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San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 legislative agenda includes support for the Texas Way

Home/News/San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 legislative agenda includes support for the Texas Way

San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 legislative agenda includes support for the Texas Way

The Chamber’s Board of Directors approved the 2015 State Legislative Agenda, addressing three key areas of focus to prepare for as the session approaches in January. The Legislative Agenda outlines the areas that the Chamber will place its focus on advocacy that will have the most impact for propelling business success, based on what legislation is expected to be debated in Austin next year.

The complete position statement can be viewed online by clicking here.

Below is a synopsis of the Chamber’s Agenda:

In the areas of Economic Development, Healthcare and Military Affairs:

  • The San Antonio Chamber will be actively supporting the continuation and appropriation of funding to the State of Texas’ Economic Development incentive funds. As is widely known, the Texas Enterprise Fund, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and the Events Trust Fund have all been under attack.  Although there have been public concerns about these programs, the Chamber will remain supportive of increased oversight and transparency of the management of the Enterprise Fund and Emerging Tech Fund.  The concerns regarding mismanagement and a lack of transparency can be addressed in ways that do not require the programs to be eliminated. San Antonio has received significant benefits from these programs that serve as examples of highlights for the programs. These programs have been at the core for how Texas has done so well in recruiting business over the past decade.
  • Additionally, the Events Trust Fund – a critical tool that helps cities attract large scale conventions and events such as the Final Four – has also been under attack.  The attack has come due to oversights in the application process, but the ROI for City and the State in tax revenue for these events is significant and cannot be ignored.
  • The Healthcare & Bioscience Committee has recommended a position of support for the “Texas Way”.  This set of principles is designed to encourage our legislators to develop a uniquely Texan model for receiving federal funding to increase healthcare to indigent and uninsured populations within our State.  The proposal is not to expand Medicaid under the current program. But, if successful, will expand healthcare coverage to the same Medicaid-eligible population and result in significant business success. Some have said that efforts to expand Medicaid in the last legislative session were “dead on arrival” at the legislature due to its affiliation with the Affordable Care Act.  The Chamber does not expect this to be easy legislation to pass, and a formal model has not even been developed in concurrence with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services in Washington, so there is much work to be done.
  • Finally, the Chamber’s Military Affairs area will continue to be supportive of State funding for the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant Program (DEAGG) and any funding the State determines is applicable to build up the infrastructure and eliminate weaknesses of any of the State’s existing military installations in preparation for another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

In the areas of Transportation, Water, Energy, and Sustainability:

  • The Chamber has been in strong support of identifying additional funding for transportation in San Antonio and statewide.  Business will stall if goods, services, and people cannot get where they need to be. Texas simply does not have enough funding to support the current road system, much less the ability to fund new roads. This will be a strong theme for your Chamer during the session.
  • Overall, the Chamber will be supporting additional sources of revenue for state roads.  Options include increasing the motor fuels tax and dedicating a portion of the vehicle sales tax.  The Chamber will also support funding for multi-modal solutions to our transit problems.
  • The Chamber-hosted a press conference on October 20, which was intended to publicly show the importance of Proposition 1 on the November 4th ballot. The $1.7 billion this is expected to generate is only a small part of the $5 billion needed just to maintain the current roads.
  • In terms of Water, the Chamber will support changes in groundwater district laws and regulations that provide stability in water permitting while being sensitive to our current water sources.  Further, the Chamber will support the continued development of alternative water sources, such as desalination, gray water, rainwater collection, and aquifer storage projects, where San Antonio can store water in wet years for availability in dry years.
  • Regarding energy and sustainability, the Chamber will be supporting CPS Energy’s efforts to diversify its electric generation portfolio to include clean energy as well as new investments in infrastructure.
  • The Chamber continues to support conservation efforts, including incentive programs for building and facility owners to incorporate sustainability upgrades and incentives for the use of alternative fuels. The Chamber will also oppose any legislation that would remove local control or negatively affect municipally owned utilities.

In the area of Talent Development:

  • This year, The Chamber has consolidated the areas of Public Education, Higher Education, and Workforce Development into an overall category of Talent Development.
  • The Education and Workforce Council has worked hard to maneuver the laws and regulations to recommend priorities that will benefit our educational systems and ultimately our workforce needs.
  • The priorities focus on sufficient funding for public and higher educational institutions to address growing student enrollment and needed facilities for growth.
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2017-05-25T13:12:10+00:00 January 12th, 2015|News|Comments Off on San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 legislative agenda includes support for the Texas Way