2018-2019 Legislative Priorities
LVCOC supports continued initiatives that enhance the strong economy and workforce of Texas. Toward that end, legislation and initiatives strengthening employers’ position for control and limited regulation are supported and pursued.
- Oppose legislation that would erode employment-at-will as a right for all Texas employers and employees.
- Support efforts to maintain employers’ prerogatives to control the workplace; thereby, creating a safe, satisfying and harmonious working environment.
- Support transferring control over federally mandated programs like unemployment insurance to states.
- Oppose legislation and regulations on both federal and state levels that would increase the already-considerable burden on employers regarding occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) requirements.
- Oppose efforts to allow forced subsidization or promotion of labor unions through payroll deductions of dues and contributions. Funding union activity at company expense is counterproductive to the free enterprise system.
- Support the proposed five (5) year "Break in service rule”.” Employer notice to Employees" in the Ragsdale v. Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. decision supports the ability of employers to retroactively designate leave as FMLA-qualifying provided doing so does not cause harm or injury to the employee. The Employee notice to Employers revision that employees must provide specific information to employers before the FMLA employer notification to employee process begins.
LVCOC drives regional economic development by partnering with a network of business leaders, elected officials, and economic agency allies to provide an array of services to companies with retention, expansion and relocation needs.
- Supports legislation that preserves the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), the Emerging Technology fund (ETF), the Texas Enterprise Zone, the Skills Development Fund and the Texas Economic Development Act: Chapter 313 Tax Code and encouraging more application and use in rural areas.
- Support the development of local energy resources such as natural gas, oil and lignite.
- Support balanced development of other energy resources based on cost effectiveness, competitive prices and positive economic impact on the Longview region.
- Support continued regulation of electricity in the Longview area which results in low electricity rates in Longview.
- Support the continued strengthening of the 4A-4B, ½ cent sales tax to promote economic development, and further support efforts to clarify that the purpose of the economic development sales tax fund is to serve as an economic development tool primarily targeted for the creation of primary jobs.
- Oppose any legislation that would result in diverting economic development sales tax dollars for use in other areas already supported by dedicated taxing mechanisms.
- Oppose efforts that would reduce local control of sales tax dollars because those funds are generated locally.
- Oppose increased taxes and fees on energy sources.
- Support the elimination of tax inequities and subsidies for energy production.
- Support balancing environmental concerns with all energy production and usage.
- Support the reinstatement of the research and development tax credits and other business tax incentives that attract high quality jobs and insure that Texas remains a leader in energy, biosciences, nanotechnology and other research-intensive sectors.
- Support the elimination of tax disincentives on “cloud computing companies” that result in Texas imposing the highest effective state tax rate on these types of companies-encouraging their location in other states.
- Support the establishment of regulatory policies that allow for appropriate capital investment in Texas’ electric infrastructure to insure a reliable grid system.
- Support the development and implementation of new technologies which will encourage electric energy efficiency and meet the area’s growing electricity needs.
- Oppose policies that work to increase electricity costs without a corresponding benefit.
EDUCATION And WORKFORCE
LVCOC recognizes investing in education to provide a well-educated job-ready workforce will drive economic growth of our state for a high societal return. The LVCOC believes that close collaboration and connection between public education, higher education, and the business community is critical to the improvement of student success.
- Support funding for long-term, sustained, quality investment in public education by the state of Texas in traditional and charter schools.
- Support the establishment or enhancement of linkages and partnerships between public education, higher education, and the business community.
- Support increased flexibility for local control that accounts for the tremendous variety in public school offerings and partnerships between public education and higher education.
- Support increased educational and enrichment opportunities for children ages 3-5.
- Support earlier intervention regarding soft skills such as communication, commitment/dependability, teamwork and continuous learning, as well as career pathways and quality education starting in the elementary public school levels.
- Support efforts to create meaningful and relevant career pathways through the P-16 continuum.
- Support increased preparation of students for entry into the workforce, including a region-wide implementation of Work Keys.
- Support increased funding for equipment, faculty, tuition and books for dual credit students.
- Support increased flexibility regarding credentials for public school teachers in CTE courses, and increased funding for off-campus learning opportunities and for start-up technical programs.
- Support appropriate funding for Adult Basic Education.
- Support the encouragement to the business and industry partners to give preference in hiring to those applicants who present a transcript and who possess some post-secondary credentials or coursework.
- Support recognizing the important role of support services, advisement and counseling to better prepare students for multiple pathways and find ways to financially support these services.
- Support creating tax incentives for businesses of all sizes.
