Texas House Speaker Joe Straus Friday named State Rep. Rene Oliveira to the Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives, which will assess the economic benefit provided by state and local incentive programs and make recommendations to make those programs more effective and efficient.
The committee will determine the types of economic development projects that offer the most benefit to the state and suggest opportunities to focus on such projects. It will also discuss how to make programs more efficient.
“Keeping the Texas economy growing is key to Texas’ future,” said Oliveira, chairman of the House Committee on Business and Industry. “I am honored that Speaker Straus has selected me to be part of the dialogue. We must work hard to maintain an inviting business climate to attract new jobs to Texas.”
The former two-time chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development, Oliveira was the author of the legislation that created the Skills Development Fund and SMART Jobs Program, both of which have pumped millions of dollars into the South Texas economy.
Most recently, Oliveira has been involved with the assembly of the state economic development package to lure commercial space giant SpaceX to Cameron County where it is hopeful that a major space launch facility will be developed at Boca Chica Beach. He was the author of the legislation that allows for temporary, non-holiday beach closure for space launches
A former three-time chairman of the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, Oliveira is adamant that tax and incentives issues are key to long-term economic development, especially with public school finance issues and subsequent revenue decisions looming in the near future.
“Texas’ economy is a national model, but history has taught us that we must be ready to adapt as market factors, both domestic and international, impact our state,” he said.
The Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives will be chaired by Rep. Angie Chen Button of Richardson, and Eddie Rodriguez of Austin will serve as vice chair. Also serving on the committee with Oliveira will be Reps. Trent Ashby of Lufkin, Joe Deshotel of Port Arthur, John Kuempel of Seguin, Jodie Laubenberg of Murphy, J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, Borris Miles of Houston, Poncho Nevarez of Eagle Pass, Mary Ann Perez of Pasadena, Drew Springer of Muenster and Jason Villalba of Dallas.
“Texas has been very successful in attracting job creators and fostering economic opportunity,” Speaker Straus said. “We owe it to taxpayers to take a detailed look at what has worked and what can be improved. Some incentive programs may need retooling and others may have outlived their usefulness. I’m confident that this committee can supply the answers that will help the full House prepare to address this issue in next year’s session.”
Also today, Speaker Straus appointed and reappointed members to two other committees focused on improving the Texas economy.
The first, the Joint Interim Committee to Study Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce, will look at career and technology education (CTE) programs. Specifically, members will study how CTE programs can better align with those offered in Texas colleges and with the needs of Texas employers.
Rep. Jim Murphy of Houston will serve as Co-Chairman and will be joined on the committee by Reps. Nicole Collier of Fort Worth, Joe Farias of San Antonio, Marsha Farney of Georgetown, Sergio Muñoz of Palmview, Kyle Kacal of College Station and Ken King of Canadian.
Speaker Straus also named members to serve on the Partnership Advisory Commission. The commission advises state agencies that develop or operate projects that combine public and private facilities and infrastructure.
Speaker Straus named Reps. John Frullo of Lubbock, Donna Howard of Austin and Jim Murphy of Houston to serve on the commission
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