McKINNEY (Dec. 11, 2012) — Local control and reduction of unfunded mandates were the central themes at the City of McKinney and McKinney Chamber of Commerce's 2013 Legislative Preview held Tuesday at Eldorado Country Club. The event, sponsored by CoServ, included speeches from McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller, State Senator-Elect Ken Paxton and State Representative-Elect Scott Sanford.
“As we continue to grow here in McKinney, we want to insure that we have a full tool chest,” Loughmiller said. “Local control is an issue throughout.”
While economic development ranked high on the priority list, it was by no means the only issue. Others include education and workforce, healthcare, transportation, taxes and spending and water.
The City of McKinney and McKinney Chamber of Commerce adopt shared legislative priorities that are in the best interest of our community and allow us to maintain a healthy economic climate to attract and retain jobs and investment and provide a high level of service to our residents and businesses. The City and Chamber oppose legislation that impedes local control and/or creates unfunded mandates.
Regarding education and the workforce, the goals include restoring the $5.4 billion in funding cuts to public schools and replace the current funding system with adequate and equitable formula that allows for growth based funding; ensure that districts have the flexibility to meet the needs of their students, to re-examine the public school accountability system, and rely less on standardized testing.
“We firmly believe that individuals and businesses are coming to McKinney because we have a strong public school system,” Loughmiller said.
McKinney ISD superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy is participating in Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, which will help develop innovative, next-generation learning standards, assessments and accountability systems. Participating school districts take part in creating an alternative state accountability system that does not overly rely on paper and pencil standardized tests to measure the success of Texas public schools.
Healthcare became a focal point of the 2012 elections at all levels. While Election Day has passed, healthcare will continue to be an important issue that affects every employer and will continue to be a central concern as we learn more about the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
As McKinney and Collin County continue to grow, transportation and existing roads are a major issue. The City and Chamber both agree that all transportation policy decisions should be focused on increasing efficiency and ease of movement of people and goods across Texas.
“The way we deal with transportation is to work with the county and state on funding,” Loughmiller said. “We have to constantly talk to TXDOT, NTTA and the State to set priorities for road projects." The economic impact of a project should be considered when determining funding priorities.
Studies show that by 2060, the water supply in the area will decrease by 10% while the population will grow by 82%. Conservation of existing water resources, development of additional cost-effective supplies and sound scientifically-based and economically rational standards for protecting water quality will be essential to our ability to continue to attract business opportunity to Texas.
The City and the Chamber will continue to support fiscal restraint in state spending and transparency in budgeting so that taxpayers know exactly what dollars are collected and where they are spent. According to State Senator-Elect Paxton, “The federal government is more involved in Texas than it has ever been. We need strong leadership in Texas to represent us in Washington.”
Both State Senator Elect Paxton and State Representative Elect Sanford are long-time residents of the city and have witnessed the growth and change personally. The two leaders, whose friendship goes back to their college days at Baylor, plan to lead the charge in Austin with eyes remaining on McKinney.
State Senator-Elect Paxton said, “We want to do anything we can to help the city of McKinney.”
State Representative-Elect Sanford added, “This district and county has amazing people. It’s truly a blessed place."
Paxton was first elected to the state house of representatives in 2002 and elected to the state senate in November. He will be finishing his term in District 70, which consists of McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Prosper and Celina. Sanford was elected to the post Paxton is leaving, which will now have tighter boundaries, removing Allen and Frisco.
As a newcomer to the state government, Sanford said with his background in accounting and having been a business owner, his top three committee choices are Appropriations, Pensions, Investments & Financial Services and Economic & Small Business Development.
About the author: Chuck Grimes is the Associate Editor, Digital Communications with McKinney Magazine. Contact him at email@example.com.