The special session of the 85th Texas Legislature ended a day early this week with some accomplishments and some unfinished business.
Governor Greg Abbott had laid out an ambitious agenda of 20 issues he wanted addressed; 10 of the 20 made it through both the House and Senate.
Sunset legislation to keep several state agencies in operation, which was the catalyst for the extra session, did pass and was signed by the Governor over the weekend, a victory for the medical community.
The business community got a win when the so-called ‘Bathroom bill’ never got a hearing in the House. The issue united large state Chambers of Commerce in Austin, Dallas and Houston; tech industry leaders like Dell, Apple, IBM, Samsung, and even the energy industry and many others fought successfully to keep the issue from the finish line.
Property tax legislation, a priority for the Governor, was not addressed and will surely be a hot topic during the interim.
Speaking of the interim, most new laws passed during the regular session will take effect Sept. 1
One of those involves the fast-growing data center market. Texas is the #2 state market for data center operations in the U.S. and Dallas is #3 among cities.
There are a number of reasons for that: the large number of Fortune 500 companies based here, inexpensive cost of power, abundant fiber connectivity in several markets, availability of tech talent, and tax incentives.
To further bolster this space, the 85th Legislature just passed HB 4038 (kudos to Rep. Bohac and Sen. Hancock) to allow contract workers to count toward the minimum of 20 employees for tax incentive purposes. This change should be a job creator – it should attract more data center operators and more capital investment in the space. Companies like CBRE , the largest data center facilities management practice in the world (and based in Dallas) and many others will be beneficiaries of this change.
And finally, keep an eye out for a new branding campaign called “Go Big in Texas” to promote job creation and business investment. The program is sponsored by the Texas Economic Development Corporation. (www.gobigintexas.com)
Did you know? The Texas economy is the 11th largest in the world – yes, in the world — and growing. Texas has led the nation in job growth for the last decade. The Go Big in Texas campaign is designed to build on that success.
Quorum Public Affairs, (512) 762-7366