Welcome, Patriots! We are back in the studio after a few weeks of being on the road, fighting for our country. It's been glorious, hot, and eventful, and we're going to get into it all right now. But first, let's talk about the importance of maintaining faith, patriotism, and our fight against unfair property taxes with special guest Michael Berlanga.
Episode 35 Summary with Michael Berlanga
In this episode of Raven's Radar, we had the honor of speaking with Michael Berlanga, President of the Texas Christian Chamber of Commerce. Michael is not only a front-line Christian but also a licensed CPA, real estate broker, and senior property tax consultant. He is passionate about educating people on their rights to protest property taxes and holding legislators accountable.
During the interview, Michael Berlanga highlighted the issue of school property taxes, the highest tax burden for Texans. He discussed the lack of action from legislators in reducing or eliminating these taxes, despite campaign promises. Michael emphasized the importance of citizens protesting property values and using their voting power to demand change.
- Raven Harrison: Welcome, Patriots! We are back in the studio after a few weeks of being on the road and in the trenches, fighting for our country. It's been glorious, hot, and eventful, and we're going to get to all of it right now. If it's in your sights, it's on my radar. We'll be airborne shortly.
- [Intro Video]
- Welcome, patriots, to this episode of Raven's Radar. I missed you guys. We're back, we're back in the studio after two weeks of being on the road. We have been traveling on the Raven's Mantle book tour. We did our first leg, so we went to Lafayette, Louisiana, we were through Alabama, we ended up in Florida, in Trumpville. It was really an interesting, eye-opening experience. We met some amazing patriots, and we are getting the word out. Raven's Mantle is in stores now and online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. It feels really good.
- This is the most information I've ever given out to patriots about what's really happening on the front lines. It details my story of having parents who are Air Force Colonels, it details my daughter being expelled from school at eight years old for voting for Trump in a mock election. Yes, that really happened, and that's what created your Conservative Warrior. It also talks about when I ran for Congress, what really is the Escape. I hear that a lot, you know, why don't normal people stand up? Because it's dirty, it's sewer-esque, it is crazy. Um, how it's so much worse than people think. I tell them that this is the swamp, the sewer is Washington, D.C. that it drains into, but I digress. So we're back and now we're going to cover a couple of things that have been happening while we were on our tour. And, um, Trump was indicted.
- So here it goes, patriots. So the day the House Oversight Committee receives proof that Hunter Biden is a ridiculous crackhead and that Joe Biden is the "big guy," the big sniffy, you know, as soon as they get information about that, they indicted Trump the same day. I mean, you can't make this up. And, you know, a list of charges that probably include cutting the tag off a mattress and jaywalking and everything else they've been trying to get at him. But it's absolutely ridiculous. And now, as of today, we're learning that they just sent a date of August 14th for a federal trial for President Trump. And I want patriots to follow the logic on this. Okay, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, okay, President Bush, all admitted to taking home classified documents. How many are being indicted? Only President Trump. Unreal. To what we're looking at right now, they're not even trying to hide the two-tier justice.
- The FBI, the Federal Bureau of Injustice, is now saying that they're not going to cooperate. Like, that's a choice. We're not going to cooperate with this investigation. Uh-huh. And Joe Biden going, "I had absolutely nothing to do with that." God saved the Queen, even though she died. Joe, guys, somebody wake him up. She died. Prince Charles got a job after 73 years. Okay, that's where we are. This guy is ridiculous. He's literally tripping over air. He's tripping over air. And Democrats are desperate to hide the fact that they know everybody can see that this guy is ridiculous. So they are trumping up the charges against Trump like they always do. And they are just proving that they don't have a clue. And I'm telling you right now, I was there. I've been on the road. I've talked to Democrats. I've talked to Republicans. And we all have the same united voice, which is we are done with our trial subscription to communism, and we will not be renewing.
