Texas - Legislature - 2014 Special Election - State Senate District 4

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Election
2014 Texas State Senate District 4 Race
State Senate District 4; for an interactive map, go to the District Viewer.
General Election May 10, 2014

Senator Tommy Williams resigned his seat as Texas State Senator for District 4 on October 25, 2013, and Governor Perry called for a special election to be held on May 10, 2014 to fill the seat. The winner of the election will complete the remainder of the 4-year term, which will end in January 2017.

MCTP Endorses - Steve Toth. Representative Toth (HD15) is a quintessential conservative and servant of the people who has far exceeded constituent expectations and impact in the important state house legislative body. See Vetting Summary below for more analysis.

MCTP endorses Steve Toth

Contents

Candidates

Republican

Democrat (none)

Libertarian (none)

Description of the Office

The Texas State Senate is the upper house of the state legislature. It consists of 31 seats, with each seat representing roughly 800,000 people. The legislature meets for 140 days in odd-numbered years and may be called into special sessions as needed.

Major Issues

  • Civil liberties
  • Abortion
  • State debt
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Education

Videos

  • Mo. County Eagle Forum, Candidate Forum - SD-4 Race - Shenandoah,TX - Jan. 23, 2014

Questionnaire

Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
Website www.SteveTothforTexas.com www.gordybunchfortexas.com electgalloway.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SteveTothforTexas https://www.facebook.com/electgalloway
Twitter https://twitter.com/Toth_4_Texas @electgalloway
Family Situation Father of 3. Married for 29 years Married with a beautiful wife and 3 awesome boys! Married to my bride of 29 years Angela. We have two children: Loren 20; Lane 17
Education Rochester Bible College - non degree USCG, SHSU and Montgomery College No formal education beyond high school
Source of Income Local Business Owner TWFG (The Woodlands Financial Group)Self Employed Oil & Gas Producer / Consultant
Church Affiliation & Participation level Pastor/Elder WoodsEdge Community Church
Spring of 2014 will teach at Church Project to 2,000-3,000 on Discipleship
The Woodlands United Methodist Church Christian
Occupational History I had the ability to develop my business, leadership and entrepreneur skills through my positions as North East Regional Director of client services for Johnson & Johnson, as well as in my position as Director of Client Service for the Harris Poll. Following Johnson & Johnson, I had the opportunity to be the Director of Marketing for Apple Orthodontix. Today, along with being a State Representative for House District 15, I run two companies - Acclaim Pools, a design build firm, and My Pool Xpert, a service and repair business in The Woodlands. Self-employed from the age of 16
1. Please explain why you do or do not support the government providing financial benefits and free services to illegal aliens and to other non-citizens. I believe that if the laws on the books were strongly enforces and that taxpayer dollars were not issued to support undocumented or illegal aliens, then illegal aliens would mostly deport themselves. Given nothing here for them to benefit from, I believe they would willfully leave. I support a closed border, employment verification program such as e-verify, and a reform of the current legal immigration program. I support the rule of law and respect the talents and ethics of those who wish to become US citizens the right, legal and American way. Our nation remains a beacon of freedom for people across the world. We recognize that we are a nation founded by immigrants and that continued immigration has helped build and enrich our nation. To that end, the United States allows for over a million legal immigrants a year to enter our country Ð proving we continue to be a welcoming nation to those who follow our laws.
Here in Texas, we have a rich ethnic heritage and blended cultures. I know this well as my mother is of Hispanic origin. But we donÕt think of ourselves as some hyphenated form of American (Hispanic-Americans or Latino-Americans) Ð we think of ourselves as Texans and Americans because that is what we are.
As a Coast Guard veteran, I have served on the front lines to protect our sovereign soil from drug traffickers and human smugglers. I have boarded slave ships bound for our shores and stopped the trafficking before it reached America. Those who break our laws and come here illegally have chosen to live outside the rule of law and their first act upon crossing our borders, was to break the law. We should not reward this by delivering tax-payer benefits or programs to these people as it will only encourage more to break our laws. I know these people were seeking a better way of life, but to do so by violating our laws in the first place is not something we should accept, reward, or tolerate.
As a Christian, I am compelled to provide life-saving emergency care to a fellow human being. Beyond that, illegal aliens or other non-citizens should not receive any financial benefits or free services. It is an undue burden on tax paying citizens.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
