As the state's sole accountant, the Comptroller has the bully pulpit in how our taxes are handled.
Property tax Appraisals
Texan's property taxes have increased $20billion dollars under Governor Abbott and Comptroller Hegar. The Comptroller’s office oversees property tax appraisals for public school purposes. Texas’ loopholes give un-earned breaks to huge corporations, leaving us regular homeowners and small business owners with the bill. Work with the Legislature to close the loophole.
Corporations also take advantage of property tax abatements (10 years of free property taxes) through a contract with the Comptroller in which the corporation promises to provide x-number of jobs. Verify compliance on corporate public school property tax abatements (giveaways). “Claw back” onto the appraisal rolls if terms are not met.
While homestead exemptions help homeowners reduce their property tax bill, the exemption does nothing to lower the cost for renters or small businesses.
Investigate appraisal methodology to make sure it’s being fairly implemented.
I am very concerned about the current Comptroller using rule-making authority to hide compliance details on property tax corporate giveaways. Only after a primary challenge did he reverse course. Further, I am concerned that the Comptroller Hegar accepted a $100,000 campaign contribution from the company that profited the most during Winter Storm Uri, then granted the donor 10 years free property tax.
Legalize/Decriminalize adult-use recreational cannabis
Texas needs a new revenue stream to reduce property tax, fund education, health (& mental health) care, and public safety. A growing number of states are bringing in revenue by legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use. The industry is mature enough to have established best practices, which should be incorporated.
Conservative estimates indicate $1 billion in new state revenue would be realized from legalization. The key is stipulating what % of that money funds public education, etc. in the enabling legislation.
Decriminalization saves the state $300 million in criminal justice costs and saves local property taxes. Licensing fees from the different areas of the cannabis industry is sufficient to fund enforcement. Distributing licenses for the new businesses should formally consider which communities have been most harmed by the decades-long marijuana incarceration protocol and the resulting impact of felony marijuana convictions on housing, jobs and families.
Broadband internet is a utility. Help bring broadband and its revenue stream to rural Texas.
Reliable broadband expands economic, health and educational opportunities for rural communities.
The Comptroller’s office houses the Broadband Development Office, which awards grants and low-interest loans. Glenn Hegar has said that if you need (internet) access, you'll take a gravel road. I disagree. I've tried to go fast on a gravel road. We need high speed internet access.
Work with local governments and cooperatives to provide broadband through the government or coop keep broadband costs low and provide a revenue stream to the local entity.
This may need a legislative change, since the Republican-lead legislature forbade local governments to provide internet after a northern Texas city did so successfully.
Expand Medicaid - comprehensive mental and physical healthcare
For over a decade, the public has been told that "Texas cannot afford" to expand Medicaid to ~2 million adult Texans. The fact of the matter is that Texas is spending MORE to offer less.
Right now, the only adults Texas covers under Medicaid are pregnant people, disabled people (who sometimes have to wait 20 years for approval) and very low-income elderly people. With no preventive care, indigent people have no preventive care. When they end up in the emergency room, that care is paid from our local property taxes.
Additionally, the state is currently spending $100 million dollars more in state tax dollars to deny coverage than we would to expand Medicaid for comprehensive mental and physical health care for ~2 million adult Texans.
Expanding Medicaid will have a tremendous effect on our economy.
Advocate to expand health care to the ~2 million Texans who qualify under federal rules for Medicaid. This would also add half a million jobs and bring in an estimated $45 billion to our state economy.
Public School Teachers
Our students are our future. Pay Texas public school teachers a decent wage. Most Texas teachers have no social security coverage, meaning that when they retire, they are surviving only on TRS, which has not seen a COLA (cost of living adjustment) in 18 years --since the Tea Party Republicans took control.
Additionally, the current Comptroller is wasting between $300 million and $½ billion of state pension funds by “playing politics” on who can invest the funds.
“Draw a line in the sand” and start covering social security for our public-school employees.
