Issues

This page features my positions on key issues relevant to all of us as Texans. A brief synopsis of each issue is listed below, and you can click through to see additional information.  I would love to hear from you on these Issues through our Contact page.

The Economy

I believe the answer to America's political problems is the same commitment to freedom that earned America its greatness: a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings; a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom that marks this country above all others; and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America's founders.


Constitutional Rights

You, as stated by our nation's Founding Fathers, have the inalienable right to live, be free and prosper to your fullest potential without hindrance from any person or entity. You have the freedom to pursue your happiness as long as you respect others' rights to pursue theirs.


Personal Responsibility

You are responsible for your personal choices, able to take care of yourself and capable to do for others as you expect them to do unto you. Conversely, others are free to live their lives as they see fit and are responsible for their choices. We believe in tolerance toward others and respect for self-sovereignty.


Limited Government

Your government's principal function is to protect your freedom, your unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and Property, all crucial rights for building a free and prosperous society. Government should be of the necessary size and scope, as outlined in the United States and Texas Constitutions, to efficiently support its constitutional duties and effectively maintain the rule of law. My vision of government is of a government strictly confined to its constitutional role, a government that respects civil liberties, recognizes that the individual is more important than the State, exercises fiscal restraint and understands that each generation must pay its own debts, believes in free markets and practices a non-interventionist foreign policy of "peace toward all, entangling alliances with none."


Marijuana Reform Stance

As much as citizens in any state wish to move to do away with ineffective legislation, there are two critical reasons to be deliberate. First, as intended by the Founders, the laboratory of democracy is working well. We can learn from the mistakes that Colorado makes in implementing decriminalization, and spare our citizens and neighbors the unintended harm of injudicious action. Secondly, the real act of decriminalization will occur at the federal level. Many thought our current President would ease regulations on marijuana, but he has only stepped up enforcement. Enacting legislation that decriminalizes marijuana would put Texans in the uncomfortable position of being further subject to federal scrutiny. When federal agencies are wielded as blunt instruments to harass citizens and infringe upon their liberties, we must push reforms in Washington first. As public servants, our primary duty is to those who have trusted us with elected office. To put them, needlessly, in Washington's crosshairs is an abrogation of that sacred trust.


Questions from Texans - WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?  ​Because like many of you I looked around and would go to bed angry and wake up in the morning still angry about the state of affairs in Texas, and just kept thinking "Put up or shut up".  If I'm not willing to be part of the solution and make the sacrifice to try and make it better then I have no right to complain when nothing happens.


Questions from Texans - WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY?

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY?
Like many of you I had been a life long Republican, because I didn't know there was a choice, and then I took the World's Smallest Political Quiz and found out I was actually a Libertarian, all be it, on the conservative which was no surprise with my education, upbringing, and career choices.  Back in October of 2013 after finally having enough of seeing the abuse of the citizens, the Government’s flagrant disregard for the US Constitution and
State’s Rights, rising taxes, out of control spending, I turned to the members of the Texas Libertarian party and asked one simple e-mail question. “What can
I do to help?”  That small and humbling plea was answered by John Spivey and some others who set me on this whirl wind of an experience that will surely change my life.  They asked to review my resume and credentials and collectively they believed I was an ideal candidate for Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and asked me run and support the party.  I believe the greatest strength of the Libertarian party is its diversity and our willingness
to embrace change and accept new comers with different and unique ideas.  The exact same things that make America the greatest nation. 


Questions from Texans - What has changed in your stances? When? Why?

What has changed in your stances? When? Why?  ​I
have had the opportunity to talk with many members of the Libertarian Party of Texas some in person, more online but all have had stories to tell, and looking to me offer solace.  The one overwhelming and ringing message I got from
people is their feeling of isolation and alienation within our own party.  And those people being made to feel that way by others in the way of personal attacks.  I vow as a candidate  not condone personal attacks, based
on their sex, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or economic situation as a leader I will not tolerate that behavior.  Disagreements on policy, platforms, agendas, problems, and solutions all fair game to discuss and
compromise on in a civilized and respectful manner.  There is no reason there isn’t room for everyone and to listen to people’s ideas and questions.  Every time someone leaves the party, and that light goes out we all lose.


Questions from Texans - What would you say are your top 3 concerns with how things are going in Texas and we can go from there?

What would you say are your top 3 concerns with how things are going in Texas and we can go from there?


1.) Creating a more fiscally transparent Texas Government through the use of technology, just like I did when I was at NASA and the US Army Contracting Command.  If we know where our money is being spent than we can make wiser decision on budget reductions, there by ultimately reducing the tax burden on Texans.  Currently only 45% of the revenue to run the state of Texas comes from taxes.  Roughly 35% comes from Federal Government Transfers.  Annually the State of Texas spends approximately $75Billion, with only $2.3Billion for the three branches
of Executive, Legislative, and Judicial departments.  What is the other 97% of the budget and what are we getting for it?

2.) Form a better fiscal educational outreach system for Texans.  To help educate and promote small business and consumers on taxes and business process for better job
creation.  Continue to support and promote the STEMs activities programs of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through the Texas Workforce Commission for all students in public, private, and home schooling. 
It is my goal is to give every Texan the chance to succeed through a variety of programs, that help our young people explore careers, provide tools and resources to help parents save and pay for future careers.  To offer programs and ways to contribute to those dreams that otherwise might not be obtainable.

