A taxpayer champion and member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, State Rep. Matt Shaheen announced recently that he plans on continuing the battles for reform that were thwarted in the 85th Texas Legislature by the liberal coalition that governed the Texas House.
In previous sessions, conservative legislation has been blocked from coming to the House floor due to intentional obstruction by House Speaker Joe Straus and his allies.
A social and fiscal conservative, Shaheen previously served on the Collin County Commissioners Court prior to being elected a House Representative. Since his election, Shaheen has focused on grassroots issues; filing and coauthoring bills to lower property taxes, protect life, and ensure Texans’ Second Amendment rights are not infringed.
Last session, Shaheen authored upwards of 60 bills and while none of them passed outright, a number were carried wholly or substantially by other members and passed into law.
One of the issues Shaheen says he will focus on will be property tax reform, by requiring taxpayers’ consent on property tax increases.
Though his legislation died in the regular and special sessions, Shaheen submitted an amendment to State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)’s property tax reform legislation to strengthen it with his ideas and further decrease the rate by which local governments could raise taxes without securing voter approval.
The amendment failed as liberal Republicans voted with Democrats to scuttle the measure, but Shaheen hopes that with House Speaker Joe Straus out of the picture (and a number of his allies joining him in “retirement”) the will of the grassroots will prevail this time.
Shaheen also plans to focus on defunding wealth redistributionist incentive programs, saying one of his legislative goals is to abolish the state’s film subsidy program and the Texas Film Commission altogether.
The Film Commission has come under scrutiny in recent years for failing to attract any meaningful investment in Texas’ film industry and being a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Shaheen has been endorsed by a litany of conservative advocacy groups such as Texas Right to Life, Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Eagle Forum, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. He will face Democrat Sharon Hirsch in November general election.