With the Texas Legislature finishing their session, there has been much celebrating what was accomplished, mostly by those in office. Articles have been written about how this session saw less contention and more bipartisan cooperation than in past sessions. As much as cooperation can be a good thing, I’m afraid that these elected officials still fail to do the bidding of the people of Texas.
For instance, the issue that saw overwhelming support amongst almost all Texans was the idea of property tax reform. I believe that no person should have to pay rent on something they own. Property tax makes it so that your land and home are never truly yours. You are just a missed payment or two from having your property confiscated.
When the legislators got together, their first idea was to raise the sales tax. They said that would make it so this could offset the property tax. I see a couple of problems here.
First, the counties and assessors control the rate and appraisal for property tax. I can’t see how the legislature could enforce any lowering of property taxes.
Secondly, we Texans have seen how the old bait-and-switch works. Back when the lottery was being introduced, it was going to be for education. Yet somehow all that profit found its way into the general fund, to be spent on any budget item.
In the end, the bill that was passed only triggers a local election if property tax revenues see over 3.5% growth. Not exactly a hard cap on taxes.
Another issue that most Texans want to see changed is the prohibition of marijuana. Many states already have various degrees of legalization or decriminalization. With multiple bills being killed off, the only reform passed into law was allowing CBD oil and compassionate use for a very narrow range of diseases, with the limit of THC in the medical product being limited to 0.5%. You would think that the doctor who sponsored this bill would know that such a restrictive limit is anything but compassionate.
It also doesn’t cover veterans who suffer from PTSD. As a state, we gladly send our sons and daughters overseas, yet when they return with a severe case of post-traumatic stress, they are denied a treatment that so many of their fellow soldiers are able to use in other states in the union. I guess the message there is, “welcome back, but you might not want to come back to Texas”.
I could go over a few other examples, but I hope with these two you can see how our representatives seem hardly concerned about the will of the people they were elected to serve. It almost seems like the attitude of these senators and representatives is to give the people just a tiny taste of what they really want, so they will stop talking for a bit.
Allowing people to make their own choices seems to be a scary thought for those in power. Yet they know they have to throw you a bone occasionally, just to ensure reelection. Just so that bone has very little meat, or you might come to expect more from your representation.
Well, I think the time has come for our elected officials to do our bidding, or they should fully expect to be out of a job after the next election cycle.