stabilization Fund.
Governor Abbott presented an excellent school safety plan in response to the tragedy at Santa Fe High School. This plan has excellent recommendations and included funding solutions that I believe will be fully implemented in the next legislative session.
Recent legislative changes have added roughly $4BB annually to the TXDOT budget. These amounts will continue to grow over the coming years IF the legislature doesn’t access the funds for other, non-transportation needs. My assessment is “the jury is still out” and we must continue to monitor the additional revenues generated by these two significant legislative changes. I agree with Governor Abbott who has been very vocal about reducing reliance on toll-roads. The two voter approved Constitutional Amendments will add significant revenue streams for TXDOT over time to improve and maintain our bridges, highways, and transportation for Texas families and businesses.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Irving High, UTA B.A., UD Bilingual Studies, TCU Real Estate, UTA Urban Studies, Texas Wesleyan Law
Without a Supreme Court ruling that our system of funding schools is unconstitutional, it is unlikely that the legislature will act on the issue, even though the state is not spending enough money on schools. Like many in the legislature, I would like to see the finance system improved. The legislature should examine the impact of a provision that has allocated money to school districts to help offset mandated property tax cuts. It should also examine the use of local property taxes to fund public education and its effects on educational quality and on Texas taxpayers. The legislature should heed the call to action. Texas should not settle for just “adequate”.
The real name of the "Rainy Day Fund" is the Economic Stabilization Fund. The original intent was to provide a reserve that would serve to even out the the ebb and flow from fluctuating revenues from the oil and gas industry. In good times, additional revenue would flow into the fund, and in leaner times, the fund would be there to make up the difference. I believe it is an appropriate use of the Rainy Day Fund to provide additional monies for education and to assist in times of emergencies and disasters like Hurricane Harvey, for example.
A majority of law enforcement and college presidents opposed open carry and campus carry, respectively. For law enforcement, it creates the dilemma of distinguishing the good guy with a gun from the bad guy with a gun, without making us any safer. We need to repeal open carry and campus carry gun laws. Legislators need to consider some common sense gun safety legislation.
The Midtown Express Project is set to be completed this year on Hwy 183 & Loop 12, Hwy 114 & Northwest Hwy and will increase capacity and reconstruct portions of those roads. The Legislature should commit to completing the ultimate project for these roadways which is not currently funded. I oppose replacing our network of freeways with more tolls. I remember when the DFW Turnpike was built. Once the road was paid, tolls were removed. Why could we not do that today? Meanwhile, the legislature should examine and support transportation alternates such as the bullet train. We cannot pave our way out of the problem.
The state legislature needs representatives who understand the need for compromise and working together across party lines; legislators who can balance the need for fiscal responsibility with the needs of the state; legislators who support Texas families with educational opportunities, access to healthcare, and protection for the most vulnerable in our society, the children; legislators who will fight for working families with good paying jobs. Too often the legislature has practiced the politics of division. This is a diverse district and deserves to have a representative who celebrates its diversity as a strength; one who will build bridges not walls.