Todd Smith’s Classic Hits to the Texas Taxpayers

Posted November 30th, 2011 by Fred

A Summary of Todd Smith’s Legislative Career

80th Session (and prior)

  • Todd Smith voted for HB 3588, the 310-page bill with 95 amendments which created the underlying legal framework for the Trans Texas Corridor. (78th Session)
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 109. This legislation changed eligibility requirements for receiving the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and essentially unraveled the 2003 welfare reforms. The Legislature approved $2 billion in funding for the program, a $1 billion increase. This bill allowed people who are 200% above the federal poverty level to be eligible for coverage under the state funded CHIP program.
  • Todd Smith voted to table the Howard amendment to HB 109, an amendment to prevent the loosening of asset eligibility calculations. The amendment was tabled, meaning it will be easier for those not truly needy to qualify for taxpayer-funded assistance.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 2237. This High School Completion and Success Initiative dedicates $120 million to dropout prevention. The 79th Legislature allocated $1 billion to the same purpose and the Texas Center for Education Policy and LULAC played an important part in the passage of this bill.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 3778. This bill levied a “Granny Tax” on nursing home residents. The “granny tax” or quality assurance fee, which was $5 per bed per day, was justified in that it would be matched by the federal government ($300 million) and returned to the State. “This is a tax on the people that could least afford it,” Senator Jane Nelson said of the bill. “It’s a tax on elderly people who are using their life savings to keep their loved one in a nursing home.”
  • Todd Smith co-authored HB 2084. This bill would have used a sales tax increase to fund the Regional Rail Corridor (mass transit) while doing nothing to end the current gasoline tax diversions.
  • Todd Smith voted for the Dunnam Amendment to HB 2785. This required that $4.4 billion in new spending take place before a $2.5 billion property tax cut could be enacted. “The bill’s original tax relief is now dependent on massive amounts of new spending that would not only exhaust the rest of the current surplus, but would require a tax increase of at least $1 billion next session. Tax relief has never been this expensive,” says Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 14. This bill creates a $3 billion ‘cancer fund’ initiative similar to one in California. The creation of this new spending program does not fall within the purview of state government responsibility and has no clear metrics for judging annual progress and success.

81st Session

  • Todd Smith voted to table Amendment 35 to HB 300, TxDOT reauthorization. This amendment would have saved taxpayers money by requiring the state to select the best value. He also voted against a motion to instruct House conferees on HB 300 to oppose the local option gas tax. The motion carried and gasoline taxes and transportation fees were not raised in spite of this tax-hike scheme.
  • Todd Smith voted for HJR 112, creating new taxing jurisdictions for existing services that should be funded through general revenues. This amendment would have allowed county commissioners with voter approval to raise property taxes $.05 per $100.
  • Todd Smith voted for SB 968. This bill would give cities authority over privately-owned water features, and could also give the state or county authority over any city-owned water feature.
  • Todd Smith authored HB 2511. This would have imposed McCain-Feingold style speech limits on Texas politics. “HB 2511 would likely subject issue-advocacy organizations to lawsuits based on materials they may send out in the course of their regular activities, such as newsletters, email updates, legislative vote score cards, and candidate questionnaires,” says Tina Benkiser, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 1935. The bill establishes a “green jobs” skills development fund to promote job training and job creation for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building for $3.5 million.
  • Todd Smith voted for HJR 77. This bill would have replaced the authority of the ELECTED State Board of Education with a new Permanent School Fund Management Council. This bill was one of 15 anti-SBOE bills filed by Democrat Donna Howard, one of the most radical leftists in the Texas Legislature.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 3983. This bill would have had the Comptroller study the possibility of property taxes being set by income not on home value. Governor Perry vetoed the bill saying “This study would undermine all the efforts made to ensure that the property tax has a low rate, is broad-based and is equitable for all Texans.”

82nd Session

  • Despite much pleading from grassroots groups Todd Smith voted for Joe Straus to be the Speaker of the House.  One of the most coveted positions in state government, the Speaker makes committee chair appointments and decides what legislation is ultimately brought to the floor for consideration. Though Republicans enjoyed a super-majority, few fiscal reforms were attempted by his leadership team, and the 82nd Session was considered by conservatives to be a wasted opportunity .
  • Todd Smith voted against a motion to instruct conferees not to use the Rainy Day Fund in HB1 record vote 792.
  • Todd Smith voted in the special session to tap the rainy day fund further. During debate of SB 2, an amendment was added to the bill that would have siphoned off up to $2 billion in rainy day funds. Governor Perry said he would veto the bill.
  • Todd Smith voted against the Shelton amendment to SB2. This legislation gave school districts the flexibility of doing furloughs rather than firings to save money. What the Shelton amendment did was say that seniority could not be used to exempt someone from a furlough, providing flexibility to school districts.
  • Todd Smith voted for HB 397. This bill would have set up new bureaucracy, the Bureau of Economic Development of the Border Region. This bill, vetoed by Gov. Perry, “is an unfunded mandate on institutions of higher education and duplicates the work several other organizations already perform.”

Todd Smith’s career score from the Young Conservatives of Texas is a failing 69.2%

Todd Smith’s average score since 2005 from the Texas Eagle Forum is a failing 58.75%

Todd Smith’s average score since 2001 from the Heritage Alliance is a failing 71.83%

Todd Smith has been named "Texas Super Lawyer" every year since 2006