Mike Collier: On the Issues
Want to know where Mike stands on the issues? Here's a short introduction. Come back again for more as the campaign proceeds.
Public education is Texas’ highest priority because a skilled, educated workforce is essential to our prosperity as a state. Texas should lead the nation in public school excellence and have the world’s top-ranked universities. We should be prepared to innovate and invest accordingly, while driving efficient use of resources. I am strongly opposed to high stakes testing and vouchers. Tuition for all forms of higher education should be within the reach of working and middle class Texas families.
Restructure State Auditor Function
I will seek a constitutional amendment creating a highly innovative Audit, Performance, and Integrity Commission (“APIC”) as a fail-safe, politics-free, permanent solution to waste and corruption in government. The scope of the commission will be financial audits, performance audits, and public integrity assurance. Governance of the commission will be completely shielded from political influence, and APIC will start a revolution in good government and position Texas as Number One in terms of transparency, financial responsibility, and trust.
School Finance and Tax Reform
Texas’ school finance system should be reformed in concert with (1) a restructuring of the business margins tax; (2) closing big corporate loopholes; and (3) returning to a rational state highway funding mechanism. After a decade of Republican-led tax and fee increases on homeowners and small businesses (in favor of Fortune 500 companies), Texas should rebalance the burden of funding education and transportation to achieve tax and fee relief for families and small business owners.
Quarterly Revenue Forecasts
Texas must reform and modernize our budgeting process, adopting best practices from business to make better fiscal decisions and hold budget writers to the highest standard of accountability. Quarterly revenue forecasts should be at the center of these reforms.
Living Wage, Access to Affordable Health Care, and Income Inequality
Financial security and economic opportunity for working and middle class Texans should be of paramount importance to Texas leaders. I will promote policies (such as education, responsible labor policies, fair taxation) that allow Texans who are willing to work hard to close the income inequality gap while stimulating overall economic growth. I support labor unions in Texas, and I support policies that promote a living wage, an increase in the minimum wage, access to affordable health care, and retirement security.
Investment in vital women’s health programs must be restored. Decisions involving pregnancy should be left to the woman, her doctor, and her faith; I will oppose legislation that is inconsistent with this principle. Raised a Catholic, I intend to work very hard to reduce the need for abortion services by investing in women’s health services, including sex education, contraception, and adoption.
Respect for Diversity and Inclusiveness
All Texans should be treated with respect, and they should be treated equally under the law. I will support legislation that promotes this principle and I will oppose legislation that is designed to discriminate against any Texan regardless of faith, race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, or socio-economic status.
Texas companies should hire Texans first, and guest workers and their families should be treated with empathy and respect. Texas should provide leadership around comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program and a path to citizenship that is efficiently, fairly, and consistently administered. Local law enforcement should be given the latitude they need to keep Texans safe, and I will oppose government overreach that limits local law enforcement’s autonomy and produces greater danger to Texans.
We must secure our border, but we must do it effectively and efficiently. My policies will include efficient coordination among local state and national agencies, use of enabling technologies, due consideration of the rights of property owners, and support for a thriving trade relationship with Mexico.
Environment, Safety, Climate Change
We must hold Texas businesses to a very high standard of environmental protection and safety. Conversion from coal-fired to gas-fired electricity generation is essential to reduce carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and Texas should be the leader in technological innovation and commercialization of clean energy.
Second Amendment Rights
My first duty as Lt. Governor will be to protect the Second Amendment and all other aspects of the U.S. Constitution. However, I will encourage Texans to talk openly, as we once did, about reasonable policies that will promote gun safety.
Texans cherish democracy and demand the right to vote. This applies to the poor as well as the rich. I will oppose legislation that deliberately disenfranchises any class of voter, and I will support legislation that ensures every person eligible to vote can do so without fear and frustration.
Gerrymandering is the root cause of our political crisis in America and it has led to a single party system in Texas that is corrupt and inefficient. I support a constitutional amendment calling for citizen-drawn or computer-drawn districts for both state legislative and U.S. Congressional districts.
Campaign Finance Reform
Texas campaign finance laws are specifically designed to corrupt the democratic process. There are no limits to the money special interests can launder through political action committees and campaign accounts. I support comprehensive campaign finance reform, including contribution limits, prohibitions on “dark money” pools, and state matching funds for qualifying candidates.
Restoring Compassion to Texas Public Policy
Republican political leaders in Texas have abandoned human compassion as a governing philosophy. From children born into abject poverty or dangerous surroundings, to adults suffering from mental illness, to working poor who cannot afford health care, to the elderly who depend on state support, there are millions of Texans who cannot help themselves. Texans are a generous, compassionate people and we are ready to invest in properly designed, fiscally responsible programs that help those who cannot help themselves.