HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership voted yesterday at its June Board of Directors meeting to approve several key resolutions affecting the Houston region. Resolutions include opposition to the reformation of the Federal Tax Deferral rules; support of teacher incentive pay; support of the creation of a health care access fund to recruit health care providers in health profession shortage areas; support of a broad-based state margin tax; and support of the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions thresholds.
Opposition to the Reformation or Repeal of the Federal Tax Deferral Rules
The Greater Houston Partnership opposes legislation that reforms or repeals the federal tax deferral rules. Multinational companies in the greater Houston area depend on the federal international tax rules to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Limiting the deferral provisions will adversely affect the United States and the greater Houston region’s economy by restricting these companies’ ability to compete, increasing taxes and causing job loss.
Teacher Incentive Pay
The Greater Houston Partnership encourages the establishment of programs which reward achievement and provide consequences for not meeting prescribed objectives and improvements established by the local school district.
The Partnership supports the current 60% incentive pay requirement.
Health Care Access Fund
The Greater Houston Partnership supports legislation that results in the creation of a health care access fund to recruit health care providers in health profession shortage areas and to support federally-qualified health centers.
The health care access fund is a special fund in the state treasury outside of the general revenue fund. A percentage of the health care access fund will be derived from the revenue generated from a tax imposed on certain tobacco products, in addition to gifts and grants, earnings on the principal of the fund and other amounts deposited to the credit of the fund, including legislative appropriations.
The shortage of nurses and other health care professionals directly impacts health care costs. High vacancy and turnover rates increase the costs associated with providing health care and compromise the quality of health care provided, jeopardizing the lives of patients.
The Greater Houston Partnership supports the concept of a broad-based state margin tax. Inclusion of an extensive number of businesses not only increases the fairness and equity of the system, but also aligns with the tenets of the legislation’s intent. The legislature should examine rate cuts as opposed to increased exemptions to the extent that the current margin tax creates an undue burden on small businesses. A broad-based state margin tax can be accomplished in one of several ways, including adjustments to the rates under the E-Z computation.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a proposed rule that would require mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases from large emission sources in the United States.
The Partnership supports the EPA’s proposed thresholds, which generally correspond to an annual facility-wide emission level no lower than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). The Partnership also supports development of sector-appropriate screening tools to facilitate applicability determination.
The Partnership supports the EPA’s recommended hybrid of direct measurement, where already required to collect under federally enforceable programs, and facility-specific calculation for other sources.
The Partnership supports annual reporting, at least initially, while policy options are under development.
The Partnership supports self-certification under this policy development rule, and in the future, until a program with market/cap and trade requirements or emissions reductions is implemented.