Howdy and Happy New Year. As we head into 2017, we are also approaching the beginning of the next session of the Texas Legislature. Unlike the U.S. Congress which meets year round, our state legislature meets for just 140 days every two years. That means we have to get down to business right away, pass a state budget and address as many of Texas’ challenges as possible, before going back home to tend to our families and businesses.
In my first legislative session in 2015, we passed a state budget that held spending below the rate of inflation and population growth, while also prioritizing additional funds for public schools, transportation, border security, and child protection. We identified $3.8 billion in tax cuts, including property tax relief and a franchise tax cut. We reformed the Department of Transportation and developed the nation’s strongest border security plan. We also passed new protections for religious freedom, the Second Amendment, and the right to life.
By all measures, the 2015 legislative session was one of the most conservative in Texas history, and my goal this year is to build on those legislative successes. During the interim period, our committees have been busy studying key issues, holding hearings and town hall meetings, and gathering input from local elected officials and civic leaders to develop proposals which will be turned into legislation in the coming weeks.
I intend to continue pushing the state to do more with less and to delegate as much decision-making authority as possible to counties, cities, school districts and other local entities. As a former county judge, I know first-hand that sometimes good intentions at the state level places unnecessary burdens on our local communities.
Unfunded mandates and the state’s need for water and other natural resources often disproportionately impact rural Texas in a negative way. As our population continues to shift towards the suburbs, the amount of rural representatives is on the decline. That’s why it is vital we have strong voices in Austin working to pass meaningful pieces of legislation to protect private property rights and to defend our ability as rural Texans to govern ourselves locally, rather than having to conform to policies designed to meet the needs of urban or suburban communities.
We have many challenges facing us over the next five months, but I am confident that we will rise to the occasion and deliver solutions that benefit hard-working Texas families. As always, it is an honor to represent you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome your comments and opinions. Please visit my website at www.AndrewMurr.org or contact our District Office in Kerrville (715 Water St.) at 830-257-0432 and let me hear from you.
Rep. Andrew Murr is a rancher, attorney, small businessman and former Kimble County Judge who has represented District 53 in the Texas House since 2015. House District 53 includes Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton Counties.