Reverse Comptroller Hegar's state ban on businesses that diversified their energy portfolio to instead prioritize the Comptroller's fiduciary responsibility and protect pension funds. Our retired public employees need a COLA.
Ethics, Integrity, Independence
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts oversees procurement. I don't like paying taxes, so when I see our taxes misspent, misused, or misappropriated, I ticks me off.
When Governor Abbot wanted to give a $46 million no-bid contract to a firm (whose price, by the way, was twice the cost of a previously bid project), our current Comptroller, Glenn Hegar, let him do it. Hegar then accepted a $50,000 campaign contribution from the owner of the firm. This sure does appear to be a kick-back. In Texas, this seems to be "business as usual." In most states, this would be a felony punishable with a fine and penitentiary time.
Ethics, integrity and the absence of conflicts of interest - whether real or apparent - matter. The Comptroller's office requires state employees who participate in purchasing to complete ethics training - and to renew that training on a regular basis. Texas should hold its elected officials to the same - or a higher - standard as its employees.
Fiduciary Duty over Texas Trusts
The current Comptroller, Glenn Hegar, has taken the extraordinary -and unethical- position of voiding his fiduciary duty over the investment of Texas pension funds by forbidding the "boycott" of oil and gas and enforcing a statute of the 87th Texas Legislature. "Boycott" is not defined in the statute. "Normal course of business" is exempted. His actions will waste between $300 million and $1/2 billion in pension earning, when our teachers and state employees have not seen a COLA in almost 20 years.
Privacy & Body Autonomy
Like most Texans, I don't want the government in my personal business. I do not want the government in my doctor's office and I sure as heck do not want the government in my bedroom.
As I traveled across Texas, I heard this story almost everywhere I went: pregnant people are presenting themselves at Emergency rooms, actively miscarrying -- and are being denied medical care until their condition becomes life threatening.
Never forget that Comptroller Hegar began filing abortion ban bills back when he was a Texas Rep. This year, he got his wish. He's now setting his sights on the LGBTQ+ community. He publicly proclaimed on his Republican Convention stage that a fight against trans kids' rights "is a fight worth dying for."
We have world-class medical facilities and medical professional here in Texas. Government has no business inserting itself between doctor and patient.
All Texans deserve respect, privacy and body autonomy without government trying to tell us what we can and cannot do with ourselves.
Fix the Grid & Lead in Energy Innovation
The Comptroller oversees the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), which oversees renewable energy and alternative fuels. Texas leads the world in oil and gas and leads the country in wind energy. Let’s expand the market and lead the world in energy innovation. This means new good jobs with good benefits.
Innovate! One idea is to work with local governments to implement bi-directional electric vehicles to meet fleet needs – and feed energy to the government’s building, to the supporting utility, to the grid. We have two-times the amount of renewable storage just in Nisson Leaf passenger vehicles – and more bi-directional vehicles are coming onto the market. Save utility costs, fuel costs while growing renewable storage.
Work with stakeholders to standardize fast electric vehicle chargers across all brands and work with TxDOT to space along Texas highways.
Air & Water Pollution
Doing nothing about methane emissions is costing us billions of dollars with each climate caused disaster. Texas is a super-emitter of methane, one of the leading causes of our changing climate.
Methane is fuel. Fuel is money. Capture methane on state-owned land to increase profits and increase severance taxes while curbing the root cause of climate change and climate caused disasters.
Water is Texas' greatest economic asset. The Rio Grande ran dry this year for the first time on record. Crops failed and herds sold at a loss because water was so scarce.
Water is precious, yet our state officials allow an unregulated 700 gallons/minute of radioactive (with the properties of nuclear waste) brine to poison the surface water and ground water in West Texas FOR 20 YEARS. This unchecked 700 gal/min is still flowing. This is "Lake Boehmer."
Plug the orphaned toxic water wells that started out as oil wells that the Railroad Commission refuses to touch -- then pursue operators to recover costs.