"Kolkhorst will command lots of attention" by: Mike Reddell

   State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) is Matagorda County’s elected representative in the Texas Senate.  
   She has been active on several fronts this legislative session.   
   She has filed bills on infant and maternal health improvement, battling the opioid crisis, priority hurricane recovery and eminent domain reform.   
   She’s also in the cross-hairs on two pieces of legislation – one she filed and the other from another state senator.  
   School officials in Matagorda County and throughout this area are closely watching Kolkhorst’s SB 1252.  
   That bill would reduce state education funding equal to the amount a district receives from a 313 agreement to limit the appraised value of property in a district.  
   The 313 agreements - and the supplemental payments they bring - are similar to property tax abatements that cities and counties employ.  
   Both are used as incentives to attract industries or business.    
   Van Vleck, for example, benefitted from a 313 agreement with TenarisBayCity in its $88.2 million bond issue in 2017.  
   However unpopular tax abatements and Chapter 313 agreements are to some, they’re a major economic development tool in luring industries, especially for small school districts.  
   If that bill passes, rural school officials see that as a crucial loss of a tool to interest business or industrial prospects.  
   Another Senate Bill that may involve Kolkhorst was filed by State Sen. Joan Huffman.  
   This bills calls for Brazoria County shedding the present 23rd District Court from that county and leaving it all on Matagorda and Wharton counties.  
   That is supposed to enable Brazoria County to create its own separate district court.  
   Commissioners Court here passed a resolution in February that the 23rd District Court keep its present boundaries in Brazoria, Matagorda and Wharton counties.  
   Officials here claim that if Brazoria County shifts all of its 23rd court burdens on Matagorda and Wharton counties, it will create a hardship for the latter two.  
   They don’t need the additional court expenses and the present district court case load doesn’t indicate another court is needed at this point.  
   Since State Rep. and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen represents half of Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County.   
   Observers here think he’s likely to side with Brazoria County if the issue reaches the house for a vote.  
   For Matagorda County, Kolkhorst’s help is needed to keep the present 23rd District like it is. 

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