3.) To faithfully execute my oath of office and safeguarding that I and no one in my administration performs any action
that violates the constitutions of the United States of America or the State of Texas.  The Comptroller is the watchdog and guardian that plots the economic course of the State of Texas and provides, guidance, and reports that
Legislators depend on to make wise and prudent decisions on expenditures. I can think of no greater responsibility than that of the person whom Texans trust with holding their wallets.


Questions from Texans - Do you think that the government can dictate the right of assembly?

Do you think that the government can dictate the right of assembly? Should my free speech and right of assembly have to be permitted? And if it does that give the government the power to control whom can protest? I want you to have a opportunity to explain this a little further. I feel that some have a view of your position that might be reality. I do not think some know your background as well.


Questions from Texans - What are the Duties of the Comptroller?

What are the Duties of the Comptroller? 

Someone asked for a listing of the “other” responsibilities of the Texas Comptroller, under the Texas Constitution and Statutes the Comptroller is referred to over 775 times. To give you a better idea I thought it might be helpful to list the first 200 duties and responsibilities in alphabetical order. My education and experience makes me uniquely qualified to execute the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, those of you who are interested I encourage you to review my background and experience in my LinkedIn profile.

Immediately below are the 19 powers charged by the Texas Constitution to the Comptroller of the State of Texas. Sec. 403.011. GENERAL POWERS.

(a) The comptroller shall:
(1) obtain a seal with "Comptroller's Office, State of Texas"
engraved around the margin and a five-pointed star in the center, to be used as the seal of the office to authenticate official acts, except warrants drawn on the state treasury;

(2) adopt regulations the comptroller considers essential to the speedy and proper assessment and collection of state revenues;

(3) supervise, as the sole accounting officer of the state, the state's fiscal concerns and manage those concerns as required by law;

(4) require all accounts presented to the comptroller for settlement not otherwise provided for by law to be made on forms that the comptroller prescribes;

(5) prescribe and furnish the form or electronic format to be used in the collection of public revenue;

(6) prescribe the mode and manner of keeping and stating of accounts of persons collecting state revenue;

(7) prescribe forms or electronic formats of the same class, kind, and purpose so that they are uniform in size, arrangement, matter, and form;

(8) require each person receiving money or managing or having disposition of state property of which an account is kept in the comptroller's office periodically to render statements of the money or property to the comptroller;

(9) require each person who has received and not accounted for state money to settle the person's account;

(10) keep and settle all accounts in which the state is interested;

(11) examine and settle the account of each person indebted to the state, verify the amount or balance, and direct and supervise the collection of the money;

(12) audit claims against the state the payment of which is provided for by law, unless the audit is otherwise specially provided for;

(13) determine the method for auditing claims against the state in a cost-effective manner, including the use of stratified and statistical sampling techniques in conjunction with automated edits;

(14) maintain the necessary records and data for each approved claim against the state so that an adequate audit can be performed and the comptroller can submit a report to each house of the legislature, upon request, stating the
name and amount of each approved claim;

(15) keep and state each account between the state and the United States;

(16) keep journals through which all entries are made in the ledger;

(17) draw warrants on the treasury for payment of all money required by law to be paid from the treasury on warrants drawn by the comptroller;

(18) suggest plans for the improvement and management of the general revenue; and

(19) preserve the books, records, papers, and other property of the comptroller's office and deliver them in good condition to the successor to that office.

(b) The comptroller may solicit, accept, or refuse a gift or grant of money, services, or property on behalf of the state for any public purpose related to the office or duties of the comptroller.


Questions from Texans - Do you support returning to a Gold Standard?

Since it's the job of the Comptroller to receive/make payments... would you, Ben, support Sound Money/Legal Tender legislation like what has passed in Utah, Oklahoma, Missouri, and is being considered in other states where gold & silver is used instead of the fiat currency of the Federal Reserve?


Campaign Questions: What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?

I am a two time recipient of NASA's prestigious "I
am an Innovator Award", more men have walked on the surface of the moon than have ever received this award twice in their career.

My first award was in creating a real time financial project management system. Managing projects efficiently has been as challenge at NASA, though arguably they are one of the best of all the Federal Agencies when it comes to
budget management. It is difficult because required data was scattered across various database and often was not current. The problem was solved by interfacing the different databases and consolidating the data in one location.

The system that was created was able to generate real-time spending reports that allowed project managers to track purchases, service costs, and hours charged to
their projects. NASA-White Sands Test Facility which was consistently over budget by $1.2 million. The first year this system was implemented the budget overage was $74 thousand, and the books were balanced and closed for the first time in one day. To this day NASA White Sands Test Facility has not has a single project go over budget without prior knowledge of a shortfall.


Campaign Questions: What political leader do you most admire and why?

Ronald Reagan

I was young and impressionable as I listened in awe to his masterful speeches. It was not until much later that I gained sufficient insight to realize that this monumental figure had feet of clay due to bureaucracy.

I do not believe Ronald Reagan was a cynic. I think that in some way he really, truly believed in everything he said, even when he got it all wrong. For all the wrong directions he took us in however, there were some genuine achievements in his administration:

A) He changed the way government did business. From Johnson's Great Society to Nixon's authoritarianism to Carter's well-intention bumbling we had developed a bloated, inefficient, unwieldy, self-perpetuating federal bureaucracy. Reagan reduced and streamlined the federal agencies (some of which admittedly should not have been cut), effected regulatory reform and returned some power to the states. While this had mixed results, it was not a trivial thing.

