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Rep. Middleton files first bill as Texas Legislative Session set to begin

The 86th Texas Legislative Session begins Tuesday, although lawmakers have been filing bills since early November. Newly elected District 23 State Representative Mayes Middleton of Wallisville has filed his first bill. It calls for the elimination of taxpayer-funded lobbying. District 23 includes all of Chambers County and part of Galveston County. During his campaign, the first-term state lawmaker pledged to eliminate taxpayer-funded lobbying, which he says is largely responsible for repeatedly killing property tax limits and relief. Taxpayer-funded lobbying is the practice of governmental entities – such as school boards, cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions - spending tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Austin and advocate for government. Rep. Middleton said these lobbyists are paid for by taxpayers, but they often advocate against taxpayers. According to figures provided by the state lawmaker, approximately $41 million was spent by local governments to hire lobbyists in 2017. However, he said the real cost is more than that. Citing information from a study by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Rep. Middleton said - if taxpayer-funded lobbyists continue to be successful in killing property tax caps - taxpayers will be on the hook for an additional $8.7 billion in property taxes by 2024. With that in mind, State Representative Mayes Middleton said the practice of taxpayer-funded lobbyists must end. As a result, he has filed House Bill 281 that prohibits any local government entity from spending public money to lobby legislators. He said – quote - “We must act to ensure tax dollars are spent responsibly and not placed into the hands of big government Austin lobbyists” – end quote. Mayes Middleton, along with his wife, Macy, and three sons, Connor, Christian, and Matthew, live in Wallisville. Mayes is a seventh generation Chambers County resident and Texan. Mayes is President of Middleton Oil Company, an independent oil and gas business that operates wells in South Texas and along the Gulf Coast and is engaged in joint exploration ventures. In addition to his work in the oil and gas industry, Mayes also runs his ranching, cattle, and farming operations in Chambers and surrounding counties. Again, the 140-day 86th Texas Legislative Session begins this coming Tuesday and concludes on Monday, May 27.

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