State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) took to social media this week to promote himself as a vigorous supporter of property tax reform.
In the self-congratulatory post, Paddie takes credit for cutting taxes in the 84th Legislature (2015), and “helping” pass a bill that gave some taxpayers the right to vote on tax increases.
However, Paddie neglects to inform his readers that the bill he “helped” with his final vote was watered down in committee, exempting many entities from several of its provisions, undoing a strong four-percent rollback rate, and removing a critical opt-in provision that would have empowered taxpayers to vote themselves the same protections other Texans would enjoy.
In fact, Paddie not only helped the fraudulent version of the bill advance, he actively worked against conservative fixes to the measure.
First, he voted against an amendment to the bill, offered by State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), to reinstate the bill’s original four-percent rollback rate. Bringing the rollback rate back down to this level would have triggered many more such elections, giving a voice to property owners statewide who are being taxed out of their homes.
Then, on third reading of the same reform package, Paddie voted in favor of a motion to call the previous question. In doing so, he sealed the fate of meaningful property tax reform until 2019 at earliest. The motion killed all further debate on the bill and brought forward its then-neutered form for final passage.
In this version, he found a bill he could support while cloaking himself in the mantle of a taxpayer champion. Dead, as a result of Paddie aligning with Democrats and House leadership, were amendments that would have remedied the damage done to the bill in the House committee.
Voters in east Texas’ House District 9, and across the state for that matter, can’t be kept in the dark much longer. These types of obfuscation tactics that once ruled the day are becoming increasingly difficult to perpetrate, thanks to improved networking and communication, enhanced voter engagement, and experienced watchdog groups.
Paddie earned a failing score of 42 on Empower Texans’ 2017 Fiscal Responsibility Index and has a career “F” rating.