Government isn’t the solution to every problem. In Austin, government too often is the problem. Lower taxes and less burdensome regulations would be a great place to start in truly addressing the affordability crisis.
We have the power to create a bright future, while still sustaining the past by regulating development through affordable housing — so neighborhoods like mine can continue to exist.
High-speed internet has the potential like no other technology to improve the quality of life and advance economic development opportunities in rural Texas by offering increased access to education, healthcare and employment.
In a state in which 66% of Texans agree that LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination, it is troubling to think that lawmakers might unnecessarily trade away these nondiscrimination ordinances — popular with Texans from all walks of life — for other political goals.
We shouldn’t change the rules for brewers to give a few big fish a bigger advantage.
I share the skepticism of many of my fellow urbanites about the benefits of our cities bribing companies like Amazon to set up shop in our backyard. However, as a native of a town of 1,600 who transplanted to the city less than a decade ago, I know first hand the urge to move to the city to pursue personal and professional longings.
Texas has made a name for itself in biotech by supporting premier academic medical centers, attracting research funding and welcoming investment by major pharmaceutical companies. Now it is time to take the next step with a smart state investment in biomedical research, paving the way for Texas to become a major hub in the vibrant biotechnology industry.
In order to head off future water crises like the recent one in Austin, we must put in place a system that allows the price of water usage to move with its current value. We already charge heavy users more per gallon than light users, and we need to allow the price, at least for the heavy users, to adjust as supplies diminish.
The rhetoric of fear threatens to reverse the long-standing, successful economic relationship between Texas and Mexico. With intertwined economies skyrocketing since the 1994 enactment of NAFTA, a strong border relationship between Texas and Mexico has resulted in five million American jobs and a Texas surplus in trade for goods and services with Mexico.
Property tax reform has been the topic of much debate and proposed legislation. We believe the answer is not as simple as a one-size-fits-all cap on tax rate increases or revenue, mandatory rollback elections, or a sole focus on homeowner property tax to exclusion of all other tax policy.
It is time for lawmakers in D.C. to step up to the challenge of solidifying a free and open internet for all by passing comprehensive legislation that would expand high-speed broadband to communities across the country that continue to lack access.
As three-way trade has accelerated over the past quarter century, Texas has become the heart of NAFTA, reaping huge gains in terms of jobs, income and tax base. But just as Texas currently benefits more than any other state from NAFTA trade, we also stand to lose the most if NAFTA goes away.
Disasters have a unique way of bringing businesses and residents together toward a common goal, but we must find a way to harness that potential by creating a culture in a city or region where every business engages in its community’s most pressing issues.
American citizens have a lot to lose if the U.S. withdraws from NAFTA. Instead, we must strive to strengthen and modernize this important agreement. Free trade has been a cornerstone of our economy’s success, and it is a philosophy that has proven time and again to be beneficial to our country and broader region. We would be wise to remember that.
Monopoly power has a major impact on our political and personal freedom. Simply put, mega-corporations have too much political power because they have too much economic power, which they use — via donations and lobbying efforts — to get the attention of policymakers while drowning out the voices of individual people.
Federal policymakers and lawmakers in other states should follow Texas’ lead by making work requirements mandatory for all able-bodied adults on welfare and refocusing training programs to have a work-first culture. Only then will America be able to move millions of people off the sidelines, out of dependency, and back to work.
Austin's recently passed ordinance requiring paid sick leave adds one more layer of difficulty for small- and medium-sized businesses. In a growing city with a young population, the creation and expansion of new, interesting, and innovative firms and even industries play an essential role in providing the needed job opportunities and services. Taking away the flexibility of such firms to determine their own mix of compensation when competing for workers inhibits this type of growth.
The state’s long-term water plan formally recognizes that meeting future water needs will require the “voluntary redistribution” of water rights; in other words, trade. Yet current water regulations can make it difficult to transfer ownership of water even when there is a willing buyer and seller.
