Study Charges Released for the 2012 Interim – Part VIII
Speaker of the House Joe Straushas released a list of interim study charges for the standing committees of the Texas House of Representatives. These study charges and the resulting recommendations that will be developed during the interim could form the basis for legislation to be considered during the next legislative session. House committees were each given several issues to study. 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. At the end of the interim, each committee will submit a formal report to the Speaker of the Texas House with recommendations on possible legislation.
The following is a sampling of charges given to different House committees. 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 at www.house.state.tx.us.
Here are some examples of charges given to the standing House committees:
House Committee on Transportation – Review the state of our current transportation infrastructure, including studying roadway, bridge, and waterway quality and long-range plans by the Texas Department of Transportation for maintaining these assets. Explore future needs of our infrastructure for the next decade and make recommendations to ensure long-range sufficiency.
Study the state’s preparedness for the expansion of the Panama Canaland determine whether the state’s 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 long-term state funding recommendations, with an eye on any federal reforms that become law. Explore options to eliminate “diversions” from Fund 6 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 & 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 & Small Business Development)
Examine strategies to maximize state funding for programs designed to prevent and 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 & Means – Evaluate the state’s tax structure and determine 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. As part of this review, evaluate the franchise (margins) tax and determine whether the tax structure should continue to exist 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.