SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines called into the Ware & Rima Show on Feb. 14, 2022, and into the Jack Riccardi Show on Feb. 17, 2022, ahead of the March 1 Republican primary election.
You can listen to the full interview above. Below is a transcript from the Ware & Rima Show.
Trey Ware: Don, good morning to ya and thanks for coming back.
Don Huffines: Thank you, Trey, it’s great to be on there with you guys.
Trey Ware: There was a big push of support for you on Friday from a lot of our listeners. So they have a lot of questions I want to go through some of them. Primarily and the first one happens to be on your billboards that say getting rid of property taxes, just how you going to do that?
Don Huffines: You know, I know people are cynical about this. And I know people think it’s probably like campaign rhetoric and all but it’s not. This is very real.
Actually, it’s the proposition to the Republican primary ballot for our priorities. And this is going to take about eight years to phase out, we’re never going to have an income tax. And the best way we’re going to do it is to cut state spending. We’re going to take our state’s surplus revenue from the state of Texas and buy down property tax, it’s gradual to take about eight years. And then we’re going to shift a lot of it over to sales tax, consumption tax and the key to my plan is that we’re going to let everybody vote on it, whatever the plan is, I get out of the legislature, I want to make sure that everyone in Texas can vote on that plan. And hopefully, it’ll be a constitutional amendment. So then we get rid of it and it’ll never come back. And we’ll keep local governments fully funded. We’re just replacing where the money comes from.
Trey Ware: What about a state income tax?
Don Huffines: No way, no way, we’re not going to have that. There’s already a constitutional amendment against that. And, of course, I’m not going to ever allow that.
Trey Ware: Okay. So primarily, it’s a phase-out deal. And you’re going to do it through cutting spending, what kinds of spending do you think need to be cut in the state, Don? I mean, I know you can’t get specific here in the amount of time that we have, but give us some ideas of what you would cut.
Don Huffines: Sure. But first, let me say a lot of it’s going to go to sales tax so sales tax will go up. But if people don’t like the number that is going to be at they’re not going to vote for the plan or cutting the budget.
I’ll tell you a place we can save a ton of money and that’s with illegal immigration. Once I secure the border, we’re going to save billions of dollars annually. Right now we think about 400,000 illegal kids are in our government school system , our public school system, they have been for years and Texas taxpayers are shouldering 100% of that burden. And we’re spending about $6 billion a year educating kids aren’t supposed to be here plus a higher ed, health care costs and things like that.
Trey Ware: How do you get all those tens of millions of criminal foreign nationals out of our state?
Don Huffines: Well, I’ve got an E-Verify law that’s already written. It’s model legislation from other states. Most people are shocked and understand that Texas doesn’t even have to verify for private employers. My bills, it simply says if you employ one person, either as an individual or as a business, they must get E-verified.
We’re going to be looking at doing a state e verify system and combining that with the federal system. We’re also going to make sure we charge illegals. We don’t let them into our universities. Right now, illegals in the state of Texas can get in state tuition at all the universities and essentially it’s almost free tuition at our state universities plus a lot of other benefits they get when they come here. So the key is just to get rid of the magnets that attract them and hopefully they self deport themselves.
Trey Ware: The best way to balance border sealing up versus control because obviously we have commerce that comes across the border. We have workers that are legalized, come across the border and work and then return back to Mexico. That’s currently going on what’s happening. Best way to balance that
Don Huffines: The best way really is to course finish the wall and I’m going to do that. But it’s really to get Mexico’s cooperation … right now the cartels control so much of Mexico, but Mexico, I was on the committee for border security when I was in the Texas Senate, from 2014 to 2018 and so I’ve taken all the tours and the helicopters and the gun boats, and I’ve seen everything down there multiple times.
And Border Patrol always told me that when the when Mexico wants to secure their side of the river, it’s, it’s very secure, they don’t have to worry about it. So my plan is to incentivize Mexico to do that by stopping in bound commercial traffic until they take control of their side of the river and take it back from the cartels. This is very, very doable.
I don’t even know if we have to implement it, I just think that threat of it will make them secure their side of the river. And don’t forget, right every road that leads to those bridges as a state road, we pay for it and maintain it, we can unmaintain it, we can do anything we want until Mexico cooperates.
Trey Ware: … the question came up [of] who is funding your campaign. Somehow there are rumors swirling around… Is anybody on the left, does Beto have any place in funding your campaign? In other words, is anybody funding your campaign to knock Abbott out of the game?