2. Do you support or oppose requiring schools, public health departments or any medical personnel to secure consent from a parent or legal guardian before prescribing, dispensing or administering contraceptive drugs or devices to a minor? I support. Too many times lately, you see more restrictions for parents and if they do not like it, they can opt out. I support a more local parent control that allows parents to opt in for these kind of consents if they so choose instead of putting the burden on parents to need to opt out of something they didnÕt want in the first place. I absolutely support parental consent for all medical matters. Children cannot go to the dentist to get a tooth filled without parental consent, so why would we make an exception for other medical procedures or prescription drugs. Support. (The only health services public schools should be allowed to provide are general first-aid and life saving first response procedures such as CPR.)
3. What will be your top 3 priorities during your upcoming term? 1. Legislation to protect Texans from the over reach of the Federal Administration (i.e. Firearm Protection Act, Taxpayer Equitable Funding Act, etc.) 2. Legislation to provide more transparency in state and local government spending 3. Legislation to strengthen parental control for their family and in the classroom Fighting Back Against an Abusive Federal Government: Never before in our history have we seen an Administration so Hell-bent on abusing and expanding its powers beyond what the Constitution allows. As long as Barack Obama is President, a key function and focus of our state government MUST BE to stop overreaching agencies from enforcing mandates, unwanted programs, and stripping the rights of Texans. Whether this is pushing back against ObamaCare, Medicaid expansion, CSCOPE/Common Core, 2nd Amendment restrictions, the EPA, the DOJ or any other agency that seeks to use its powers to harm our state, we must ensure Texas stands strong against this abusive federal government.
Reducing the Tax Burden so Families Keep More of What They Earn: While it is admirable that our state is running multi-billion surpluses for the Rainy-day fund, this is an indication that our tax structure needs to be adjusted so the people earning this money in the first place can keep more of it in their local economies. Whether it is a reduction or elimination of the franchise tax or reducing property tax growth and valuation increases, I am committed to delivering conservative, common-sense solutions that ensure the earnings of Texans stay where they belong Ð in the hands of our hard-working families and businesses.
Reducing Spending by Eliminating Waste and Inefficiencies: Through my experience in the United States Coast Guard and as the founder, President, and CEO of one of the nationÕs leading privately held property and casualty agencies I have learned that any operation can be run more effectively and efficiently. I am proud to note that in the short time I have spent on the board of the Woodlands Township, we have paid down publicly held debt, saved $800,000 on one contract alone, and reduced taxes for our residents Ð this is the same kind of leadership I will bring the state Senate.
Taxation Reform: Taxes derived from income or capital (i.e., property tax and Gross Margins Tax) are inherently evil because they violate the principles of the free market and hinder ownership of private property. Our tax system should be reformed with a focus on end-user consumption. Holding a hard line on state spending at the lesser of population growth plus inflation or the rate of economic growth will aid in this goal. Illegal Immigration: Considering the great burden placed on taxpayers through crime, education, and medical care, illegal immigration is one of the most important issues facing the state. The first step is to secure the border. I would propose a well-regulated, state-sanctioned, self-funded, volunteer Border Guard. In addition to securing the border, we must enforce immigration laws within the interior of the state by requiring enforcement of immigration laws and detainment of illegal aliens at all levels of law enforcement, from the state level all the way down to the local level. Term Limits: The institution of term limits would reduce the power of the lobby, provide for more balanced distribution of power, and eliminate entrenched politicians.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
4. Please list at least two improvements that can be legislated to prevent the abuses of Special Purpose Districts by developers and discuss your commitment to promote these improvements. Texas is number 2 in the nation in local debt per capita, second only to New York. Texas ranks 5th highest in the nation when you combine local and state debt together. Our Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has published many excellent resources and information on the current condition of our state and local finances through TexasTransparency.org/YourMoney. I highly recommend visiting that site and the materials she has provided.
First, to promote the transparency of local debt issued by Special Purpose Districts, I would require the disclosure of the current per capita debt load and the anticipated per capita debt load if a measure was passed. I would also require disclosure of the proportion of the entity's budget which goes to service debt, as well as the anticipated tax rate increase or decrease, and a comparison the tax and debt rates of other similar debt issuing entities around the State. For instance, this would compare Montgomery County to another county similar in size, population, and economic output. As an example, Tarrant County debt obligation is $180 per person while Montgomery County's is over $1,000.
