Increase traffic flow with a western freeway loop
I am uniquely experienced to solve monumental political problems such as building new roads in the HD-47 area.
And I mean actual new roadways. For private automobiles and public safety vehicles, not dedicated to just buses or trains or gondolas.
As your state Representative, my top priority will be solving a politically contentious problem: bringing a desperately needed freeway loop to western Travis County, to connect SH-45 at US-183 and Lakeline Mall to the newly built SH-45 segment in southwest Travis County.
First, the bad news: The loop won't be cheap and the planning process will be complex, but we desperately need to "Build New Roads" starting now! Congestion can make for dangerous and irritating driving conditions. For decades, the local governments, namely Austin City and Travis County Commissioners Courts, have sacrificed safety and sanity for their own political agendas -- the result is a commute from one part of Austin to another than can take hours, even in agreeable weather. While other major urban areas have several loops, and Austin only has segments.
But here's the good news: we don't have to raise taxes to build the loop! There is already a funding source: your mass transit sales taxes. I will file and heavily promote legislation permitting voters to reallocate existing CapMetro sales tax for road congestion relief.
I've already been hard at work on this behind the scenes. Upon my request, state Sen. Dawn Buckingham was supportive enough to file Senate Bill 2235 in the 2019 legislature. The bill would have given taxpayers the petition power to increase or decrease CapMetro taxes. Current law only allows petitions for an increase!
Also, as an elected member of the Austin City Council Mobility (or, as I would have preferred to call it, the "Transportation") Committee, I steadfastly opposed the weaponization of traffic congestion and city bureaucrats’ open collusion with environmental groups to stop SH-45 road construction in HD 47. Safe to say, we won.
And as an individual Council member, I was able to secure CapMetro dollars to build simple, no-brainer solutions to traffic snarls, such as an additional right-turn lane at Anderson Mill Road and U.S. 183.
Though commuters want solutions now, the significant obstacles to congestion relief are city and county governments. Believe it or not, Travis County and the City of Austin are pushing a 2020 proposition to spend around $10 billion on a Portland-style mass transit system. While voters and taxpayers demand road expansion and congestion relief, local government bureaucrats are re-striping existing roads for under-utilized bicycle lanes in unsafe areas and combating efforts to actually lay new asphalt. Elect me and I'll do everything humanly possible to combat that agenda and push forward to Build New Roads!
Stop subsidized housing and the homeless expansion
As your state Rep, I will not only work to keep Austin affordable but make the cost fair to everyone.
I will fix the rigged rules that favor expansion of subsidized housing projects in Austin.
For too long, the City of Austin, with a budget of $4.2 billion, has put profits over people in order to advance policies that may favor certain interests but are unsafe, unhealthy, and unaffordable.
Take into consideration the June 2019 Homeless Camping Ordinance that turned our public spaces into tent cities and led to an increase in crime. As your Representative at the Texas Capitol, I will co-author legislation that affirms public trespassing laws, enforceable by state law enforcement like DPS, and other measures Gov. Greg Abbott has already publicly pledged to support. More than new laws or “better” laws, state government enforcement of existing laws, to counter the radical agenda of local government, is desperately needed!
When I served as a member of the Austin City Council from Northwest Austin (District 6, including much of HD 47) I learned first-hand how local government foments and exploits division to expand its budget and power. The Homeless Camping Ordinance is but one example.
Another, lesser-known example is Austin’s enthusiastic support of federally backed subsidized housing projects through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). These projects are promoted by a staff of city bureaucrats in the Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC), which also exercises power over “Private Activity Bonds” (PAB). Most Austin taxpayers don’t even know this corporation exists, and AAHC bureaucrats claimed to not know how many hundreds of millions of debt the AAHC has issued, or who is liable for the PAB debt if projects fail! While on the City Council I convinced legislators to oppose the Azul 620 taxpayer subsidized TDHCA/AAHC housing project (April 2015), which was located in HD 47. If elected as a member of the Texas House, I can write opposition letters to the TDHCA -- effectively killing such projects, and demand transparency for invisible local government corporations.
TDCHA has a process of "scoring" in order to determine which projects get priority. Under TDCHA's rules, certain political groups in support are allowed to add points in favor of the projects – but individuals and groups in opposition are not allowed to subtract points!
As your state Representative, I will put a stop to another taxpayer-gouging practice: the so-called "non-profit" corporations that profit from convincing voters to approve new debt year after year. Case in point: the tax-exempt organization Foundation Communities, which receives very substantial taxpayer subsidies, spent over $103,000 supporting the 2013 "Affordable Housing Bond," which was a deceitfully worded package of unaffordable and unsustainable bonds. If you're looking for a candidate who opposes this kind of taxpayer-funded lobbying, then look no further.
Eliminate illegal taxes
I'm the only candidate on the ballot who has successfully terminated an illegal property tax! I'll bring that experience to the Texas Capitol where I will keep a watchful eye on the various taxing schemes proposed each session.
After moving into Canyon Creek in the fall of 2000, I began investigating the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District (MUD) No. 1 "allocation agreement" with the City of Austin. A careful study of the Texas Water Code convinced me that our “Municipal” taxes by the MUD and city, with overlapping services like water/wastewater and parks, was illegal. Other residents in Canyon Creek had negotiated with Austin bureaucrats and politicians for a decade, with nothing even approaching a resolution. After studying the Texas Water Code Chapter 54 (as a mechanical engineer, not a lawyer), I determined the city was violating the law. This inspired me to run for MUD Board on a platform of suing the City of Austin for illegal taxation. After winning election in 2002 with 87% of the vote, and supporting two other Board members who also won, I made good on the promise, finding an excellent lawyer and filing suit. After losing in District Court and being assessed $40,000 of legal fees, I convinced our MUD's Board to move forward on appeal. In 2009, the MUD prevailed at the Texas Supreme Court and the illegal tax was eliminated in early 2010. This saved our local taxpayers an estimated $18 million.
