Landgraf: Big wins for West TexasState Rep. Brooks Landgraf was elected in 2014 to House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties.

The Texas Legislature meets at the state Capitol every odd-numbered year for 140 days to adopt the state’s budget and enact, revise and repeal the state’s laws. The most recent legislative session adjourned on May 27, and I was honored to serve as the voice for Andrews, Ector Ward and Winkler counties in the Texas House of Representatives while the state’s business was conducted.
You may have read that Gov. Abbott has already hailed this session as a tremendous success, and I agree. Texas is in even better shape now than it was before the session. But equally important, West Texas scored major victories, and I was proud to be fighting on the front lines to earn them.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll use this space to elaborate on the details of this session’s accomplishments. However, for this column, I’d like provide a broad overview.
First, I’m pleased to report that we adopted a two-year budget for the state that is balanced and requires us to live within our means, and that we did so without raising or creating taxes. Fiscal responsibility is always a priority for me, and this budget reflects that.
“Robin Hood” has taken a big hit. The scheme that forces Permian Basin schools to send millions of dollars in property taxes to other parts of the state has been cut by 47%! This means that school districts that operate in the four counties I serve will get to keep $46.7 million over the next two years that would otherwise be distributed to other parts of the state. This is huge, because we desperately need that money in our West Texas schools.
Even with that change, the state is picking up a larger share of the costs for public education. This includes raises for teachers and more resources for students, but it also allows homeowners and businesses to see property tax relief because school districts won’t be forced to raise property taxes to cover the costs.
The good work being done at UT-Permian Basin, Odessa College and the Texas Tech medical school is being rewarded and each of those institutions is receiving a funding increase to help their respective missions of educating and training our growing workforce.
As vice chairman of the Transportation Committee, I pleased to report that the Odessa TxDOT district has a record amount of money to spend to improve our highway infrastructure. We also have new funds designated for county road projects in energy-producing hotspots like ours. I was also successful in earmarking additional resources to DPS to help relieve the long lines at the driver license offices, and also get more brave troopers patrolling our highways.
Again, I will elaborate in future columns, but I was also proud to pass a series of pro-life bills, an important pro-Second Amendment bill, a measure to combat human trafficking and promote border security, a bill to protect religious liberty, and a bill that cracks down on the knuckleheads who keep hitting overpasses on I-20.
I’m thrilled to be back home in West Texas with my family and working at my day job. I’m eager to share the story of the legislative session with you. Thank you for the honor and privilege to serve as your voice during this 140-day session at the Capitol.
God bless Texas!