84(R) - 2015
Relating to money distributed by the School Land Board to the available school fund or to the State Board of Education for investment in the permanent school fund.
A fiscal note dated April 8, 2015 anticipated no fiscal implication to the State or units of local government.
House Bill 1551 would amend Section 51.413 of the Natural Resources Code related to transfers from the real estate special fund account to the available school fund and the permanent school fund to require that the School Land Board adopt rules to establish a procedure to determine the date a transfer under the section would be made and the amount of money transferred to the available school fund or to the State Board of Education for investment in the permanent school fund.
It would also require the School Land Board submit a report to the legislature, comptroller, State Board of Education, and Legislative Budget Board not later than September 1 of each even-numbered year, clearly stating the date a transfer will be made and the amount of money transferred during the subsequent state fiscal biennium.
Vote Recommendation Notes
According to the statement of purpose for House Bill 1551, transfers from the real estate special fund to the available school fund and the permanent school fund, currently allowed in statutes (Section 51.413 of the Natural Resources Code) are unpredictable, a problem that the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) pointed out in its 2015 Texas State Government Effectivemess and Efficiency Report. According to the LBB report this issue diminishes "(1) the information available to the Texas Legislature to make appropriation decisions; and (2) the State Board of Education’s ability to determine the appropriate contribution rate from the Permanent School Fund to the Available School Fund."
Those contributions are discretionary and House Bill 1551 would change their discretionary character. House Bill 1551 would try to increase efficiency and transparency, though, by requiring the that School Land Board share information, if and when they decide to make transfers, and of what amount those transfers would be.
House Bill 1551 could reduce the scope of government by making those discretionary transfers more predictable, and enabling the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to use the information. As a consequence, we support House Bill 1551.