Small Business Priorities for the 88th Texas Legislature

Date: January 30, 2023

NFIB is calling for property tax relief, regulatory consistency, and greater economic opportunity.

CLICK HERE to download our legislative agenda for 2023.

The NFIB Texas Legislative Agenda for the 88th Legislative Session was generated from the most recent 2022 NFIB member ballot which was sent to all our Texas members. Here are the top recognized priorities for small business owners going into 2023:

Business Personal Property Tax Relief

Small business owners in Texas are being taxed out of their businesses (and homes) and are often hit even harder than a large business because they do not have in-house tax compliance officers. Their margins of operation are very thin, leaving little to no room to keep their doors open after paying their property tax bill, their “inventory tax,” and their franchise tax bill (all paid whether they made a profit for the year or not). Real tax relief for small businesses can be achieved by increasing the business personal property (or “inventory tax”) exemption, or completely repealing the onerous and regressive tax.

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Regulatory Consistency & Reform

Cities in Texas continue to expand their regulatory scope by passing local ordinances regulating a private business owner’s employment practices. These city ordinances would mandate what kind of benefits an employer offers, how to handle their employee scheduling, and would interfere with private employment hiring practices among other business daily operations best left up to the employer. These local ordinances create a patchwork of laws which makes compliance almost impossible for the small business owner.

NFIB is spearheading the effort at the Capitol to fight this overreach, along with 20 other business organizations represented through ASSET—Alliance for Securing and Strengthening the Economy in Texas.

Each session, more and more bills are filed that expand the definition of “unlawful employment” practices in the Texas Labor Code, create punitive fines against employers, and pile onto the mountain of regulations small business owners are expected to comply with. Small businesses already implement hundreds of federal and state regulations, which costs them 36% more than a larger business according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our state government should work to educate our employers about current regulations instead of creating new and more burdensome laws.

Reeling in Health Insurance Costs

In a survey of NFIB’s members, the cost of health insurance was ranked the number one biggest problem and priority for small business owners in Texas. This remains a perennial issue for small business owners. Adding new, expensive mandates to health benefit plans increases the costs for businesses and employers and adds to the growing number of uninsured in Texas. Employers ultimately pay the high price for mandated health care benefits through higher health care premiums, co-pays, reduced wages, and benefit reductions.

Most large businesses receive their health care benefits under self-funded arrangements, which are preempted under ERISA and are exempted from state law. Thus, health benefit mandates more negatively affect small employer and individual policies. Many mandates, including the half dozen or so passed during the past few legislative sessions, are estimated to increase premiums by millions of dollars. In fact, each mandate increases the cost of health insurance premiums by approximately one to five percent. While this may seem insignificant, every one percent increase in premiums costs consumers and employers an estimated $230 million a year in the fully insured market.

In the end, mandates can hurt the very people that they were meant to help – individual employees and their families. NFIB will oppose any legislation that continues to drive the cost of health insurance up or penalizes a small business owner for not carrying health insurance.

Workforce Development and Lack of Skilled Workforce

Finding skilled employees, or “locating qualified employees” has been an ongoing issue for employers in this state, both large and small, especially in today’s market. Texas’ small business job creators in the industrial and technical fields have positions open and ready to fill. The legislature has made strides in realizing the importance of trade skills training in junior high and high school, charging the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board to work together along with employers in the state to complete the mission of graduating more students into the workforce.

NFIB will continue to work with other business organizations to make sure skills training in schools is a priority and that our Texas workforce is robust for generations to come.

CLICK HERE to download our legislative agenda for 2023.


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