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Cutting Through The Noise

March 24, 2020

Friends –

This week we’re witnessing the beginnings of real hardship on friends, families, neighbors and local businesses.  We’re also getting way overloaded with information. Myself, I’m on conference call after call with other state officials and receiving new reports with information all the time. It’s a lot for all of us to filter through.

I could pass on to you a lot of resources but I know you can already find most online or hear it from a news source. So what I’ll try to do over the near term is help you cut through the noise.

The first step is to know that my office is available. Please call (512-463-0738), email (phil.king@house.texas.gov), whatever is easiest for you. We will do our best to help address problems.

Next, as plans and processes get worked out on financial support, unemployment comp., health care services, emergency loans for businesses, etc., I’ll try to get the relevant information to you in a timely and succinct form.

Finally, would you please pray for me and all the other federal, state and local officials. This is fast paced, uncharted territory. I am very encouraged at a lot of things I see falling into place in emergency services. And I see people working together in Texas like never before.

I’ll be getting briefed by the Texas Workforce Commission tomorrow. I will let you know if I learn anything to pass on.  I just finished a call with the leadership of our Texas State Guard. I can tell you that your Texas National Guard and State Guard are ready to assist helping Texans at the Governor’s call.

For now always remember His provision.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

World Down Syndrome Day, East Parker County Day and Aledo ISD Recognition

March 23, 2019

World Down Syndrome Day

On March 21st, the Texas House observed World Down Syndrome Day to raise public awareness.  Individuals with Down syndrome have a third copy of chromosome 21, hence the celebration on 3/21.  As many of you know, my daughter Sarah and husband Jacob adopted two children from China that have Down’s syndrome.  Both Joy and Sunshine joined me on the House floor and enjoyed meeting all of my colleagues.  To watch the floor recognition, click on the image below.  

Click the image above to watch HR 800, Recognizing March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day
#RockYourSocks 


East Parker County Day  

East Parker County chamber delegation spent the day in Austin with a legislative agenda focused on water, education and transportation.  They met with stakeholders to receive a legislative update on these important issues affecting the business and local community.  

East Parker County Chamber leadership delegation visits Texas capitol.  


Aledo ISD State Championship Recognition 

On Wednesday, we recognized Aledo ISD football team for clinching their 8th state championship title in 2018.  The team has won the state title 7 out of the last 10 years.  We also recognized two other gentleman who received a state championship in cross country and swim.  Congratulations Aledo ISD!      

Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan Bohn, Education Foundation and School Board Trustees with football team


(L-R) Football State Champions Wyatt Harris & Logan Escamilla, Rep. Phil King, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Football Head Coach Steve Wood, Cross Country State Champion Graydon Morris, Swim State Champion Elijah Sohn

This Wednesday: House Budget To Be Considered on Floor

General Appropriations Bills, otherwise known as the state budget, are introduced by the House and Senate at the start of the legislative session following an assessment of the Legislative Appropriation Requests (LARs) submitted by state agencies over the interim and the Comptroller’s Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE).

The Legislature may change the state budget through a supplemental appropriations bill after the budget has been approved. Because the regular session begins in January, with eight months remaining in the two-year budget period, the Legislature sometimes appropriates funds to supplement an agency for the last fiscal year of a biennium.

The Comptroller anticipates state lawmakers will have $119.1 billion for spending over the FY 2020-2021 budget cycle, which is roughly 8.1 percent more funding available compared to the last biennium.

The House Appropriations Committee has been hard at work preparing House Bill 1, the state budget for the upcoming biennium, while the Senate recently passed and sent over Senate Bill 500, the supplemental budget which will address the obligations and critical needs of the state in the final months of FY 2019.

On Wednesday, the House will be considering both HB 1 and SB 500.  HB 1 spends $116.5 billion of general revenue and includes approximately $2.3 billion of funding from the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF).  SB 500 is to fund FY 2019 obligations and includes critical funding for Hurricane Harvey damage.  The supplemental appropriations bill spends $2.7 billion of general revenue and approximately $4.3 billion of Economic Stabilization Fund.  Comptroller Hegar previously estimated that the ESF would have nearly $12 billion for budget emergencies.    

Once passed by both the House and Senate, both bills will head to a conference committee between the two chambers, where legislative members of both bodies will then finalize the budget for each chamber’s approval.  

School Finance Reform, Legislative Highlights and Capitol Visits

March 17, 2019

Legislative Process

This Monday marks the 70th day of the 140 day legislative session.  The deadline for bills to be filed has passed and a total of 7,281 bills were filed.  This week we will have our first floor calendar where bills will be debated and, if passed, sent over to the Senate for consideration.  At this juncture of session, the majority of the day is spent hearing bills in committee.  Over the coming weeks, that will shift to spending the majority of time on the House floor debating bills. 

School Finance Reform: “The Texas Plan” 

House Bill 3 invests $9 billion toward advancing student achievement, supporting Texas teachers, providing property tax reform, and allocates more dollars to Texas classrooms than ever before. 

School finance reform is a top priority and paramount theme for this session.  HB 3 known as “The Texas Plan” was heard in committee this week.  In the days since the bill was filed, we have witnessed an outpouring of support from parents, teachers, school administrators, and various education and business advocacy organizations. This much needed reform invests in Texas classrooms and transforms our state’s public school finance system.  What is so exciting to see is this bill has bi-partisan support with 104 legislators who have currently signed on as co-authors to show our commitment for reform to the antiquated school finance system.  

My Legislation: Ending Forced Annexation Statewide and Repealing Clawback for Change of Use on Ag Exempt property

HB 347

Last week we had a great hearing on HB 347 to end forced annexation statewide.  Forced annexation is a legal process by which property located in an unincorporated area of a county may become part of a neighboring city against the property owner’s will.  This means without their consent, they find themselves within the jurisdiction and taxing authority of a municipality when they have intentionally chosen to live outside the limits.  Taxpayers then become responsible for paying for bonds and services for which they neither voted for nor approved.  Simply put, this is taxation without representation.

Parker and Wise counties became Tier 2 in November when a ballot measure was approved and are now protected from forced annexation but currently this protection is only in 16 counties in Texas.  

Protecting the property rights of all citizens is of utmost importance.  This legislation would streamline the process and would allow cities to make the case to all residents and landowners to be annexed into their city limits.   

HB 794 

We also had a great hearing in front of the Ways & Means committee on HB 794.  Buying property is one of the largest financial decisions most Texans make.  But did you know we have certain provisions in Texas law that prevent landowners from using their land for its highest and best use? 

This legislation is a win-win for Texans and would significantly reduce the clawback tax imposed for agricultural properties when a change of use occurs.  Current law imposes a substantial penalty on landowners when they decide to change the use of his or her land from agricultural uses to something else.  A “rollback rate” or what I would refer to as a clawback tax is imposed where a landowner must pay local taxing entities 5 year clawback on the market value of the property as if it never held an agricultural exemption plus 7 percent compounded interest.         

This clawback tax substantially hinders your property rights and there is simply no justification for this excessive penalty that prevents properties from advancing to their highest and best use. I look forward to substantially reducing the clawback tax for this unnecessary burden to landowners.  

Capitol Visits 

I hosted Lt. Col. Allen West in my office for Texas Faith & Family Day.
Special Olympics Athletes visit the Texas capitol. 
Walsh Elementary from Aledo ISD visits Texas capitol. Pictured is my granddaughter, Claire.