I'm Fighting for Tax Relief, Reduction, and Reform! - Don Huffines for Texas Senate

  

I'm Fighting for Tax Relief, Reduction, and Reform!

Unlike Congress in Washington, D.C., the Texas Legislature only meets for 140 days every two years. That’s a good thing: we don’t need more laws to govern our daily lives. We need liberty, personal responsibility, and the opportunity to succeed or fail on our own merits without the heavy-hand of government tipping the scales against us. Still, anytime the Texas Legislature is in session - as we are now - voters should watch their wallets. After all, it’s your money.

 

I’m a watchdog for Texas taxpayers, which is why I’m excited to share with you some of what we’re doing in Austin to reduce and reform taxes so hardworking Texans can keep more of their hard-earned money. 

Senate Bill 2 - Curbing the Growth in Property Taxes

Senate Bill 2, by Senator Paul Bettencourt, reforms property taxes and gives voters a stronger voice in limiting year-to-year property tax increases. Currently, the “rollback rate” is set at 8 percent: if local government brings in 8 percent more revenue in one year as opposed to the previous year, voters have the opportunity to call an election to approve or disapprove that tax increase. Senate Bill 2 will lower that threshold to 4 percent and make the election automatic, giving taxpayers the opportunity to scrutinize local spending and revenue so they can determine whether or not the 4 percent or higher increase is truly justified, or if it’s just brought about by tax and spend politicians who are always hungry for more taxpayer dollars. 

Senate Bill 2 contains other great reforms, too. I encourage you to read this great article by The Dallas Morning News “Watchdog.” Here’s a key excerpt:

 

To all city and county officials and your paid lobbyists who are blanketing state lawmakers with anti-property tax reform complaints: You ought to be ashamed. The Watchdog is calling you out… You don't want to be accountable to your taxpayers. Many governments are using precious taxpayer dollars to hire expensive, influential lobbyists to push against your own voters' best interests. You say you want local control for your town and county budgets, and you want state lawmakers to butt out of your business. In truth, you actually fear your own voters butting into your business which is really our business, not yours. It's so obvious.

 

Senate Bill 2 was heard in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, March 14, and I’m excited for the opportunity to vote for it on the Senate floor!

Senate Bill 1588 - Stopping the Vehicle Inspection Tax

On Thursday, March 9, I filed Senate Bill 1588 to stop the vehicle inspection tax! Multiple studies confirm that vehicle inspections do nothing to make our roads safer, and that's why drivers in 34 states don't have to endure that needless chore. The federal government stopped requiring inspections 41 years ago! I’m excited to report that the auto insurance industry will testify that their data show that inspections do nothing to make roads safer. Texas can no longer justify requiring its citizens to undertake this burdensome & costly waste of time and money each year. 

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Arguably the most onerous and needless mandate that state government imposes, the vehicle inspection tax burdens an average of 50,000 Texans per day. This session, I'll fight to repeal this needless tax on drivers' time & money. With the passage of Senate Bill 1588, Texans will save approximately $150 million per year, and we’ll have 9 million more hours to spend on more productive uses. 

Join my effort to end the vehicle inspection tax!

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Senate Bill 1122 - Protecting Students, Parents, Taxpayers & Schools from Dallas County Schools 

Each year, every home and business owner in Dallas County pays a property tax to Dallas County Schools, an unsafe, unreliable, and financially corrupt bureaucracy that doesn’t hire teachers or educate students. Altogether, DCS collects approximately $21 million in property taxes. That’s apparently not nearly enough for them, though, because they have $73 million in taxpayer-backed bond debt. The entity has a budget deficit of about $40 million, and needs to urgently find $14 million to make its next bond payment.

This corrupt bureaucracy is on the brink of collapse, which is why I have filed Senate Bill 1122 to lead to a thoughtful and orderly wind-down of DCS for students, parents, taxpayers, and schools. Dallas County Schools is dangerous for students, and it's a rip-off for taxpayers. It’s well past time for us to end this central bureaucracy, just as almost every other countywide school system was abolished long ago. 

Senate Bill 985 - More Efficient & Less Costly Courts in Dallas County

Providing for a court system is a critical function of government that ensures justice is served. Taxpayers also deserve an efficient court system that serves the public well and without excess cost, bureaucracy, or administration. After carefully reviewing caseload information and costs for the five current county courts at law in Dallas, I have come to the conclusion that three of those courts are no longer necessary. Justice can and will be served by the two remaining courts, and taxpayers will benefit from more efficient and less costly government. My SB 985 will save Dallas County taxpayers approximately $1.5 million annually. Read my press release for more information on Senate Bill 985. 

Senate Bill 1712 - Ending an Outdated Tax on Your Phone Bill

The “Texas Universal Service Fund” is a 3.3 percent tax on all “telecommunications” bills. According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, most TUSF funds you pay go to providing "affordable service to high-cost rural customers” and fulfills other purposes. 

To be perfectly clear, residents of Dallas and our surrounding communities are being taxed to provide hard-line phone service to rural Texans. While everyone should probably have access to some kind of basic phone service, this tax and redistribution of wealth is the wrong way! With technological advances, cell phones receive service in every corner of our state. Tech entrepreneurs and investors are working on innovative new ways to deliver high-speed internet to even the most remote parts of Africa, so that same technology could be brought to bear for Texans. This tax is wrong, which is why I’m working to phase it out over the course of five years. 

Stopping the Raid on Road Funding

Some politicians in Austin are making an effort to raid the road funding that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2013 and 2015. I have four words to say in response to that: not on my watch! In 2014, 79.86 percent of Texas voters elected to send more money to non-tolled roads. In 2015, 83.24 percent of voters decided to send still more money to non-tolled roads. In both cases, the Legislature and voters worked together to increase funding for non-tolled roads without raising taxes, hiking fees, or placing any other new burden on taxpayers. It’s a mandate, and we’re not going to raid much-needed road funding for Austin politicians to spend elsewhere. We must have great roads to meet the demands of our growing population and our economy!

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These are just a few of the ways that I’m working to be a watchdog for Texas taxpayers! I work for you, not the government. I know that government doesn’t have any money unless it taxes it away from families or takes it out of our private sector economy. That’s why I believe these tax reductions and reforms are so urgently needed!

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