CHAIRMAN BOB DEUELL HIGHLIGHTS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACHIEVEMENTS OF 83RD LEGISLATURE
Texas Taxpayers Biggest Winners with Passage of Incentives and Protections for Nation's Best Economy
GREENVILLE, Texas - Following the conclusion of the 83rd Legislative Session, State Senator Bob Deuell, MD, reported on the legislation approved by the Senate Economic Development Committee. Multiple bills were recently passed designed to keep Texas' strong economy attractive as well as safeguard public investment.
"I am pleased with the hard work done by our committee this year," said Deuell, who was named Chairman of the Economic Development Committee last fall. "With the bills now awaiting Governor Perry's signature, we continue to signal to the world that Texas is open for business and welcomes innovation."
"Most important, the Texas Legislature has proven once again that responsible economic development and taxpayer protections can and should go hand in hand," Deuell added.
Key among the economic development bills approved by both chambers this session were two bills authored by Deuell:
- Renewal of the Texas Economic Development Act (SB 1647 by Sen. Deuell / HB 3390 by Rep. Hilderbran) - this successful state program has brought over $60 billion in capital investment, over 6,500 jobs, and almost $600 million in direct payments to school districts since 2001. Renewing the act for eight years will allow Texas to compete for additional large-scale investments. In renewing the act, Deuell added strong taxpayer protections such as an annual ongoing audit and monetary penalties for failure to meet job-creation requirements (any penalties collected will go to Foundation School Fund).
- Research and Development Incentives (SB 859 by Sen. Deuell / HB 800 by Rep. Murphy) - A study by Texans for Innovation indicates that this legislation could result in $13 billion in increased economic activity, $4.5 billion in increased wages and income, and 97,000 new permanent jobs.
Other bills authored by Deuell which passed the Economic Development Committee and were approved by both chambers include:
- Oversight of the Major Events Trust Fund (SB 1678 by Sen. Deuell) - This bill instituted critical reforms to the Major Events Trust Fund, a much-criticized program. Reforms include: eliminating the authority for payments made prior to the event, limiting the number of events which can qualify, and establishing a claw-back provision.
- Codifying a penalty for fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits (SB 658 by Sen. Deuell).
Among the other economic development bills approved by both chambers this session, Deuell singled out the following reform bills passed by the committee he chairs:
- Drug Testing (SB 21 by Sen. Williams) - Texas will now require drug testing of certain individuals as a condition of receiving unemployment compensation from the state.
- Codification of Texas Labor Law rules which require that an individual must actively be seeking work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits (SB 920 by Sen. Eltife).
- Oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund (SB 1390 by Sens. Davis / Eltife) - this new law will require an audit of this important program in need of greater review.
"In Texas, we take keeping people working seriously," said Deuell. "Making sure taxpayers get a true return on their investment keeps our economic development programs sound, so that future opportunities and jobs can follow."
Senator Deuell represents Texas Senate District Two in North Texas.