As an Austin City Council member, I witnessed first-hand city attorneys misleading my peers on the Council behind closed doors in executive session for the motive of maximizing local government revenue and power. As your State Representative, I will work tirelessly to confront and stop local government’s abuse of power.
Defund the illegal subsidizing of abortion
For unborn human beings, there is no other issue that matters other than what is done to defend life for all!
So here's a question: Why is Texas looking more like New York and Virginia, pushing for abortion "rights" and "access," when we could be effectively saving unborn babies like Alabama and Missouri? The humanity of unborn life is increasingly affirmed by honest scientific research, and Texas must take the lead in protecting that life.
It was my duty and pleasure to bring a credible citizen-led lawsuit against Austin city government for flagrantly defying SB 22, the state Senate bill which prohibits taxpayer funding from being used to aid and abet elective abortions - which is the practice of taking innocent unborn life. We filed the suit in September 2019 and look forward to winning on appeal.
Expand school choice
You don't need a candidate to tell you this. We all know (and have experienced) that property taxes are out of control. Local government dishonestly claims that rising taxes are due to “increasing appraisals”, but the TRUTH is that property taxes are rising rapidly because government spending is out of control. And the most egregious offender of un-affordable taxation is the Independent School Districts.
Unfortunately, our state school system has become less of a means to educate children and more of a partisan political machine. Worse: it has become a monopoly when it comes to your education tax dollars.
Trying to satisfy these districts with more tax revenue is like trying to put out wildfires with more trees. When enrollments go up, the local district demands more taxation. But when the enrollments stay flat or go down -- the district still demands more taxation! If test scores go down, the excuse is always “lack of revenue” - but if scores are flat or rising, the demand for more taxes remains!
The sad truth is that education outcomes in American science and math are mediocre compared with other countries that spend far less. This is why parents are flocking to charter schools, private schools, virtual schools, and home schools. I will work to defend their right to do so, and at the same time will not neglect the children who have no choice but public schools.
Part of that commitment to our school children comes with guarding against extremism in our schools. Just recently, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to impose radical sex education "curriculum" on elementary students. This was against the vocal majority of Austin ISD parents and property taxpayers.
Another part of that commitment to our public schoolchildren involves working to make the public school system more efficient in a way that rewards the best teachers and spends money on the classroom, not the rapid expansion of the state education bureaucracy!
While my Democrat opponent will support unlimited property taxes, monopoly control of education dollars by bureaucrats and politicians, and the politicization of our classrooms to push radical ideas, I will work tirelessly for lower taxes and offer better education choices and outcomes.
End conflicts of interest by putting the Chief Appraiser on the ballot
Many taxpayers do not know this, but the local official who has the most sway over our property tax appraisals is an officer who does not appear on your ballot. Currently, only the county Tax Assessor-Collector position is elected. But the real power -- that of the "interpretation" of tax code laws -- is in the hands of the county Chief Appraiser.
Since the Chief Appraiser is currently appointed by taxing entities - the very entities who profit from dramatically escalating property values, and who never pay property taxes themselves! This pits the interests of property owners who need stable, reasonable appraisals, against local governments, who want to blame their greed on property tax appraisals. The Chief Appraiser should answer to voters directly who pay the rents and taxes. Why should the Chief Appraiser only answer to taxing entities whose property holdings are tax-free?
As you state Representative, I will explore legislation to require a county Chief Appraiser to stand for election by the voters, and require disclosure of property taxes on rent bills. Local government profits from the public deception that “renters don’t pay property tax” - this deception must end!
Defend the Second Amendment without compromise
As we are witnessing in Mexico, gun control laws serve the best interests of organized criminal cartels. By disarming law abiding citizens, the lawless elements of society are emboldened to intimidate and terrorize the masses of helpless citizens, while armed "law enforcement" is frequently bribed to ignore or even cooperate with organized criminals.
As your state Representative, I will vigorously defend your constitutional right to bear arms against gun-grabbers who foolishly pretend that is a gun, and not a criminal, who commits acts of so-called “gun violence”.
The debate over how to protect students against teenage mass murderers has its solution: school choice. "Gun Free Zones" only proliferate soft targets for those who misuse guns.
On a spiritual note: gun-grabbers and various progressive/liberal activists will routinely demand that We The People surrender our liberty for security. Their "prayer" is to Almighty Government for safety. Yet Texas was established by those who risked their lives to defend liberty, praying "deliver us from evil" to Almighty God, because only God can.
Don Zimmerman’s Republican Resume
- Voted in every Republican Primary election since voting for Reagan in 1980.
- Elected as a Travis GOP Delegate in every County Convention since 2002.
- Elected as a Republican Precinct Chairman in Travis County for 14 years.
- Served on numerous county GOP convention committees such as Rules and Nominations.
- Chosen as a Delegate to every Texas State Republican Convention since 1996.
- Elected State Republican Executive Committeeman for SD-14 in 2010.
- Elected National Delegate to Republican National Convention in 2012.