Achieving Tax Relief

Kel is convinced that the only way to address the burden of increasing property taxes is through school finance reform, which he is working tirelessly to achieve with other leaders in the Senate.

Kel is a fiscal conservative who bases his decisions on conservative principles. During the most recent legislative session, Senator Seliger filed a bill to lower the tax burden on the oil and gas industry. The Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) gets more than 85 percent of its revenue from crude oil and natural gas production taxes. The ESF’s huge present balance, almost $11 billion, is largely due to recent growth in oil and gas tax collections. The Fund was intended to be used for economic stabilization but has not been used for that purpose in recent years. Senate Joint Resolution 41, filed by Seliger, would have reduced the rate of severance taxes and suspended transfers into the ESF when the balance exceeds $5 billion. Although the measure did not pass, Kel plans to file it again next session, with the objective of creating more jobs and stimulating the economy.

In total, Kel has cut state taxes a total of $5 billion dollars. He has also passed a balanced state budget every session without raising taxes once. Kel knows we can get the job done by upholding the principles of fiscal conservatism.

Strengthening Our Local Schools

Kel believes that ensuring the proper education of our youth is the key to a better future for the Panhandle and Permian Basin. That’s why building and maintaining an outstanding public education system has always been his top priority.

Local School Districts

Kel’s district includes all or part of 90 public school districts, and he has worked to support all of them during his time in the Senate. Working with educators and business leaders, Senator Seliger helped pass HB 5—a bill that put the TAKS test out to pasture, created five different diploma plans for kids in public schools, and renewed emphasis on career and technical training. This new approach recognizes that all students are different and that a one-size-fits-all focus on testing benefits no one. It creates alternate pathways to the workforce for students who may not go to college, allowing them to graduate high school with professional skills and certifications that make them highly employable.

Community Colleges

Kel has always been committed to securing critical funds for our community colleges, where 75 percent of all students begin higher education. He passed Senate Bill 2118, which paved the way for Midland College to offer a baccalaureate degree program in nursing, and for Odessa College to offer certain four-year degree programs. Both community colleges will see an increase in funding of almost 10 percent in the upcoming biennium – helping thousands of students of all ages achieve their education goals.

Area Universities

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Kel fully understands the importance of state funding for the universities of the Panhandle and Permian Basin. In the last session, he secured an additional $1.07 million in funding for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin College of Engineering, which will be used to expand the chemical and electrical engineering programs. Kel also succeeded in securing an additional $4.17 million for Texas Tech University’s future Veterinary Medical School in the Panhandle.

Creating Good Jobs

Kel has worked hard to maintain and enhance the vibrant economy of the Permian Basin and Panhandle, which in recent years has been nothing less than a job creation machine.

He authored the resolution to allow the export of domestic oil. He authored SJR 41, which addresses excess levy of severance tax. He authored the bill to prohibit drones over critical energy infrastructure. And he led the way on the water project that created a partnership between the city of Midland and Pioneer Natural Resources that will update the city’s wastewater treatment plant at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Kel also championed House Bill 1463 to reduce frivolous lawsuits, aggressive shake-down tactics, and harmful abuses of the Americans with Disabilities Act that harm our small businesses.

And Kel has paid particular attention to ending excessive government regulation that strangles business growth. For instance, when a certain lizard that inhabits his district was being considered as an addition to the endangered species list, he worked with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association to have this wrongful listing reversed—preventing the unnecessary restriction of local business.

Securing Our Border, Stopping Sanctuary Cities

Due to the federal government’s longtime failure to secure our border, Texas had to step up to get the job done. Last session, Kel helped our legislature pass what became the largest border security plan in Texas history.

  • This monumental border security package added 250 troopers, high-tech surveillance, aircraft and vehicles to stop illegal crossings at our border.
  • Kel helped us maintain that level of security – investing a total of $1.6 billion toward keeping the border safe from gangs and drug cartels – and it has made a huge difference.
  • This session, Kel doubled-down and voted to put an end to a security threats from within our border by banning sanctuary cities that ignored our immigration laws. The ban ensures that all elected officials uphold the law or face massive fines or jail-time.

Recently, a liberal activist judge in San Antonio struck it down the day before the law went into effect – so now we must go to court to fight to protect our families so cities like Austin have to honor ICE detainer orders and stop the “catch and release” of criminals. Kel is committed to seeing this fight through and ensuring the full ban is implemented so we can keep our families safe.