Second, the people who are impacted by the tax must be allowed to participate in the vote. Special Purpose Tax Districts are the worst form of taxation without representation. This must stop. Also, elections for the board and new taxes must take place on even election years in November to insure greater voter turnout.
All public debt should be approved by those expected to repay it. RUDÕs and other SPDÕs issue bonds voted by few that turnaround and tax others to pay off those debts. Restricting for profit originations from controlling SPDÕs or expanding whom can vote for their boards and bonds would be a start.
Certificate of obligations should be restricted to emergencyÕs that are defined not subjective. Hurricane, Tornado, Drought, Riots, Forest Fires etc. There is too much abused issuances of Certificate of obligations to go around the voters.
Require a minimum number of eligible voters inside the district and prohibit use of revenue for non-public purposes. Will introduce legislation to do same.
5. Please define your position on abortion restrictions and fully explain why. I am the only candidate in this race who is endorsed by Texas Right To Life. We must continue to uphold the principle that every human being, born and unborn, young and old, healthy and disabled, has a fundamental, individual right to life. We must assert that no human being, born or unborn, can be considered the property of another, and we repudiate the Roe v. Wade decision which presumed to give some individuals the so-called "right" to terminate the life of others. This is why during the 83rd Second Called Legislative Session, as a House Member, I supported and helped shepherd HB 2. This bill requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, allows abortions only in surgical centers, and bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. I am pro-life with a single exception and that is to save the life of the mother. I believe that life begins at conception and every life has a soul Ð we must promote policies that protect innocent life so that he or she has the opportunity to live as God intended. I am opposed to abortion. I believe it is morally wrong.
6. Do you support spousal benefits for same-sex partners of state employees? Why? What measures can Texas take to ensure the preservation of traditional family values and what is your commitment to fight for those measures? No. I support and believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and a women. Today, 40% of all children are born outside marriage (over 70 percent among black Americans). The easy attitude about divorce is fully ingrained in the public conscience. Broken homes only perpetuate further brokenness, ensnaring all in an endless cycle of poverty and government dependency. The welfare state increasingly steps in to fill the role of absent parent: government means-tested assistance providing cash, food, housing, medical care and social services to poor and low-income single parents. This approach cost the taxpayers more in the long run and, by trapping recipients in a never ending cycle of dependency, hurts those the programs are intended to help. In this campaign, I am honored to be endorsed by leaders of the pro-family conservative movement in Texas including Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum; Michelle Smith with Concerned Women for America of Texas; David Barton of WallBuilders, and Rick Green with the Torch of Freedom Foundation. Traditional families are the bedrock of our communities and lead to healthier children, better education, and a stronger state. As a State Senator, I would work to pass policies that recognize the critical importance of families to our state and ensure our focus is to incent and encourage the growth of families. Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution prohibits political subdivisions from creating a legal status of domestic partnership and recognizing that status by offering public benefits based upon it. I am strongly opposed to benefits for same-sex partners. First and foremost, this would violate the principle of marriage being between a man and a woman. In addition, it imposes an unwarranted expense upon the taxpayers.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
7. Do you support or oppose specifying in law that parents have the right to withdraw their children from public school programs that present material contradicting their personal, moral or religious beliefs? I support. I believe in strong parental control in the classroom. Parents have the right to view curriculum and material presented in the classroom. Like my 'CSCOPE Transparency Act , passed in the 83rd Legislative Session, information that is presented to our children should be reviewed and deemed appropriate by the parents. I am also the only candidate in this race endorsed by the Tim Lambert, President of the Texas Home School Coalition, a group which works to ensure that parents have the final say in the education of their children. I absolutely support the rights of parents to educate their children as they see fit, whether that is in a public school setting, homeschool, private, or charter school. The fact is this, we need more families involved in Parent Teacher organizations to help our schools and teachers as well as to hold our schools accountable for materials and professionalism in educating children. It is no secret that schools with higher parent/family involvement have better performing students Ð that is a fundamental relationship for parents to have in their childÕs life. And, if it is the determination of the parents that a particular school environment is harmful to their child or their beliefs, the parents must retain the right to remove that child. Support.
