Explaining How Property Tax Works

Gainesville, TX-- Recently, Notices of Appraised Values were mailed out to millions of Texas homeowners, and just like years before, these millions of Texans will pay their property taxes. The property tax is the single-largest tax in Texas and in 2015 represented almost 48 percent of all taxes imposed by state and local taxing units (Texas Comptroller). The services that are typically funded by property taxes include public education, public safety, transportation, libraries, and parks.

The Texas Constitution establishes that all property taxes are local. Consequently, the Governor and the Legislature cannot levy a property tax, lower local property tax rates, nor can they appraise a property. "Sometimes citizens believe the State sets their property tax and this is just not true," said Rep. Springer. The property tax system can be confusing, and many individuals and organizations have written complicated and confusing booklets in an effort to explain the system and all its various steps.

"I wanted to create a way to inform citizens on how the property tax system works in a form that could be understood by everyone. I had my office create a simple flowchart that walks through the entire process in eight easy steps," explained Rep. Springer. "I hope the citizens of HD 68 find the flowchart helpful and, of course, always feel free contact my office if they have questions." Tax experts have reviewed the chart and verified its accuracy. Rep. Springer encourages any constituents of HD 68 with questions or concerns about this issue or other state-related matters, to contact him directly at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.

Click here to access the property tax flowchart

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SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVING DIFFICULTY GETTING BUS DRIVERS CERTIFIED

Gainesville, TX-- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial driver's license (CDL) issuing and testing for all states and jurisdictions. Beginning in July 2015, the FMCSA required all states to adopt uniform testing standards for the commercial driver's license (CDL). The federal government passed these measures in large part to improve highway safety among truck drivers. Unfortunately, this unification has created unintended consequences for school bus drivers.

Despite the safety intent of these new measures, local school bus transportation had exhibited a solid safety record long before the federal government implemented new standards. Unlike the trends for other commercial vehicles, school bus accidents resulting in fatalities have actually been relatively few. However, because a school bus is considered a commercial motor vehicle under state and federal law due to the weight and size of the vehicle, the number of passengers it can carry, and similar in design and equipment as other Class B vehicles, the new CDL requirements also affected everyday school bus drivers.

The Office of Rep. Drew Springer has received several complaints from school districts about their applicants for CDL "S" endorsement (school bus drivers) and the problems they are having. One superintendent stated that his drivers failed the new test for "not being detailed enough" in describing mechanical parts underneath the bus. Another failed because he did not adequately explain the purpose of the mud flap. To remain compliant with federal standards and continue issuing CDLs to its residents, Texas was forced to approve and implement the new testing standards or risk losing up to $240 million every year in federal transportation dollars.

In an attempt to combat these issues, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has started to create enhanced exam materials for school bus drivers to study before testing. DPS has also established a Third-Party Skills Test (TPST) program that will give school districts the opportunity to provide tests to school employees at the district's convenience. Rep. Springer highly encourages all school districts to become a TPST provider or partner with an ISD that is already a TPST provider.

"I know this is not the solution our school districts wanted, nor is it mine," stated Rep. Springer. "However, the Federal Government has gone with a one size fits all plan that has not shown to make our children safer in buses and instead increases costs for our local school districts." Rep. Springer encourages any constituents of HD 68 with questions or concerns about this issue or other state-related matters, to contact him directly at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.

Sen. Craig Estes Over the Line with Campaign Ad

Campaign season can be crazy and hard-hitting, however, making a joke of any religion is not acceptable - period! Yesterday, an ad released by Senator Craig Estes mocking the Catholic faith and the practice of confession was over the line. We are at the beginning of Lent, a time where Catholics go to confession and ask for forgiveness. Representing four counties of Senate District 30 with a strong Catholic citizenry, I call on Senator Craig Estes to take his fight outside of the Church, take down the ad and apologize.

Link to the ad can be found here.

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WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE ALAMO?

For about the past two years, a special Alamo Committee has been working earnestly on a master plan to restore the historic mission and give visitors a better sense of what it looked like at the time of the 1836 battle. Currently, Texas' most treasured historic buildings are in desperate need of repair and sit humbly in the heart of San Antonio surrounded by Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Tomb Rider 3D, the Guinness World Records Museum, T-shirt vendors, souvenir shops and bustling city streets.
 