Don Huffines: That is really funny. I am Joe Biden’s worst nightmare. That is a fact. I am the Democrats worst nightmare. We are so tired of being on the defense and the Republican Party. I was always ranked one of the most conservative state senators in the history of the state at Texas. I mean, I’m not here.
I’m not here to compromise with the Democrats. I’m here to hit him in the head with a two-by-four.
And I can tell you this, I’ll slaughter ol’ Bobby O’Rourke. He won’t have a prayer standing up against me because I don’t have all the baggage that Abbott’s got. That’s just an absolute vicious rumor that’s completely not true. My campaign is funded by thousands of Texans.
Here is the interview with Don Huffines from the Jack Riccardi Show:
You can listen to the full interview above. Below is a transcript from the Jack Riccardi Show.
Jack Riccardi: Former state senator and Republican candidate for governor Don Huffines is back with us. And Senator Huffines it’s good to have you back again.
Don Huffines: Well, thank you, Jack, and hello, patriots.
Jack Riccardi: You know, when I drive my daughter to school every morning, I see one of your billboards. I see a lot of your signs and billboards actually, which I’m sure you’re happy to hear, but I see the one that says Huffines, an actual Republican. And I wanted to ask you about that, because, you know, they’re all of these surveys and polls that indicate that Governor Abbott is way ahead of you by anywhere from four to 10 times in terms of votes. Obviously, he’s raised a lot of money. Wouldn’t an actual Republican be whoever Republican voters say they favor?
Don Huffines: Well, I don’t think so. You know, look, I think that a Republican should support our Republican priorities or Republican legislative agendas, our Republican party platform.
Our platform, for instance, is put together by tens of thousands of Republicans every other year, we work at it at precinct conventions, our counting conventions, in our state convention. And, by the way, we had the largest political convention in the country, if not in the world. And it clearly defines who we are, what Texas Republicans are and what we stand for, and it has 300 planks in there. And then when we the Republicans control everything in Austin, the House, the Senate for 20 years, that we can get any of this very little of it becomes law.
So if you don’t believe in our platform are you’re really a Republican, or are you not? And let me tell you, I was in the legislature, as you know, from ’14 to ’18. And I saw the results of our leadership not supporting our platform, and if they don’t believe in it, and Abbott can get almost any bill done anytime he wants. He’s the governor of Texas. He’s the leader of the Republican Party. We don’t get, for instance, we don’t stop taxpayer-funded lobbying. We still have sexual genital mutilation of our children. We don’t have a school choice. And I can go all the way … because Abbott doesn’t believe in it. He doesn’t want it to be.
Jack Riccardi: I read through your website last night, pretty exhaustively, I have to say everything in it sounded good to me. I agree with you. But is this a winning strategy to tell Republican voters? You’re not being good Republicans, or you’re not real Republicans? Because you’ve given this guy the greatest number of votes in the last two elections?
Don Huffines: Well, look, Abbott’s never had a primary opponent in 30 years, not in a primary. He’s never had a real primary opponent. This is the first time Greg’s gonna ever have to be accountable to the Texas Republican Party voters. And yeah, I think it’s a great strategy wherever I go, I’m just telling you, I don’t find a lot of support for the governor. If there is they keep it really quiet. And they just do. I think Republican primary voters are frustrated, and they’re angry, and they’re ready for change.
Jack Riccardi: … You’re right, and a lot of frustrated people. And I have to say when when people call into a talk show you hear you hear a lot of that. I mean, I feel like I have kind of a front-row seat for what you’re talking about. I agree. Yeah. I mean, I agree with you, but I don’t ever hear people say I don’t believe the Republican Party platform is being adequately supported or reflected. They just want things done right or in a common-sense way or by something that morally seems right to them, whether it’s the border, whether it’s the schools, whether it’s trans issues, they don’t refer to the platform. I’m sure they haven’t read it. I’m sure that what they’re looking for is somebody who you know, has the Northstar. … and you may be that guy. And by the way, I think you’re probably going to do much better than these polls indicate. But I come back to that question again. What is an actual Republican? If the numbers don’t go the direction you’re going in?
Don Huffines: Well, I think you’re you’ve got a very good point. And I just asked a simple question is the border secure, are your property taxes going down? Do you have confidence in our election? Are we winning the culture war? And the answer to all that is no.
… Are you okay with that? If you are vote for him, but I’m not and I don’t think most Republicans are either and I have comprehensive solutions.
We all have those issues, you know, most candidates running for office won’t ever tell you their solutions, because most of them don’t have any. But it’s also so they don’t have to be accountable. And my battle in Austin was generally always with the Republicans because they never wanted to be accountable.
