Texas Senator Pat Fallon ended his 14-county tour visiting with a stop at Grayson College Monday night. A crowd of nearly 80 people made up of constituents and local political figures came out to hear Fallon speak.
Fallon said he wanted Grayson County to be his last stop because of how much he loves the county.
Fallon spent a little over an hour talking about the highlights of his legislative career to date. He brought up a number of issues including property taxes, education reform, immigration, sales tax, historical monuments and transgender issues among a host of topics during his speech and through the question-and-answer portion of the evening.
He talked about how the legislature was able to provide a fiscally responsible budget while still meeting the needs of Texans. He used the measure of keeping the spending below the threshold of growth and inflation and said the budget that was passed met that criteria.
He touted property tax relief in the form of Senate Bill 02 as an accomplishment.
“Property tax relief was the $5.1 billion going back to tax payers,” Fallon said. “It varies but as a general rule is if your home is valued at $200,000 you will see about $215 less in direct property taxes.”
He told stories about his time serving in the Texas House before moving over to the state Senate. He shared anecdotes on what it was like in both chambers.
He also talked about the changes to the STAAR test and how it was changed to be administered over the year in three 45-minute segments to test where students are during the year. The test can no longer be administered on a day following a break, so no more Monday tests for the STAAR or Tuesday as an example following a three-day weekend.
The legislature worked to create an independent commission to ensure students are actually being tested at their proper level, and Fallon said less than 40 percent of third graders are reading at their proper reading level.
One of the people who came to hear the senator speak was Bob Monk of Sherman who said he was thrilled with the message delivered.
“We wanted to hear what they had done this year in the legislature,” Monk said. “We wanted to hear exactly what they had done, mostly on property taxes. Property taxes in Texas are just ridiculous. That was the main thing to hear what these guys have done this year. I loved his message. I love Pat Fallon. He is so dynamic.”
Denison resident Rachel Shack brought her son who suffers from severe cerebral palsy to hear if she could seek the senators assistance in getting medical treatment for her son. She said Fallon said to give his office a call and he would see what he could do to help.
Fallon made stops in two other counties on Monday. Earlier in the day, he was in Cooke County and just before heading to Grayson County, he was in McKinney doing a town hall for Collin County.
Fallon said the Legislature rose to the challenge and tackled tax reform and education in a meaningful manner but still had more work to do.
What do you think about the bills that came out of this year's Legislative session? Let Denison are reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.