8. Please fully describe what methods of funding roads in Texas you will support and oppose, and give your reasoning. Please discuss all revenue sources, tax diversions, tolls, and debt. I am a proponent of our "pay as you go" system of road planning and construction. In the early 1980's, transportation made up over 12% of our State budget, now it comes close to 8%. This decline has been occurring for the last thirty years. I support truth in taxation in that taxes paid for gas, vehicle sales, and other transportation related purchases ought to go towards transportation funding. It is a budgeting sham to take money from the gas tax and fill a "budget shortfall," though we know the State does not have a tax revenue problem but a spending problem. Shortchanging the next generation of Texas road infrastructure is irresponsible. Prolonged shortchanging of our infrastructure financing has led to Texas having the highest road debt of any State. It has also led to a system that encourages debt and toll road financing measures to pay for roads that were already paid for. I do not think we need new or different taxes to pay for our roads and infrastructure needs; instead, we need to better prioritize our State budget to match the principles and needs of Texas now and moving forward. The most important means to help fix the current shortfalls we are experiencing in transportation funding is to stop the diversions of gas taxes that are helping to pay for the general budget as opposed to the purpose they were intended Ð road, bridge, and maintenance construction. It has been estimated that $1 billion per biennium is diverted Ð we need to stop this immediately and put these funds where they were intended. In order to then help bridge the gap between the funds we would have available versus what is needed to meet the growing transportation demands, we could begin to phase in the use of existing motor vehicle sales taxes toward our road construction needs. Road funding should be user based (i.e., gas tax, tolls, license & permit fees). All diversions of dedicated funds must be approved by the voters of the state. Debt should be limited to projects funded by tolls.
9. What differentiates you from your opponents? Texas has plenty of candidates that claim to be conservative. If every Texas Republican was truly a conservative, the budget would be half the size that it is today. The reason that conservative groups across Texas have lined up to endorse me is because my leadership style in the House has been that of an activist and not merely a conservative in word only. I am a fighter and it's going to take fighters to save and preserve Texas for future generations. Through my experiences as a decorated veteran of the United States Coast Guard, founder, President and CEO of one of the largest privately held property and casualty agencies in the nation, and most recently as an elected board member of the Woodlands Township, I believe I am uniquely qualified to offer limited government and pro growth solutions that will strengthen our families and small businesses. Our state and our district deserve to have a Senator who has not only helped protect our sovereign soil but has had the entrepreneurial spirit to help in the creation of thousands of jobs for Texas families. I served 4 years in the Texas Senate representing this district. I have a strong record of standing up for the
conservative values of this district. In 1995, I abolished the financially corrupt Lamar University System and
fought the EPA and TNRCC to remove Southeast Texas from the onerous auto emissions testing program. In
1997, as the holdout vote, I killed the expansion of the business tax and forced the return of $1 billion in
surplus funds to taxpayers. I have twice passed from the Senate legislation preventing the expansion of
municipalities through forced annexation and have fought and voted for across the board cuts in state
spending. I was one of only a hand full of Senators to have a 100% attendance record and was consistently
ranked as the lowest spender in the Texas Senate.
10. Do you support or oppose limiting the power of eminent domain to public works purposes? I support limiting the power of eminent domain to public works or any purpose. Though with good intentions, any subversion to property rights decreases the rights of the individual and thus decreases the overall level of liberty and freedom in the land. Our society is built upon trust and the voluntary action of the individual and I do not see how the usage of the power of the State to confiscate property for the "public good" promotes individual freedom and liberty. Though the project may be for the good of the public, we should respect the God given rights of the individual to own their property and be safe in it, and not trample upon them for the convenience of "the public." Win-wins are out there, but sometimes they take a little work in finding. This is a very personal issue for me. My dad lost his business to eminent domain. Eminent Domain is government sponsored tyranny. A TexanÕs private property is sacrosanct and must be protected. Yes, we should limit the power of eminent domain to ensure it is used infrequently, provides proper compensation, and cannot be abused by the state, municipalities, or developers. Support.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
