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May 4, 1999     (512) 463-0300

AUSTIN - More tax incentives are on way for Texas business. Businesses that provide day care services for their employees would get a tax cut under the Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 58 which passed today. Bill sponsor, Senator Tom Haywood of Wichita Falls, says this proposal will help Texas stay competitive in recruiting companies.

Plano Senator Florence Shapiro says it will allow parents to focus on their families and work at the same time, "I think what we've done here, is to combine two very important elements--we've combined the business community and their commitment and we've combined families and their commitment. And as you mesh those two you have a pro-business bill that is also a pro-family bill."

The bill offers a franchise tax credit up to $50,000 or half the cost of offering the day care. Businesses would get the break by establishing and operating a day care center or by purchasing child care services for their employees. Haywood says the demand for child care is booming because of welfare reform and that this will make it easier for some Texans to get back to work.

Texans receiving public assistance will have to get back to work sooner even if they have young children. Single parents with children under the age of four are currently exempt from the work requirement -- but that provision does not match federal law. Legislation passed today will phase out the exemption by September 1, 2001. After that date, a single parent will only be exempt from that requirement until their child's first birthday. This change would bring Texas into compliance with federal law. Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini sponsored CSSB 666.

Voters will have another bond issue to ponder in November if a constitutional amendment passed in the Senate makes it out of the Capitol. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 34, also called the Bootstrap Self-Help Housing Program, would provide loans to colonia families who would build their own homes with their own labor. The lack of funding and the need for affordable housing in the colonias prompted this legislation.

The Senate will reconvene tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

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