Some of us are lifelong Texans with generations of history and tradition here. And some of us got here just as fast as we could. But we all know that the Texas Model works. Prudent government spending and fiscal restraint lead to lower taxes ? and a business-friendly environment. Those in turn translate to jobs, growth and a better life for all of us. The entire world envies the strong economic engine that is Texas.

A critical part of the Texas Model is a strong respect for private property rights. The Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee (TREPAC) and now Voice For Texas, has worked for over 40 years to ensure that respect for property rights. We are proud to have helped build the economic engine of Texas, and we are proud of our record of defending private property rights.

We get involved with statewide and local issues that affect our private property rights. We educate and inform, so that all of us can make knowledgeable decisions. We speak with city, county, and state officials so they can make the right decisions affecting our homes, our communities, and our quality of life. We support candidates who support private property rights, and stand against those who do not.

One of the most significant things that we have helped achieve is reform of the property appraisal and property tax systems in Texas. By working with candidates, elected officials, leaders, organizations, communities and private citizens throughout Texas, we helped pass important initiatives like Truth in Taxation ? which establishes clear requirements for local taxing authorities to let the community know what is going on ? and the Methods and Procedures Audit ? a tool that gives the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts the authority to conduct an audit on all 254 appraisal districts in Texas.

We?ve come a long way, yes, but we have more to do. And as Thomas Jefferson said, ?Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.?

We understand that taxes are necessary to provide for good schools and strong, safe communities. Everyone should pay his or her fair share. But we also believe that the process of budgeting, setting tax rates, and appraisals could be more transparent to and less cumbersome on the individual taxpayer. We also think that if someone gets it wrong, it should be much simpler to appeal, to challenge those decisions and to get it right.

We?re talking about our towns, our schools, our neighborhoods and our homes. We know them. And we?re talking about our families, our friends and our neighbors. We know them, too. We shouldn?t have to hire a lawyer just to figure out how to tell the government, ?Hey, you got it wrong here.? We think simple government is the best government, and we?re always looking for more transparency, more simplicity, less red tape, and less bureaucracy.

At Voice for Texas, we are constantly speaking to our local and state representatives about the need for greater fairness, greater transparency, and greater simplicity when it comes to property taxes and property appraisal issues. We have accomplished a great deal, and we are proud of that. But we have more to do.

Supreme Court Justice Stewart once wrote:

Property does not have rights. People have rights. The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak or the right to travel is in truth a ?personal? right.

We couldn?t agree more.

Wont you join us?