- Support state funding and curriculum guidelines that recognize multiple pathways for students-pathways that include both professional and technical workforce careers.
- Support reducing current unfunded mandates and limiting future unfunded mandates.
- Support allowing local districts some flexibility in class size, setting calendar (start dates), and many other issues.
- Support shifting the funding emphasis to provide support on the “front end” to attract the best teachers into the profession and to maximize student success at the beginning of the process.
- Support moving performance based funds to a true incentive structure that would be above and beyond the base.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITYLVCOC supports the promotion and expansion of the oil and natural gas industry in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner to protect national security and ensure continued economic and employment growth in Texas. In addition, supporting long-term sustainable innovative energy technologies and efficiencies to meet the growing needs of Texas industry and consumers. A long-term, affordable, sustainable method is needed to fund projects detailed in the 2012 State Water Plan.
- Support legislation that protects the rights of East Texas to maintain control of historical water rights and allows for market-based solutions to Inter-Basin transfers.
- Oppose the federal effort to take over the state permitting programs.
- Support utilizing economically viable, scientific solutions to bring areas of non-attainment into attainment and support a locally led Early Action compact which would reduce regional emissions through voluntary action.
- Support ensuring that the responsibility for emissions reductions is shared equitably among all emission sources, and assuring that efforts toward cleaner air are directed in a manner that balances environmental benefits with the economic impact.
- Oppose any federal or state government actions regarding climate change that could adversely affect the international competitiveness of Texas or the U.S. economy in the global economic arena.
- Support flexible permitting solutions that result in statewide emissions reductions.
- Support delayed electric deregulation in Northeast Texas. Longview continues to benefit from some of the lowest electric rates in Texas. Deregulated areas of Texas have significantly higher rates. The low electric rates in Longview offer a distinct economic development advantage in terms of operations costs for business and cost of living for employees.
- Oppose new legislative efforts that would require the use of specific fuels or energy generation technology for industrial sources.
- Support removal of economic and supply barriers that distort fuel competition and free-market influences.
- Support legislative efforts to increase the supply of energy, using a diverse mixture of fuels including oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear, applied in an environmentally safe manner and coupled with encouragement of conservation and the practical use of renewable energy sources.
- Support scientifically credible initiatives to achieve solutions for areas which are in non-attainment to come into attainment under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Help near non-attainment areas stay in attainment through the use of locally led Early Action Compacts to reduce regional emissions through voluntary action. Ensure that the responsibility for emission reductions is shared equitably among all emission sources, and assure that efforts toward cleaner air are directed in a manner that balances environmental gain with economic impact.
LVCOC is proud of the healthcare system in the community and the advanced technology brought to this region. It is one of the greatest economic and socially responsible drivers/institutions of the region. LVCOC supports initiatives which foster the advanced care as well as efforts to increase health care access, control rising costs and reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured in the region.
- Support employer wellness initiatives encouraging personal responsibility and enhancing community health awareness
- Support local hospitals/providers and promote access to affordable healthcare in the community.
- Oppose any Federal or State changes to reimbursement levels that financially harm hospitals, physicians or providers.
- Support tort reform measures protecting healthcare providers from frivolous lawsuits and oppose any measure that would diminish this protection.
- Support initiatives reducing the number of uninsured across the State (Medicaid & CHIP).
- Support incentives that reward healthcare reimbursement based on outcomes and overall care.
- Support the “Texas Way” solution in the State that allows Texas to access federal reimbursement dollars.
- Support development of community based alternatives to hospitalization for individuals with mental illness to include respite, supportive living and crisis residential care.
- Oppose any healthcare programs that diminish the quality of healthcare benefits and negatively impacts competitive pricing
- Support legislation that results in additional State sponsored psychiatric bed solutions .
- Support legislation to increase access and choice of health care programs by supporting market-driven health policies that maximize consumer and public benefit and allow for the continuation of employer-sponsored voluntary health care coverage.
- Support the establishment of programs that would allow employers selection of the highest quality benefits and the lowest, most competitive prices.
- Oppose any measure that increases costs for Texas employers and their employees and families.
- Support anti-fraud insurance legislation and enforcement which costs Texas businesses and individuals millions of dollars in the insurance marketplace.
- Support businesses in their efforts to develop and disclose comprehensive, market-driven privacy policies.
- Oppose efforts that would create a "patchwork-quilt" of state laws that would further impede the growth of Internet commerce.
- Support an environment that increases the high-tech business development in Texas and the continued development of electronic business-to-business transactions.