On the campaign trail and throughout his first year in office, President Trump repeatedly said the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a “bad deal” for the United States. As America’s largest exporter, Texas knows that NAFTA — America’s most valuable free trade agreement — is not a bad deal, it is simply an out¬dated deal. Undoing it would jeopardize nearly one million Texas jobs and the loss of billions of dollars in economic production.
Texas has the edge – more than a quarter of all U.S. jobs created since the Great Recession have been created in Texas. But other states are catching on – and catching up. So how can Texas keep its lead?
Could we kiss our property tax bills goodbye by modestly increasing the sales tax? That’s among the options now floating around the Texas Capitol. If it sounds too good to be true — you’re right. Even a cursory look at the numbers shows that swapping property taxes for a higher sales tax is unrealistic.
It is becoming clear that affairs in Texas are significantly affected by the health of relations between the U.S. and Mexico. As negotiations with Mexico continue, it may fall on Texans to demand better relations with Mexico in order to maintain the state’s security and robust job growth.
Texans should stand against any efforts that would cripple our thriving trade with Mexico. Mexico is not only a great trade partner but a friend that helps enrich the lives of Texans in many other ways. NAFTA has been good for the state for over two decades and will continue to be positive for us in the years and decades ahead.
The internet is part of everyone’s modern life, whether it be through handling regular business or finances, kids accessing their homework, or connecting via social media. Which is why the regulation of the internet was handled in its inception the same way Texas regulates much of the electricity industry today.
Youth homelessness is a serious problem in Texas, affecting urban and rural communities alike. The state’s failure to prevent it, or aid those experiencing homelessness, often leads to unnecessary and costly consequences, including academic failure and dropout, criminal or juvenile justice system involvement, foster care involvement and physical and mental health challenges.
How disheartening it is for an old Marine to see this seeming lack of loyalty to our country in the passage of recent tax bills. Loyalty to party seems to prevail over consideration of our nation’s best interest. Congress should observe priorities and loyalties to country and to political party, in that order.
We have clear evidence that large portions of the state’s population are falling behind on a variety of measures of well-being. The data suggest inter-generational mobility — the likelihood that children will do better than their parents — is stalling in some parts of Texas.
I call it the hotel next door, the place a vacationer reviewed on an STR site as “a great spot for a larger party of guys or girls looking to party and have some fun.” On this particular Saturday morning, that meant eight men lining up red Solo cups of beer and hollering as they tried to land a ping pong ball in them.
Offering businesses incentives to relocate, expand, build a new facility or otherwise contribute to a local economy is increasingly standard practice and big business. In 2014 such incentives and tax breaks cost taxpayers over $80 billion — about 7 percent of local and state budgets. But the price of these incentives is even heavier than it initially looks.
Proposition 2 would expand Texans’ choice and flexibility in leveraging their most important assets — their homes — while retaining the important homestead protections that Texas law currently affords.
There’s certainly room for improvement in Texas — the state should expand education freedom and structurally reform property taxes, for example — but overall the American Dream is alive and well here. Before people write-off the Texas model as some miracle based on oil and gas activity, they should do their homework.
The Employee Rights Act would require union officials to obtain permission from members before spending dues money on political advocacy. This would prevent union elites from turning their backs on members and playing politics against employees’ own interests.
If we can set aside the politics and hard feelings, we might be able to forge a partnership that will create something wonderful for our community. There are a lot of things about which the city and state don't see eye-to-eye, but the transformation of the Capitol Complex shouldn't be one of them.
Houston has long been a powerful engine in the American economy. The city has paid its dues to the nation and the state. The mayor and other civic leaders should press hard on federal and state officials – not battered property owners – to fund the cleanup of a city that contributes massively to America’s and Texas’ economic vitality.
So why does it take a disaster for many black business owners to connect to black social networks? Interestingly, many African-American entrepreneurs and small-business owners do not want to be associated with the "black-owned" title.