B) He recognized not only the inherent evils of Soviet-style Communism, but also its built-in weaknesses. He was able to understand that with a few well-placed nudges in the right direction the Soviet bloc would collapse under its own weight. Reagan did not by any stretch of the imagination bring about the collapse single-handily, but he was certainly instrumental in Communism's demise.

C) We should not take so lightly people's statements like "He restored my faith in America", because that in of itself was quite an accomplishment. Someone who was not around during that time might fail to realize the high level of malaise that was so prevalent. Much like there is today. There had been the horrors of Vietnam, the endless cold war, the dark paranoia and outright criminality of Nixon, the seeming ineffectiveness of Carter, the was a recession going on and inflation was running amok. The 70's were not good times. Reagan changed that. He imparted a sense of confidence and esprit to the nation. He was the first president since JFK to put a positive note into the public discourse.

For better or for worse, Reagan had that elusive quality known as "leadership".

As Texas Comptroller I am qualified and ready to lead.


Campaign Questions: Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

I've trained my entire life for this position. During my years at US Army, I honed my skills in leadership, through fairness, integrity, and honor and will instill those values in the eighteen Field Offices across Texas. As Comptroller I won't use scare tactics against my fellow Texans to control them. I will however always tell you the truth no matter how unpleasant it might be. I'm not going to Austin to make friends who can help my political career, because I don't have one. The only office I am interested in that of Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. In the comptroller's race, Libertarian Ben Sanders was the only hopeful to provide tax returns. If you can't trust the Comptroller to faithfully fill out their Tax Return and Public Financial Disclosure form, how can you trust them with your tax dollars? I am qualified and ready to lead.

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/12/05/most-statewide-candidates-wont-release-tax-returns/


Campaign Questions: What kind of accounting or efficiency background do you have? Is such a background necessary for this position?

I hold Doctorate in Business Administration and my thesis draft was used in part as the foundation of CIO of the United State of America Vivek Kundra's "25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information technology Management" In my thesis I showed how with a little out side the box thinking the Federal Government could save $4.9 billion annually and reduce PC kilo Watt hours consumption by 520 million. That is more electrical power than the annual consumption of 27% of the world's nations.


Campaign Questions: Should the comptroller have a role in making sure Texas’ public pension plans are solvent? If so, how should this be done?

Details on state and local pension plans in Texas as reported to the Pension Review Board and submitted by each plan in response to a public information request from the Comptroller’s office. The Texas Comptroller should have no role in the Texas’ public pension plans other than reporting their fiscal information in an effort to be transparent.

Currently the Local and State pensions have an unfunded liability of $53,849,110,848 that's more than the entire Texas Appropriations ($52,330,160,968) for 2014 & 2015 once you remove Education and Health and Human Services. Which means currently the pensions don't have the money to pay what is due all the pension holders. To understand how we got to this point we first must understand history and take quick trip back for those who may not be familiar or don't remember. In our not so distance past teachers, police, firefighters and other civil servants were used as political pawns by nefarious politicians. These unscrupulous politicians would upon election terminate employment of those teachers, police, and firefighters who did not vote for them or dared to speak out in opposition and replace them with those more loyal. This was common place enough that the formation of teacher, police, and firefighter unions were established in a measure to protect these civil servants from this admonish behavior. Today the circumstances that once gave rise and need for these organizations are protected with State and Federal labor departments, in addition to agency Human Resources.

As Texas Comptroller I would strongly advocate that all government employees be given the same right to influence their future and retirement as any other citizen through the implementation of 401k or IRA systems. Over the long haul, 401k's produce more money at retirement than traditional private-sector pension plans, new research suggests, though the risks are obviously higher. With 401k's and IRAs people to end up with more money at retirement than they would with a traditional private-sector pension plan, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. In addition to great return on investment the fund of a 401k or IRA are available to the employee for life events such as buying a home, children's tuition, financial
emergency, and can follow someone from job to job without being having to be fully vested or pay annual dues.

Detroit's Bankruptcy Should Be A Warning To Every Worker Expecting A Pension, Or Social Security. Remember the Texas Local and State pensions have an unfunded liability of almost $54 billion. Detroit owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 billion to over 100,000 creditors. One group of creditors particularly wary of a municipal bankruptcy is Detroit’s public sector labor unions. They fear a bankruptcy judge might allow the city to cancel or reduce their pension or retiree health benefits. The unions have a lot of law on their side, but they are still right to be worried. More importantly, this situation should serve as a warning to every person expecting to retire one day and collect a pension or other retirement benefits: do not trust other people with your future.

By affording the civil servants the same 401k and IRA that is available to everyone else, and outsourcing the administration and management of these funds to companies like USAA, Vanguard, Fidelity, and others, it will create an annual budget reduction of $1,755,014,356 by eliminating the pension administrative overhead, while maintaining retiree insurance benefits. This $1.7billion cost reduction is the same amount we spend annually on the school lunch program, and we've eliminated the liability of the state and empowered people to have control over their own lives. Not to mention if local municipalities follow suite the cost reduction and lessened tax burden we will all feel.

As Texas Comptroller I will work to give you the right to retire on your terms and control your own future.


Campaign Questions: Is Texas’ tax system capable of meeting the state’s needs? If not, what would you recommend the legislature do differently?

Absolutely the current tax system is more than capable of meeting the state's needs. As I have said countless times we first have to fully understand what it is we are spending our money on and why. Once we have a clear understanding of that, then we can move to reducing our budget. After we've reduced our collective expenditures in the budget we can move to reduce taxes for everyone.  In my own July 6, 2014 Texas Tribune Trib Talk article I sum it up. "Reforming property tax regulations is not just about treating Texas citizens with honesty and openness. It also forces government to begin the hard work of reining in
unnecessary expenditures and finding efficiencies to live within its means."

http://tribtalk.org/2014/07/06/a-libertarians-take-on-property-taxes/


Campaign Questions: In 2012,Texas was second in the country in uncollected internet taxes. The comptroller’s office eventually reached a settlement...

