As Chair of the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Budget Transparency and Reform, Sarah worked hard in the 84th legislative session for real budgetary transparency for Texas taxpayers. Sarah helped eliminate nearly 20 different occupational taxes and fought to reform the use of dedicated revenue accounts. This means specific use tax collections will again be used for their intended purposes, or we will eliminate the unnecessary collections all together.
As one of the key budget negotiators, Sarah developed and voted for one of the most conservative budgets to date, with less than 2% annual growth. The balanced budget focused on core priorities and offered nearly $4 billion in tax relief to Texas taxpayers and businesses, while the leaving almost $11 billion in the Economic Stabilization Fund (a/k/a the Rainy Day Fund) untouched.
Sarah is a recognized champion of government accountability as shown by her voting record and her powerful committee assignments. Sarah supported more protection for Texas taxpayers in the state and local contracting and procurement process. The various reforms Sarah supported increase oversight of agencies and municipalities in the contracting process, and provide new standards of transparency and accountability to ensure taxpayer dollars are used appropriately.
Sarah authored and passed additional accountability and transparency requirements for local governmental entities so they are now aligned with the requirements for state entities. A strong steward of effective transparency measures, Sarah will continue to work towards government earning the taxpayers’ confidence in both policy and budgetary measures.
Excellence in Education
Sarah, a proud graduate of the Texas public school system, believes in the power of education to transform the lives of Texans of all ages. Sarah knows a loving, supporting family and a good education are the two most important keys to future success for our young Texans.
High quality education starts with our youngest Texans, and Sarah supported the high quality pre-kindergarten grant program that will allow for pre-k expansion throughout our state, without the ineffective restrictions of Common Core Standards Washington would dictate for our State. Sarah will continue to fight to eliminate Common Core Standards in all levels of public education.
Sarah supports local control for school districts and believes we should not force every student to follow a cookie cutter approach to learning. Sarah supports students graduating career-and college-ready by allowing students to choose customized education paths achieved through targeted course selection and the expansion of dual credit availability.
Sarah also supported investment in higher education across Texas and expansion of graduate medical education. Sarah believes we must provide the tools necessary to continue Texas' outstanding record of graduating some of the most accomplished professionals in the medical and science fields.
Keeping our Communities Safe
Sarah supports and has passed initiatives designed to help keep us safer from crime.
Sarah voted to increase the level of security and law enforcement personnel defending our border, to take an aggressive role against human trafficking, and to create a real-time data analysis center to provide law enforcement the most up to date information possible.
Sarah supported E-Verify Expansion - a requirement for state agencies and public universities to use the E-Verify system to protect employers from using state dollars to employ those in the country illegally.
Sarah strengthened laws against those who commit crimes against children, bolstered the capabilities of law enforcement to investigate child predators, supported increased penalties for repeat offenders, and supported improvements to the Victim’s Restitution process.
Keeping Texans Moving
Sarah developed and voted for a budget that ends diversions from the Texas Highway Fund, thus freeing up $1 billion in dollars to support the construction and maintenance of our roads and bridges without raising taxes or creating new fees.
Sarah has supported legislation and constitutional amendments which devote portions of the Rainy Day fund to the Texas Highway Fund and also dedicate certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the Texas Highway Fund…again adding significant funding for our roads and bridges without raising a tax or fee.
Keeping Texans Healthy
There is no other part of the state budget that the federal government controls more than in the area of healthcare. Despite many onerous federal mandates, the state can exercise some discretionary spending. As the lead House budget negotiator for the healthcare, Sarah emphasized targeted funding for women’s health and for mental health initiatives. Sarah further secured additional funds for our trauma and safety net hospitals.
But healthcare is more than just funding. That is why Sarah’s legislative initiatives often emphasize healthcare policy. Sarah passed legislation that creates a sentinel site system to monitor the incidence, prevalence, and trends of emerging and neglected tropical diseases, like Ebola. This landmark legislation, the first in the country of its kind, will make available educational and informational materials concerning these types of deadly diseases so that medical providers are better equipped to diagnose, report, and treat. Texas, with its pockets of poverty and warm tropical climate, is uniquely vulnerable to the spread of such infectious diseases.
Sarah is passionate about maternal and fetal health. Her “Healthy Mommies, Healthy Babies” legislative agenda included passing legislation that establishes a process to designate Centers of Excellence for Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy and qualifying healthcare centers in Texas. Sarah wants to align the efforts and expertise of physicians practicing in the area of fetal care to serve the needs of mothers and infants. Texas will have a surgical center (most likely in our own world-class Texas Medical Center) where mothers can be appropriately counseled and where decisions can be made regarding on-going prenatal and postnatal care with a goal to minimize maternal risk while maximizing neonatal and long term outcomes for the affected baby.