Defending the Second Amendment

Conservative Senator Seliger is committed to defending the Second Amendment. He is a long-time member of the NRA and is “A Rated” by the organization. He has always voted to advance our gun rights including the landmark Campus Carry and Open Carry laws. And this session, Kel helped cut the License-to-Carry fee down from $140 to $40 – now the lowest fee in the nation. In Kel, we have a Senator fully committed to protecting our right to protect our families.

Protecting Innocent Life

Kel sees the opportunity to defend life as one of his greatest honors. Since we have sent Kel to Austin, he has voted yes on every pro-life bill that has passed. This year alone, Kel helped:

  • defund Planned Parenthood,
  • ban all partial-birth abortions,
  • ban all dismemberment abortions,
  • ban all abortions after 20 weeks,
  • ban all taxpayer-funded abortions, and
  • put an end to the cruel, inhumane practice of selling baby body parts.

Kel has earned a 100% Pro-Life Rating from Texas Right to Life as well as the endorsements of statewide pro-life groups Texas Alliance for Life and LifePAC. Seliger has a proven, reliably strong pro-life record in the Senate.

Safeguarding Private Property Rights

Kel believes that protecting our property rights, removing overly restrictive regulations, and ensuring economic prosperity all go hand-in-hand. For instance, a few years ago Kel learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was considering listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. Such a listing would have led to harsh restrictions on private property rights and hampered oil and gas production – which helps drive the entire Texas economy.

Thanks to an extensive stakeholder process, voluntary conservation efforts by landowners and oil and gas producers, and Kel’s efforts, the federal government declined to list the lizard as an endangered species – preventing this harmful roadblock from ever occurring. Kel will never allow government to infringe on our private property rights.

Supporting Energy Production

Kel’s appointment to the Natural Resources Committee has enabled him to pass several key measures to protect and advance energy production in the Permian Basin and Panhandle.

Some big city legislators treat our area like a gas station with an ATM. Every bit of oil and gas we produce is taxed by Austin and pays for almost the entire state Rainy Day Fund. But urban legislators have refused to use part of that now $10 billion fund to help our area or our public schools. Kel wrote legislation to cap the collection of revenue from energy taxes – so our industry, economy, and community can benefit more from what we produce.

Kel also started a program to address abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells to help during future periods of price decline. And Kel introduced a bill to prohibit surveillance drones from flying over oil and gas facilities. Ultimately, Kel wants to see Texas lead the way to American energy independence.

Improving Infrastructure

Kel has worked diligently to provide better roads and other infrastructure components for the Permian Basin and Panhandle.

He filed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 65 to create a new stream of funds to repair roads damaged by increased traffic in oil and gas producing areas. And Kel joined with Representative Tom Craddick to passed House Bill 101, which paved the way for a public-private partnership between Pioneer Natural Resources and the City of Midland to update the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Midland is projected to receive $2.5 million annually for the sale of treated effluent, which Pioneer will use to provide more drinking water in one of the state’s driest regions. All of this was achieved at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Supporting Our Farms and Ranches

As a long-time member of the Texas Farm Bureau, Kel is known as one of the state’s biggest champions of agriculture. Texas leads the nation in cattle, cotton, and hay production – much of which is done right here in our district. Kel has passed laws to protect and support our hard-working farmers, ranchers and cattle-raisers.

In the last session, Seliger authored a bill to prohibit drones from flying over concentrated animal feeding operations. And recently, Kel played a key role in the passage of the monumental water bill that established a revolving fund for new water infrastructure projects. This groundbreaking solution is helping to secure the future water supply of the Panhandle, South Plains and Permian Basin.

Maintaining Local Control

Kel strongly believes in the conservative principle of smaller government. That’s why he fights for local control and opposes Austin’s one-size-fits-all mandates. Just as the federal government should not be able to control state government, state government should not be able to control local government. When local control is maintained and protected, utility rates and taxes tend to be lower and job creation tends to be higher—more evidence in support of the idea that government closest to where people live is the most effective.

“After I wrote the individual graduate committee bill, parents in my district told me they were thrilled that their kids who failed the tests were judged on their whole performance and were still able to graduate. That’s why I’m a legislator—to get things accomplished that help the people in the Permian Basin and Panhandle.”

Kel Seliger

“Conservative policies brought our region back to be Texas’s top economic engine. Texas led the nation out of the recession and is now leading America to energy independence.”

Kel Seliger

“Without the need for restrictive regulations, the dunes sagebrush lizard is going to get along just fine. And so will the West Texas economy.”

Kel Seliger

“Local control is extremely important. Folks closest to a problem are usually the best at solving it.”

Kel Seliger