Nine persons, including Upshur County Pct. 3 Comm. Cole Hefner, attended the gathering at the local Disabled American Veterans post.
Simpson said State Rep. George Lavender (R-Texarkana) introduced a bill in the Legislature’s last regular session to replace property taxes with additonal sales taxes and a gross revenue business tax. Simpson told those attending the town hall they could inform Lavender they would support that in the next session.
Simpson also said he himself has been working on a bill to repeal inventory and personal property taxes.
“My passion, as most of you know, is restraining government to its proper limited role” and preserving “life, liberty and property,” he said.
The second-term representative also explained his vote during his first term against a bill aimed at licensing and regulating “puppy mills.”
He said it provided for allowing officers to enter property on anonymous tips and without a warrant, which Simpson argued violates the Fourth Amendment.
He also maintained that “criminal breeders are going to continue to operate. . .There were animal cruelty laws, and I support those.
“The solution is. . . punish the wrongdoer, not to punish the law-abiding citizen” by requiring a license that could cost thousands of dollars, Simpson asserted. He compared that to gun control laws which he said are “ineffective in dealing with criminals.”
The District 7 representative of Gregg and Upshur Counties also noted that in the last regular legislative session, he opposed failed bills which would have required licensing for foundation repair and teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening devices are available at kiosks in malls. Simpson’s Chief of Staff, Kathy Seay, told the town hall that some dentists had wanted to require licensing for that.
On another matter, Simpson said he opposed the proposed Constitutional Amendment on water funding in the upcoming Nov. 5 election because it in effect creates a state investment bank which will have political appointees, and which will base its loans for projects on politics.
In a free market, he said, “price is determined by risk and reward. . .that’s what we need.” He added that he wanted to “protect water rights, promote conservation, and get out of the way.”
Simpson said the state should also protect “one basin taking from another basin without their consent.”
Also during the approximately one hour and 15-minute meeting Thursday, Simpson condemned the new state budget, which he said about 30 Republican legislators opposed. He said that was the largest number to vote against a budget in 30 years.
The budget “spent 25 percent more than the last legislature” by using five bills in “kind of a shell game,” he complained. He said “accounting ingenuity and obscurity. . . works around” legal spending limits.
The budget increased spending for the current biennium (2-year period) by about $7 billion and for the next one by about $13 billion, about $20.8 billion in all, Simpson said.
He also complained that the new budget reassigned dedicated funds to other purposes so that only $37 million of $60 million designated for volunteer firefighter training and equipment over two years will be used for that purpose.
He assailed the “huge increase” in the budget, saying it was the largest in state history, and he complained that the Legislature reinstated “corporate welfare.”
Simpson also said he had supported a transportation bill in the Legislature’s regular session, but not in the two special sessions called by Gov. Rick Perry. The proposed Constitutional amendment on that subject, which goes to voters in 2014, would let a select committee of state Senate and House members set a floor on how much money stays in the state’s “rainy day fund,” he said.
The Longview legislator said he offered a transportation bill, but “it didn’t get to the floor.” He also said he supported a bill “using current funding” for transportation so that rainy-day funding wouldn’t be hurt.
Simpson also praised some of the Legislature’s actions, including the passage of a bill restricting abortions, which he said “will help save human lives.”
Much of his presentation involved views he had already presented to the Cherokee Rose Republican Women recently at the Gilmer Country Club, and which were detailed in an earlier edition of The Mirror.
Simpson was also among speakers at Saturday’s quarterly meeting of the Upshur County Republican Party’s Executive Committee (see separate story).