Taxes, transit to be examined
Speaker of the House Joe Straus gave Texas House committees several issues to study between the end of the session and the start of the next legislature. Committee hearings will be held over the course of the interim period (2012), giving the public an opportunity to testify on a variety of issues. Each committee will submit a formal report to the Speaker of the Texas House with recommendations on possible legislation.
If you would like a complete list of the study charges or if you would like more information about issues being studied by any particular committee, please don’t hesitate to call my capitol office at (512) 463- 0672 or visit the Texas House of Representatives Web site at www.house.state.tx.us.
Here are some examples of charges given to the standing House committees:
• House Committee on Transportation - Review our current transportation infrastructure, including roadway, bridge, and waterway quality and long-range plans by the Texas Department of Transportation for maintaining these assets. Explore infrastructure needs for the next decade.
Study the state’s preparedness for the expansion of the Panama Canal and determine whether our infrastructure is ready for the increase in commerce.
Conduct a thorough review of the operations of transit organizations in Texas. Explore possible reforms to streamline and improve services to Texans.
Study transportation funding reforms and develop longterm state funding recommendations, with an eye on any federal reforms that become law. Explore options to eliminate “diversions” to non-transportation related programs. (Joint with the House Committee on Appropriations)
• House Committee on Urban Affairs - Evaluate the role of community gardens and urban farming efforts that increase access to healthy foods and examine the possible impact that state and local policies have on the success of programs of this type. Determine the feasibility of policies to support these efforts, especially in high-population areas. (Joint with the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock)
Examine current economic development programs available in urban areas in Texas and other states. Report on successful programs, and make legislative recommendations for innovative economic development programs. (Joint with the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development)
Examine strategies to maximize state funding for programs to end homelessness, with an emphasis on programs that have demonstrated a successful coordination of state and local resources. (Joint with the House Committee on Appropriations)
• House Committee on Ways and Means - Evaluate the state’s tax structure and its impact on the competitiveness of the Texas business climate. Specifically, determine the impact of the state’s major taxes, including the sales tax and franchise tax, as well as tax exemptions, exclusions, and credits on economic growth, capital investment, and job creation in Texas.
Evaluate the franchise (margins) tax and determine whether it should continue in its current form or in a revised form, or whether the existing tax structure should be repealed and replaced with a different business tax.
Analyze the results of the reviews of appraisal district operations as conducted through the comptroller’s Methods Assistance Program (MAP) and determine whether appraisal districts are applying uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes as required by the Texas Constitution.
Evaluate whether current property tax notice requirements effectively serve the intended “truth-in-taxation” purpose of informing taxpayers about the property taxes they pay and who is responsible for deciding how much they pay.
Todd Hunter, R- Corpus Christi, is the District 32 State Representative. Contact him at E2-808, P.O. Box 2910, Austin TX 78768; (512) 463-0672, the district office at (361) 949-4603 or firstname.lastname@example.org. tx.us.