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Heflin honored by taxpayer group for tight fiscal policies

by CHARLES DE MANGIN on 8/16/00.

area state legislators have been recognized by a statewide organization for their conservative fiscal efforts as members of the Texas Legislature.

Recipients of the first Friend of the Taxpayer awards are Talmadge Heflin, R-Alief/Katy and Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land.

The award's sponsor is the Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, a public policy group with more than 30,000 members. In announcing the awards, the organization said it will give the awards annually, "on behalf of the taxpayers of Texas."

Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy selected 26 state representatives for the award from the 150 members of he House. The state Legislature will begin its 77th biennial session January in Austin.

"We commend the efforts of the award recipients to make sure taxpayers are getting their money's worth and that government does not make decisions consumers should be making in the market place," said Peggy Venable, the association's director.

Venable stresses that the award recognizes policy makers "whose efforts have combined to protect the pocketbooks of constituents and for dedication to public service."

Heflin, generally regarded as the leading conservative member of the House, is completing his 18th year in the state Legislature and will run for another two-year term in November without formal opposition.

Saying he was "honored to be selected by the society for this award," Heflin, noting that his service on the Legislature's influential Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees helps determine "what agencies are operating efficiently and what are not performing as well as they should.

"As your state representative it is important to me to see that your tax dollars are used effectively," Heflin said.

Howard praised Heflin for his conservative views and said his own voting record shows he is very much a fiscal conservative himself. Howard is completing his third two-year term on the sate's ruling body and is running for re-election in November with opposition.

Howard serves on the Land and Resource Committee and on the Environmental Regulation Committee.

"Environmental Regulation is the heavy hitter as it will deal deeply with the quality of air in major Texas population areas like Houston," Howard said.

Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy is an affiliate of the national Citizens
for a Sound Economy which has a quarter-million members who, Venable said, "contribute their time, energy, ideas and money to fight for less government, low taxes and more freedom."