The master plan by the General Land Office and Commissioner George P. Bush would ultimately restore reverence and dignity back to the Alamo. The Master Plan proposes that preservation work begins this year, preserving the buildings as they are today so that that future generations can visit and remember.
 
I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding about the master plan. For example, no recommendation or proposal has ever been made to change the name. The Alamo will always be called “the Alamo.” I would never support a master plan that did not respect the Texas' legacy and traditions of The Alamo. That being said, we do need to ensure that the proper oversight is in place and the process is completely transparent to ensure that the finished project is something that we can all be proud of. I would encourage you to visit this website to help clear up any misunderstanding of precisely what the Master Plan for the Alamo entails. 

REP. Drew SPRINGER SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES 22 TOWN HALLS IN 22 HOURS

Gainesville, TX-- 22 Town Halls, in 22 counties, in 22 hours that was Texas State Representative Drew Springer's schedule Monday, October 30, 2017. Rep. Springer visited all 22 counties traveling 800 miles throughout HD 68, stopping at Shamrock, Wellington, Childress, Turkey, Floydada, Ralls, Post, Rotan, Jayton, Aspermont, Guthrie, Dickens, Matador, Paducah, Quanah, Vernon, Haskell, Throckmorton, Graham, Jacksboro, Bowie, and, finally, Muenster.

The purpose of this town hall series was to find a fun way to visit each of the counties in HD 68 and be available for an exchange of issues and ideas in face to face conversations with the citizens of HD 68. Topics discussed were as vast and varied as the 25,000 square miles of the district itself, ranging from controlling fever ticks to school bus drivers. Just as various were the meetings locations, which included restaurants, high schools, hotels and community rooms.

Rep. Springer had already discussed the accomplishments of the 85th Texas Legislature in previous town halls throughout HD 68. Some of the goals the legislature was able to meet, he said, "were a conservative budget, multiple pro-life bills, expansion of Second Amendment rights and protection for rural schools and retired teachers."

All told Rep. Springer has held 56 town hall meetings, driving, approximately 5,000 miles since the end of the 85th regular legislative session. If you were unable to attend, you can always reach Rep. Springer or one his staff by emailing your question or concern to District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.

Donation Drop-Off Locations IN HD 68 for Hurricane Harvey Victims

Bowie:

Bowie Chamber of Commerce is collecting donations for South Texas at their office, 201 Walnut Street, Bowie. Supplies needed: Condensed milk, diapers (all sizes from infant to adult), pet foods, water filters, non-perishable foods, bottled water, clothes, towels, toiletries (female items too), bedding, baby supplies, bleach, gloves, cleaning supplies, socks, shoes. Will be accepting supplies until Wednesday (08/30) afternoon.

Childress:

There is a truck leaving Amarillo on Wednesday (08/30) night that will stop in Childress to pick up donations. Childress Regional Medical Center, 901 US-83, will use a corner of the front lobby to collect supplies. Requested items: Blankets, towels, toiletries, baby diapers, baby formula, women's sanitary items, any kind of food (water, snacks, candy, beans, rice, etc.), first aid supplies, toys/games, and pet food. 

Floydada:

WJ Mangold Memorial Hospital of Lockney is sponsoring a supply drive. Accepting: baby items, water, and CANNED FOOD ITEMS, sheets, towels, clean clothes (bagged or boxed and labeled with gender and size), bug spray, school supplies and whatever else you can offer. Drop off at the following locations in Floydada: First National Bank, Payne Pharmacy, Lighthouse Electric, Lowes, Floydada ISD Secretary and Superintendent's Offices.  

Gainesville:

Pettit Machinery, 1710 US-82, Gainesville. Items needed: diapers, baby wipes, toiletries, feminine hygiene products and nonperishable food and drinks, including baby food. The only clothing items that are needed at this time are packs of underwear and socks.

Graham:

Donations being accepted at 1407 Crescent Drive or at Quality Carpets at 932 4th Street, Graham. They will be collecting through Saturday (09/02). Items in need: water, non-perishable foods, wipes, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, soaps, trash bags, toiletries, feminine products.

Young County Sheriff's Office, 315 N Cliff Dr, Graham, is collecting toiletries, non-perishable food, and clothing.

