NFIB/Texas is a strictly member-driven grassroots organization with over 21,000 members who represent a cross-section of the state’s economy in all 254 counties in Texas. Our legislative agenda and lobbying priorities are generated from our member ballot results and member feedback. Based on 2016 and 2017 member ballot results, here are the top charges for the 85th Legislative Session:
- Favoritism for Labor Unions
- Tax Relief
- Regulatory Relief
- Workforce Development
- Background Checks
Although Texas is a right-to-work state which allows employers more flexibility to innovate and manage wages and hours, Texas remains one of the few states to grant labor unions special privilege by serving as their membership dues collector. Via public employee payroll deduction, Texas has raised millions for labor unions in the form of membership dues. Those dues are used to fund the lobbying of anti-business policies, as well as litigation efforts against our job creators who choose to remain union free. Government should act as a neutral party, and not give unions a leg up over business.
In 2015, NFIB/Texas helped secure almost $4 billion in tax relief—a franchise tax rate reduction of 25% for businesses, totaling $2.6 billion in relief, and $1.2 billion in property tax relief by raising the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. However, our work is not done. NFIB/Texas will continue to work on fully repealing the franchise tax and the inventory tax on items held for resale, as well as continued reform to the property tax system for business owners.
Municipalities are imposing plastic bag bans on businesses within those communities and in some cases, imposing an “environmental fee” on businesses that continue to use plastic bags. This is another example of over-regulation by the government on business and speaks to the broader concern over the scope of municipal regulatory powers.
Minimum wage; paid leave; wage claims; “fair chance hiring”, and unlawful employment practices… These labor union-backed employer mandates and lawsuit traps are filed every session under the guise of worker protection. NFIB/Texas will continue its strong opposition to added regulations that only strangle an employer’s ability to own, operate and grow their business in Texas.
Finding skilled workers, or “lack of a skilled workforce” is a perennial problem for employers in this state, both large and small. Texas’ small business job creators in industrial and technical fields have positions open and ready to fill, but because of the lack of workforce skills training in schools, those employers find themselves unable to expand in some cases. NFIB/Texas will continue to support workforce development legislation, which builds upon the options students now have in schools in regard to career readiness training academies and career training courses.
“Fair Chance Hiring” is a nationwide movement by labor unions to make it unlawful for businesses to require job applicants to disclose criminal convictions. A background check could only be conducted after a contingent offer is issued to the applicant. NFIB/Texas will continue to fight against any “ban the box” legislation and support legislation that preserves employer rights. Employers should be free to make decisions as they see fit for the safety of their employees and customers.