AUSTIN -- Texas can improve the quality of its workforce by strengthening vocational and technical programs and offering students more information about their educational and career options, according to a new report from the Texas House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.
In its Interim Report to the 83rd Legislature, the Committee also recommends several ways to improve the state's manufacturing capability, such as considering the reinstatement of a research and development tax credit. The report also calls for continued flexibility for local entities looking to use tax incentives to attract employers.
The Committee on Economic and Small Business Development is one of eight Texas House committees releasing interim reports Thursday. Other committees will finish their reports in the coming weeks as the 83rd Legislature prepares to convene Jan. 8.
"These reports will provide valuable guidance as the House addresses serious priorities, such as improving workforce quality and expanding the state's manufacturing capability, in 2013," House Speaker Joe Straus said. "I appreciate Members' work over the last year to study the critical challenges facing Texas and lay the foundation for a successful session."
The following House Committees also released interim reports Thursday: Agriculture and Livestock, Business and Industry, General Investigating and Ethics, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, Land and Resource Management, State Affairs, and Transportation.
Among other highlights:
• The Committee on Agriculture and Livestock examines state agencies' responses to the 2011 drought, which spawned catastrophic wildfires and directly affected the state's agriculture, ranching and water resources.
• The Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence assesses the impact of the state's 2005 reform of how asbestos and silica exposure cases are litigated in Texas.
• The Committee on State Affairs recommends that Texas consider initiating a pilot comprehensive eProcurement system.
The eight reports released Thursday are available on the House website, www.house.state.tx.us/committees/reports.
JASON EMBRY OR ERIN DALY