Sunday, October 19, 2008
League of Women Voters election survey: Rep. Terri Hodge, candidate for re-election to the Texas House Rep. - District 100
The League of Women Voters of Dallas sent a questionnaire to every candidate running for public office in Dallas County.
The League of Women Voters of Dallas sent a questionnaire to every candidate running for public office in Dallas County. The election on November 4th features a number of local races to decide state and national Senate and House of Representatives seats.
LWV: Please describe the training and experience that qualify you for this office.
Hodge: There is no official training. In November 1996, I was given the opportunity by the voters in District 100, to represent them in the Texas Legislature. An opportunity I cherish. I have worked hard to serve them an all Texans with honor and will continue to do so.
LWV: The Texas Legislature in 2007 overhauled business taxes to provide property tax relief for homeowners, but many small business owners in Texas now claim that their property tax decrease was far less than their business tax increase. What measures should be taken to maintain adequate state tax revenues without unduly burdening individual taxpayers or small business?
Hodge: The charge to the 80th Legislature was to properly fund public education, while reducing property taxes, due to a projected shortfall in new tax revenue. We have not completed our charge. Tax increases should be implemented in a fair and equitable manner for all Texans, not a chosen few. The new Small Business Tax has created an unfair tax for many small business owners. We must revisit the issue and resolve the problems.
LWV: Texas deregulated electricity rates with the promise that competition between suppliers would lower consumers’ electric rates, yet rates in Texas remain well above the national average. What measures should be taken to ensure electric power reliability and affordability in Texas?
Hodge: Unfortunately, the deregulation of electricity and the reduction of oversight by the Public Utility Commission-has done more to hurt Texas Consumers, rather than help them. While electricity is a needed source of energy for both business and residential customers, it is no longer affordable for most Texans. We must identify and implement the usage of new and affordable sources of energy.
LWV: According to the most recent published data of the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel, insurance industry losses in Texas have decreased by 85%, yet homeowners’ rates have fallen by only 4%. What reforms would you support to lower homeowners’ rates in Texas?
Hodge: Due to the high cost of insurance, many Texans are without coverage. We should revisit the Insurance statute, that was rewritten in 2003 and make necessary appropriate changes.
LWV: The Texas legislature has not increased the gas tax since 1991, and also diverts millions of dollars of transportation funds to other areas of the state budget such as education and the Department of Public Safety. The public has voiced much disapproval of toll roads and public/private partnerships to build new roads. How would you fund construction of new roads and maintenance of existing roads and bridges?
Hodge: To help clean up the environment and reduce our oil and gas needs. We should begin the study for more light rail and mass transit opportunities.
LWV: If diversions from the State’s transportation fund are stopped, how would you pay for those items that are currently funded by gas tax monies?
Hodge: I would need to study this issue more and see what options are available.
LWV: Currently, sales prices of most residential property are disclosed while those of commercial property are not. Do you support public disclosure of commercial real estate sales prices so as to ensure fair and accurate appraisals?
Hodge: To obtain an appropriate market value on the sale of residential or commercial property. The property must be evaluated fairly and appraised properly. I support full disclosure on the sale price of both residential and commercial property.
Pegasus News Content partner - League of Women Voters