By Tim Brown
CIP Senior Analyst
As is normally the case, committee assignments have not been released and are not expected for another week or two. As a result, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is still in preparation mode; they’re sending us bills that might move during the session but which have not yet been assigned to a committee, much less scheduled for a hearing.
Consequently, while the number of bills for which we have received requests for fiscal information has increased since last week, the real flood has yet to reach us. However, we still need your input. TAC State Financial Analyst Paul Emerson and I are currently working on the following bills:
- HB 532 by Lewis, relating to certain offenses and criminal procedures involving persons who are not citizens of the United States; providing a penalty;
- HB 593 by Pitts & Oliveira, relating to the powers and duties of the state auditor's office;
- HB 629 by Pickett, relating to the use of municipal or county sales tax increment financing for a transportation reinvestment zone; and
- HJR 63 by Pickett, proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area.
- HB 630 by Pickett, relating to the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation, counties, regional tollway authorities, and regional mobility authorities to enter into funding agreements to expedite the entity's environmental review duties related to certain transportation projects; and
- SB 170 by Ellis, relating to the reorganization of powers and duties among agencies in this state that provide representation to indigent defendants in criminal cases and to the reorganization of funding sources for indigent defense.
Please send us your fiscal impact information for the above bills so that we can send it to the LBB for inclusion in the fiscal note. Your comments are also very useful for our legislative liaisons. General comments can only get you so far when discussing the impact of a bill; it is always better to have details on hand as to how that bill will affect specific counties. For those following Rep. Solomons’ constitutional amendment bill on unfunded mandates, earlier this week TAC responded to a request for information on the fiscal impact. Here’s what we said:
- HJR 56 by Solomons proposes a constitutional amendment to restrict the power of the legislature to mandate requirements upon certain local governments. If passed, the voters would have an opportunity to ratify the amendment at an election to be held on Nov. 8, 2011. If ratified, the amendment would become effective on Jan. 1, 2012. It would only apply to bills passed by the legislature on or after that date.
It is impossible to say what legislative mandates will be passed to counties in future legislative sessions or what costs would be associated with those mandates. As a result, while we can be fairly certain that HJR 56 will not impose significant costs on counties, it is impossible to say what, if any, savings might accrue to counties; although it is likely that cumulative savings would be significant. Because of the effective date, however, we know that any fiscal impact would likely not occur until at least Sept. 1, 2012 — the date most mandates imposed on counties passed during that year’s legislative session would become effective.
To provide fiscal impact information, please contact Tim Brown at or call (800) 456-5974. Send information on Paul Emerson’s bills to or (800) 456-5974.