Huffines Stares Down Franchise Tax

It’s a sad fact that many lawmakers tell voters one thing, but do another once they’re elected. Unfortunately for Texans, the problem isn’t restricted to politicians in Washington, D.C.—the disease that replaces conviction with complicity is just as contagious in Austin. Fortunately, some new leaders, such as State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), are standing strong despite attempts to drag them down.

State Sen. Don Huffines State Sen. Don Huffines

In his campaign for office, Huffines ran against an entrenched incumbent, liberal Republican John Carona, who was known for selling out conservatives at multiple junctures. Rather than accept the status quo, Huffines promised a fresh take for Texas. He would stand for border security, school choice, pro-life legislation, and an end to transportation diversions. So far, Huffines has been making good on all those promises in the new Texas Senate. On one particular promise though, Huffines notably stood his ground despite facing considerable pressure to back down.

From the beginning, Huffines has strongly opposed the state’s onerous franchise tax. However, unlike many Senate Republicans who were content with just a 15% cut, the Senator from Dallas stuck to his guns on a full repeal, planning to put forward an amendment to SB 7 that would repeal it entirely by the year 2020.

Huffines colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, tried to coax and cajole him into dropping his bid. It would “place a hole in the budget” they said… “it’s too radical!” they said… at least behind closed doors. They knew that defending the tax on the floor would be something conservative Texas voters, who have clearly articulated their opposition to it, wouldn’t exactly be thrilled about. Despite all the pressure, Huffines refused to cave, and when the time came, he offered his amendment.

The proposal was quickly cut down. Outmaneuvered and outgunned procedurally, the amendment was defeated on the floor without Huffines even being granted an opportunity to speak in favor of his proposal. Such an event placed a damper on an otherwise strong conservative victory in providing much needed tax relief.

While the motion was unsuccessful itself, it did serve to provide further proof of the conservative champions Texans elected in November. Defeated procedurally, Huffines was nonetheless joined by fellow Republican State Sens. Konni Burton, Bob Hall, and Van Taylor in voting for full phase-out and repeal of the franchise tax.

Save for Taylor, who replaced then State Sen. Ken Paxton after he chose instead to run for Attorney General, all of the others replaced senators who consistently refused to stand for limited government. As noted earlier, Huffines defeated liberal Republican John Carona, Konni Burton took the place of failed Democrat gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, and Bob Hall proved that he was the “right Bob for the job” in replacing Bob Deuell, one of the most liberal Republicans in the state’s upper chamber.

Complete and total victory may not have been had Wednesday, but if Texas voters keep supporting honest, true conservatives like the four mentioned above,  the state will continue to travel down the right track.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cary Cheshire leads the Capitol Bureau for Empower Texans & Texas Scorecard. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to both Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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