- Thank you. Don't forget to tip your waitress and send Joe Biden home. Somebody sent him home, okay? The only person in all this I feel sorry for is the sign language interpreter for Fetterman and Biden. That guy must be on all kinds of meds and therapy. But also, I just want to mention that in the evolution of "hold my not Bud Light, hold my beer," okay? The Dodgers decided they have learned nothing from Disney, Nike, North Face, Maybelline, and all these host of other companies that have gone woke and have their sales and revenue going the way of the Titanic. So the Dodgers said, "Yep, hold our beer. Here we go." And they just had, I want to make sure I get this right, patriots, they had a drag-friendly, you know, queer rally outside of Dodger Stadium of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, drag nuns.
- You can't make this stuff up. I think we have a clip.
- [Clip Begins]
- KTVU Fox 2 Reporter: We talked to them about this. They mentioned it during the event tonight. They say that this whole controversy has put them onto this huge national stage, which they say has brought both more supporters as well as more critics.
- KTVU Fox 2 Voice-over: The protesters began gathering outside Dodger Stadium four hours before the game. They held a prayer protest, saying they believe the Dodgers should not honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who dress in drag as nuns and priests.
- Unknown Male Speaker: And so I want to say thank you all for being, taking the first step in that, for being out here today and saying enough is enough.
- Unknown Female Speaker: We love all the brothers and sisters, and the ones they offend are related to John. We just only… We can say God bless to them.
- KTVU Fox 2 Voice-over: The controversy exploded when the Dodgers announced they would honor the Los Angeles branch of the Sisters with a community award at Friday night's Pride game. After the Los Angeles Archdiocese and other Catholic groups from outside the state protested, the Dodgers withdrew the invitation but then reinvited the Sisters back after the team's Pride Partners threatened to boycott the night.
- [Clip Ends]
- Raven: What is that? Come on, man. You know the thing. Where you're mocking? Got, that is ridiculous, patriots. This is what they're trying to do. And patriots showed up. I think we have a picture of what it looked like outside the stadium and what it looked like inside the stadium after this bullcrap. My patriots don't disappoint.
- People are over the woke. They've been telling you that. They don't want to listen. So Dodgers, they won't be the last, but nobody's learning. And then the last, before we wrap it up and bring it to our guest, is that Hunter Biden is going to plead guilty to some federal tax charge. Okay, we're not going to talk about the bribery. We're not going to talk about the laptop and the porn. We're not going to talk about all that, you know what, we are going to talk about it.
- So the crack-a-doodle, you know, Mr. you know the best person that Joe Biden knows. And sad part is, that's probably true. That is probably the best person he knows, a crackhead. Okay, the kid sniffer and the crackhead walk into a bar, stop me if you've heard this one, and then the doors are locked on the Corvette. I forget the punchline. But you know what? Joe Biden doesn't know it either. So this is their attempt to get him to plead to some nonsensical charge so they can kind of sweep this under the rug. And patriots, we're not having it. Okay, there is no, we need to keep those handcuffs warm. Okay? And we're going to be following it from the front lines.
- In the meantime, let's bring it back here to Texas and let's talk about our property taxes, about Christian values here in Texas, with our next guest. And it's going to be a scorcher. Stay with us.
- [Patriot Mobile Spot]
- Raven: Welcome back, Patriots! It is that time, you know what time, when we get to the front lines. Today, we're going to be on the spiritual front lines with an amazing guest. Do I always say that? It's always true! So today, we are joined by the one and only Michael Berlanga. He is the president of the Texas Christian Chamber of Commerce. Come on, Patriots, do we even know that was a thing? Here we go. Welcome, Michael, to Raven's Radar.
- Michael Berlanga: Thank you, thank you so much. It's a blessing to be here. I am so honored. I've been traveling a lot, and it's really important that we feed the soul for those of us who are Christians and believers and who just love how good God is. It's amazing.
- Raven: Tell me a little bit… tell our viewers a little bit about you. What is the Texas Christian Chamber of Commerce? What is our mission? And how do we move forward for God? Oh, bless you.