Short-term rentals have been part of Austin neighborhoods for more than a century. They have never been a problem. The ability through the internet to easily connect owners and guests in a free market environment hasn’t changed that.
The Elder Financial Protection Law, which takes effect in September, sets new standards to combat financial scams and abuse. It enables others, including financial advisors, to step forward to protect seniors when they see something is amiss.
Employees who feel comfortable and welcome at work are more likely to succeed in their careers and contribute to their teams, companies, organizations and communities. Isn’t that what we want for Texans?
The truth of the matter is that cities like Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio benefit from Texas’ burdensome property tax code. While businesses, particularly commercial property owners, have watched their property valuations skyrocket over the past few years, municipalities are cashing in on the record high taxes being collected on Texas properties.
In Texas, “foreign direct investment” programs are growing because of our globally competitive business climate. EB-5, which has proven especially beneficial for Texas, eases the pathway to U.S. residency for foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in businesses that create no fewer than 10 U.S. jobs. The U.S. Commerce Department says that in fiscal year 2013, the program generated more than $5.8 billion in foreign investment to 562 projects nationwide, creating more than 174,000 jobs.
Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, has been ranked the most diverse metropolitan area in the nation, supplanting both New York and Los Angeles in the number, variety and size of ethnic communities that call it home. It hosts not only world-class companies in all of the performing arts, but has more Fortune 500 headquarters than any city other than New York.
While the Legislature imposes a number of taxes — sales, franchise, severance, etc. — the property tax isn’t one of them. The multitude of local governments that levy the property tax include school districts, cities, counties and a plethora of special districts such as junior colleges, hospitals, roads and water and wastewater districts. However, the Legislature can have a tremendous impact on your tax bill because it writes the laws that control how local entities set their property taxes.
In this state, a legislative session is usually a windfall for landlords, developers and builders and a gut punch for low-income residents, especially renters. The session that just ended was no exception.
We understand the value in operating in a sustainable matter — it is a core principal of Austin Habitat for Humanity. We teach our partner families the importance of creating and maintaining budgets. We are supportive of the effort to do the same on a federal level — but cutting vitally important programs that support hard-working families and revitalize disenfranchised communities is not how we strengthen our nation. It’s quite the opposite: a surefire way to weaken it.
Simply put, I believe bathroom legislation is bad for our employees and bad for business. It is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Rather than sending a message that Texas has a diverse and inclusive business environment, this type of legislation demonstrates that discrimination is welcome in our state. Texas should not follow the example of North Carolina, which has lost billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and devolved into political dysfunction as lawmakers pushed similar legislation.
Reinventing the wheel on tax reform can be avoided by President Trump if the same tax rates are applied to small business income, dividends, and capital gains. President Reagan and Congress already provided a good blueprint with the research, thought, and compromise that accompanied passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
The Texas Legislature has decided that everyone that runs a barbecue joint is as honest as the day is long, that they’re so trustworthy they should be exempted from consumer protection laws. Horse hockey. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” I trust my local barbecue guy, but I still want to see that when I buy a pound of sausage I’m getting a pound of sausage.
The Texas Legislature is close to a finish on House Bill 100, a bill that purports to streamline the operations of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Fasten, Uber and Lyft. In reality, it will do three no good, horrible, very bad things: putting the safety of every ride hailing customer in the state at risk, enabling discrimination and weakening the sovereignty of cities across the state.
The Texas Legislature is considering a statewide bill that would bring fairness to short-term residential rentals in Texas — by creating a consistent regulatory playing field for short-term rentals, ensuring all Texans have the opportunity to participate in this dynamic market.
Bans on home sharing deprive people of their fundamental right to enjoy their property, consistent with the rights of other homeowners. Texas can protect quiet, clean and safe neighborhoods while respecting property rights and encouraging economic opportunity.
