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Committee on Economic and Small Business Development - 84th R.S. (2015)
Study the impacts of the declining price of oil and the continuously depressed price of natural gas on the Texas economy and the fiscal implications for the Texas budget. Consider impacts on local communities most dependent on oil and gas activity, including impacts on supporting economies such as retail, manufacturing, housing industries, etc. Recommend strategies for sustained energy development and workforce growth during times of depressed energy prices. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Energy Resources)
Evaluate what local governments are doing to attract businesses to their communities and examine ways the state can leverage these practices and provide support. Include ways to improve local economic development programs to ensure a continued return on investment for taxpayers. In addition, study the authority, financial accountability, and types of statutorily allowed expenditures of economic development corporations. Provide analysis of 4A and 4B sales tax programs and determine if they are still meeting their intended purpose effectively.
Study opportunities and financial incentives for expansion and growth of small businesses in Texas. Examine if adequate resources and capital exist for small businesses. Include analysis of any regulatory or tax hurdles and provide recommendations to alleviate these burdens. Furthermore, review programs available to provide training and support to develop business management and finance skills. Consider financial incentives that would incentivize expansion of existing small businesses and growth for new small businesses.
Oversee implementation of HB 26 (84R). Review best practices for measuring success of economic development incentives. Consider general metrics or principles to aid the Legislature in determining viable and sustainable incentive programs that provide a "Return on Investment" for taxpayers.
Evaluate Texas's competitiveness with other states in recruiting and cultivating high-growth, high-tech industries, fostering economic development, and creating new jobs. Examine if current incentives and regulations assist or hinder the state's ability to compete with other states for economic growth and sustainability.
Examine if the state has an adequately diversified economic foundation and make recommendations on how to better achieve diversification. Look at ways to achieve balance between rural and urban economic development. Consider methods to improve workforce development initiatives and incentives that will improve re-employment after layoffs and release from incarceration as well as methods to improve employment rates for recent graduates.
Evaluate how Texas can support shared economy growth in the state and include implications of such growth on existing, traditional businesses. Develop characteristics by which to classify "shared economy" business and determine how the state can ensure customer security and satisfaction as well as public health without enacting burdensome regulations.
Examine partnerships between higher education institutions, public school districts, and workforce that promote postsecondary readiness. Provide coordination recommendations to ensure vocational, career, and technical education programs are more accessible. Determine the most effective ways to invest in these partnerships and programs to direct at-risk students to stable career paths. Examine current rules and laws limiting employers from providing meaningful internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities. Consider new methods to finance workforce training programs and associated assets in high schools and postsecondary schools, including ways to reduce or eliminate these costs and options to incentivize businesses to invest in training equipment for schools. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Education)
Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
e. monitor the impact of major economic development legislation passed by the 84th Legislature.
f. include updates regarding transfer of duties and services from health and human services agencies to the Texas Workforce Commission, including implementation of SB 208 and SB 212. Coordinate with the Legislative Oversight Committee constituted by SB 208, when necessary.
g. evaluate the impact of incentive reform legislation, including the elimination of the Emerging Technology Fund and the transition of contracts to the Comptroller's office.
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