- Michael Berlanga: A little bit about me, I'm San Antonio-born, raised, and educated. I went to Catholic schools initially, and when I was 14, my father died suddenly in a stroke. I questioned whether I had a calling to be a priest by asking God, "If you mean for me to be a priest, you wouldn't let me get a scholarship for Central Catholic?" Fortunately, God had a plan and I got the scholarship. I went to Central Catholic for three years before I graduated at the top of my class and went on to Saint Mary's University and got a degree in accounting. I then went to UTSA and got a master's in tax. So academically, I think I've spoken to the subject of taxes, but that was income tax. Today, I'm licensed as a CPA, which is you know, boring but trusting, and a real estate broker, which is supposed to be dynamic and forward-thinking, and a senior property tax consultant. So, I think I'm the only, let's just say, academic geek that has three licenses. But, in the words of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, I went "value to go up." I just want that your burden to be lowered. And so, as the president of the Christian Chamber of San Antonio, now in formation, the Christian Chamber of Texas, I've taken this property tax protest seminar on the road. I've just finished driving 3,000 miles in the last 30 days from the border to the coast to East Texas to A&M and a few places in between. So, that's how you do it. I mean, that's it.
- Raven: So, what we're getting from that—he is a front-line Christian. He's on the front lines doing the work. So, while he was zigzagging the coast, we were coming from Florida, you know, the Trump indictment and zigzagging back. And this is what you want, Patriots. These are the doers we need. And you are also a property tax geek, and my dad used to say, "The geek shall inherit the earth." There it is. So, we love that you're licensed. This is really important because, in addition to your work with the Texas Christian Chamber of Commerce, you're also on the front lines here in Texas, fighting property tax. Tell our listeners and our viewers what the fight is with the property tax.
- Michael Berlanga: I know everybody talks about getting their property taxes lowered. They want to know, "Why do we have property taxes? Do we really own our own home if we're still paying property taxes?" But there's an issue and a caveat with why people can't exactly eliminate that.
- Raven: But tell us a little bit about your fight on there for property taxes and fighting for our citizens.
- Michael Berlanga: Well, first of all, you and I know we have scriptural authority for talking about it because Jesus said, "Pay to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And last time I checked, the governor is still the governor. He's not the king, he's not the dictator.
- Raven: Amen.
- Michael Berlanga: I'm privileged to know of his background as a Catholic, and not so much his Catholicism, but his mother-in-law was my grade school teacher, and his wife and her brothers went to similar schools in San Antonio. But that said, now that we know that we have scriptural authority, many of the viewers don't know we have a Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights that, regardless of whether you're Muslim or Jew or agnostic or atheist—though I like to think we can bring them to Christ if I talk about taxes—I see this wherever I go. I see 180-200 people show up in less than a week's notice because we're going to teach them, empower them, and inspire them to protest that value.
- While I'm working, like you are, on the policy side to get the three wise men, as I like to jokingly say, to get it together. I mean, the governor has said that it was his goal when he was debating Beto in the 53rd minute—and I think it was the 20th second, and you can tell I listened closely—he said his goal was to eliminate school property tax. This was before the session, during campaigning. 140 days went by, not a single senator nor house rep sponsored a bill to eliminate school property tax. I'm going to keep repeating that—school property tax.
- Raven: What is Michael—let me just interject—what is the difference when people say "property taxes," I don't think they realize there are different sectors of this. What is a school property tax?
- Michael Berlanga: Well, school property taxes, as you'll find on any of your property tax bills in November, as you'll find when you look at even the summation, is the highest tax—meaning more than half—of all the other taxes that are accumulated and coordinated through accounting tax assessors and collectors. So, the chief appraiser for the county appraises the value, and the county tax collector collects the tax based on that adjusted value, if it's adjusted. And yet, that tax, when collected, primarily isn't for the county, it isn't primarily for the city.
- In fact, if you accumulate county, city, hospital district, you name it, they do not collectively exceed the school tax—the school property tax that is administered through the county appraiser and through the county tax collector. It's actually a creation of the school district system that was created by the legislature up to 100 years ago—not with the founding of the state, let's be very clear about that. The state's Article 7 said we were supposed to fund public education efficiently, and it was the legislature's duty to fund education fairly and efficiently.
- What we lost sight of is that a hundred years later, that school property tax is being validated by chief appraisers based on property value studies of a comptroller who's silent on the matter, while the governor is before and after session wants to talk about eliminating school property tax. But there's not a single study that he can point to nor the governor, lieutenant governor is referencing, nor the speaker, Phelan, is acknowledging that this is how we're going to do it. But they speak in generalities, it's great theater. But the reality is this—I mean, the governor has said it is his goal, and for all the things that we as citizens may disagree with him on, we can agree that if we reduce our school property tax burden, that would cut everybody who's listening by at least half, if not maybe as much as 67%.