Jacksboro:

Bake Sale, Silent Auction, Cash donations, Items such as personal hygiene items, baby items, non-perishable can goods, clothing, shoes, paper towels, toilet tissue, dry dog food, dry cat food, cattle cubes, oats, hay, Baby wipes, Chapstick, Granola or Protein Bars, First Aid Supplies, chain saws, generators, battery powered drills, screwdrivers, batteries, flashlights, etc. Friday, September 1 from 11:00 AM until done. Have your items there between 10-10:30 AM. It will be on the West side of the Courthouse, 100 North Main Street, Jacksboro.  

Lockney:

WJ Mangold Memorial Hospital is sponsoring a supply drive. Accepting: baby items, water, and CANNED FOOD ITEMS, sheets, towels, clean clothes (bagged or boxed and labeled with gender and size), bug spray, school supplies and whatever else you can offer. Drop off at the following locations in Lockney: WJ Mangold Memorial Hospital, Happy State Bank, Lockney ISD Secretary & Superintendent Office, Davis Lumber, Lockney Co-Op, D&J Gin, Salvation Army, and Lowes. They will also have a semi parked in front of the hospital, 320 N Main St, Lockney, on Friday (09/01) & Saturday (09/02) during business hours to collect donations. 

Montague:

Drop off supplies at the Extension Office in Montague Courthouse, 8 am-12 and 1-5 pm during the week. Montague County Cowboy Church in Montague, Thursday-Sunday 8:30 am to 12 noon. Montague School District, during school hours. Basic needs include: diapers (all sizes), baby formula, baby wipes (NOT Clorox wipes), adults' and children's socks (NEW), men's/women's/children's underwear (NEW), toiletries (full or travel size soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), feminine hygiene products. NO FOOD AT THIS TIME.

Nocona:

The First Baptist Church of Nocona, 511 Cooke Street, is collecting the following items to be delivered to Dallas-area shelters that are housing Houston-area evacuees: diapers (all sizes), baby formula, baby wipes (NOT Clorox wipes), adults' and children's socks (NEW), men's/women's/children's underwear (NEW), toiletries (full or travel size soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), and feminine hygiene products.  NO FOOD ITEMS PLEASE

Donations may be dropped off in the Fellowship Hall (double doors under the covered entrance at the south end of the building). Please place items in appropriate buckets. Doors will remain open from 8am-8pm.

Post: 

Salvation Army has donation boxes set up in front of the Post Public Library, 105 East Main Street, Post. No additional details at this time. 

Turkey: 

Turkey Volunteer Fire Department & EMS is collecting donations. If you would like to drop off a donation, please message their FB page or call/text 806-402-0120 or 806-402-0617. Need the following items: Diapers, baby wipes, diaper cream, Trash bags and ziplock baggies, Gloves, bandaids, peroxide and alcohol, bandaids, gauze, med tape, Contact cases, contact solution, Feminine hygiene products, Toilet paper and paper towels, Paper plates and plastic silverware, Soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, basic toiletries, Tylenol, Motrin, Immodium, Pepto… basic over-the-counter meds, Kids liquid medications: Tylenol and Motrin, Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, etc., Carpentry tools and supplies, Gas cans, Non-perishable food items, especially jerky, granola bars, dried fruit, Canned goods, Pet food, Mosquito Spray, sunscreen, Cleaning supplies, like bleach, disinfecting wipes, soaps, NO GLASS JARS, PLEASE. At this time, people are being asked to hold off on clothing and furniture donations.

Vernon: 

Vernon Auto Group, 2803 Wilbarger Street, Vernon, is taking donations for: gently used or new clothing items with a priority on children, underwear, socks, shoes, baby formula, baby bottles, baby diapers, baby wipes, non-perishable foods, toiletries, and bottled water. Taking deliveries between 8:00 am-5:00 pm through Friday, (08/01). 

Wheeler:

First Baptist Church Wheeler is collecting relief items to take to FBC Orange Grove, TX for distribution to small towns. Items: water, can openers, square shovels, flashlights, generators, extension cords, diapers/wipes/formula, socks, new shoes, mosquito repellent/nets, rubber boots, blister bandaids, canned goods, toiletries, batteries, heavy duty trash bags, gas cans, antibiotic cream, towels, new bedding, chainsaws, athletes foot powder, band aids, gloves. 826-5223 or 216-0717 if you need more info.