In 2012, Texas was second in the country in uncollected internet taxes. The comptroller’s office eventually reached a settlement with Amazon.com, which began collecting sales taxes in the state, but other e-retailers without a physical presence here still are not. What can or should the comptroller do to address this issue?

As Texas Comptroller I would immediately order Amazon to stop collecting sales tax for the residents of the State of Texas, and apologize profusely for the confusion and misunderstanding.

Let me explain why an Internet sales tax is such an incomprehensibly bad idea. If the economy is to get stronger, charging consumers more when they're already struggling to afford goods and services is not a wise move. Even brick and mortars won't win. Here's why.

This is not a time to add a 6% to almost 9% price increase to the purchasing of goods. A tremendous number of people buy online, and by increasing their costs across the board, tax revenue won't go up nearly as much as sales will go down. Here's how the economists look at it: Sales tax revenue is just one component of the overall economy; everything is interconnected. If sales tax income goes up, but overall tax income goes down because (a) people are spending less, (b) companies go out of business, (c) fewer companies start up, and (d) people lose their jobs, the net tax income will actually be less.

And that's just what will happen if we get an Internet sales tax. It will result in further damaging our economy while also causing the loss of jobs while also causing the state to collect less revenue, not more. It's not just that consumers will buy less online if their purchases are taxed. It's that operating an online store that deals with sales tax accounting is a very non-trivial task.

There are 50 states, almost all of which have individual sales tax rates. Worse, there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of local tax rates across the country. For an online retailer to sell in an America with an Internet tax rate, sales taxes will suddenly have to be collected for all of these jurisdictions.

Even that's not so bad. Good shopping cart software can track rates based on ZIP code.

Where it gets bad is reporting. Filing sales tax reports for hundreds or thousands of jurisdictions, each with their own different forms and filing rules, can become incomprehensibly complex. Small online retailers won't be able to keep up. Of course, the large online retailers, like Amazon, will have the IT resources to build out tax management into their systems. As a result, Amazon will get stronger at the expense of small online retailers.
Now, here's the biggest irony: Who are the small online retailers? In many cases, they're stores that have also set up shop on the Internet. They showcase their inventory, not only in their brick and mortar storefront, but in their online store as well. With complex, convoluted Internet-based sales tax in place, these local brick and mortars will have to close their online stores and concentrate only on local sales.

Amazon will once again be strengthened at the expense of local brick and mortars.

 


Campaign Questions: What’s the most important duty of the Texas comptroller and how would you fulfill it?

As the guardian of the state’s finances, the Comptroller serves every citizen of the state. Legislators rely on the Comptroller’s office to chart the course of the Texas economy, produce annual financial reports and estimate future state revenues. State agencies trust the Comptroller to pay their bills and issue paychecks to their employees. Local officials and businesses look to this office for economic development guidance and data analysis. And all Texas residents depend on our agency to safeguard their tax dollars and ensure that they are handled wisely.

Drawing on my experience as the Financial IT Systems Administrator for NASA, I will publish an easy to understand budget that follows graphically the organizational chart of the State of Texas. Because it should never be uncertain where the taxpayer's money is being spent.

The Texas Comptroller's office serves the state by collecting more than 60 separate taxes, fees and assessments, including local sales taxes collected on behalf of more than 1,400 cities, counties and other local governments around the state.

As Texas' Cornerstone for Growth. The Comptroller's office administers the state's 529 plans and promotes local economic growth by identifying and fostering work force development initiatives across the state. The Comptroller's goal is to give all Texans a chance to succeed. This is accomplished through a variety of programs. Some programs help young Texans explore careers, others provide tools and resources to help parents save and pay for future careers and offer all Texans a way to contribute to those higher education dreams. As a long time advocate and support of STEMs programs, I know how vital these classes are to our young people's future success.

It is my job to stretch every dollar with smarter spending. As the only candidate who is trained and certified as a Contracting Officer Representative by Defense Acquisition University. I understand how to run the State Purchasing teams and justly award and manage hundreds of statewide contracts on behalf of more than 200 state agencies and 1,900 local government CO-OP members.


Campaign Questions: What efficiencies would you like to see in the way the state operates? Please be specific.

The most simple is the fact the State and local governments ignore the Texas Constitution. When it comes to Property Tax the Constitution States, all property must be taxed equally and uniformly. [Texas Constitution Article VIII, Section 1(a)] No single property or type of property should be taxed more than its fair market value. [Texas Constitution Article VIII, Section 20] We all know that both of these are not followed. To little things like charging extra for Credit Card use. In Texas, a business can not penalize you for paying with a credit card. Businesses that add a surcharge to those who pay by credit card might be violating provisions of the Texas Finance Code. However, businesses can discount the regular retail price of an item for consumers who pay cash. If you believe a business is charging extra for credit card purchases, please a file a consumer complaint with The Comptroller's Office. Credit card fees can be charged by government entities, such as for the payment of property taxes or other fees required by government agencies. As Comptroller I will fix that, immediately the State of Texas will stop charging a Credit Card processing fee as a courtesy and to lead by example.


Campaign Questions: How do you think the comptroller’s office handled the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan?

