Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO –Regarding some of the challenges facing the 85th Texas Legislature, State Representative, Drew Darby, likened it to “a spaghetti western, there’s going to be some good, there’s going to be some bad, there’s going to be some downright ugly; and that’s what we had, a lot of conflict,” said Rep. Darby.

Darby who was the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce’ speaker at Tuesday’s luncheon, in his Legislative update, outlined some of those challenges.

Left-to-right: Bill Stephens of Texas Alliance of Energy, Rep. Darby and Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association. Rep. Darby was presented the Legislative Champion Award at Tuesday's San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.
Photo courtesy of Laura Lewis, Vice President of Member Relations, Chamber of Commerce

“Number one, we didn’t have the revenue stream that we had to fund all of the state’s functions,” he said. “We had money allocated, resources for transportation which everyone did through proposition six and one. There was also a reduction in business taxes that was collected. And, we also gave people a $10,000 additional home setting exemption, which has consequences,” stated Darby.

That $10,000 exemption cost the State, about $1.6 billion dollars; Darby further commented that the Legislature was able to fund education, fund growth in education and help on some mental health issues. 

Even though it was a pretty good session, there was some bad to go along with it. Rep. Darby stated that the number one priority that is brought up the most is property taxes.

“People are concerned about rising property taxes and rightfully so; I want to make a difference in lower, property taxes.”

Rep. Darby commented that the only way to do that is for the Legislature to tackle school finance. “We need to take that school funding formula, wad it up, start with a blank sheet of paper and figure out what does it take to educate kids in this state.” “Build a model that it takes to fund and properly educate students throughout the State of Texas; and then let’s figure out a way to pay for it.” 

Darby stated that one thing that came out of the Legislative special session was a commission which was set up to look at the issue. It was tasked with the responsibility of figuring out the best way to fund schools here in the State.

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