11. Do you support or oppose allowing per-pupil spending state education funds to follow students to schools their parents choose? Yes. TexasÕ constitution requires an ÒefficientÓ system of public education. I support the idea that free markets have demonstrated that monopolies are inefficient, and that competition drives efficiencies. I would support a more free market approach to our public education system. Given competition, both the teachers and the students would benefit.
Along with the free market competition process, school choice programs would allow for more parent involvement and flexibility on education choices for their family. Local family control can be a positive community asset.
There are a number of districts and schools in our state that are absolutely failing to educate our children and prepare a future workforce for Texas. I am in favor of expanding options for our families to escape failing schools and would support allowing school choice programs to be part of that effort. Support. I believe a voucher program would add an element of the free market to our education system, ultimately improving the quality and lowering cost.
12. Do you support implementing term limits for all elective offices? Yes. I support this provided that it impacts ALL offices. The Legislature attempted to pass a bill this year implementing term limits for all statewide offices and then at the last minute exempted themselves. I support no more than 12 years for all elected office holders. Fundamentally, we already have term limits Ð they are called elections. Nevertheless, I recognize that we need to have new people, with new ideas serving as citizen legislators for a period of time and then going home. Elected office should not be a life-long career and that is why I would support passing laws to establish term limits for elective office. I strongly support term limits. In fact, I sponsored this legislation in both sessions in which I served. It is ironic that since gaining a Republican majority in both houses of the legislature, this issue has fallen off the radar. I support this measure to ensure a balance of power and provide for more equal representation within our republic. For example, if one legislator from one part of the state has seniority, they have greater amount of power and influence over laws that are passed. Likewise, if a legislator from another part of the state is a freshman, that legislator has far less power and influence. Therefore, the people being represented do not have equal say in legislative agenda. The longer an elected official is in office, the more contributions they receive from the lobby and special interests. As a result, these officials become greatly entrenched and difficult to defeat. Term limits would balance power and ensure more equal representation.
13. Do you support or oppose a State Income Tax? Strongly oppose. The U.S. Income tax began in 1913 with the lowest rate of 1% of income and highest bracket of 7%. The lowest bracket rate has fluctuated from 1%-23% while the highest bracket has fluctuated from 7%-94% over the years. It is especially egregious to take proportionally more money from those who have worked hard to earn more to pay for government services and handouts for the relative masses. I wholeheartedly oppose a state income tax and further believe our taxpayers and businesses deserve further relief. When our state is growing billions of dollars in surplus tax revenue, it is an indication we are over-paying. That is why I will support reforms to ensure Texas families are keeping more of what they earn. Oppose. Taxation on income or capital is inherently evil and detrimental to economic growth.
14. What firearm and carry restrictions should Texas government require of citizens? Why? None. I fully believe and support US citizens having the constitutional right to own and bear arms. Recently, Americans have found our individual personal freedoms are under attack. As a House Member during the 83rd Legislative Session, I wanted to ensure our personal 2nd Amendment freedoms were protected by filing HB 1076 the ÒFirearm Protection ActÓ. HB 1076 would make any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the stateÕs boundaries. Any municipality, county, or special district trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face monetary holdings by the state and misdemeanor charges under this proposal. This bill did not pass through the final Senate floor process; however, it will be one of my priorities in the 84th Legislative Session. Many law enforcement officers have realistic concerns over either obeying federal law or mandate that would call them to infringe on citizens 2nd Amendment rights. HB 1076 answered their concerns by protecting our local officers from the inability to protect our Texas citizens in the event an unconstitutional mandate is passed by this Federal Administration. As a CHL license holder and trained marksman, I am an adamant supporter of the 2nd Amendment as written Ò. . .shall not be infringed.Ó I would support open carry and campus carry. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms is a fundamental right in our US and State Constitution. This right of our Law Abiding Citizens should not be infringed.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
