Austen Furse Announces Run For Janek’s Former Senatorial Seat
Following last week’s resignation of State Sen. Kyle Janek, conservative businessman and taxpayer advocate Austen Furse formally announced his candidacy for Texas Senate District 17.
Furse said he has been testing the waters since Janek’s announced last January that he was going to resign to spend more time with his family.
“Since Sen. Janek announced he was going to resign, I have been crisscrossing the district speaking to grassroots leaders, elected officials and community activists. Their support and encouragement are the driving force behind my announcement,” Furse said in declaring his candidacy.
Furse also announced his platform, which he described as “common sense conservative solutions for the problems real Texans face every day.” Furse’s platform issues included controlling property taxes, protecting private property and addressing illegal immigration.
“We must rein in runaway property taxes, protect our private property rights by restricting the use of eminent domain and institute common sense measures to fix the illegal immigration problem,” he said.
To help control government spending, Furse said he believes taxpayers should determine what they are willing to fund.
“I have faith that taxpayers know what they want. I propose moving to a new model of government where the taxpayers tell government how much we are willing to spend, and then if government needs more than that, they must get approval from the voters,” Furse said.
He added that all new taxes should have to be brought before the voters before being imposed.
“Government should have to go to the voters any time a new tax is created. Tax revenues that increase more than the rate of population growth plus inflation should be returned to the taxpayers who paid the,” Furse said. “The only time it shouldn’t be returned is when the voters tell government to keep it.”
Furse went on to say this sort of “taxpayer protection” is the only long term way to ensure tax increases do not outpace paychecks of working Texans.
“I helped pioneer the idea of a taxpayer protection policy in Houston. The grassroots support I cultivated demonstrates my ability to build broad support in order to bring about positive change,” Furse said. “Not only do we need to rein in taxes to make sure we aren’t taxing hard-working people out of their homes, we need to protect property owners by restricting the use of eminent domain to take our land.”
Furse pointed to recent examples in Freeport and other communities around the state where property owners are battling government trying to take private land.
“It’s not fair for government to come in and take your land and turn around and sell it to the highest bidder. As a lifelong Texan, I hold property rights dear. I pledge to strengthen eminent domain laws to prevent abuse,” Furse said.
Furse said he was also committed to strong ethical standards and personal responsibility, saying ethical lapses by government leaders have caused voters to lose confidence.
“The people have lost faith in government, and rightly so. I commit to campaigning with integrity and governing responsibly. I will rigorously follow every law; even the ones some folks dismiss as ‘technicalities.’” he pledged. “Speaking of following the law, I believe we should require that all users of government services are doing just that. That’s why I propose that we should require state and local government agencies to inquire about a person’s citizenship status when they apply for public services. I think it is our right to know how much illegal immigrants cost us in services each year, and how many illegal immigrants live among us.”
A native of Matagorda County, Furse was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as White House Director of Policy Planning. He served in that position until the end of the Bush presidency, when he returned to Texas.
Since that time, Furse has founded Texans For Tax Limits, which instituted the no-new-tax pledge among Texas legislators. Locally, he led an effort opposing a taxpayer-funded sports stadium.
He was also a co-founder of Let the People Vote, a grass-roots citizen’s effort that sought an election on the Main Street Light Rail line, and succeeded in passing a tax limitation measure for Houstonians,