- So, the school property tax is part of the property tax burden, but I don't think in our near future the Texas Municipal League and all the cities and all the counties are going to resist getting rid of the school tax, but they're certainly going to resist if you tell them you're going to get rid of their property tax, which is a stable source of revenue for streets and public services in the local areas. That's the problem. Even last week, Lieutenant Governor Patrick inflated the increase in the sales tax as not being acceptable because it would not help them achieve funding healthcare. We're not talking about healthcare, we're talking about schools and funding of education. And until we, as citizens, protest our property values and protest with our votes this inconsistent suggestion of a goal that the governor has put forward but nobody seems to be echoing, I think we're in for at least a short war if not a long haul.
- Raven: Well, let me ask you this. This is a good question. We're talking about—we are really breaking this down, Patriots. So again, we are talking with Mike Berlanga. We are talking about property tax because everybody says this is a big topic in Texas. We've got to get lower property taxes. We have to get lower property taxes. And that has a little facet. So we are talking about the school portion of that. Let me ask you this, simply. You've talked about how Governor Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Patrick are all talking about, they campaigned on lowering—or I'm not sure if they say eliminate—they talk about it, they campaign on lowering this or reducing this burden to taxpayers.
- Let me just ask you point-blank, can they do that? We know that they've said that, that's their goal. Does he have the authority to? Can he actually do what he said is his goal to do, which is to lower or eliminate these taxes?
- Michael Berlanga: The ability to lead a legislature that is responsive to his call for special sessions, he's stopped speaking in aggregate terms, "eliminate property tax." He said in response to Beto's asking him, "You've been talking about property taxes for eight years. What are you going to do about it?" And he said emphatically, without hesitation, and was the only one that I've known to have said, the small campaign forum which he was reelected that his goal is to eliminate school property tax. And then he goes on to say, "Until we do, Texans can't truly say they own their own property. They can't truly say they own their own home."
- No, I cannot speak to whether the lieutenant governor said it was his goal or the speaker said it was his goal, but I can speak to freshman state representatives, who are clients of mine, people I represent in property tax protests for their individual needs, have failed to proactively advance a bill to say, "Okay, if this is the governor's goal, then I think I'm going to get online with him, and I'm going to re-sponsor a bill to study how we're going to achieve that goal." Is it achievable? Yes, the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute did an excellent job 11 or 12 years ago, putting out a study that led us in that direction—dealt with all the arguments social and fiscal about how those should be achieved.
- And I must have been the only one that read it because it's there, even though Senator Patrick, at the time, and another senator were the co-chairs for that. So, the roadmap is there. We may have to close a few loopholes in the sales tax system, but the consumption tax, AKA sales tax, is the most efficient way to collect money that would then be administered by the state, in lieu of the state minimizing its contribution by using school districts. They basically are The Wizard of Oz. The legislature, by way of the comptroller, is The Wizard of Oz, sitting behind the curtain and saying, "Okay, chief appraisers, you go validate the values I've pressured you with; otherwise, I'm going to penalize your school districts' local funding." That is the governance code integrated into the state constitution, Article 7. That's where all the authority vests. It's the legislature's duty to fund education. I want to make sure we're clear, I am a product of education.
- I'm not a product of any other reason for you to talk to me. It's not because of my ethnicity or really even my faith. You didn't pre-screen me as a Christian first. You said, "Mike, you know something about property taxes." So I've read the law, I know where it came from, and I believe children should deserve the best. I don't believe that the spend inefficiency that is innate in the numbers of 1,250 school districts or 254 counties and 150 state representatives is justifiable anymore. Okay? I think we've outgrown that.
- Raven: I um that is that is a lot to digest and I really want to get back to that because he put some some real bullets in there Patriots that I want to make sure we hit on we're going to do that right after the break.