Unfortunately in this instance the Comptroller failed to faithfully execute the oath of office, not in management of the fund, but in being the watch dog and standing up Gov. Rick Perry's and the Legislature in 2003 when they decided to cut state support for public universities while allowing the board of regents at each to set tuition rates.

In many cases, the contracts had more than doubled in value because of tuition increases at state universities. Tuition costs skyrocketed, though. From fall 2003 through fall 2010, the statewide average total academic charges for a student taking 15 semester hours at a public university has increased by 83 percent, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Meanwhile no university athletic department makes more money than the University of Texas.

While the State pays $206 million annually in support of the University of Texas system. The football and men's basketball teams account for approximately 70% of the athletic department's revenue. Total athletic department revenue: $163.3 million, but less than 6% of all revenue is spent on scholarships $9.4 million. Texas lawmakers adjourned without fixing the state's prepaid college tuition program, which now faces a $600 million shortfall and could go broke as early as 2014 by some estimates. If that happens, state taxpayers may have to cover the shortfall because the state constitution guarantees payment to those who bought in.

The fund, originally the Texas Tomorrow Fund and later renamed the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan, was originally designed to help middle-class families afford college.
It stopped accepting new contracts in 2003, but still has about 89,700 active ones. Those contract holders are guaranteed that the contract will cover tuition and mandatory fees at a public university or could be used at its full value at a private university.

The fund had thousands more contracts in the summer of 2009, when the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board, mindful of a growing shortfall, said refunds would be limited to the actual amount people had paid in, minus administrative fees, rather than the full value of the contract.  Approximately 7,400 contracts were canceled as families rushed to cash out their contracts before the new policy took effect, because of the potential that their student would opt not to go to college, would graduate early or would receive full scholarships.

As Texas Comptroller I will resolve the Student Loan crisis for all Texans.   Being a victim myself, 10 years and over $50 K in legal fees, I know first hand how broken this system really is.


Campaign Questions: How would you rate the job performance of outgoing Comptroller Susan Combs? What has she done well, and what would you improve?

I believe she did the best she could with the situation she was given, but in the end she was a career politician who was concerned about re-election and the next office. It wasn't until she decided she was no longer going to seek public office that she became her most effective. I am reminded of a piece Ms. Combs wrote in the Wall Street Journal, and this dramatically changed my mind and opinion of her, that initially perhaps I judged to harshly. "Apathy costs money." - Susan Combs Texas Comptroller

She goes on to talk about how Americans need to understand what are all the players and entities that are taxing them, these taxes are to pay off debts, and you can't confront the creators of these debts if you don't know who they are. The ideas of the article are very much the corner stone and foundation of the Libertarian Party, and spoke to me with logic and reason. It is a wonderful article if you would like to read more.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324391104578230143810930984


Campaign Questions: During Combs’ tenure, the comptroller’s office emphasized openness and transparency. Would you continue that emphasis?

As I have stated countless times in my Facebook page, and on my website. I am proud of the level of transparency the State of Texas strives for and will be proud to carry on the legacy. Before we can start cutting taxes, we first have to understand where the money is being spent.

Drawing on my experience as the Financial IT Systems Administrator for NASA, I will publish an easy to understand budget that follows graphically the organizational chart of the State of Texas. I will create an interactive system that shows the Biannual General Appropriations Act in a graphic flow chart by department and their inter-connectivity. It will be something along the lines of what my friends at Time-plots Information Graphics Products produces. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0177/6150/t/2/assets/WATERMARK-DNT-0712.png

Recently on my web portal I posted a Pie chart that encompasses the entire
Texas General Appropriations for all funds, for 2014 & 2015 because of the level of misdirection and misleading comments. I was actually questioned by people upon posting to site my source for the graph because they believe education had been cut and teachers were going to get fired and schools would close, because that's what they were told. Meanwhile they had no idea that public education in in Texas is over 1/3 of the entire budget. If we don't know what we are spending our money on, how can we know what we can cut or do without?


Do you support updating the 2006 study on the economic impact of illegal immigration in Texas? Why or why not?

As Comptroller I will not waste the taxpayer's money on reports and studies that are best suited by the academic departments of the State's already funded Universities. This questions was recently updated and answered in March of 2014 by UTEP and NCBSI. 

(http://ncbsi.utep.edu/documents/UAC%20Project%20Site%20Visits/UTEP%20NCBSI%20Final%20Report%20March%2020%202014.pdf)


Star-Telegram - What are your top issues?

•Promotion and Education of Small Business
•Property Tax
•Expanding the Transparency of Government and Finance
•Uphold the Texas Constitution



Star-Telegram - Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek?

Like any elected official, I serve at the pleasure of the people. They will effectively limit my term if they don't approve of the way I am doing the job they hired me to do. While in office my primary concern will be to execute my oath of office and serve the people of Texas and not campaign for my next election.  I believe we have term limits every public office. They are held every 2, 4 or 6 years, and they are called elections. I trust the citizenry of the state of Texas to get informed and make the best decision regarding the office I seek.


Star-Telegram - Should the state keep, kill or expand the Texas lottery?

