Category Archives: Texas Issues

Increasing Property Tax Transparency

Center for Fiscal Policy, September 20, 2018
Texas Capital.jpg
Testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform by the Honorable Talmadge Heflin
Chairman Bettencourt and Members of the Committee:
My name is Talmadge Heflin, and I am the director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan free market think tank based here in Austin. Thank you for inviting me to give testimony on increasing transparency of local property taxes.
Providing transparency of debt proposals. State law requires political subdivisions to provide only two items of information on the ballot for any given proposition: “the amount their local government entity proposes to borrow and a general description of
the purpose,” according to the Texas Comptroller.
The former is inadequate because it does not properly convey the total cost of the bond issuance, while the latter often lacks specificity and is written in legalese that can be open to interpretation.

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School Districts: Stop Blaming Others for Property Tax Increases

Many elected officials in Hays County have gotten into a very bad (and dishonest) habit of blaming others for property tax increases.

The most recent example of this is when I had a public Facebook conversation with a Dripping Springs ISD school board trustee about property taxes, and I brought up evidence for why I’m concerned about the local school board’s management of our money.

Currently, DSISD has more per-student debt than 98 percent of all school districts in the state, a staggering $76,000 per student. And in just the last year, the average homeowner in our district paid almost $500 more in school taxes.

In my social media conversation with the DSISD school board trustee, we discussed the skyrocketing taxes and alarming debt, but the trustee attempted to shift the focus onto the appraisal district and the state. In reality, the school board is the best opportunity we have to slow down these escalating school property taxes, because they have control over the budget, spending, and the tax rate. The tax rate is the controlling factor in the property tax equation. The property valuation isn’t.

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Renewable energy subsidies are wrong for Texas

Texas Public Policy, Cutter González, 08/10/2018


It’s 2018, and the days of warm, evening sun setting on scenic Texas plains are gone for some rural areas like Comanche County. Folks accustomed to unencumbered views will have to look elsewhere. Now, those views are pierced by the sharp teeth of a wind turbine. Summer breezes have transformed into the cyclical swooshing—and occasionally loud creaking—of nearby machinery.

Yet the summer heat remains, reminding us that Texas is facing a tight energy supply—with less reliable energy sources. Three coal plants shut down this year, pulling reserves below the desired target level to meet the energy demands of scorching August afternoons. Many things led to the closures, but the profitability of coal plants in the face of billions of dollars of subsidies for renewable energy—particularly wind—is certainly among the most powerful.

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PRESS RELEASE – Senator Craig Estes

Estes Press Release Heading

Contact: Pete Winckler


Estes & Colleagues Set to Review Free Speech, Taxes & Regulatory Barriers

Committees will examine Free Speech on College Campuses, tax transparency; identify red tape stymying business

Austin, January 31 – The Senate State Affair Committee which includes Senator Craig Estes meets today at Texas State University to hear invited and public testimony to determine whether there are any restrictions on Freedom of Speech rights that Texas students face in expressing their views on campus along with freedoms of the press, religion, and assembly. “We must protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus including conservative speakers even if some disagree,” said Estes.

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Never allow UNESCO, or the World Heritage Organization to have influence on what Texans do with their Alamo

Jerry Patterson 

Fellow Texan,
When it comes to the Alamo, the focus must be 1836.


When asked, “Why not restore the Alamo to its 1836 appearance?”, George Skarmeas, Chief Planner of the General Land Office, always responded, “The events of 1836 were just 1 small chapter in 10,000 years of history.” How absurd.
The Alamo exists today solely because of what happened in 1836. Absent the siege, the iconic symbol of not just Texas liberty but also liberty everywhere would not exist.

We don’t need and shouldn’t seek advice or approval from any entity outside of Texas.

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Here’s how Gov. Abbott would limit property tax increases

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, by Anna M. Tinsley, January 17, 2018 


ARLINGTON – Gov. Greg Abbott has a plan to give Texans long-sought property tax relief.

The key, said Abbott, who is seeking a second term in office, is putting a 2.5 percent revenue growth cap on property tax dollars collected by local taxing entities – cities, school districts and counties – unless voters approve a larger amount.

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Abbott Signs “Pastor Protection Act” Into Law

Texas Tribune,

Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB #2065 into law on June 11, 2015 joined by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and authors of the bill Sen. Craig Estes R-Wichita Falls and Rep. Scott Sanford R-McKinney

Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB #2065 into law on June 11, 2015 joined by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and authors of the bill Sen. Craig Estes R-Wichita Falls and Rep. Scott Sanford R-McKinney Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed a bill Thursday that allows clergy members to refuse to conduct marriages that violate their beliefs, said that “pastors now have the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

The signing ceremony for the so-called Pastor Protection Act, which goes into effect Sept. 1, was held outside the Governor’s Mansion. Abbott was surrounded by about two dozen clergy members at a news conference discussing the law. Others attending the signing ceremony included Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, who authored the bill.

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Disarming the Second Amendment Won’t Stop Terrorism

From Times Record News, Columnist|Craig Estes


File-AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, raises one finger to vote yes for his Open Carry Bill during the final vote held at the state Capitol Tuesday in Austin. The Texas Senate has given its final approval to licensed open carry of handguns in the state, sending the measure to the House. Open carry has been resisted by law enforcement groups, but sailed through the Senate on a 20-10 vote.

Partisan spin doesn’t usually surprise me — after almost fifteen years in politics, I’ve come to expect it from both sides in response to both triumphs and tragedies. But I was honestly surprised when, after the worst terrorist attack on our soil since September 11, the Left’s response was to blame the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party, and an imaginary class of scary-looking firearms.

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To those who contemplate trespassing –

To those who contemplate trespassing on private property near Garner, Texas –


It would be a really good idea to:

Update your will.

Purchase and wear body armor.

Smile for the cameras that are strategically place throughout the property.

And …before you go, notify your next of kin.

The very least you should expect to happen to you is that you WILL be prosecuted for Criminal Trespass.

The following is provided for your convenience –

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State Rep. Pat Fallon says he’s challenging state Sen. Craig Estes

State Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, confirmed he is challenging state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls in next year’s Republican primaries.


*Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.

State Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, is making it official: He is challenging state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls.

“They just desperately want somebody new,” Fallon said of voters in Senate District 30, which Estes has represented since 2001. “It’s been 16 years — it’s going to be 18 years. They want a change. They don’t see him around.”

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