We need to get Texans back to work. As your representative in the Texas Legislature, the economy would be my highest priority. There are several easy steps we could take now to remove many of the burdens we have placed upon job creation in our state.
- Abolish the Margins Tax (Franchise Tax)- Chapter 71 of the Texas Tax Code. Sec. 171.002(a) of the Code provides that a business pay a 1% tax on the gross revenue. Businesses making $600k and up are required to pay the tax whether the company makes a profit or not. Punishing Texas’ businesses for growing, expanding and creating jobs in the state is an economic mistake that needs to be corrected.
- Start-ups. When a mid-level or senior employee loses their job, it often creates a new opportunity for them to start their own business. Start-ups often hire their own new workers and offer employment and educational opportunities to low-income employees. We need to streamline the process for creating new businesses in our state by reducing the paperwork and needless regulation. I will move to lift all state certificate requirements and commercial licensing for any small business earning under $200k in revenue.
- Charter schools. To grow and maintain our prosperity, we must constantly challenge ourselves to find new and better methods for educating our children. We must allow our schools and teachers the flexibility to innovate in education. The Charter School program offers this opportunity to grow stronger at a lower cost for taxpayers. Only five slots are currently available for new charter applications. We must expand this program if we want to compete effectively in the future. To reduce the cost of education Charter holders will be given the opportunity to utilize campuses of under-performing public schools, as well as a guarantee on a start up loan, in exchange for a 5% reduction in equivalent revenue distribution.
Cleaning Up the House
We have a moral and legal obligation (Texas constitution Article 3 section 49a(b)) to pass a balanced budget for the state of Texas based on the best interests of the general public.
- Balanced Budget. The last state budget has a hidden deficit totaling at least $12 billion. Our legislators used accounting tricks to hide $2 Billion from education, $5 Billion from Medicaid, and another $5 Billion in general spending. By passing a budget that was not truly balanced, the 2011 legislature has shifted the burden to 2013. Our troubles will only be compounded as we try to handle 2013 spending priorities and retire the debts left from 2011.
- Dedicated Funds. Instead of dealing in a straightforward and honest manner, some of our tax income is being diverted to other accounts in a shell game to maintain our “balanced budget”. One example is the gasoline tax. 50% of the gasoline tax is diverted to spending on education while our roads are in desperate need of expansion and repair. To recover this 50% loss, we are allowing foreign companies to hold monopolies on toll roads constructed with our tax dollars (and guaranteeing their profits). Meanwhile, Austin is becoming one of the worst commutes in the country. Texas taxpayers don’t need expensive gimmicks.
Welcoming Non-Resident Immigrants
Undocumented immigrants contribute to our economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers. All undocumented immigrants pay sales and property taxes, and—contrary to popular belief—most pay federal income taxes as well, even though they’re not eligible for Social Security, Medicare, or the many other programs their tax dollars help fund. Undocumented immigrants also spend billions of dollars each year, which supports our economy and helps create new jobs. Undocumented residents make up an estimated 6% of the Texas population (population of Austin). The federal government has reduced deportation as it costs approximately $13,000 per person to deport individuals going as close as Mexico.
A 2006 study by the Texas State Comptroller estimated that the 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas alone added almost $18 billion to the state’s economic output, and more than paid for the $1.2 billion in state services they used by generating $1.6 billion in new state revenues.
The federal governments lack of action to the issue has left Texas with millions of residents of which are unknown. We need a logical solution that allows all to sign the guest book while here and supports hard working people looking to raise a family in this beautiful state.
Undocumented immigration is a symptom of an immigration system that is broken. Lawmakers should revamp our immigration system so that it works with our economy, not against it. The Federal Government has failed on immigration and we, as Texans, shouldn’t be stripped of our liberties and forced to become immigration officers. The state can address the issue by allowing guest permits with a bi-annual renewal fee (estimated to generated $500M per biennium). The guest permit would cover the workers family and allow eligible individuals to obtain identification and drivers licensees under the current process and fee structure.