The Spilman Report

Date: June 01, 2017

August 3, 2017

The dog days of summer are upon us—hot and long. If you look up the meaning of the dog days of summer, historically it is the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ironically, if you searched “Texas special legislation session” on Wikipedia, the same summation would be made.

There are three weeks left in the 30-day called special session, and things are moving fast. Or are they? The Senate moved all of Governor’s 20 priority items out and over to the House, committing to the “20 for 20” pledge by Abbott.

The House has moved on priority items as well, including one of NFIB’s top priority—property tax reform. That’s at least one item that both chambers seem to be in agreeance on, which is great for small business and homeowners in Texas.

NFIB recently testified in favor of SB 1, by Senator Bettencourt and HBs 3 and 4 by Representative Bonnen, which promise more transparency in the appraisal process and other major reforms in the property tax system. We also testified in favor of SB 7, by Senator Hughes, who has championed the “union dues” issue on behalf of NFIB’s 21,000 members in Texas and other Texas business trade groups. The bill would take the government out of being the dues collector for national labor unions who use their dues revenue to advocate for anti-business policies that would ultimately force you to close your doors and put the more than four million employees that small businesses employ in Texas out of work.

With certainty, I can say that a property tax reform measure will pass this special session, but can’t say the same for the union dues bill—SB 7. Because these unions have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through our government in Texas, they are very powerful and have the resources and political stronghold to kill any measure that would take money out of their very deep pockets. Union lobbyists working to kill the union dues bill have resulted to typical union tactics—bullying, intimidation, and lies.

Nonetheless, the business community has united on the issue and will not stop until legislation is passed to level the playing field for small businesses in this state.

So, the NFIB beach towels remain folded and stowed away and the dress shoes and game face are in full play until the legislature adjourns this special session. When they’re in, we’re in! Hopefully, we’ll have good news to report in the next Spilman Report. Stay tuned.

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Annie Spilman heads up the organization’s public policy and political programs throughout the state.

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