Lotteries has been used since the beginning of civilization to raise needed money for various public projects.  The first recorded signs of a lottery are keno slips from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC to finance the Great Wall of China.  It has been recorded that more than 200 lotteries were sanctioned between 1744 and 1776, and played a major role in financing roads, libraries, churches, colleges, canals, bridges, etc.  Today, in the Lottery’s 21-year history 2013 ticket sales topped $4.376billion, with $1.214 billion to the state of Texas, the Lottery’s single largest transfer of revenue to the state, including a contribution of $1.149 billion to the Foundation School Fund.  Sales of the Veterans Cash scratch-off game resulted in $6.2 million for the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, which is administered by the Texas Veterans Commission.  2013 was the 10th consecutive year that the Texas Lottery generated more than $1 billion in contributions to the state of Texas.  The Texas Lottery’s careful spending kept administrative expenses to an all-time record low of 4.4 percent of fiscal year 2013 sales.  For the state’s more than 17,000 Texas Lottery retailers that collect a five percent commission on every lottery sale, those commissions amounted to a record $218.9 million in 2013.  On top of the record-setting sales, prizes, commissions and revenue increases, other highlights for fiscal year 2013 include:

  • In January, the Texas Lottery surpassed $15 billion in transfers to the Foundation School Fund.

  • Texas saw its first ever Powerball jackpot prize winner and its 10th Mega Millions jackpot prize winner.

  • The world-record $590.5 million Powerball jackpot for the May 18 drawing and other large Powerball jackpots.

     

    As Texas Comptroller, it is not within the authority of this office to enact or abolish the Texas Lottery this is a matter for the People to decide, but I can justly and fairly report the fiscal facts.


Star-Telegram - Should Texas allow historical racing at horse and dog tracks?

As Texas Comptroller this issue is not for my office to say, but a matter for the legislator and the People to decide.  What I can tell you are the facts and not all that long ago, Texas was a major horse racing state. In October 2004, more than 53,000 fans jammed Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie for the Breeders’ Cup, the only time that premier event has ever been held in Texas.  The off-track parties, featuring George Strait and Willie Nelson, were memorable, too. A decade of decline later, though, the fun is almost gone. When it comes to horse racing, the words “major” and “Texas” no longer seem to go together.  Horse owners and trainers follow the money, so purse levels have a ripple effect throughout the industry, from breeding to veterinary services. Higher purses mean better horses, better competition and more spectator interest.  The horse industry is a very large and important part of our national, state and local economies. It is diverse, involving agriculture, business, sport, gaming, entertainment and recreation.

  • There are 9.2 million horses in the United States.

  • 4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.

  • 2 million people own horses.

  • The horse industry has a direct economic effect on the U.S. of $39 billion annually.

  • The industry has a $102 billion impact on the U.S. economy when the multiplier effect of spending by industry suppliers and employees is taken into account. Including off-site spending of spectators would result in an even higher figure.

  • The industry directly provides 460,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

  • Spending by suppliers and employees generates additional jobs for a total employment impact of 1.4 million FTE jobs.

  • The horse industry pays $1.9 billion in taxes to all levels of government.

  • Approximately 34% of horse owners have a household income of less than $50,000 and 28% have an annual income of over $100,000. 46% of horse owners have an income of between $25,000 to $75,000.

     

    Study of the Current State of Horse and Greyhound Racing in Texas and Industry Recommendations for Improvement

http://www.txrc.texas.gov/agency/news/postings/Report-Current-State-of-Texas-Racing.pdf


Star-Telegram - What do you think about casino gambling in Texas?

As Texas Comptroller this is not within this office’s scope of control, and I would not be in favor of any Government Subsidies for gambling or gaming.   What I can tell you is the fiscal facts.  For decades, Las Vegas was the only place in the United States where casino gambling was legal. But in the late 1970s, Atlantic City, N.J., followed suit. Since then, more and more state and local governments have gotten into the game, lured by the promise of new jobs and tax revenues. Forty states now permit some form of casino gambling.  Recapturing revenue lost to neighboring states is now the primary reason why states legalize gambling.  In 2012, the state's 26,476 one-armed bandits across the state casinos produced $2.47 billion in slot machine revenue, that's 2.7 percent higher than the previous year.  All those losses generated more than $1.3 billion in tax revenue for the state, about 2 percent higher than in 2011. Slot machine revenue is taxed at roughly 55 percent, with the proceeds going mainly toward property tax relief.  With all this talk you might be thinking I’m talking about Nevada, but this is actually Pennsylvania.

 

  • Global casino gaming revenue ………. $159.71bn

  • Global revenue of Las Vegas Sands ………. $13.77bn

  • Number of casinos in North America ………. 1,623

  • U.S. casino gaming market revenue ………. $65.497bn

  • Number of casinos in the U.S. .……. 1,511

  • Gross gaming revenue of Las Vegas Strip, Nev. .………. $6.207bn

  • Total number of casino employees in Nevada ………. 174,381

  • Poker room revenue of Nevada casinos ………. $123.89m

  • National tax revenue from Pennsylvania commercial casinos ………. $1.487bn

  • Average annual salary of casino employees in Nevada ………. $41,450

  • Revenue per employee of casinos in Nevada ………. $126,230

  • Annual Visitors to Las Vegas ………. 39,668,221

  • Convention Delegate Attendees ………. 5,107,416

  • Annual Number of Conventions in Las Vegas ………. 22,027

  • Annual County Government Revenue in Las Vegas ………. $9.70bn

     

    Las Vega Visitor Profile 2013

    http://www.lvcva.com/includes/content/images/media/docs/2013-Las_Vegas_Visitor_Profile.pdf


Star-Telegram - What should Texas do regarding the border crisis?

