May 4, 2017
We’ve officially entered the last month of the 85th Regular Session. It’s important to specify “regular” because, as per the norm, the rumor mill is a-buzz with “special” session talk—which would cost the taxpayers money, and legislators and lobbyists their sanity…
This is the time in session that always reminds me of that spring day in Texas, just before a tornado hits. The scene is awkwardly still, with an eerie silence and feel in the air. Nothing is really moving, but you know that trouble lies ahead. You can only count on your preparation at this point, and hope for the best. Have I secured the windows and doors? Do I have enough supplies to get me through a massive storm? Have I reached out to everyone I need to? This, my friends, is the last 30 days of session, and anything can happen.
At this point, NFIB/Texas has registered a position on 151 pieces of legislation in committee. That means that 151 bills that affect your business have been heard in committee. This is merely a fraction of the bills filed we’re watching, and that have not been heard (thankfully, for the most part).
HB 28, the franchise tax relief bill we reported on to you earlier in April, has passed the full House and has been received in the Senate. Let’s hope for no political tug of war from the Senate side, and quick movement. This bill would ultimately phase out the franchise tax pending adequate funds available in the General Revenue Fund.
The workforce skills training bills that NFIB/Texas has adamantly supported are moving through the process. When polled, employers report that ‘finding skilled workers’ is one of their biggest problems and priorities. With more focus on workforce skills training in schools, that problem could be solved.
Lastly, NFIB/Texas has partnered with the SBDCs of Texas (Small Business Development Centers) to help them get the funding they need to survive, thrive, and continue to help the small business community in Texas. The budget for the next biennium has passed both chambers, but because of the differences in the House and Senate versions, a final and agreed-upon version is being hammered out in meetings. The House version funds SBDCs, while the Senate version does not. NFIB/Texas has reached out to legislators to express our support of the critical funding needs for SBDCs. It’s imperative we continue to grow our partnership with SBDCs to help small business owners in this state, and ultimately the state’s economy.
Batten down the hatches!