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2017 Legislative Agenda
The Richardson Chamber's Legislative Agenda has been approved by the Board of Directors for the 85th Texas Legislative Session in 2017. The Legislative Agenda is an outline of the Chamber's priorities and serves to provide guidance in legislative advocacy.
Click here to download the complete Legislative Agenda in PDF format.
The Richardson Chamber acts as a voice in furthering the legislative goals of our membership. By working with the policy process, we aim to produce pro-business results by holding legislators accountable to their constituents. The Chamber’s legislative agenda is a tool we use to communicate to legislatives those priorities that are important to our members and our community.
To stay up-to-date on legislative activity as it is taking place, and to know firsthand when we need you to contact your legislators. Register your e-mail address on our advocacy site, and we will send you e-mail updates each Friday during the Texas legislative session.
Here are some highlights from the agenda:
Texas has used the Texas Enterprise Fund, the Research & Development Tax Credit, and other tools to attract and retain technology companies, and to grow high-paying tech jobs and tech investment in Texas. Such incentives are required to remain competitive with other states and countries who are seeking these same outcomes.
- Maintain funding for the Texas Enterprise Fund at a level for Texas to be competitive with other states to attract high-paying jobs and investments.
- Maintain the Research & Development Tax Credit.
- Support diversity in the workforce and avoid negative impacts on economic growth, capital investment and tourism in Texas by opposing laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) Texans.
- Oppose property tax policies that place additional burdens on businesses, including appraisal rates or revenue cap structures that treat industrial and residential properties differently. The burden of property tax should be equitably distributed among all taxpayers.
The skills gap is a very real thing in Texas. Only 35% of our adult workforce has a college degree or work related certificate, when studies show we need 60% of our adult population with such education and training.
- Support legislative implementation of the 60x30 plan.
- Support continued funding of the Skills Development Program.
- Increase K-12 funding for more computer science and math teachers and courses to support the STEM endorsement.
Our Texas economy is highly dependent upon the production of well-educated students who have a rigorous high school curriculum, for the benefit of all industries. Public education programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are critical to increasing the pipeline of talented students who will pursue careers in technology, and teachers who will teach them.
- Increase the funding formulas and weights to accurately reflect the actual costs of educating all students so that they can meet the state standards of college and career readiness.
- Provide adequate funding for STEM education programs such as T-STEM academies and U-TEACH, and add funding for the proliferation of P-TECH academies.
- Provide funding for high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten.
Texas universities and community colleges are educating students and building their skills in the industries that are critical to sustaining Texas economic prosperity. The continued success of Texas high tech industries depends on an educated workforce that is prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow and the prevalence of Tier One research universities that work with industry.
- Increase funding for the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) to match and leverage private donations for research at the state’s emerging research institutions.
- Continue and amend the Governor’s University Research Initiative fund by allowing for recruitment of emerging researchers, not just Nobel Laureates and Members of the National Academies, and require industry support for the recruitment of these researchers to insure commercialization outcomes.
- Support the Engineering for Life initiative at UT Dallas, which performs groundbreaking research on new, revolutionary medical devices and translates high-impact research into job creation and economic growth.
- Increase funding for the Texas Department of Transportation to maintain state roads and highways by creating sustainable funding sources.
- Support High-speed rail and the regulatory changes necessary to grant TxDOT legal authority to implement and regulate high-speed rail projects.
- Support continuation of eminent domain authority and related tools to allow planning and development of new and/or expanded transportation corridors including high-speed rail, commuter rail, freight and highways.
- Support local control, where local elected officials are tasked with raising funds and providing services to respond to the individual needs of the Richardson community.
- Support legislation to accelerate the state permitting process for the development of new water resources in Texas.