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Property Taxes

  • A higher level of scrutiny is required when local government issue debt such as bond.


  • Texans should not pay tolls on public roads. 


  • We must secure our border.

The Economy

  • Government should facilitate the free and open market with minimum encumbrances to attract and welcome a strong business environment.

Local Government Reform

  • Local government should focus on providing necessities such as good streets, lower taxes, good schools and public safety which will attract more residence and businesses alike.


  • To improve the quality of public education in Texas we must recruit, retain and reward top performing educators.  Therefore, we must dramatically reduce administration, facility expenses, and overhead in order to increase teacher salaries. 


  • We must end Robinhood and find a more equitable system of public school finance in Texas.


School Finance

  • The problem with schools today is there is not enough focus on the teachers and the curriculum.  School districts are borrowing excessive amounts of money and accumulating too much debt and focusing on administration and facilities.  The problem is that when school districts issue excessive debt they lower the M&O rate (which is the operations portion of their budget) in an attempt to mask the rising debt accumulated.  This results in less money for operations which includes teacher salaries.  Put simply, when debt rises M&O is lowered in an attempt to offset a spike increase in property tax rates in the short term.  The reality is that when M&O is lowered the majority of property taxes collected are used to pay the debt and less money towards the teachers and the curriculum.  This is the shell game that the districts play.


  • I have two solutions.  The first is to require more transparency when districts issue debt and to require assets purchased with bonds span the entire length of the bond.  For example, short term assets such as vehicles, computer software and equipment which have a short useful life should not be included in a bond that expands over 20 years.  In addition, bond elections should be held in the general election when the majority of voters participate.


  • Second, the recent court decision that found the state's school finance system unconstitutional is an opportunity to enact needed reforms. I favor a system that would eliminate Robin Hood, lower school property taxes and equalize spending on students across the state.  This can be achieved by capping state spending at its current level (with annual increases for population growth and inflation) and dedicating all surplus funds to buying down the local M&O portion of the school property tax until it reaches zero.  This would leave I&S (debt service) at the local level, but the operational funds will be provided equally to all ISDs by the state.  I believe this buy down could be achieved in 12-15 years.


  • Funding public education at the state level would equalize spending across the state and satisfy the requirements of the court, capping state spending would be a good constraint on governmental growth and dedicating all surplus funds to buying down the local M&O for school operations will provide real and substantial tax relief and would elevate public education to the highest priority of the state. In addition, leaving the I&S at the local level will allow more accountability and transparency on debt service as that will be the only portion attributable to property tax collected by the districts.


School Choice

  • I believe public education policy should be student centered and thus tax dollars should follow the student to their school of choice. 


Texans deserve a more efficient and a streamlined process to obtain platting and permit approvals to reduce the cost of doing business in Texas cities which will encourage growth and jobs. 

  • The process of starting a new business is easy in Texas but is burdensome and costly as a result of local government regulations.  Permits, certificate of occupancy, platting, local government meetings and reviews, trees and landscape ordinances, setbacks, and zoning are too onerous on private citizens trying to start a small business.  The process of obtaining review of land development and obtaining permits needs to be shortened, simplified and efficient.  The Cities can accomplish the goal of ensuring development is safe and orderly without overburdening new business owners by requiring multiple meetings, applications, application reviews, multiple layers of approval processes by staff and committees and council thereby delaying projects and increasing costs.  Further, cites have no recourse for denying a new business as cities and its officials enjoy immunity from suit subject to constitutional violations.  In addition, most cities have a board of adjustment which is a quasi-judicial body that hears appeals and is a final determination that can only be reviewed by a court of law under very limited circumstances. My goal is to limit the obstacles put forth by local governments discouraging new business owners and create a plan for new business owners seeking to improve their communities.  


Texans deserve the right to a hearing and a vote to protect ranch and farm land from local government overreach.

  • Cities have been aggressively extending city boundaries without giving citizens the right to vote for many years.  Further, although cities are required to give several forms of notice before initiating annexation procedures there is actually no avenue to hold cities accountable because no individual in Texas has standing in a court of law to challenge a city for failure to provide notice.  Recently, Texas passed SB 6 which required cities to allow citizens to vote before initiating annexation procedures.  The bill was heavily and aggressively challenged by Local Governments and their lobby.  The bill was a great victory for Texans and paved the way for more amendments next session.  In particular, more work needs to be done to protect all Texans from All home rule cities’ forced annexation.  In addition to annexation voting requirements, cities are avoiding annexation altogether and are using development agreements which are required by SB89 to protect rural landowners to actually expand the City's Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Several cities are using development agreements to grab several miles of rural land and claiming it as ETJ beyond the buffer zones found in the Texas Local Government Code.  Such use of development agreements which were designed to protect rural land from city overreach is just one example of how aggressive cities have become to take your private property to increase tax base.  Such tactics by local governments must stop.  These issues need to be addressed next session and I am the only candidate that understands the intricacies of annexation law necessary to get the job done.


Texans deserve a fair hearing when faced with overreaching local government regulations which result in a partial takings of their land.

  • There is no bigger issue than a local government taking your private land for a public use. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution includes a provision known as the Takings Clause, which states that "private property shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation." Likewise, Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution provides that “no person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person…” Local governments have used several tactics to deny citizens compensation and drive up the costs for Texas citizens to do business within a City.  Specifically, when a local government takes your land or passes a regulation that prohibits you from opening or continuing to operate a business it is almost an impossibility in Texas courts to recover the value of your property unless you can show that the local government either physically took your land or denied you all economical viable use of your property by a regulation. When faced with a local government passing overreaching regulation which cripples your business, it is not enough to show that some or most of your property is worthless, you must show that there is no economical viable use regarding the entire property.  If the local government regulation affects less than 100% of the economic viable use, business owners have to jump over several hurdles that focus on the economic impact of the regulation and the business owner’s investment backed expectations with respect to the property. To make matters worse, local governments have successfully litigated and argued to limit takings challenges to State courts only. In other words, you cannot bring a takings claim in federal court under the United States Constitution as the federal courts have held that state remedies are adequate. Cities have hoodwinked citizens and created a major pitfall for Texas business owners. Specifically, if a business owner asks for relief in state court and try invoking their rights under the United States Constitution the local government attorneys file a motion to remove the case from state court to Federal Court.  Once the case is removed to Federal Court the local government files a dismissal in Federal Court claiming that the State court should hear the issue under the Texas constitution. The business owner is left spending thousands without the opportunity to be heard.  Therefore, there are no efficient avenues for a business owner to protect themselves from overreaching local government regulations.  We need a process to allow business owners the ability to have a fair hearing when faced with local government passing regulations which result in an adverse impact on their business even if the local government regulation affects less than 100% of the business owner’s ability to make money.


Adrian Spears providing invited testimony to the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations regarding annexation reform.



Political ad paid for by Spears for Texas

 Arturo Martinez de Vara Treasurer

Spears for Texas
411 S. Presa
San Antonio, Texas 78205

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