Texas Scorecard asked Texas Freedom Caucus members to give insight as to why they voted for the budget.

I am not happy with this budget—it spends too much money. My mission is significant property tax relief, results-driven funding for public schools, and a leaner budget. In committee, I cast the lone “No” vote against the budget out of 27 members. For weeks I have been publicly vocal in the press and to my colleagues about the budget spending too much. Bottom line: increasing spending in state funds by 14.4% (excluding Hurricane Harvey relief) is too much, and lasting property tax relief has not fully materialized (yet).

Border security funding is maintained, alternatives to abortion received record funding, and public education is rightfully getting the emphasis, but that means we must be leaner in other areas. Will your income grow by 14.4% in the next 2 years? The full House unanimously passed a preliminary budget, and sent it to the Senate where the next phase is underway. The process is far from over. There are big pieces moving in the property tax relief, school finance, and budget equation. We are several weeks away from a final budget vote.

Two things made me vote “Yes” during this second stage of the budget process:

1) For the first time, $2.7 billion of property tax relief was established in the budget by an amendment from fellow Freedom Caucus member Rep. Matt Shaheen; and
2) Between my “no” in committee and direct personal conversations, I believe my voice was heard by the Speaker and Appropriations Committee Chairman about excessive spending.

Members of the Legislature must speak up. I will continue to urge significant property tax relief, and a fiscally responsible budget. All of this remains possible. If you are concerned with the size of state spending and the need for lasting property tax relief and reform, then make your voice heard now.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer is the state representative for House District 6, representing East Texas. Matt Schaefer is a Christian, a husband, and a father. He is married to Jasilyn, who directs the Apache Belles of Tyler Junior College. They are parents to two young children, a daughter Quincy and a son Graham.