Lawmakers understand that we must evolve beyond an antiquated, city-by-city regulatory structure that threatens to deny consumer choices, drive investment elsewhere and leave Texas behind the curve. And yet, cities are fighting bills related to the ride-sharing options and communications infrastructure Texans want and need.
In our state, if you want to buy a brand new car, you only have one option — a franchised auto dealer. But consumer tastes have evolved since auto-dealer laws were put in place. Just as many of us would rather order groceries and household goods online than go to a brick-and-mortar store, some of us want to choose how to purchase our vehicles — and we should have the freedom to do so.
At a time when a constrained state budget will undoubtedly leave many needs within our communities unmet, Texas should — at minimum — facilitate opportunities for private investment in the greater good. Legislation enabling B-Corps this session would help the private sector invest in the growing needs of our state now, while simultaneously meeting today's dynamic market demands.
In its present form, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an affront to the Constitution, to checks and balances and to due process. This is why we support legislation that changes the CFPB into a constitutional and accountable civil enforcement agency that enforces consumer protection laws written by Congress.
The reason we created the fund was to flatten out the available revenue stream from the up-and-down swings of the economy so that constant levels of services could be provided, including covering higher costs as those needing or qualifying for government services increase.
A fair and free market requires educated consumers, transparent transactions and an open complaint process. Allowing unfair financial practices only leads to more nefarious practices — and ultimately an unstable market.
Too often, Texans are subjected to “deny, delay and underpay” tactics as insurers test and break the will of property owners. Only strong laws pry policy benefits back from the insurance industry, serving as the last line of defense for Texas property owners.
For years, leaders in Austin have told Houston to solve its pension problem locally and bring the Legislature a solution to codify. For the first time in our history, we are in Austin with a united front.
We face another serious crisis in homeowners’ insurance, this time with hail and wind coverage that is critical to all Texans as the new target of abuse. Already we see the leading indicators of a negative change.
As a member of the North Carolina General Assembly who has watched the HB2 trainwreck up close for the last year, here’s some advice to my Texas counterparts: When it comes to state-sanctioned discrimination, let North Carolina remain the Lone Star State — for now.
Given the evidence of a positive relationship between higher economic freedom and greater prosperity, Texans should remain vigilant and pursue policy changes that will move Texas to be the most free.
Despite our free-enterprise culture, there are pockets of anti-competitive behavior where government regulation and edict rule the day, harming consumers with a 19th century regulatory model. One such industry that fits that description is title insurance.
For years, Democrats and progressives have rallied in support of investments in education, improvements in healthcare and protection of the environment. They have been tireless champions of civil rights and voting rights. Unfortunately, what they haven’t talked about enough is the increasingly high property taxes surging in Texas.
While Texans should retain the right to sue when they have valid hail damage claims that aren’t being resolved, state law should be reformed to remove the incentives for protracted litigation.
A strong Israeli economy backed by a thriving Texas market provides Palestinians the potential for greater self-sufficiency through gains in financial independence and economic solvency. And continued collaboration with Israel by Texans will not only benefit consumers, employers and economy of Texas, it promotes regional stability through economic interdependence.
The Texas Association of Business claims that legislation that allows businesses to protect women and young girls is "discriminatory," but this couldn't be further from the truth.
Texas must do all it can to ensure that it remains open to business for all, including members of the LGBT community.
There is no reason for cities to panic or to be bullied into quick action to allow digital billboards.
Digital billboard technology could be a boon for both cities and businesses.
Central Texas is a growing hub for technology and innovation, and the concentration of current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces in our region is a major asset for the businesses and communities that are key to this economic dynamism.
Buying a car isn't easy, and the law in Texas doesn't make it any easier.
Many voices are calling for the United States to retrench and retreat from the world, including distancing ourselves from neighbors in North America. Yet the reality of life across Mexico, Canada and the United States shows that we are connected to our neighbors in ways that benefit all of us.