This questions was recently reviewed and answered in March of 2014 by UTEP and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI).  The Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas has witnessed a significant increase in illegal immigration over the last three years that has impacted Department of Homeland Security enforcement entities. Within this overall increase of illegal immigration the region has also seen a substantial increase of unaccompanied alien children that are mostly classified as Other Than Mexican nationals. The large influx of UACs has caused DHS some difficulty in meeting the requirements of the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement, which stipulates that the UAC will be placed in the custody of an organization that can appropriately care for the UAC. The two DHS components mostly impacted by these increases are Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations. The Health and Human Services Department, Office of Refugee and Resettlement, is the agency responsible for long-term placement of UACs in contracted shelters while UACs await their immigration hearings.

 

  • The number of UACs in the Rio Grande Valley/Harlingen Field Office geographical area has seen an increase of 367.6 percent since fiscal year 2011.

  • Most UACs are Other Than Mexican nationals, which causes significant increases in processing time (administrative/criminal casework) and requirements for long term detention.

  • Each morning the HHS ORR Intake Center has approximately 30-90 initial placement referral requests pending from the previous night.

  • The national discharge rate of UACs is approximately 80-90 per day.

  • There are approximately 5,000 beds available in the HHS ORR network that service approximately 25,000 UACs annually.

 

UTEP and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI)

http://ncbsi.utep.edu/documents/UAC%20Project%20Site%20Visits/UTEP%20NCBSI%20Final%20Report%20March%2020%202014.pdf


Star-Telegram - Do you agree with the abortion law passed last year by the Legislature and now being fought in the courts?

The office of the Texas Comptroller has no authority or influence over any medical procedures including abortions.  That being said as an Ordained Minister I personally believe all life is sacred especially that of new innocent life. It is not the government’s place to dictate medical procedures that is between a patient and their doctor the same as a priest and their parishioner or lawyer and their client.  These are corner stones to our society as relationships that shall not be violated by any doctrine of law.  I would always encourage adoption over abortion, and am grateful being the offspring of a single mother.  Any decisions as for what is best for someone else are not mine or anyone other than that person’s to make.  It is however the governments place to set safety standards acceptable practitioner minimum guidelines that must be follow to protect the public interest.


Star-Telegram - What are your priorities for improving Texas' infrastructure?

Infrastructure problems make Texas less attractive to business, which concerns me greatly as Texas Comptroller being one of my responsibilities are to the growth of the Texas economy.  With a workforce of over 12 million people, an unemployment rate that has been below the national average for over six years and as the national leader in exports for the 11th year in a row, Texas is one the most successful economies in this nation.  By sticking to the conservative principles of low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and restrained spending, we have made Texas the best place to live, work, raise a family and start a business. Texas gets 1,500 new arrivals daily, many of whom add to the congestion on its roads.  Several business leaders and legislators say that infrastructure problems stem from a lack of political will to do anything that could be called a tax or a fee increase.  In El Paso, Interstate 10 has become such a patchwork that the interstate is failing.  Within the next three to five years, the transportation department will have to come up with funds and figure out a way to rebuild it without having an alternative route to detour traffic.  The constitutional amendment, which will go on the ballot in November 2014, would put up $1.2 billion a year -- a little more than a quarter of the money the state needs to maintain the highway system at its current level of congestion.  It would take another billion a year to ease the problems in El Paso, which is a standard example across the state.  The biggest problem in Texas however is water, voters will be asked in November to put up $2 billion from the state's rainy-day fund to deal with a water shortage magnified by a historic drought. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn used Texas' water problems against Perry to draw business to Illinois.


Star-Telegram - Do you agree with the school funding plans passed in 2013 and 2011 by the Legislature and now being fought in the courts?

The 2014 -2015 State All Funding Spending via the General Appropriation Act or budget shows the greatest amount spent on Education is Texas’ history.  Approximately 37% of the $200 billion 2014 – 2015 Appropriation equates to $74billion.  Where’s your tax dollars going?  The problem is where to take money from?  What would you cut to fund something else?  We only have $100billion annually in taxation revenue.  Please take a look at the General Appropriations Act 2014-2015

http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/GAA/General_Appropriations_Act_2014-15.pdf

 

As I have stated countless times in my Facebook page, and on my website. I am proud of the level of transparency the State of Texas strives for and will be proud to carry on the legacy. Before we can start cutting taxes, we first have to understand where the money is being spent.

 

Drawing on my experience as the Financial IT Systems Administrator for NASA, I will publish an easy to understand budget that follows graphically the organizational chart of the State of Texas. I will create an interactive system that shows the Biannual General Appropriations Act in a graphic flow chart by department and their inter-connectivity. It will be something along the lines of what my friends at Time-plots Information Graphics Products produces. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0177/6150/t/2/assets/WATERMARK-DNT-0712.png

 

Recently on my web portal I posted a Pie chart that encompasses the entire Texas General Appropriations for all funds, for 2014 & 2015 because of the level of misdirection and misleading comments. I was actually questioned by people upon posting to site my source for the graph because they believe education had been cut and teachers were going to get fired and schools would close, because that's what they were told. Meanwhile they had no idea that public education in in Texas is over 1/3 of the entire budget. If we don't know what we are spending our money on, how can we know what we can cut or do without? www.vote4sanders.com


Star-Telegram - Should open carry be allowed in Texas?

