In the Second installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Dr. Fred Infortunio, candidate for the Texas State House, District 130.
Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.
TL: What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?
FA: Fredrick A. Infortunio
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
FA: I was the Precinct Chair for PCT 926 (2016 and 2017).
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
FA Government is supposed to help provide for the success, well being, and prosperity of the governed.
My campaign motto is
“For the Good of All Texans”
TL: If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.
FA: So many items have been promoted by the incumbent Republicans that it is difficult to know the best place to start.
Here we go:
A. The philosophy of the Texas legislature and governor’s office has been to cater to the very wealthy business interests under the guise of attracting business to Texas.
This in actuality, this has meant that they have consciously worked against the people in the favor of business concerns. Yes, we all need to work; businesses are where we work. This being said, the supporting of socially responsible businesses is a priority.
I am approaching this by looking at the TCEQ. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been crippled in their pay policies and the rules they promulgate to control pollution/polluters. The TCEQ chronically underpays their employees and has a high turnover; their policies encourage adverse selection of employees. Their lack of punitive teeth and the legislative pushback allows the polluters to poison Texans.
B. The tax system in the state is horribly regressive; it burdens the poor and the middle class. I have read that Texas has the third worst regressive tax system. I am not sure how much support I will get, but I am looking to impose impact fees on builders (their customers) which can be brought into the ISD or other necessary state coffers. I saw this system used very effectively in Florida. I lived there from 1986 to 1990.
- I suggest Imposing a small tax on luxury vehicles (over $50,000 +-)
- in addition, a small inheritance tax on estates over $10,000,000.
- I also believe that imposing a (small) tax similar to that in Florida on portfolio high value accounts held by Texans will help the Texas economy.
These tax proposals may not be possible in Texas. The wealthy will get the poor to get out the pitchforks.
The ISD tax system is also grossly unfair, it creates a very uneven playing field for the school systems, and it boosts property taxes in the districts. The pooling of property taxes in the state to Austin and the distribution on a per student basis would serve the school systems.
This may not work but the use of the rainy day fund (ESF) to even out the distribution would be helpful. Presently our fund is around $10B which brings in an additional $800M per year in interest. Overall, this fund is equal to about 18% of general revenue expenditures.
Other state funds average about 6.5% of expenditures. The size of the fund as it relates to the lack of services provided is grossly unfair. The education system and the flood control systems, other infrastructure could be improved using a more equitable management of this fund and tax management.
C. The voter ID laws for Texas have been struck down by the Supreme Court, as being repressive for minority voters.
They were originally (falsely) developed to combat voter fraud in Texas.
The original voter fraud was created and implemented by the Texas legislature in their gerrymandering (again struck down by the Supreme Court) of the districts. Again, the Texas Republican controlled legislature, and governor have shown their fraudulent nature in promulgating these laws and resisting any changes. I will work in any way that I can to implement the redrawing of districts to properly represent the people of Texas.
TL: In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.
FA: As mentioned above the restructuring of the tax system is one of the keys to improvement of the infrastructure. I know that draining the ESF is counter productive past a certain point but effectively using that money is a good place to start.
A commuter rail system between the major Texas cities will also improve the growth of the state economy.
I am not sure of the utility or pricing of the toll roads; I would like to look at the pricing and growth of the toll road systems.
The impact fees mentioned above will also help take the strain off the tax systems.
TL: Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis. According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens. As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?
I have not given much thought to the rural healthcare system. Having said that, I point out that Governor Abbot has turned down $65B for the Texas Medicaid system just to spite President Obama. This hurts all Texans. I would rely on House colleagues from those districts to propose systems that will help the rural medical problems. The opposition to Planned Parenthood, I am sure, did not help the situation.
TL: In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act. This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.
FA: Net neutrality is necessary to the fair distribution of communication services throughout the country. The opposition to net neutrality is another instance of controlling the money in the country in favor of the aristocracy and against the people. The internet can be considered to be a public utility.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
I truly care for the condition and success of the society, of the people. Everyone’s life improves as the whole boat rises. I am not controlled or beholden to the Republican plutocracy. I am running for this position because of what the Republicans have done to the citizens of Texas.
I have a broad scope of knowledge and a philosophy which looks to the improvement of the condition of the people.
I am an Chemical and Safety engineer (Certified Safety Professional – retired, with a PE(fl) license). which allows me to understand the production methods and pollution problems in Texas; I have an excellent understanding and experience with the oil, gas, chemical, , pharmaceutical, utility, and general industries.
Further, I have audited, surveyed, and consulted to over 1,000 businesses in the US. From my experiences, I have found companies that are excellent, good, bad and ugly. It is the bad and the ugly ones that kill people and destroy the environment. There are a small number of socially irresponsible industries/companies which harm our society.
I hold an MBA-finance which helps me to understand the budgeting and finance problems of Texas, the people, the school systems, and businesses.
Moreover, I am well read holding a doctorate in business and management with sub specialties in organizational and general culture. I do have a broad scope of knowledge.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
FA: I like to hang out with my wife watching television, I study political problems and philosophies, and I work against Trump at every chance I get. I like to shoot my pistols then reload the ammunition (reloading ammunition is very relaxing and requires a great deal of focused concentration). I like to work around my home; I also like to hang out in my pool listening to music.
Thanks to Dr. Infortunio for their responses.