84(R) - 2015
Relating to the amounts, availability, and use of certain statutorily dedicated revenue and accounts; reducing or affecting the amounts or rates of certain statutorily dedicated fees and assessments.
A fiscal note dated April 21, 2015 anticipates a negative two-year net impact to General Revenue Related Funds of $150,380,626 for SCHB7 through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
The fiscal note adds provisions of the bill that reduce General Revenue-Dedicated funds would result in an additional negative impact on the amounts available for certification.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
The fiscal note also stipulates that among other provisions, the bill would implement certain recommendations in the Legislative Budget Board policy report, "Further Reduce Reliance on General Revenue-Dedicated Accounts for Certification of the State Budget" (February 2015) submitted to the 84th Legislature, 2015.
House Bill 7 would amend several codes of law in order to expand the purposes of some funds, to remove language related to the deposit of appropriated amounts, to abolish dedicated funds or accounts, to eliminate certain occupational license fees and taxes, to reduce some surcharges, to require that the Comptroller transfer certain unexpended balances in dedicated funds or accounts, or revenues to the General Revenue Fund.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Jane Nelson.
Vote Recommendation Notes
House Bill 7 has been amended on the first chamber floor and the Senate Finance Committee introduced a committee substitute that change the initial bill as we reviewed it. Several amendments that were adopted in the first chamber would have considerably changed the purpose of the House Bill 7, but they are not in CSHB 7.
Unfortunately, CSHB 7 removes several provisions that eliminated or restricted certain occupational license fees. Nevertheless, the bill is still a step in the right direction and we continue to support it.
House Bill 7 would implement certain recommendations of the Legislative Budget Board policy report, "Further Reduce Reliance on General Revenue-Dedicated Accounts for Certification of the State Budget" (February 2015) submitted to the 84th Legislature, 2015.
Because some of the revenues and money dedicated to a particular purpose in certain accounts and funds are not necessarily always completely spent or appropriated, these amounts are often used for the purpose of the certification of the budget. As a result, some money that is dedicated to particular purposes do not fund these purposes but it is difficult for taxpayers to realize that.
The aim of the House Bill is to reduce the reliance on unspent funds in general revenue dedicated accounts and funds to certify the Texas budget. This is a step in the right direction as it would bring more transparency and honesty to budget certification and hence encourage a limited government. As a consequence, we support House Bill 7.