As we reflect on the 84th Legislative Session we are reminded of the importance of having strong conservative leaders elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In his first two terms as a Member of the Texas House, Representative Ed Thompson has represented the 29th District well, and stood up for conservative values and common sense legislation. Rep. Thompson serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Land and Resource Management which has jurisdiction over public lands, the power over eminent domain, annexation, zoning and other governmental regulation of land use. He also serves on the House Environmental Regulation Committee, which has oversight of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and issues relating to pollution and waste disposal. With these two important assignments, Rep. Thompson is at the forefront of the use of and conservation of our state’s precious natural resources.
This session, the Legislature passed a conservative budget that represents less than 2 percent growth per year, and stays well beneath the constitutional spending cap. As a former member of the school board in Pearland, Representative Thompson knows the importance of public education. The budget passed by the Texas House addresses our state’s need for increased funding for public education by paying for an increase of roughly 80,000 students per year in the state’s overall public school enrollment. On top of that investment, it provides an additional $1.5 billion for public education.
Rep. Thompson and House Republicans also worked hard to provide increased funding for transportation this session. They passed legislation that - if approved by voters in November - will dedicate up to $2.5 billion annually to the State Highway Fund. Additionally, House Bill 20 was passed to provide necessary oversight and transparency to ensure the Texas Department of Transportation maximizes the effectiveness of the resources provided. This is especially important to high growth areas like District 29.
When I asked Rep. Thompson what the biggest issue, in his opinion, facing Texans today is, he shared with me a concern that I think many Texans share. He said, “I think one of the things that we sort of take for granted are the jobs that we have here in Texas, and the industry that we’ve attracted to Texas. I don’t want us to forget about that, I don’t want us to lose sight of what got us where we are today. I think we have to be very mindful of the fact that we have to continue being a pro-business state. We have to be a state that businesses look at, we have to have a good tax structure, and we have to make common sense rules for industry to be able to live by and put their capital at risk here in Texas.”
Rep. Thompson is absolutely right in his passion for wanting to continue to be a pro-business state. The 84th Legislature took important steps in lessening the tax burden for businesses in Texas by passing House Bill 32. HB 32 reduces the rate of the franchise tax by 25 percent and extends the eligibility for EZ computation to businesses with $20 million or less in total revenue. This represents a $2.6 billion tax cut to Texas businesses.
As I mentioned, public service is not new to Rep. Thompson. Prior to the Texas House he served as Mayor Pro-Tem of Pearland, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Economic Development Corporation, and Trustee on the Pearland ISD School Board. When the House District 29
seat opened up in 2012, he said “it just made sense to run.” It is clear that Rep. Thompson was meant to be a leader and a public servant.
“It’s an honor to serve your constituents, and I certainly consider it an honor. I don’t take that for granted. I understand that I’m there to serve them and not to serve myself. My heart is truly that I want to serve my constituents and do it in an honorable way with integrity and character,” said Representative Thompson.