Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Summary: HB 3162 would change the eligibility and management of areas within the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF). The ETF would expand to include activities with a research oriented focus on scientific developments and include water projects as potential grant recipients. The primary initiative of the legislation would replace the current Texas Emerging Technology Advisory Committee with the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Board who would provide the recommendation for Subchapter D recipients, rather than the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House, providing these recommendations. The bill would require the Board to hire a Fund Manager who would oversee investments. Furthermore, HB 3162 would implement job reporting and information disclosure changes based on provisions outlined in HB 468. The bill would consolidate the current Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization dispersed throughout statute to be under Subchapter I, allowing private and non-profit entities to be eligible for funding. Lastly, HB 3162 would provide Board responsibilities and meeting requirements as well as restructure funding allocations within the ETF.
Analysis: Programs such as the ETF are market distorting because they subsidize certain businesses at the expense of others, creating a taxpayer backed competitive advantage for favored industries or businesses. While HB 3162 does not create a new fund, would expand the scope of government broadening the scope of the current fund to include water as a project that the ETF supports. We do not support expanding the scope of the ETF.
We do favor provisions in this legislation that would establish transparency within the EFT by requiring a board rather than the executive leadership to recommend Subchapter D grant recipients. This provision would remove the potential for doling out grants that are based on the political preferences of elected officials.
Due to the conflict between provisions that expand government and provisions that limit government, we are neutral on this legislation.
Should an amendment be adopted to remove the section adding water to the list of projects allowed to be funded by the ETF, we would revise our position to support final passage.