Paul On The Issues

Click on a topic to find out more about Paul’s positions on the issues that are important to House District 47 and to Texas

CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS

I will defend our Constitutional freedoms against those who believe the Constitution is a “living” document and are slowly eroding our freedoms guaranteed by that Constitution. For a hundred years all three branches of the Federal government are complicit in the theft of states’ rights and individual freedoms. We cannot allow this to go on and the state legislature has a significant role to play in making sure it stops.

I will push back against Washington mandates that are taking away Texas’ 10th Amendment rights afforded in the Constitution. I authored a Joint Resolution which demanded that the Federal government respect the tenth amendment. My resolution along with some others were rolled into a single document that was passed by both houses of the legislature to demand states’ rights.

I am a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment and believe that it guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. I have received and “A” rating and am an endowed life member of the NRA. I supported SB 321 which allows gun owners to carry their firearm in their vehicle to their place of business. I will resist ANY attempt at restricting the ownershihp of personal firearms.

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EDUCATION

Education, like water, elicits great passion…and well it should. Providing the best possible education for our children and young adults is critical to developing a skilled workforce for the future, and ensuring Texas is a state of opportunity for generations to come.

First, we must solve the funding problem. The number one complaint I hear from you is that “Robin Hood” is unfair. And I agree on this. The challenge, of course, is coming up with a funding solution which first passes the constitutional mandate to provide a “public free education” and then satisfies the courts.

Next we must provide for educational opportunities for those students who do not wish to attend college. There is still a great need for a skilled workforce and for too long, we have ignored those students who want to enter the work force. I will continue to work to establish more technical training opportunities. I call it “Life Preparedness”.

Then we must ensure that we direct more dollars into the classroom where the teaching actually occurs. We also need to invest more in math and science, ensuring our students have the skills they need for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

Finally, I support a parent’s right to homeschool their children without fear of retribution from the government, whether that government is the state or local school board.

I also support charter schools and filed HB 1087 during the 82nd Legislative session to remove the limit on the number of charters the State Board of Education can issue.

Education, both public and higher education, did take a hit this session as a result of the budget shortfall. In the end most school districts will receive 5-6% less from the state than the funding formula calls for.

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FISCAL DISCIPLINE

One of my chief goals upon entering the legislature was to protect the tax-paying citizens of Texas. Although we must have compassion for those less fortunate, we must not forget the taxpayer who must pay for the services required to help those people who are in need of help. I was awarded the designation of “Taxpayer Champion by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and I will continue to fight to keep Texas “open for business”.

Families and businesses are tightening their belts in these tough economic times and our government should too. How can we tell people who have been out of work sometimes for two or more years that we are sorry you can’t find a job, but by the way, we’re going to raise your taxes? We can’t. This made it extra hard this session as we tried very hard to balance a budget without hurting essential services.

The 82nd Legislature faced an unprecedented shortfall of over $25 billion. The business revenue tax (known as the franchise tax) did not meet projections and came up $2 billion short. Because the economy was bad, sales taxes were way off.

We passed a very conservative, streamlined budget of $172.3 billion for the next two years. We did so without using any of the Rainy Day Fund for new expenditures, although we did use $3.2 billion to cover existing bills for the biennium that ends August 31. The last biennial budget was $187.5 billion; we reduced the size of government by more than 8 percent — and reduced the state’s budget for the first time since World War II.

We also addressed the real need to reform health care, Medicaid, and get costs under control. We addressed the solvency issues surrounding the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association as hurricane season gets underway. And we passed bills to help school districts operate more efficiently.

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HEALTHCARE

We have many great doctors in Texas and that is due in part to our landmark tort reform that was passed in 2003. Limiting frivolous lawsuits has kept our doctors here and brought new doctors to our state, at the same time preventing the trial lawyers from standing between you and your doctor.

I am opposed to federally run healthcare, known as “Obamacare.” This program alone will add an additional unfunded mandate on the state of Texas of $27 billion over ten years.

Market-based solutions that protect patients’ choices, provide affordable options, encourage prevention and allow for innovation and competition are the best possible reforms to our health care system.

As a small business owner, I know the great expense of providing healthcare to your employees. Exploring options such as insurance pools with other small businesses would be a great first step in bringing down the cost of health care coverage, instead the federal government deciding it is the solution.

