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No significant fiscal impact to the State.
Local Government Impact
The Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) reported that the bill would increase the proportion of 9-1-1 service fees collected to 100 percent; CTCOG estimates an increase in revenue of approximately $1,000,000 each fiscal year.
HB 737 would authorize a county or municipality in a region with a population of at least 425,000 and composed of counties each with a population of 4,500 but less than 311,000 currently operating a 9-1-1 system through a regional planning commission (RPC) to create a regional emergency communication district.The district would be governed by a board of managers with certain powers and duties. The bill sets out provisions relating to the implementation of a 9-1-1 computerized system and sets out the typical 9-1-1 standards for that district. The board would impose a 9-1-1 service fee on service users in the district and caps the fee at six percent of the monthly base rate the principal service supplier in the participating jurisdiction charges a service user. HB 737 would give the board the power to issue bonds and includes provisions relating to the repayment of bonds, additional security for bonds, the form and provisions of bonds, approval and registration of bonds, and the issuance of refunding bonds.
We remain neutral on this bill. The second chamber sponsor is Senator Seliger.
After receiving further information which we did not have at the time of publication we are removing our objection to this bill. The net result of this legislation would be a change in how this particular tax is collected. This neither raises nor lowers the tax. This neither abolishes a tax nor creates a new tax. Instead it allows the tax to be collected by a different entity which can more efficiently collect and utilize it for its intended purpose. While this technically creates a new taxing entity, the practical reality is that it swaps one taxing entity for another. For that reason, we now view the bill as administrative in nature with no real connection to our liberty principles. As such, we withdraw our objection.
Original Analysis At Time of Publication:
This bill would abridge the principle of limited government. Localized control can be beneficial and can positively impact the principle of limited government that is used to judge these issues, but in some cases, giving more power to regional districts and the authority to add more debt through issuing bonds negatively affects limited government. Because this bill would authorize the creation of a new entity with taxing and debt-issuing authority, we oppose HB 737.