15. Will you vote to prohibit the use of state funds to teach immigrants in their native languages, instead of English (so-called bilingual education)? Yes. Though I am a grandson of an immigrant, I support the teaching and rearing of all citizens of Texas as Texans, language and all. People immigrate to the United States and specifically Texas because they want the opportunity to provide a better future for their families than the land in which they came from. Those immigrants, in moving to the Texas, become Texans by choice. They choose to join our culture and history and partner with all other Texans to build their futures. If my family decided to move to Hungary, we would take our history and culture and transplant it into the Hungarian culture, not expect Hungarians to change their culture to facilitate us moving there. Yes, I will vote to prohibit the use of funds for bi-lingual education. Bi-lingual education has been a failure. Immersion, phonics, and concentrations on English are the best ways to help students learn English and become proficient in the language of our country. It is critical for the success of these students in school and after school to have a firm command of the English language. I strongly oppose such use of state funds. Immersion should be the standard in our public schools.
16. Please describe your views on gambling as a funding source for education and other budget items, and whether gambling should be expanded or reduced along with the reasons supporting your viewpoint. Some Texans have proposed legislation and/or amendments to expand the footprint of legalized gambling with the claim that it will generate new revenues into state government. Others, however, note that states with legalized gambling have much higher costs-of-government, larger economic problems, and that gambling has failed to provide the revenues needed to off-set the higher costs of law enforcement, social services and regulation. I fully oppose any legislation or process that would lead to the expansion of gambling in Texas. I support reducing gambling in Texas all together. In the 83rd Legislative Session, HB 2197 was brought to the legislature and was the sunset commission review in order to continue the Texas Lottery Commission. Not only did HB 2197 continue the Texas Lottery Commission it also expanded the board and increased the commissionsÕ ability to approve fee and rate increases. I voted against the continuation of the commission and their expanded authority. While the legislation failed to pass the first time, a second vote was taken to reconsider the vote that failed. The chamber received enough votes to reconsider the failing of HB2197 and in turn, the bill passed upon the second vote. I voted nay on all accounts and would have liked to see the bill fail. I do not believe in and would not support expansion of gambling for our state. We have a growing economy built on sound businesses that are creating real job opportunities for our families. To continue to grow TexasÕ economy and tax base, our focus should be on strengthening our infrastructure, improving educational opportunities for our children, and maintaining a low tax, light regulatory structure that incentivizes companies to start up or re-locate to Texas. I am opposed to gambling as a source of government revenue. The state should not be in the business of promoting gambling or other vices.
17. Please list the top issues where you oppose federal government intrusion into Texans' lives and how you intend to oppose such intrusion. Recently, Americans have found our individual personal freedoms are under attack. During the 83rd Legislative Session, I wanted to ensure our personal 2nd Amendment freedoms were protected by filing HB 1076 the ÒFirearm Protection ActÓ. HB 1076 would make any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the stateÕs boundaries. Any municipality, county, or special district trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face monetary holdings by the state and misdemeanor charges under this proposal. This bill did not pass through the final Senate floor process, however, it will be one of my priorities in the 84th Legislative Session. Many law enforcement officers have realistic concerns over either obeying federal law or mandate that would call them to infringe on citizens 2nd Amendment rights. HB 1076 answered their concerns by protecting our local officers from the inability to protect our Texas citizens in the event an unconstitutional mandate is passed by this Federal Administration.
Whether it is the issue of Obamacare, EPA regulations threatening Texas jobs, liberal education mandates from Washington, D.C., or any other threat to Texas managing our own affairs, I will be there to fight back.
ObamaCare Ð As a business-owner subject to the mandates of this destructive law and as someone who has sold health-care insurance products to individuals, I know first-hand how devastating ObamaCare is to families, businesses, and our economy. We need to educate as many people as possible about how ObamaCare is not about healthcare - it is about government control and is ObamaÕs massive social-engineering program designed to steal the earnings from one set of people in order to pass it on to another set. Medicaid Expansion Ð As a State Senator I will vote against any expansion of Medicaid availability or qualifications Ð this program is overburdened as it is and I will not further indebt our state with more big-government healthcare policies. Failure to Protect Our Borders and Enforce Immigration Laws Ð The federal government is an abject failure when it comes to protecting our sovereign soil. We must work to help our border sheriffs, the Department of Public Safety officers, and expand the manpower we have dedicated to policing our southern counties and cities most affected by drug smuggling and illegal immigration. I would also work to encourage cities to develop and participate in programs like the Criminal Alien Program or 287g.