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IMMIGRATION & THE BORDER

Immigration first and foremost is a federal issue and should be solved at the federal level. However, the federal government has failed in its responsibility and Texas has the right and responsibility to take action.

The border must be secured immediately to stop the flow of crime and drugs into our communities by cutting off smuggling routes for narco-traffickers, international gangs and human traffickers. Texas must invest in more manpower, more equipment and strategic technology to create virtual fencing to support our law enforcement along the border.

Once the border is secure, we should have a national dialogue to determine the best solutions for reforming our immigrations laws. I oppose amnesty for those who broke our laws and entered our country illegally. Illegal immigration has a significant negative effect on our economy, health and social services and we must lessen the impact created from this unlawful environment.

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JOBS & SMALL BUSINESS

I have spent 25 years in south Travis County, 18 of those years as the owner and founder of a commercial construction company that provides livelihoods for Central Texas families, and contributes to our tax base. I will continue to be mindful of the taxpayers who pay for government programs — not just those who benefit from government services.

I have a long, established record of fighting lawsuit abuse as a member of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse-Central Texas. As a former president of the Austin Rotary and a leader in our local business community, I know what it takes to create jobs and opportunity in District 47 to help our economy rebound. I will work to expand tax incentives for communities with higher than average unemployment rates. We must also lower taxes, control spending, and reduce burdensome regulations so small businesses can grow and prosper.

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NATURAL RESOURCES

Central Texas is one of the most beautiful spots in the nation, in part because of our wonderful natural resources. This includes our open areas, parks, the hill country, good clean air and great lakes. I live on ten acres in the Hill Country and treasure these great natural resources. I pledge to do my part to preserve our natural resources for generations to follow. Water is a topic which yields great emotion all over Texas…it is no different here. Whether you’re talking about surface water, lake levels, ground water, water wells or water rates, emotions run high.

As you know, Texas is facing record drought conditions that could, because of the effects of a longer than average “La Nina” cycle, continue for some time. Unless we receive significant rainfall soon, I would anticipate that in the upcoming legislative session water will be a highly contentious issue. We will have to make difficult decisions and explore new ideas to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population. Our citizens, legislators, and state agencies will have to come up with creative solutions such as desalinization plants along the coast, additional reservoirs and rerouting water from areas where water may be plentiful to areas of need . The challenge will be how to pay for these solutions in a time of economic stress.

According to LCRA, Central Texas has enough surface water to last for some 50 years with only minimal conservation efforts and with additional measures that can be stretched to nearly 100 years. I support incentive based conservation measures for individuals, such as a tax credit for rainwater harvesting, grey water use and state of the art individual septic systems. I have built my own rainwater harvesting system and capture, to the extent it rains, much of the water we need. In some cases, it may be appropriate that commercial users be required to meet certain conservation efforts. Rice farmers downstream will have to conserve more.

The highland lakes are an important part of central Texas in many ways, not the least of which is the economic boost it gives to our area. I favor a change in legislation which will require LCRA to factor in the economic value of the lakes when deciding the amount of draw down for downstream uses and flood control.

Small public and private water systems serving a captive set of residents are subject to rate scrutiny just as large systems are. There needs to be a way for small water systems to decide water rates without an expensive rate fight. I introduced legislation in 2011 which would provide for just such a mechanism and I hope that I can work again on this issue in 2013.

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SANCTITY OF LIFE

I continue to be amazed that there really is still some debate about life in the womb. Technology has proven that once those first cells divide life has begun. Given that, I cannot comprehend how people still insist that abortion is some right given only to women who do not wish to carry a child to term. I believe that life begins at conception and continues until natural death and that government should not interfere with life at any stage, except to protect it. I believe we must protect the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn. If were in my power, I would repeal Row v. Wade immediately. Absent of that, I support parental consent and notification laws, prohibitions on partial birth abortion and a ban on all government funding of abortion. I am a member of the Leadership Circle of the Texas Alliance for Life and was actively involved in the founding of the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center.

During my first term in the Texas House, I voted for all measures to support the sonogram bill, I voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and I will fight in future sessions to eliminate the scourge of abortion from our society.

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