LVCOC supports meeting the needs of the growing economy balanced with state and national security issues and human rights, supporting a comprehensive immigration policy/reform.
- Support improving the speed and accuracy of worker verification systems so employers are not unfairly burdened.
- Support improving the cooperative relationship between the Federal Government and Border States to improve border security.
- Support a phased approach to immigration reform that centers on border security, interior enforcement, and legal immigration processes.
- Support expanding the number of H-1B, L-1 and EB visas for professional and highly valued workers.
- Support considering a carefully monitored guest or essential worker program to fill the gaps in America’s workforce.
TAXES AND SPENDING
LVCOC supports a smarter, streamlined tax system allowing taxpayers to make smarter decisions about how they work, save, and invest, and unleashing the power of American businesses—large and small—to create jobs.
- Support maintaining franchise (margin) tax relief for small business; businesses that have sales less than $1 million.
- Support the elimination or reduction of local inventory taxes.
- Support establishing a process for estimated tax payments to be made during the year similar to Federal estimated tax payment provisions.
- Support allowing a deduction for payments to outside contractors who perform the same service as employees as a deduction for franchise (martin) tax if the total revenue of that business is below $2 million.
- Support alternative revenue sources to move away from dependency on sales tax, business (franchise) taxes and property taxes as major revenue sources for state and local governments.
- Support allowing businesses that elect to subtract compensation in computing their taxable margin to include compensation paid for contract labor and outside business services providing labor that generate revenue that is included in taxable margin regardless of amounts.
TORT REFORMLVCOC supports creating a fair, balanced civil justice system that eliminates the burden and congestion of frivolous lawsuits that inhibit business growth, advancement and profitability.
- Support protecting the comprehensive tort reform measures passed by the Texas Legislature that have gone a long way to building a fair, balanced civil justice system in Texas.
- Support protecting legislative reforms enacted to address rising medical malpractice insurance costs.
- Support legislation that creates mechanisms and incentives for the use of alternative disputes resolution.
LVCOC supports the policies that position the region’s business community as a regional and state leader, with aspirations toward future efforts for national and global competitiveness.
- Support anti-fraud insurance legislation and enforcement.
- Support continued development of electronic business to business transactions.
- Support business efforts to develop and disclose comprehensive, market-driven privacy policies.
- Oppose efforts that would create a “patchwork-quilt” of state laws that would further impede the growth of internet commerce.
- Support enhancements to the state model legislation patterned after the Federal Regulatory Flexibility Act to improve the climate for small businesses.
- Oppose any federal legislation that doesn’t enforce net neutrality over broadband services.
LVCOC support and promotes regional transportation efforts that shape and drive the economy. Promote initiatives that expand and maintain our region’s mobility infrastructure to accommodate projected growth and protect our regional economy and remain vigilant at all levels of government advocating for our growing population’s transportation needs.
- Support the continuance of Proposition One, the state constitutional amendment redirecting energy sector severance tax dollars to directly fund critically-needed highway infrastructure to improve safety, enhance mobility, and address congestion.
- Support new legislation that will provide a reliable and permanent funding solution critical to planning, programming and projects for highway and multi-modal transportation projects.
- Support funding of a 7.2 mile rail spur connecting rail service from the Longview Multimodal Center to the East Texas Regional Airport, further expanding benefits of the Foreign Trade Zone in that area.
- Support funding of Interstate 20 ramp and interchange reconstructions and additional lanes along high crash segments in Gregg County to improve safety and relieve congestion as recommended in the I-20 East Texas Corridor Advisory Committee Implementation Plan.
- Support the continued funding and development of expanded rail service and infrastructure, both passenger and freight, along the I-20 corridor.
- Support improved highways, ports of entry and other infrastructures that improve the flow of goods and services, promote tourism and increase public safety.
- Support the additional flights and routes from East Texas Regional Airport through the current air carrier or through the addition of a second carrier.
- Support development and funding of international trade corridors to accommodate cross-border traffic between Texas and Mexico and those transportation demands resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Support the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) notwithstanding Sunset staff review recommendations that hold the agency accountable for financial management and performance as well as insist on modernization of TXDOT operations worthy of a 21st century Texas.
Leading Businesses. Leading Communities.
“To engage in and promote projects that have a positive economic impact on the Longview Trade Area.”
To be recognized as an effective resource, providing relevant, innovative, and impactful programming that ensures a healthy business climate and an enhanced quality of life for Longview and Gregg County.
The Longview Chamber of Commerce
410 N. Center Street
Longview, TX 75601
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