By: Sarah Snyder
This Tuesday, our West Texas representatives are headed to Austin for the next 140 days of the legislative session.
It's issue number one, removing the TAKS test as the only method for measuring school performance.
"Schools that do well in areas where there are a lot of poor kids, or kids with English as a second language and schools address that and do well on that, great," Tryon Lewis, (R) District 81 Representative, said. "Give them a reward, but don't punish other schools."
Tryon Lewis represents Ector, Andrews, and Winkler counties in the Texas House. He's packing up and heading for Austin with three big issues on the plate.
The second, benefits for illegal aliens. A problem he says faces everyone in West Texas.
"There's no mechanism in place to make sure that these folks are citizens," Lewis said. "In our case, it's very important because we're going to have very limited tax dollars for welfare benefits. It's very important that those benefits be kept for our citizens."
Lewis says illegals have been getting every type of benefit, and it's costing you big time.
"It's a huge problem and a skyrocketing problem," he said.
Lewis and other members of the House are hoping to formulate a system that would require citizenship identification before applicants could receive benefits.
"The departments that are in charge of that have not been very good about making sure that they don't go there," Lewis commented.
But the big issue? Taxation and the spending of tax dollars. More specifically, Tryon Lewis and Tom Craddick are hoping to ammend the gross margin tax, and say, West Texas businesses are getting hit too hard.
"My plan is to work with other Representatives to lower the tax rate and to increase the deduction rate so that for small businesses, it wouldn't bite as hard," Lewis said.
Representative Lewis has been preparing in his offices here in Odessa getting ready to head to the state capital on Tuesday where he'll start work on each of these bills.
We've also learned Tom Craddick's agenda. He tells us, during the session he'll focus on a no new taxes budget, transportation financing, public education, health care, and border security.