84(R) - 2015
House Economic & Small Business Development
House Economic & Small Business Development
Relating to the creation of the Recruit Texas Program to facilitate the relocation to or expansion in this state of employers offering complex or high-skilled employment opportunities.
A fiscal note dated April 8, 2015 anticipates a negative two-year net impact to General Revenue Related Funds of $10,328,632 through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
House Bill 1155 would amend the Labor Code to create an new program within the Texas Workforce Commission (TWF) called the "Recruit Texas Program."
The program's purpose would be to provide an "intensive and rapid response" to help support employers looking to expand in or relocate to Texas, with a focus on employers who will provide complex or high-skilled employment opportunities.
The TWC would serve as linkage between out-of-state employers and different organizations in order to help employers address their hiring needs for high-skilled labor in order to facilitate the employers' relocation or expansion in Texas.
The TWC would be allowed to award grants to public junior colleges or public technical institute to assist the institution with rapid curriculum development and instructor certification in order to provide workforce training and support services to employers who commit to establishing a place of business in Texas. The Executive Director of the TWC would be responsible for the distribution of grant money.
The Workforce Commission, for the purpose of the program, would be able to use money appropriated to the commission or from other, appropriate, statutorily authorized funding sources.
The TWC would be allowed to commit money to an out-of-state company on the condition that the employer establish or expand the employer's business operations in Texas.
The program would only concern out-of-state employers that would expand or relocate in Texas.
Vote Recommendation Notes
Amendment have been introduced on the House floor. They would add to the list of purposes for which grants may be awarded the development of "customize training programs specific business needs" and "funding for training equipment that leads to certification and employment." It would also allow the JET program to be an authorized funding source.
No changes have been made to the bill in Senate committee after it was amended. We continue to oppose this bill.
The second chamber sponsors is Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa.
First chamber recommendation:
House Bill 1155 would create a new program within the Texas Workforce Commission, aimed at encouraging out-of-state employers to relocate to or expand in Texas by helping them meet their training needs for highly qualified labor.
The new program would differ from the very similar Skills Development Program already in existence within the Workforce Commission only for the fact that the Skills Development Program is aimed at employers that are already in Texas. The Recruit Texas Program would be aimed at out-of-state employers looking to relocate to or expand in Texas.
The commission could award grants to a public junior college or public technical institute to develop a special curriculum that may be needed by certain out-of-state employers to train the Texan workforce. If possible, the curriculum could be used again, for other out-of-state employers' training needs, but there is no guarantee about that.
The commission could also "commit money under the program to an out-of-state employer contingent on the employer’s establishment or expansion of business operations in this state." The money could be used to address the employers' training needs.
We understand and agree that skills and knowledge required in different industries can vary and change very quickly these days. Such issues should be addressed at a more broad-based level though: if there are gaps between business needs and the current skills of the workforce, institutions of higher education might want to revise the curricula they are offering. The role of a limited government is not to levy taxes in order to pay for a specific training curriculum for a private business because the business decides to relocate to or expand in Texas. It distorts the free market system as government ultimately picks winners and losers.
As a consequence, we do not support House Bill 1155.