AUSTIN -- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Monday created the Interim Committee on Texas Response to Federal Sequestration, which will recommend ways that the state can prepare for looming tax increases and spending reductions caused by gridlock in Washington.
Washington's failure to agree on a deficit-reduction plan poses a number of threats to the Texas economy. The impending sequestration process would trigger across-the-board reductions in defense and non-defense spending, putting thousands of Texas jobs at risk. Texans also face devastating increases in federal taxes if an agreement to avoid sequestration is not reached.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned that such changes to federal tax and spending policy would “lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.”
“Washington isn’t working, but the Texas House is,” Speaker Straus said. “I hope federal leaders will find a way to reduce the deficit without increasing taxes or costing Texans their jobs. In the event that Washington remains at a stalemate, however, Texans need to know how the sequestration process will affect the state economy.”
The Committee will study how the sequestration process will affect the defense industry in Texas, the state budget, public and higher education and the tax burden on Texas families and businesses. The Committee will also develop specific legislative proposals.
Speaker Straus has appointed Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, Irving, to chair the Committee. Rep. Mike Villarreal, San Antonio, will serve as Vice Chair.
"This Committee has a very important job," Rep. Harper-Brown said. "Texas priorities should not be held captive by Washington's dysfunction, and Texas families should not face the threat of higher taxes due to a lack of federal leadership. The Committee will highlight the dangers that the sequestration process poses to our economy, our military, our schools, and other priorities. We will work to ensure that Texas is prepared to face this serious challenge."
Also serving on the Committee will be:
Rep. Cindy Burkett
Rep. Brandon Creighton
Rep. Dawnna Dukes
Rep. Craig Eiland
Rep. Dan Flynn
Rep. Naomi Gonzalez
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg
Rep. Eddie Lucio III
Rep. Charles Perry
The Committee will report its findings to Speaker Straus by Jan. 7 and expire at the start of the 83rd Legislature.
JASON EMBRY OR ERIN DALY