Capriglione is a proven conservative choice for Tarrant

Giovanni Capriglione, incumbent, and Armin Mizani are Republicans in the primary contest for House District 98.
Giovanni Capriglione, incumbent, and Armin Mizani are Republicans in the primary contest for House District 98. rmallison@star-telegram.com

The Republican primary in House District 98 — Keller, Colleyville, Southlake and Grapevine — is about what many GOP primaries in Texas are about: which candidate is more conservative.

Armin Mizani, 30, a lawyer and member of the Keller City Council, is trying to unseat three-term incumbent Giovanni Capriglione, 44, a private equity manager.

Both men have strong Republican credentials. Both are pro-life fiscal conservatives who talk tough on illegal immigration and are strong supporters of Second Amendment rights.

Mizani, however, is trying to position himself as the “real” conservative in the campaign, racking up endorsements from the Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party and other right-of-center organizations.

His view on property tax reform is an example of how his positions differ from Capriglione’s and are not realistic.

Mizani told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board he would entirely eliminate property taxes because they are inequitable. He would consider replacing them with a consumption tax, which would tax all sales — including home sales.

Capriglione argues that such a proposal would make the state sales tax the highest in the country, increasing the burden on the average Texan.

The candidates also differ on the Texas Enterprise Fund, which offers financial incentives to businesses that create jobs and make capital investments in Texas.

Mizani would eliminate the fund.

“When it comes to state dollars and picking winners and losers, the state should not be involved in that process,” said Mizani. He believes individual cities should instead offer those incentives.

In contrast, Capriglione believes that as long as the incentives are provided through an accountable and transparent process, state economic incentives can be a catalyst for attracting jobs and economic development.

As a Keller council member, Mizani, 30, has some experience dealing with public policy issues. But his knowledge and understanding of many of the state’s complex issues seems thin.

Capriglione has received criticism from some in his party for his support of retiring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, but the relationship earned him committee assignments and leadership roles that have led to some important legislative victories.

Straus appointed him to the powerful House appropriations committee, and designated Capriglione as vice-chair of the government transparency committee. That led to Capriglione securing passage of House Bill 1295, which requires the disclosure of interested parties in state and local government contracts.

During the last legislative session he co-authored and supported House Bill 21, which would have increased education funding by raising the per-student basic allotment and returning some $2 billion to school districts.

That bill failed, but he was successful in helping pass an increase in the homestead exemption.

In three House terms, Capriglione has developed a deep understanding of the issues and the pragmatism to offer viable solutions to some pressing problems.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Giovanni Capriglione as the Republican nominee in Texas House District 98.