Texas has become the nation's economic engine in large part by allowing competition to thrive in markets, even in such unlikely activities as providing benefits for injured workers.
Will the United States, Mexico and Canada turn inward and limit their economic progress, or will they seize the opportunity to enable greater growth?
The United Kingdom’s relationship with Texas is one of the longest-standing elements of our historical connection to the United States.
Texas leaders need to take a stand – support the Trans-Pacific Partnership and support more jobs in Texas.
The Department of Labor’s impending proposal to dramatically change the cost of overtime pay exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act may force Texas employers to increase pay to an estimated 400,000 employees if the proposal is finalized without changes. How can employers comply with these changes?
Texas, like many other states, makes it illegal to purchase vehicles directly from manufacturer-owned stores. This not only stifles American dynamism but also denies Americans the right to decide what car to buy and how to buy it.
No matter what company they choose, homeowners and businesses seeking to protect their investment in the purchase of land from a faulty title are forced to accept coverages and prices mandated by the Texas Department of Insurance — which often leads to some of the highest title insurance rates in the nation.
Texas has shown that a free-market, light-touch regulatory approach works best for both businesses and consumers. It's time we applied the same approach to insurance.
Texas officials are playing Chutes and Ladders with our state's budget, committing to increased spending even in the face of reduced revenue.
Requiring the Comptroller's Office to update the state's revenue forecast every three months would be a tremendous improvement over the ancient method of predicting revenues at the start of each legislative session, baking a two-year budget around the numbers — and then not revising the forecast until after the governor has signed the budget and lawmakers have gone home.
For too many patent trolls, the Eastern District of Texas has been the source of high win rates and large damage awards.
The Lone Star State’s labor market woes are a good reminder that, especially in today’s topsy-turvy world, Texas needs the right policy prescriptions in place to have the best chance at economic success. And while Texas has done well in the past to enact pro-growth policies, there is still room for improvement — especially when it comes to reforming the state’s onerous property tax.
The taxpayer protections that are the real targets of the city’s lawsuit are well established in law. Any suit to overturn them is simply frivolous.
Property taxes should be based on the true market value of properties. Our system should be uniformly fair, not uniformly unfair.
Many Texans are locked out of careers because they cannot afford to give up the time and money it takes to get licensed.
Though declining oil prices are making their mark on the state’s economy, Texans have great faith that the Lone Star State will adapt and keep revving its job-creation engine.
Rising temperatures, driven by climate change, threaten to undo much of our state’s hard-won economic growth. Let’s fight these risks with a Texas-sized response.
Hunger takes an incalculable toll on the stability and dignity of affected families, but there's also a tremendous economic cost that trickles down to every Texan.
The state’s job market, while still strong, has softened. And new polling and analysis show that Texans have noticed.
Texas' major metro regions are now among the most economically segregated parts of the country. It will take a new generation of policies to make sure that all Texans have a true shot at success.
New polling and analysis reveals that while Texans like paying less at the pump, the possible ripple effects of the oil price plunge have them on edge.
Only when Texans succeed will business be able to succeed. And now, thanks to plunging oil prices, we'll have to work hard to ensure that initiatives that will benefit all Texans are funded.
The U.S. isn't the only place where high-tech innovation is reshaping the economic landscape. In Mexico, where monopolies and duopolies have long reigned, new start-ups are changing the way the country does business.
The state's appraisal system is highly politicized and primarily benefiting well-connected insiders. Here's how to fix it.
Sure it can, but not if most Texans are poor, sick or uneducated. We need to invest today to be able to compete tomorrow.
Workplace democracy in Texas could brighten our economic future and reduce inequality. It might also transcend partisan politics.
Congress’ head-in-the-sand approach to virtual currency like Bitcoin threatens to leave the U.S. behind the rest of the world.
The state's law that bans Tesla from selling cars directly to consumers makes no sense. Texas cities must find smart ways to remove obstacles that hinder innovations in business like Uber and Google Fiber.