Jack Riccardi: … I’m not arguing with your point … for a state that has Republican majorities in both houses and all statewide offices, there should be a hell of a lot more getting done than is getting done. But I guess is people maybe people’s real nightmare is not Greg Abbott is their governor, but Beto O’Rourke is their governor. I mean, is that what you’re really dealing with?
Don Huffines: And no, I don’t think and look, I think we’re going to win, I really do. I don’t think it’s going to get a majority of the vote, we’re going to get them in a runoff, and he’s going to lose. And that’s just a fact.
I’m not worried about Bobby O’Rourke. At all. … I’ve got the solutions. And I’m worried about implementing those … about Texas and getting our solutions into law. I’m not interested in the position as much as I am interested in implementing the solutions. I don’t need a new job or a new career. And that puts me at a real advantage, because I’m not worried about the political consequences. I’m worried about solving the issues that affect Texas. Then, on the border, property taxes and everything else.
Jack Riccardi: I see. I get that. I guess what I just keep coming back to every time I see that billboard, I think, you know, people worry about having somebody who is Republican enough? Or do people worry about having somebody who’s doing the right thing? I think the terminology is off, I don’t think people are worried about is this person sufficiently Republican or sufficiently Democratic. It’s just this person doing what I need, and my family needs him to do?
Don Huffines: Well, look, I’ve got a lot of messages on a lot of billboards around the state. That’s just one of many. And, and I want to solve the problems that affect Texas. And I think to be an actual Republican as somebody who’s actually going to do something instead of just running for office, so they can be a career politician.
Jack Riccardi: So who are some other actual Republicans in Texas? Who would you point to and say, there’s an example of somebody who not only has an R after their name, but really does the things that that the party is supposed to stand for? Who would be an example of that?
Don Huffines: All those that fight for our party principles and vote conservative? Have you ever met a Republican in Texas that didn’t say they were conservative?
Jack Riccardi: I don’t know what those words mean anymore. We had George P. Bush on yesterday. And he says he’s a conservative. What does that mean?
Don Huffines: That’s the point. That’s the point.
Jack Riccardi: That’s why I’m saying I don’t think the words matter. I think the actions matter. And I’m asking can you name someone who holds office as a Republican who is the kind of Republican you would be?
Don Huffines: All the Republicans that vote right, that vote conservative, and they’re willing to fight for our party principles. Go look at the scorecards on how they vote. I’m not going to go down the list on them and name names, but there we’ve got some good conservatives in there. We really do. We had some in the Texas Senate when I was there. Two of those aren’t there anymore, was Connie Burton and Van Taylor, he was quite conservative. Bob Hall is still there. But there aren’t that many that really vote conservative and walk the walk. And just
Jack Riccardi: How would that work if you were governor? Would you be able to get this legislature that’s very squishy and Rhino would they let you do any of the things you’re saying on your website you would do?
Don Huffines: I’m the only candidate running for governor that’s actually served in that swamp. Period. Nobody else running, Abbott’s never been in there. I know what they want. I know the snake pit that it is. I know who I could trust, who I can’t. I know the committees, I know the players. I know the budget. I know the tools in the toolbox for the governor and the tools that the governor has. And yes, of course I can work with them I know very well what we can get done. Power leans into influence and right now the influence in Austin is with very moderate Republicans. And that’s who’s empowered that Strauss, that’s who’s empowered Phelan, is the governor. Tt’s not it’s a lot of his political theater. Most of it’s not what it really seems.
Jack Riccardi: So you would by yourself be able to overcome that moderate establishment in Austin.
Don Huffines: If you’re the governor? Absolutely.
Most things in Texas are downstream of the governor’s office: our virtue, our culture, our legislation, our budget. The governor gets along with the speaker and Lieutenant Governor, for instance, gets a first call on the budget and we will work on the budget for six months with LBB before it even gets to the legislature, then after the legislature gets finished with it, of course it has to go to the governor with line-item veto power.
And every Democrat almost votes for the budget not you know, I don’t think that means it’s a conservative budget, if every Democrats voted for it. And then look at the legislation, of course, the governor gets last call and every single bill that comes out of the building, and I can tell you this, I’ve been there, I know what most members want, they want to get bills done. So a lot of leverage of both of those, just those two tools in the toolbox, and there’s many others. Power of appointments, the governor’s got the power of appointments, he appointed Director of Education, Health and Human Services, that’s where we spend 75% of our money, and all the other agencies and commissions and everything else that directs it [in] Texas: the Medical Board, the pharmacy board, the real estate commission, and most importantly for our culture is its Board of Regents of the universities.