PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
May 11, 1999
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES WEST TEXAS COUNTY ALLIANCE
Six-County Region To Benefit From Joint Economic Development Corporation

AUSTIN -- The Senate Economic Development Committee today unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, that would allow West Texas counties to form a regional economic development corporation.

The committee, of which Fraser is a member, approved the measure by a 5-0 vote. The bill was placed on the "local and uncontested" agenda, which means it is not required to be debated on the Senate floor before final passage.

Under the legislation, six counties -- Nolan, Mitchell, Howard, Scurry, Jones, and Fisher -- could benefit because they would be empowered to promote industrial development on a regional basis.

"The concept behind the bill is that these six West Texas counties acting together are stronger than any one county by itself when it comes to attracting opportunities for economic development and job creation," Fraser said.

"By forming a development corporation, these counties will be able to jointly solicit prospective investors, companies, and venture capitalists," Fraser said. "This strengthens West Texas' hand by allowing it to promote economic development regionally, and that will translate into more jobs for West Texans."

Passage of the measure, which amends the Development Corporation Act, would allow county officials to move forward with plans to charter the Texas, Mexico & Asian Alliance, an initiative aimed at developing an industrial and agricultural trade corridor with ties to Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

Under the bill, the county alliance could use taxable and tax-exempt revenue bonds on economic development projects, which would give it greater authority to seek and promote trade and development in the region.

The legislation, sponsored in the Texas House by state Representative David Counts, D-Knox City, specifies that the corporation's board of directors would consist of three members from each county, if the alliance includes 10 or fewer counties. If the alliance grows to more than 10 counties, each county would appoint two members.

The bill also provides a mechanism for other counties wanting to join the alliance to petition the corporation's board of directors for admission.

Board members would be appointed by county commissioner courts, and terms would limited to six years. Board members would serve without compensation, except for reimbursement of expenses incurred in performance of their official duties.

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