Sitting here on Memorial Day weekend, good political junkies we are, watching Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment proceedings in the Texas House. We just received a tweet with former State Rep. David Simpson's article in the Longview News-Journal about the AG's impeachment, "Honor and Humility. Where are they?" For us here at LIV, Simpson is raising the question of just what is a real Texas conservative.
Simpson was THE most principled conservative ally of the independent movement in the Texas Legislature while remaining a loyal Republican. We called him "our independent Republican." We will never forget the wholly unprincipled campaign by Bryan Hughes against Simpson for Senate District 1 in 2017. What kind of conservatives supports massive taxpayer giveaways, destruction of private property, eminent domain abuse, and squashing their electoral competition?
We miss you so much, David Simpson! Read his, "Honor and Humility. Where are they?"
While you're watching! Take these two actions:
First: If you haven't yet signed our letter to Governor Abbott to veto HB 2127. Please do and share away over the holiday! Go here.
Second: Review the following Central Texas Interfaith message about the negotiations going on in a conference committee between the House and Senate on school property tax abatements appended below. (Don't forget Samsung's nearly $300M "savings" in school property taxes passed by the Taylor ISD, reviewed here in the Business Journal in 2021. Yuk!)
CALL YOUR CENTRAL TEXAS SENATORS NOW - Ask them to adopt the Senate Version of HB5 or NOTHING
On Wednesday, May 24, the Texas Senate amended and passed the committee substitute for HB 5 which revives an incentive program that will already cost Texas taxpayers $31 Billion in school property tax abatements over the next 15 years.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEETS TODAY. YOUR SENATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU.
We would prefer that both House and Senate not approve HB 5.Nevertheless, as the House/Senate Conference Committee negotiates over the final version of the bill, Texas IAF believes that certain changes made by the Senate are significant in reigning in the cost and improving the honesty and transparency of this program. These changes must not be lost.
CTI asks you to call ALL of these Senators to Ask Them to Adopt the Senate Version or NOTHING.
CENTRAL TEXAS SENATORS
or Find Your Legislator here, Call Your State Senator here
The Senate Version has these important changes.
Removes the “kickbacks” that companies were allowed to pay to school districts to get them to sign off on tax breaks. These “kickbacks” created a perverse incentive so that virtually all school districts approved all agreements, regardless of the cost to taxpayers who have to backfill the abated school property taxes with General Revenue. Kickbacks also undermine funding equity as a few districts are enriched and most others are not.
Decreases the amount of abatement to 50% of the property value (or 75% of the property value if located in a federally declared “Opportunity Zone”).
Improves the process and timeline for approval so that there are multiple levels of review involving the Comptroller, the Governor’s Office, the School District, and a Legislative Oversight Committee consisting of both House and Senate members. Each of these levels must carefully review the proposed tax break and deny them when warranted. School districts must provide adequate notice to the public to learn about the proposed tax breaks and the industries which seek to move to or expand in their communities.
Increasing the number of permanent jobs required to be created by firms obtaining a tax abatement and requiring that employers provide health insurance.
We want the senate to strengthen the language around whether or not the incentive is the determining factor in building -The Senate version of HB 5 proposed new language requiring that the tax break be “a compelling factor in the competitive site selection determination…” In the updated fiscal note, however, the Comptroller has stated:"[i]t is the opinion of this office that the adopted Senate floor amendment with “compelling factor” site selection language would not result in a reduction in the number of applicants.” Clearly, in the opinion of Comptroller’s office, which has reviewed over 300 of these agreements in the last 12 months, this new Senate requirement is insufficient and must be strengthened in Conference Committee to determine whether the tax abatement will be the deciding factor in a company’s decision to “construct or expand a new or existing facility” in Texas. If it is not strengthened, Chapter 403, the new Chapter 313, will likely be even more expensive to taxpayers and school children than the old version
Central Texas Interfaith http://www.austininterfaith.org/
LIV Calendar of Events:
Tuesday, May 30th, 7 to 9 pm, Bastrop Public Library, about development impacts along the Colorado River. Prepare for TCEQ meeting on Thursday, June 1, see more below. See flier here. Before you join us on Tuesday, please review this message by Environmental Stewardship.
Thursday, June 1st, 6 pm, McKinney Roughs Wastewater Permit, TCEQ Public Meeting, Cedar Creek High School Cafeteria, 793 Union Chapel Road, Cedar Creek, Texas, 78612. More here, including how to make comments.
Join us at LIV Monday, June 5th, 7 to 8 pm for LIV's "Final Report the 88th Texas Legislative Session: the good, bad and ugly bills." Sign up here.