- [Patriot Mobile Spot]
- Raven: Welcome back, Patriots. We are here still with our amazing guest, Michael Berlanga. He is the president of the Texas Chamber of Commerce, but in addition to that, Patriots, he is really on the front lines, helping us fight the issue and the debacle that is our property taxes. He is licensed, he is certified. He's one of the few people credibly able to sit and talk about this. I want to summarize - we had a great first segment with Michael, talking about… and I want to translate - politicians make a lot of speeches and they promise us everything and usually deliver nothing. How am I doing, Michael?
- Michael Berlanga: I think you're spot on. You must have been following. What I want people to hear from this is what you're talking about: the essence is these property taxes. These politicians have the ability to do this. They don't circle back, they don't follow through. They make glorious campaign speeches, get us all excited, and then you never… It dies a slow, quiet death somewhere, never to be heard of again until it's time to get reelected.
- Raven: But here's what I want Patriots to know about you, Michael. First of all, let them know that you're a Christian first. You put God first. And secondly, that your property taxes, for Patriots who need a quick history lesson, taxation without representation is exactly why you don't speak British right now. Okay? That is exactly what fractured in the beginning in 1776. The British were taxing us, we broke away. It was theft by taxes. And he's telling you, Michael is telling you, that you have the ability to protest, to push your legislators and protest your property taxes. Am I doing, Michael?
- Michael Berlanga: Absolutely. I just connect the idea that what I've been doing in the last six years, ever since I ran for tax collector, was realizing people did not know how. Their rights, the evidence that the county is using to justify these ridiculous values, their right to protest those values, the right to appeal those local protests to arbitration without the need of an attorney. They didn't know that they had those rights. So we found those who work with me closely, we found that we're going to go on the road. We're going to speak to the power in the scripture, the power of the state law, and we're going to inspire people to protest, actually in greater numbers, and vote.
- Raven: That's it.
- Michael Berlanga: If they're willing to protest, then they can protest with their vote. The inactivity, the abdication of leadership by each and every state representative and state senator who's going to come back and put some twisted spin on what they didn't achieve with 33 billion dollars in surplus. They're talking about slowly giving us back some of the money that we collectively as Texans, whether it's through property taxes that reduce the state's burden on funding public education, or whether it's the sales tax, or booming economy, notwithstanding surviving COVID.
- Raven: They're going to slowly… here's another one. Do you guys catch that, Patriots? The elected officials are going to slowly give back the money they took from us in the first place.
- Michael Berlanga: That's exactly right. And that's what… and they're selling us on this, you know, look to the future. The analogy used by the governor, and I mean no disrespect, I think… well, the man endorsed me when I ran for State Rep. I didn't ask him for that privilege, and that support. But he did, this is six years ago, and yet here I hear him talk about… that it's like playing golf, as he sees it. You know, you have to hit the ball in the fairway, then you have to hit it on the green, and we can see the hole, and we just have to put it in the hole. I think where he and I would differ is, I don't know if this is the first hole of an 18-hole round, or is this the first nine, or is this the first round of a whole round U.S. Open? We're not that close. I would be privileged to have a conversation with him. And you can invite Dan Patrick, you can invite Speaker Phelan at the same time. We're not that close, we're talking to it. But when I watch 150 state reps in 31 state senators go 140 days in a session, and nobody is saying, "Here's the study that is either achievable or proves that we should stop talking about eliminating School tax," then I say, Governor, you need our help. Every one of everybody needs to help the governor understand. Don't say it to Beto, don't say it after the session's over. There are freshmen and sophomore C reps and Senators that should have gotten on board and should be literally delivering this demand to be called back to a second special session. The House has already adjourned. They have no more capacity to say anything in the next couple of next 10 days or whatever the session. But Senate is bantering about how they're going to compromise with whatever the governor will allow them to with the threat of a veto of other bills that are unrelated. Welcome back to Austin for a second session and say, "Please, let's acknowledge it's the governor's goal." I mean, the State of Texas overwhelmingly said, "He's our governor." He says it's his goal. I don't know how simpler I could connect the dots.
