Legislators will begin the 87th legislature with pre-filed bills that could affect various businesses in the Crossroads from health care to energy and possible pari-mutuel betting.
Bringing dollars into the region requires economic development by way of job and industry creation, and from state government’s perspective, a redefinition of what is a primary job.
A primary job is defined by the state of Texas as one that is “available at a company for which a majority of the products or services of that company are ultimately exported to regional, statewide, national, or international markets infusing new dollars into the local economy.” It includes industries used by the North American Industry Classification System such as, but not limited to, crop production, manufacturing and call centers.
House Bill 128 would expand this definition to offices of physicians, mental health practitioners, outpatient care centers excluding family planning centers, medical and diagnostic laboratories, general medical and surgical hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and specialty hospitals.
The bill would make supporting the Springwood Medical Plaza and similar projects easier as well as add or replace medical specialists in oncology, neurology and other fields, said Bill Blanchard, president of the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp.
“I’ve always been an advocate of seeking care in Victoria first,” Blanchard said.
Energy taxation will also be up for discussion in the state capitol.
A potential tax would be imposed “on each electric generator in this state that generates electricity using an energy source other than natural gas … of one cent for each kilowatt hour,” according to HB 433.
Additionally with HB 207, gasoline and diesel taxation would change by the same percentage of the consumer price index, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the change in prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services.
Another bill would allow one casino gaming operator license to be held in Calhoun, Goliad, Jackson, Matagorda, Refugio, Victoria and Wharton counties “to persons who are licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering on horse or greyhound races in one of those counties,” according to HB 477. An 18% tax of a casino’s gross gaming revenue would be used for the state’s catastrophic flooding assistance trust fund and catastrophe reserve trust fund.
Bills filed already in both chambers address looser state policy on marijuana.
Joint resolutions SJR 16 and HJR 13 would authorize and regulate the “possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis” if passed by voters in a proposition on Nov. 8, 2022. House Bill 447 would allow an “adult to use, possess and transport not more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis, except that not more than 15 grams of that amount may be in the form of cannabis concentrate.”
Deregulation of medical marijuana is pre-filed with House Bills 43, 94, 809 and Senate Bill 90 for designated patients.
Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor’s in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.