Senator Ralph Hall and Representative Dan Flynn spoke to the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Hunt County community leaders during breakfast this morning at the Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Rep. Flynn got a chuckle from the group with his opening quote from Gideon J. Tucker – “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislation is in session.”
“I really appreciate so many people coming down. We’ve had a slow start to our session this year, but we are working hard to address those topics that are important to your area, such as property tax relief and education. It’s a great process and nothing comes easy or quickly in the 142 days we work every two years. However during this time, we are working hard for the people of the great state of Texas,” said Rep. Flynn.
Another light-hearted moment in the room was when Representative Flynn and Senator Hall took a moment for a photo opportunity. Senator Hall then took the floor to address the group.
“I think it’s commendable that the people of Hunt County are here today. Government is about the people and for the people. We all need to work together. We can’t fix problems if we don’t look at them and address them together,” stated Hall.
Hall went on to say, “The more people we have in the process the better. The only thing we have to do during the legislature is set the budget, and the budget has to balance, unlike the federal government. Keep in mind when it comes to the budget we have the Big 3 – Education, Healthcare and then
everything else. 52% of funding goes to Education, 33 percent to healthcare and 15 percent for everything else which includes roads, parks and wildlife, jails, etc.
“We only have a certain amount of money to work with. So when we hear some voters want more money to go to Healthcare, then we have to do one of two things; we can raise taxes, or we can take away funds from some other entity and give it to Healthcare. See how it works? And I am sure none of you want your taxes to go up? When we talk about tax relief, then we are going to need to take away from something else,” said Hall.
There was a brief time for some questions and answers. Dr. Graham Sweeney of Boles ISD asked Senator Hall, “What do you think about teacher pay raises? Are you in favor of the $5000 pay increase?”
“I think it is a shame, we have the biggest challenge of educating our children and not building these large institutions. Half of our students are not reading on grade level and many are taking remedial courses. Our teachers are the lowest paid individuals in the education arena. I think the increase is warranted. However, I would do it differently. I would focus on the top 1/3 of teachers for the full $5,000 pay raise and then do a scaling raise for the rest of educations along with educational resources. I believe this would account for better outcomes of student success.”
Follow us today as we report from the Capitol in Austin on Hunt County Days.