After spending 140 days debating Texas policy in Austin, State Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, and Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, have returned to Conroe. On June 25 the legislators updated Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce members initiatives that were passed during the 84th Texas Legislature.
The legislators spoke about transportation, tax cuts, water policy, border protection and gun rights legislation that was approved during the session, which wrapped up June 1, Metcalf said.
This session the legislature approved a $209 billion budget appropriating $840 million for border security with the help of House Bill 11, authored by Metcalf, he said. The budget also allots an additional $1.5 billion to education while reserving $11 billion for the rainy day fund.
“We need to protect our borders,” Creighton said. “The federal government is failing us in every way, shape and form, and the state legislature really took this issue very seriously. In the state budget we have over $840 million in dedicated funds just for border security purposes and hiring an additional 250 new state troopers across the state of Texas.”
Creighton authored Senate Bill 1760, requiring taxing districts to have a 60 percent supermajority to raise property taxes. Creighton also authored SB 1766, which alleviates regulations on hobbyist beekeepers. SB 1766 was sponsored by Metcalf in the House of Representatives.
Metcalf authored HB 2213, which allows the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department to maintain a tow rotation among towing companies when impounding vehicles. Metcalf also helped ensure visitation rights for legal guardians of state wards by authoring HB 634.
HB 32, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, cuts the franchise tax by 25 percent across the board, Metcalf said. The tax is levied on businesses which operate with a budget of $1 million or more.
“That’s not enough in my opinion,” Metcalf said. “It’s a great step forward but I want to see the franchise tax get down to zero percent. Sen. Creighton and I both worked on legislation in our respective chambers about getting that done, but you can’t always get what you want done the first round you talk about it. We are going to continue that fight next session.”
Senate Joint Resolution 5 headlined transportation funding initiatives by allotting $2.5 billion of state sales tax revenue to the Texas Department of Transportation each year beginning in 2017. Voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject the amendment during the Nov. 3 election.