Pages tagged “Valley Interfaith”
Texas IAF: Allow Gun 'Raise the Age' Bill to Be Heard on House Floor
Less than a day after a bill that would raise the age to legally purchase semi-automatic rifles unexpectedly passed through Committee, Texas IAF leaders learned that Representative Guillen (from Rio Grande City) appeared to be actively suppressing House Bill 2744 from being heard on the floor. Delayed submission of the Committee report resulted in the bill missing a crucial deadline for it to put on the Calendars schedule for Thursday -- the last day to hear new bills.
Leaders from across the state held an emergency press conference calling on Guillen and the Texas House Speaker to allow the bill to be heard, and for Calendars.
“Guillen and Burrows should...let the representatives vote their conscience on the House floor. Overwhelmingly, Texans support increasing the age limit of when people can buy assault weapons,” Rev. Minerva Camarena-Skeith from Central Texas Interfaith asserted.
“We’re very, very angry at what’s going on, with them holding this bill hostage,” Valley Interfaith leader Rosalie Tristan of Raymondville told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“We know that there’s five hours left to go before this bill — which is a small step but it is a beginning of a good step — will die,” said Sonia Rodriguez of COPS/Metro Alliance. “Something has to be done and it has to be done now.”
After the deadline was missed, COPS/Metro leaders announced "it's not too late for Speaker Phelan to bring it to the floor for debate and vote."
"How many more children have to die before we act?" demanded TMO leader Bishop John Ogletree.
[Photo Credit: Blaine Young, Texas Tribune]
'Raise-the-Age' Gun Bill Misses Crucial Deadline, Texas Tribune [pdf]
Valley Interfaith: Guillen is 'Actively Suppressing' Assault Rifle Age Bill from Reaching House Floor, Rio Grande Guardian [pdf]
Raise the Age Gun Bill in Peril as Texas House Deadline Looms, KXAN [pdf]
Lubbock and Valley Legislators Block Assault Rifle Age Limit Bill, HB 2744, from Reaching the Floor of Texas House, Texas IAF [pdf]
Written by COPS/Metro
May 10, 2023
Texas IAF Rally Takes On "Vampire" Chapter 313 Legislation
A surprising legislative success in 2021 is on track to be undone in 2023, unless a grass roots left-right coalition can block legislation and the forces behind it that are trying to go backward....
In the name of jobs and economic development, a 2012 tax code trick called Chapter 313 essentially funneled state money, via school district property tax breaks, to private companies doing new industrial construction. The school districts that granted tax breaks under Chapter 313 were reimbursed — and many still are being reimbursed — by the state, meaning we as taxpayers reimbursed them. It was the ultimate insider game of channeling public benefit to private companies.
In San Antonio, Mike Phillips is a COPS/Metro leader, a member of the Texas IAF. His organization and others rallied in Austin on March 21 to call attention to the inequities that school district tax breaks cause statewide.
“This is money that could instead be going to public schools. We are working this session with legislators from both parties and a range of allies to oppose taxpayer-funded corporate giveaway programs that involve school finance and school district decision-making,” Phillips said.
Written by COPS/Metro
April 03, 2023
Texas IAF Underscores Lasting Consequences of Chapter 313 Subsidies
"In December, legislators killed a controversial tax abatement program known as Chapter 313, but its effects will last decades....
“There’s no accountability at the statewide level; nobody administers it,” said Bob Fleming, an organizer with [T]he Metropolitan Organization of Houston who campaigned against Chapter 313 reauthorization back in 2021. “A bunch of local school districts make singular decisions based on what they think is in their interest. Nobody is looking out for the statewide interest. Local school districts are overmatched when the $2,000 suits walk into the room.” ....
“It’s a perverse incentive,” said Doug Greco, lead organizer at Central Texas Interfaith, one of the organizations that helped shut down reauthorization of Chapter 313 in the 2021 legislative session.
“We approach it on a school funding basis,” said Greco, who is already gearing up to fight any Chapter 313 renewal efforts in 2023. “It’s corporate welfare and the people who pay over time are Texas school districts.” ....
“The district my granddaughter goes to is losing $4 million to $5 million every year,” said Rosalie Tristan, referring to Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District. Tristan is an organizer with the community organization Valley Interfaith who lives north of McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley.
“They could be using that money to get more teachers for these students,” she said. “For a parent, or for a grandparent raising her granddaughter, it’s a hit in the gut.”
[Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang, The Texas Tribune]
Critics Say State Tax Break Helps Petrochemical Companies and Hurts Public Schools, The Texas Tribune [pdf]
Written by COPS/Metro
February 07, 2023