EPA Regulations Blocking Water Reservoirs and Stopping the Keystone Pipeline
Healthcare, Environmental Law and Property Rights are major issues in which the Federal Government is
becoming more and more intrusive. In 1995, as member of the Special Committee on Auto Emissions, my
line of questioning of administrators in the EPA led the state to reject the federal mandate on auto emissions
testing. As a result of our efforts, numerous states followed our lead. The most effective way to prevent
overreach and protect statesÕ rights is to simply say ÒNO!Ó
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
18. What are the three main reasons you are running for office?
1 Texas needs fearless, conservative advocates who will marshal the courage to go against the tide and stand for what is right, no matter the consequences. In Washington and Austin, there is so much pressure to go along with what is politically expedient or personally convenient but Texas simply canÕt afford to play it safe. We need leaders whose word is their bond, who stand by their commitments, and provide firm, decisive conservative leadership. I intend to be that kind of Texas State Senator. To Stop ObamaÕs Destructive Agenda - Texas must continue to stand against the overreach and intrusions of the federal government. Our duty is to help lead the rest of the nation by showing them how limited government solutions create more opportunities for our families and state than any big government program. Property Taxes, Illegal Immigration, Term Limits. For more than twenty years, I have worked to bring strong, outspoken, conservative leadership to the Texas Senate. I have always been involved in politics to fight against those with patronizing rhetoric that run for office to be someone rather than do something. I believe that the political atmosphere is right for someone of my grit and determination to be elected to this seat and breathe new life into these issues.
2 Currently, I do not believe the seat is being utilized and/or effectively fulfilling its role. There are 4 basic pillars for the elected office to accomplish.
Education
Criminal Justice
Natural Resources
Transportation
Constitutionally, the elected office is required to effectively fund these 4 pillars within the balanced monetary provisions. At this time, I do not believe that the funding being appropriated are adequately funding the 4 pillars and in turn are the vast majority of waste is being funded prior to the constitutional previsions. For example, during the 83rd Legislative Session, I filed many amendments to the appropriations bill that would remove the funding from non-essential agencies and programs, and shift that funding to a more constitutionally protected program. While Texas is growing at an exponential rate, I do understand that transportation and water needs are a large priority. However, I truly believe that we could have funded these needs within our constitutional limit if the legislature had cut the non-essential programs in the 82nd and 83rd Legislative Session.
Another avenue I believe the legislature should have taken prior to approving the transportation funding would be some transportation reforms. At this time, transportation dollars do not necessarily have to be used for projects that demonstrably reduce congestion or enhance safety. I would support efforts to require greater accountability in the use of state tax dollars to ensure maximum congestion relief or demonstrable safety improvement, rather than the allocation of road projects politically.
To Create Greater Opportunities for our Families and Future Generations Ð While our state has shown continued economic growth, we can and must do better if we are to ensure Texas remains able to develop new job and business opportunities that will help employ or families today and into the future.
3 I would like to utilize this role to assist in advancing the process into more transparent. After being in Texas House of Representative, it seems that the current Texas leadership has a difficult time being transparent to the taxpayers. That was apparent during the 83rd Legislative Session in the votes they took. I support the Texas LegislatureÕs mandate that all state expenditures, contracts and grants be made available to the public in a single online database. This provides taxpayers with the ability to hold their elected officials accountable. In the next legislative session, this law should be expanded to include all counties, cities and schools to allow more local transparency to the taxpayers.
With this transparency, the taxpayers can hold accountable the local governances and have a better understanding of where their tax dollars are going. Some specific state taxes and fees are diverted from their intended purpose. This policy would shine a light on these diversions and give the accountability needed.
