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Lunch with Rep. Andrew Murr - Steak, potatoes and Robin Hood

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

Central Appraisal District of Bandera County Chief Appraiser, Wendy Grams joined State Representative District 53 Andrew Murr and Bandera Economic Development Luncheon host Gary Johnston for lunch and an informative discussion on district issues Friday, Nov. 10 at Brick's River Cafe in Bandera.

Once a year the Bandera Economic Development Luncheon, hosted by local realtor, Gary Johnston and Angelika Inzanti provides an opportunity for members of the community to visit with a state representative. This year State Representative Andrew Murr to spoke at an informal luncheon at Brick’s River Café in Bandera last Friday, on Nov. 10.
The crowd seemed to represent most Bandera walks-of-life and included elected officials, educators and other citizens and neighbors. Bandera County Commissioners Harris and Rutherford were both present, as was the county attorney, Jana Lindig, the Hon. Mike Towers (municipal judge), Bandera ISD school superintendent Regina Howell, chief appraiser for Bandera County Appraisal District Wendy Grams, retired extension agent Warren Thigpen and chairman of the board of directors for Bandera County Natural History Museum Sully Woodland, residents, Jordon Johnston, Ron Chalmers, George Hamilton and several others.
After the steak, green beans and mashed potatoes, Rep. Murr reminded everyone of important realities about the “urban versus rural divide” and said, “We lost that battle a long time ago.” He described how important – essential — it is to be able to approach and work with representatives from urban areas who usually have no idea how legislation written for urban areas will affect rural areas, such as Bandera County. “They don’t mean to overlook us — but they do,” he said.
Murr spent most of his presentation discussing property taxes and the inherent flaws of the Robin Hood approach to funding public education. He chose these topics because they are subjects he receives “lots of calls” about. Murr said that at some point, when taken to its logical extreme — “every school district is going to be Robin Hood” and described posing the straightforward question to his colleagues, “Is this really the way we want to fund our schools?” He said one of his goal was to get the school-funding and property tax relief (not just reform) discussion going.
Rep. Murr proposed legislation that used sales tax to fund schools (instead of ever-escalating property taxes) and it passed the House, but did not pass the Senate. Yet Rep. Murr isn’t discouraged about the process. “It will take time,” he said, and cited as an example the four years it took to pass the relatively non-controversial legislation that prohibits texting on a cell phone while driving.