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Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB797, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($725,000) through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
HB 979, if passed, would modify the Agriculture Code (Chapter 12) by creating a grant program, administered by the Department of Agriculture, with the purpose of expediting agricultural inspections on the Texas / Mexico border. The program would award grants to those organizations which have proven capable of working efficiently with border inspection agencies. The funding for this program would come from appropriations, or gifts, grants, and donations made to the Department (which may be solicited). Participating organizations must provide matching funds.
We have updated our position to neutral. We prefer that this type of program be entirely funded and managed by the private sector. This program would be administered by the state and would allow for state grants to match private donations in order to expedite the inspection of agricultural products crossing the border into Texas from Mexico.
This is a unique situation because it involves an international border and because, as usual, the federal government is not adequately fulfilling its responsibilities in that area. Because the federal government can not move the chain of commerce across the border quickly enough, and because agricultural products are by their nature are time sensitive, the state of Texas has a legitimate interest in taking up where the federal government leaves off.
While we would prefer that this be funded entirely through private contributions because it does primarily benefit the industries involved, we do recognize the state's legitimate interest in preventing federal inaction from hurting the Texas economy. On that basis we are neutral on this legislation.
This bill was scheduled for the House floor on 5/6/15 and was set aside in favor of the Senate companion that had already passed that chamber, SB 797.