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Senate Committee on Finance - 85th R.S. (2017)

Committee Members
Jane Nelson, Chair
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Vice Chair
Paul Bettencourt
Brian Birdwell
Kelly Hancock
Joan Huffman
Lois W. Kolkhorst
Robert Nichols
Charles Schwertner
Kel Seliger
Larry Taylor
Carlos Uresti
Kirk Watson
Royce West
John Whitmire
Charges
• Monitor all funds currently being used to address Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. Identify ways to maximize the use of federal funds and ensure the efficient use of state funds.
• Evaluate the long-term impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas economy and the gulf coast region.
• Alamo Historical Site Renovation: Monitor the expenditures of state funds appropriated to the General Land Office for the preservation, maintenance, and operation of the Alamo historical site. Ensure the funds are spent to emphasize the architectural design and the historical impact the battle had on the development of Texas as a nation and as a state.
• Economic Stabilization Fund: Examine options to increase investment earnings of the Economic Stabilization Fund in a manner that mini mizes overall risk to the fund balance. Investment options should ensure the liquidity of a sufficient portion of the balance so that the legislature has the resources necessary to address the needs of the state, including natural disasters. Evaluate how the Economic Stabilization Fund constitutional limit is calculated; consider alternative methods to calculate the limit, and alternative uses for funds above the limit.
• Texas Emission Reduction Plan: Review the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) and its economic benefits to the state. Examine whether the state's investment in TERP, including transfers from the Department of Transportation, are being effectively utilized to comply with federal air quality standards, reduce pollution, and protect the public health of Texans.
• Request to Exceed Review: Review all riders requiring interim action by the Legislative Budget Board to reduce the number of times interim budget modification is necessary.
• Fee Structure Review: Review state General Revenue - Dedicated fees and make recommendations to reduce fees and lessen reliance on General Revenue - Dedicated fee balances to certify the budget.
• Adult and Juvenile Corrections Funding: Examine the funding patterns used to fund the juvenile justice system and adult probation departments. Develop recommendations to ensure the Texas Juvenile Justice Department budget does not dis-incentivize the use of cost-effective best practices such as diverting youth from the juvenile justice system, providing services to youth in their community, and keeping youth closer to home. In addition, review funding to adult probation departments and ensure it provides for an equitable distribution to all Texas Probation Departments.
• Trauma Funding: Review revenue sources currently funding the state's trauma system and the impact of declining revenues and balances in General Revenue - Dedicated accounts. Evaluate the impact of statutory changes affecting trauma system funding, including efforts to eliminate the Driver Responsibility Program. Examine ways to ensure sustainability of the trauma system in Texas.
• Property Tax on Business Personal Property: Evaluate the property tax as it applies to business personal property and the current $5oo exemption. Quantify the economic effect of taxing business personal property and determine whether the tax places Texas at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states. Evaluate the burden on taxpayers and local governments of administering the property tax on business personal property and determine whether the current $soo exemption should be increased.
• Interest Rate Disparity: Evaluate the rate of interest charged on delinquent property taxes and delinquent state taxes, compared to the rate of interest paid on property tax refunds and state tax refunds.
• Evaluate the effect of interest rate disparity on the assessment decisions of governments and the payment decisions of taxpayers.
• Quantify the amount by which state and local governments profit from interest rate disparity.
• Identify best practices among other states regarding interest rates charged and paid.
• Recommend a plan and timeline to reduce interest rate disparity.
• Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of the following funding initiatives:
• CPS Critical Needs - Monitor the impact of salary increases and additional caseworkers allocated to Child Protective Services last interim.
• Health Care Costs Across State Agencies - Monitor coordination efforts among state agencies to improve health care and reduce costs pursuant to Article IX, Section 10.06 and Section 10.07.
• Behavioral Health - Monitor the state's progress in coordinating behavioral health services and expenditures across state government, pursuant to Article IX section 10.04, including the impact of new local grant funding provided by the 85th Legislatu re.
• Sporting Goods Sales Tax - Identify state and local park needs and determine whether the Sporting Goods Sales Tax is meeting those needs.

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