Texas Legislature Announces Study of Key Tax, Retail, and Food Safety Issues

29 March 2010 Publication
Author(s): Kimberly A. Yelkin

Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus each announced legislative issues that will be studied by senate and house committees during 2010, leading up to the next Texas legislative session in 2011. The results of these studies (such as revisions to the state's sales and franchise tax) may ultimately be filed as bills during the legislative session.

These studies provide a great opportunity for you to become involved in the Texas legislative process by weighing in on issues that impact your industry and how you do business in Texas. Changes in state law could result in a more friendly business environment for your industry or create hurdles that could increase the costs of doing business in the state. It is important for you to be active in legislative matters because in all likelihood, your competition will be involved.

The interim studies will include public hearings, during which opportunities exist to educate legislators and staff on the relevant topics. The studies also lead to the generation of written reports that are circulated to all members of the legislature. Thus, opportunities exist for your position on an issue to be included in – or excluded from – the results of a legislative study.

Issues of Key Importance

As provided by Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus, the following is the list of study topics that are likely to be important to your industry:

  • Monitor the revised franchise tax and identify changes to simplify the tax and improve compliance and fairness. This study could include potential tax deduction for items such as compensation for independent contractors and providers of retail services. House Committee on Ways and Means.
  • Examine the state's major tax exemptions to determine how the current costs and benefits compare with the original legislative objectives. Make recommendations for adjustments as needed. House Committee on Ways and Means.
  • Study current federal, state and local safeguards to protect our food supply. Identify gaps that may exist in Texas statute, agency roles, and authority for ensuring a safe food supply for Texas, including imported fruits and vegetables. Examine the impact of revised federal regulations on the state and the potential impact of pending federal legislation. Examine the existing capabilities of the public health system on the border to accomplish public health surveillance of food. Senate Committee on Agriculture & Rural Affairs.
  • Study impact of windblown herbicides on grape-growing and other agricultural production. Make recommendations for improving the safety and quality of Texas agricultural products. Senate Committee on Agriculture & Rural Affairs.
  • Identify any gaps in Texas laws that may prevent coordinated efforts, both statewide and on the border, to ensure a safe food supply. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on Border and Intergovernmental Affairs, and House Committee on Public Health.

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