- Raven: Well, I'm telling you, this is what I want Patriots to hear. What do I always say? Patriots, verbs in the sentences. Okay? You don't tell me what's wrong, tell me what you're going to do about it. This is what we're going to do about it. If you heard nothing else that Michael said, you need to hear this. You have the right to protest these, and in numbers, we can do a lot. You know, one person shouting is usually just me ticking people off. Lots of people together is a consortium. That's what "we the people" is. So for those of you who reach out to me, "What can I do, Raven?" This is it. Give me a sign, here it is. Okay? So I want to thank Michael. He is out there fighting for your property taxes, he is fighting for your rights, and he is holding these legislators accountable. And we're going to help him. Michael, where can people reach out and find you and connect and figure out what they can do to start fighting back against their property taxes?
- Michael Berlanga: Any advice I can give them, is easily accessible through my email. My email is
- Raven: So I'm telling you, Patriots, this is it. You've got to reach out to Michael. You've got to… I will have information about Michael's cause and what he's doing to help on there. And Michael, as we wrap up, I just want to thank you so much for being here. Can you leave our conservative, our Christian Patriots with a great spiritual quote? Give them the power right now of why you do what you do.
- Michael Berlanga: I would ask everybody to start considering, I'm terrible with passwords. I've got attention deficit disorder. But I found that I don't need to keep the word of Christ or the word of God. It is something other than the best password. It's probably Philippians chapter 4, verse 13. Use that, Philippians 4:13. You know, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." We can do it. We can do it. I'm not alone in any way, shape, or form. I am not alone. I'm just blessed to be surrounded by people who come up to me and say, "Thank you," or "I just came to Christ," or "Thank you because my Muslim property tax isn't lower than your Christian property tax."
- Raven: It is powerful because we need to… This is our nation, Patriots. It was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our founding fathers believed this. They believed in God. And I'm telling you right now, if your leaders don't fear God, they don't fear you. So we need to make sure that we are leading with the right thing. That should be our agenda. Michael, thank you so much for being with us here, and Patriots, you're gonna have information more on our site. And we're going to be back right after this.
- [Patriot Mobile Spot]
- Raven: Thank you, Patriots, for joining us on this episode of Raven's Radar. I'm telling you, it feels good to be back in the studio. I mean, being on the front lines helps. It keeps us credible. We have to know exactly where the danger is. We can't fix what we don't acknowledge. We need to know where they're attacking us, how they're attacking us, and, more importantly, what are we going to do about it?
- I am so over these politicians, these people who love to feign outrage, don't they, Patriots? This is wrong, that is wrong, this is cursed, that is cursed. You know, all this stuff that's going on, and they don't tell you what to do about it. So, we're doing that. Michael Berlanga, a great, good, solid conservative and Christian, is fighting for your property taxes. A lot of people don't even know you have the right to protest this. You have the right to say, "You know what, that's not just, or this doesn't align with the Constitution," and get that money back. So, take the power we have. And in that vein, thank you to Michael. And for Patriots out there, we're going to continue to be on the road. We're going to continue to be on the front lines. We're going to continue to be here in the studio, giving you the tools we need to take our country back. It's not going to be easy. If it was easy, anybody could do it. But in that vein, I'm encouraging Patriots to support the cause. It's not only dirty on the front lines, it's expensive.
- So, if you can't be on the front lines, support those of us who are. I am urging you to go out and get a copy of Raven's Mantle. This story is like no other. I promise you, Patriots, it's going to blow your mind. There are people who've known me my whole life who didn't know the things that we are telling them in this book. But this is the blueprint. This is the loop we're on. And I'm telling you how I'm going to do it, how I got into this fight, and how we're making the fight. And I really appreciate my Patriots who are out there supporting us. Please pick up a copy of the book and get it on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com. You can go into most bookstores. We are there in print. And conservatives, we are doing it.
- And it's great if you want to reach out to me, RavenHarrison.com. You can find me on social media at Raven_TXWarrior. Raven the Conservative Warrior. And until then, keep fighting.
In conclusion, Patriots, it is crucial for us to take action against unfair property taxes. Reach out to Michael Berlanga via email at
In addition, don't forget to support the Conservative Warrior cause by purchasing a copy of Raven's Mantle, available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and in most bookstores. This powerful book details Raven's personal journey and the fight for conservative values.
Keep fighting, Patriots! Let's make our voices heard and reclaim our country. Together, we can achieve meaningful change.