According to the Texas Constitution, the first 60 days of session are earmarked for introducing legislation. After this first sixty day period, a member needs a four-fifths majority vote to be granted permission to introduce most bills. This deadline approaches Friday, March 12; here are the bills I have introduced to date:
Relating to the confidentiality of certain information in a rabies vaccination certificate.
Relating to the requirements for obtaining a veterinarian’s license.
Relating to required curriculum in public schools.
Relating to the designation of certain state agencies as voter registration agencies.
Relating to contracts to provide election services to a political party.
Relating to donees of anatomical gifts.
My office is preparing two other drafts on 1) the regulation of veterinary dentistry, and 2) giving teachers more oversight authority in matters of school discipline. I am sure that before the March 12th deadline approaches that I’ll have considered carrying some other legislation as well.
The House this week passed House Bill 2, which lowers the property tax cap from $1.50 per $100 property valuation to $1.00; increases the state’s share of financing public education from 38% to 60%; increases educational spending by $3 billion; and makes the school system more equitable, with 96% of students in an equalized system, compared with 81% now.
Any one of these proposals by themselves would be a major undertaking; so we’ll see what happens to it now in the Senate. We will get the bill back, amended by the Senate, in a few weeks--maybe a month or so--and then a final version will be worked out in conference committee. I voted for the bill and most of the amendments to keep the general idea intact.
House Bill 3 is being discussed this week on the House floor. It currently is designed to pay for the property tax cut by taking the following actions:
* SALES TAX--raise the state sales tax from 6.25% to 7.25%; add car repairs, car washes, bottled water, newspapers, and billboard advertising services to the sales tax base; institute a new 3% “snack tax” on certain items; increase the motor boat tax from 6.25% to 7.35%.
* CIGARETTE TAX--raise taxes on cigarettes by $1.00; add an additional tax burden to smaller tobacco companies who were not part of the tobacco settlement in the 1990's being paid by the larger tobacco companies.
* BUSINESS TAX--abolish the franchise tax and institute a payroll tax of 1.15% of the first $90,000 in salary for each employee.
These proposals have many, including myself, very concerned. I understand the general approach and the desirability to find a low, uniform, broad-based, and reliable tax system which is more reflective of our modern economy. However, the thought of negatively impacting a sensitive economic structure is one that should give us all pause. Independent businesses and labor-intensive businesses could be the hardest hit in this current scenario, despite the 33% property tax cut they would be getting. Finding the wisest revenue mix will be a long, tough task between the House and the Senate. I hope this picture is a little more clear by the next time I contact you.
For more information, contact:
Rep. Doc Anderson's Office
900 Austin Ave., Suite 804