Property Tax Relief, Honoring Heroes, Down Syndrome Day

March 26, 2023

With each passing week the pace is picking up and solid legislation anchored in conservative principles is moving along in the legislative process. At the same time we are meeting constituents from across the district – something I always enjoy.  Here’s a look back over a few highlights from the past week.

 Texas Senate Passes Historic Property Tax Relief

I’m pleased to report that the Senate voted this week to provide historic, significant property tax relief to our citizens. The Senate Tax Relief Plan, composed of Senate Bills 3, 4, and 5, will put more money back in the pockets of all taxpayers. Under this plan, 5.72 million homesteads will save nearly $800 a year (by raising the Homestead Exemption to $70,000 – a 75% increase), providing an unprecedented $16.5 billion in tax relief for Texans.

SB 3 will also implement the voter-approved Homestead Exemption increase from $25,000 to $40,000 for all over-65 and disabled homesteads from Propositions 1 and 2 in May of 2022. This $100,000 exemption in total for seniors that have paid a lifetime of taxes saves them over $1,000 per year.

With the largest budget surplus in state history legislators have the obligation to return that money back to the citizens who funded the surplus in the first place. Thankfully, Texas has no income tax, so our best avenue to provide relief is to reduce property taxes.   

For businesses, for the first time in history we provide a reduction in the business inventory tax and a reduction in the business personal property tax.  SB 5 will create an Inventory Tax Credit totaling $1.05 billion and raises the Business Personal Property Exemption to $25,000 from $2,500, saving $450 million.

This bill must still pass through the House of Representatives before going to the Governor’s desk.

Ending Vehicle Inspections

The legislature is working on high profile, high priority issues such as property tax relief, border security, reforming the grid, protecting our kids, and more.  But you’d be surprised to know how often I hear from citizens who complain to me about the frustration of dealing with annual vehicle inspections. 

This week in the Senate Transportation Committee I heard testimony on a bill that would end the requirement of annual vehicle inspections. The majority of U.S. states do not require regular inspections. In fact, Texas is one of only 14 states that do so. The federal government ended its vehicle safety inspection program in 1976.  There is no data which shows there was any increase in accidents related to that decision. Under this proposed bill, emissions tests would still be required in 17 counties – mostly in the urban/suburban areas. About 24 million vehicles are currently impacted by the annual inspection process, and there is no evidence that these inspections reduce accidents and fatalities on our roads and highways. Most fatalities are caused by alcohol, not wearing seatbelts, and other factors. 

Down Syndrome Day Recognized in Texas Senate 

Tuesday was World Down Syndrome Day which highlights the need for full inclusion for people with Down Syndrome.  Did you know that one in 700 children are born with Downs? As Terry and I have seen with our two granddaughters these special kids can have a wonderful opportunity for a meaningful life if they are in the right home. 

Representatives from at least 15 organizations involved in supporting families with Down Syndrome were recognized in the Senate Chamber gallery. To raise awareness for the day many people wear a pair of mismatched, brightly colored socks.  If you’d like to view the resolution I presented skip ahead to 1:02:30 at the following link:

“Crazy Sock Day” is part of World Down Syndrome Day, and we had socks delivered to every member of the Senate.  Here are some of my brave colleagues who participated!

National Medal of Honor Recipients Honored in Texas Senate; National Medal of Honor Museum to Open in Arlington

This week provided the opportunity to recognize two Medal of Honor recipients who reside here in Texas. The Medal of Honor – the highest award for military valor in action – is awarded to American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians, and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. The medal was established under President Lincoln and the first medal was awarded on March 25, 1863. Since that time 3,535 medals have been awarded.

Today, there are only 65 recipients alive. Ten reside in Texas, and two of those men joined us in the Texas Senate on Tuesday: Gen. Patrick Brady and Petty Officer Michael Thornton.  In 2025 Tarrant County will be front and center in honoring all of these brave Americans when the National Medal of Honor Museum, dedicated to sharing the stories and values of these incredible heroes, will open.  I’m especially excited that through tours, classes and online/virtual education, younger generations of Americans will learn the true meaning of patriotism and the sacrifices made by these selfless Americans.  You can learn more about the museum at https://mohmuseumorg.

My three granddaughters Georgia, Peyton, and Molly Kate with Medal of Honor recipients Gen. Patrick Brady, Petty Officer Michael Thornton, and Arlington city leaders.

For years I have followed the writings and research of Stephen Moore, a distinguished fellow in economics at The Heritage Foundation. One of our nation’s brightest conservative thinkers, he is a former member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. At Heritage, Moore focuses on ways to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower.  I was pleased he visited the Texas Capitol this week.  

Soil and Water Conservation District Leadership Visits Austin

Board Members of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) from Parker, Palo Pinto, Johnson and Brown counties stopped by our office this week.  Formed by a vote of landowners within the boundaries of each district, a SWCD operates as a subdivision of state government, much like a county or school district.  Overseen by farmers and ranchers who reside within each district, these entities do important work in promoting soil and water conservation, combating soil and water erosion,
and enhancing water quality and quantity.

Lockheed Martin in Tarrant County: Equipping Our Military to Defend Freedom Around the World

Lockheed Martin employs over 18,000 Texans at their Fort Worth production facility and I’m proud to represent thousands of those people who reside in SD 10.  This week Director of Government Relations Eric Fox and Senior Manager of Government Relations Becky Redman stopped by to present our office with replicas of the three versions of the F-35 produced in Tarrant County. This is the only factory in the world that is producing a 5th generation Stealth Airplane – the Lighting II.  The F-35A is made for the U.S. Air Force and our most trusted allies; the F-35B is made for the U.S. Marine Corps; and the F-35C is made for the U.S. Navy.  It was a tremendous honor to be in Israel when the first F-35’s were delivered there back in 2016.

Our office now proudly displays the three versions of the F-35 produced at
Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth. 

As part of Tarrant County Day at the State Capitol, members of the Fort Worth City Council

and other city leaders stopped by to say hello.

My three granddaughters chatting with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the Senate chamber on Tuesday when they served as Senate pages.  
From left to right:  Molly Kate, Georgia, and Peyton.