To Limit the Size and Scope of the Government Ð As a business- owner and limited government conservative, I know we can find common-sense solutions to reduce government spending, eliminate wasteful programs, and make government operate more efficiently so it spends less of our tax dollars. I am proud to note that in the short time I have spent on the board of the Woodlands Township, we have paid down publicly held debt, saved $800,000 on one contract alone, and reduced taxes for our residents Ð this is the same kind of leadership I will bring the state Senate.
Question Steve Toth Gordy Bunch Michael Galloway Brandon Creighton
19. Did you Support or Oppose Prop 6 in the last election? I supported the SWIFT Fund but opposed the funding mechanism. I voted against SJR-1 that authorized $2 Billion to be taken from the ESF. That money should have come from General Revenue spending and not the ESF. The necessity of Prop 6 was born out of years of failure by the State Legislature to pass dedicated funding to create the infrastructure necessary for our growing water needs. This Òkick the can down the roadÓ mentality is what led to previous legislatures taking money away from programs they were intended to fund and ignoring critical infrastructure improvements. While I would have preferred to see the state legislature actually do its job, I recognize the importance of funding and starting new water resources for our state and therefore supported Prop 6. I opposed Prop 6 in the last election because I do not believe it is the proper use of ÒRainy Day Ò funds.
20. What should be the key factors in a Guest Worker program and what criteria would you require for each factor? An effective Guest Worker Program would require first and foremost a secure border There is no point in having a Guest Worker program is the borders are not secure. Once the border is secure, any and all potential guest workers would have to be registered so they can pay taxes (FICA) on their income. I would also ask that it be done on an industry basis to determine the number of workers to allow in. We need to strictly enforce our immigration laws as written and provide better security for our borders before any changes to any immigration program are considered. Application at a legal "Port of Entry", Criminal background check, Finger print and photograph, Emplyer sponsor with health insurance, Annual renewal, All costs paid by applicant
21. Please list all methods the state uses for revenue generation, whether you favor or oppose each, and what you commit to do to eliminate or phase out those you oppose. The State of Texas gathers revenue, or taxes, via the sales tax, margins tax (corporate income tax), fees collected on different products and services around the State. There are a myriad of excessive and burdensome taxes found in our complex tax code, such as the Standard Presumptive Value motor vehicle tax and redundant taxes and fees on telecommunications. However, I have and will work towards eliminating the Texas Franchise Tax, which is an extremely onerous tax to track and pay as a business and collect as a State. Many bills went forth to this past session to lower the franchise tax rates as well as to phase it out, and I am in support of any method. I prefer to either eliminate the tax immediately or phase it out over a 2 or 4 year period as the State already brings in plenty of tax dollars to fund core elements of government. As a side note, I am also in favor of eliminating the local property tax. Texans ought to be able to own their homes, especially when their income is limited as they grow older. Our homes are never ours if we must still pay yearly taxes on them and open ourselves up to foreclosure based upon unpaid taxes. Who owns the property: Individuals or the State? As a limited government conservative, a fundamental principal of mine is to have the government do less, cost less, and require less of our hard earned money to operate. In the Senate, I will look for ways to cut spending, create efficiencies, and eliminate wasteful programs or operations so that our government will cost less and require fewer tax dollars from our families. This is my pledge to the people of our district. Sales/Rental : Favor Motor Fuels: Favor Insurance Taxes: Favor Oil % Gas Severance: Favor Cigarette and Tobacco: Favor Alcoholic Beverages: Favor Utility Taxes: Favor Hotel Tax: Favor Franchise/Gross Margin: Oppose Indirect Taxes (Property Tax): Oppose My main opposition to methods of taxation are thosse taxes derived from income or capital (i.e. property tax and Gross Margins Tax). Our tax system should be reformed with a focus on end-user comsumption. Holding a hard line on state spending at the lesser of population growth plus inflation or the rate of economic growth will aid in this goal.

Vetting Summary

Toth has quickly grasped knowledge of all of the important issues in Austin, as well as nearly everyone's position on them. More importantly, he has exhibited the Ted Cruz-like courage to persuade others to fight against the establishment leadership for our Constitutional rights and values. He has accomplished this by introducing bills relevant to that fight, always going against moderate positions, such as those promoted by fellow candidate Brandon Creighton, a Joe Straus supporter and establishment type. Creighton did not return our questionnaire and therefore did not participate in the interview process. While candidate Gordy Bunch exhibits many Tea Party traits, we're not convinced he'll roll up his sleeves and fight for them as Toth has done.