Texas is one of just six states, along with the District of Columbia, that doesn't permit citizens to openly display a legally registered handgun. On that issue, Texas finds itself in the company of states including California, New York and Illinois, even as Texas has loose restrictions around the sale, licensing and registration of firearms.  Effective September 1, 2007 a person who can legally possess a firearm may possess or carry a handgun in motor vehicle (including a recreational vehicle with living quarters) and watercraft that is owned by or under the lawful control of the person. However, the firearm must be concealed, the person may not be engaged in criminal activity, and also may not be a member of “Criminal Street Gang.” The person may also carry the firearm to and from his vehicle without a license. (See Texas Penal Code 46.02 (a). However, DPS recommends that you seek the advice of an attorney with any questions regarding the unlicensed carrying of firearms.  On March 27, 2007, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 378 into law, making Texas a "Castle Doctrine" state which came into effect September 1, 2007. Residents lawfully occupying a dwelling may use deadly force against a person who "unlawfully, and with force, enters or attempts to enter the dwelling", or who unlawfully and with force removes or attempts to remove someone from that dwelling, or who commits or attempts to commit a "qualifying" felony such as "aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery" (TPC 9.32(b)).  Senate Bill 378 also contains a "Stand Your Ground" clause; a person who has a legal right to be wherever he/she is at the time of a defensive shooting has no "duty to retreat" before being justified in shooting. The "trier of fact" (the jury in a jury trial, otherwise the judge) may not consider whether the person retreated when deciding whether the person was justified in shooting (TPC 9.32(c, d)).  In addition, two statutes of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code protect people who justifiably threaten or use deadly force. Chapter 86 prohibits a person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony from filing suit to recover any damages suffered as a result of the criminal act or any justifiable action taken by others to prevent it or to apprehend the person.  Chapter 83 of the same code states that a person who used force or deadly force that is justified under TPC Chapter 9 may not be sued for personal injury or death of the individual against whom the force was used.


LWV-TEF Voters Guide Education:

Answer Bachelors of Science - Chemistry; Master of Science - Computer Science; Doctor of Business Administration - Applied Computer Science; Certified Contracting Officer's Representative - Defense Acquisition University; Certified Records Manager - NARA

Answer (Spanish) Licenciatura en Ciencias – Química; Maestría en Ciencias – Ciencias Computacionales; Doctorado en Administración de Negocios – Ciencias Computacionales Aplicadas; Representante del Oficial de Contrataciones Certificado – Defense Acquisition University; Gerente de Registros Certificado – Archivos Nacionales y Administración de Documentos (NARA)


LWV-TEF Voters Guide Experience:

Answer I've trained my entire life for this position. During my years at NASA and the US Army, I honed my skills in leadership, through fairness, integrity, and honor and will instill those values in the eighteen Field Offices across Texas. (on website)

Answer (Spanish) Me he preparado toda mi vida para este puesto. Durante mis años en NASA y el ejército de EEUU, he perfeccionado mis habilidades en liderazgo, a través de la justicia, la integridad y el honor e inculcaré esos valores en las dieciocho oficinas locales a lo largo de Texas. (en el sitio web) 


LWV-TEF Voters Guide The comptroller is the chief steward of the state’s finances. What measures do you support to ensure wise use of state money?:

Answer As I have said countless times we first have to fully understand what it is we are spending our money on and why. Once we have a clear understanding of that, then we can move to reducing our budget. After we've reduced our collective expenditures in the budget we can move to reduce taxes for everyone. (http://tribtalk.org/2014/07/06/a-libertarians-take-on-property-taxes/)

Answer (Spanish) Como ya he mencionado innumerables veces, primero tenemos que entender completamente en qué estamos gastando nuestro dinero y porqué. Una vez que esté claro, podemos pasar a reducir el presupuesto. Después de reducir nuestros gastos colectivos en el presupuesto, podemos pasar a reducir impuestos para todos. (http://tribtalk.org/2014/07/06/a-libertarians-take-on-property-taxes/)


LWV-TEF Voters Guide Do you support updating the 2006 study on the economic impact of illegal immigration in Texas? Why or why not?:

Answer As Comptroller I will not waste the taxpayer's money on reports and studies that are best suited by the academic departments of the State's already funded Universities. This questions was recently updated and answered in March of 2014 by UTEP and NCBSI. (http://ncbsi.utep.edu/documents/UAC%20Project%20Site%20Visits/UTEP%20NCBSI%20Final%20Report%20March%2020%202014.pdf)

Answer (Spanish) Como contralor, no gastaré el dinero de los contribuyentes en reportes y estudios que son más adecuados para los departamentos académicos de las universidades del estado ya financiadas. Esta pregunta se actualizó recientemente y se contestó en Marzo del 2014 por UTEP y NCBSI. (http://ncbsi.utep.edu/ documents/UAC%20Project%20 Site%20Visits/UTEP%20NCBSI%20Final%20Report%20 March%2020%202014.pdf)


LWV-TEF Voters Guide What other issues do you consider the most important, and how would you address them?:

Answer The Local and State pensions have an unfunded liability of $53,849,110,848. As Texas Comptroller I would strongly advocate that all government employees be given the same right to influence their future and retirement as any other citizen through the implementation of 401k or IRA systems.

(read more web on my web site http://www.vote4sanders.com/issues )

Answer (Spanish) Las pensiones locales y del estado tienen un pasivo no financiado de $53,849,110,848. Como contralor de Texas, aconsejaría que se les diera a todos los empleados del gobierno el mismo derecho de influenciar su futuro y su jubilación como cualquier otro ciudadano a través de la implementación de los sistemas IRA o 401k. (lea más en mi sitio web http://www.vote4sanders.com/issues ) 


Get Updates

Mobile Version Full Site
Political Advertisement paid for by Ben Sanders campaign
Powered by CampaignPartner.com - Political Campaign Websites