84(R) - 2015
Transportation & Infrastructure
Relating to county energy transportation reinvestment zones.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would amend the Transportation Code to allow a county energy
transportation reinvestment zones (CERTZ) to use money in the tax increment account to provide
funding for transportation infrastructure projects throughout the county, as opposed to just specifically those zones.
Vote Recommendation Notes
During the 83rd Legislature, SB 1747 created County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones which allowed for counties to create energy transportation reinvestment zones in areas affected by oil and gas exploration, in order to finance transportation projects thanks to tax increment financing. We opposed this bill during last session on the basis that it was creating dedicated funds and increasing the use of tax increment financing to redirect some tax revenues to transportation projects.
Since then, and according to the statement of purpose for Senate Bill 1788, introduced this session, the Office of the Attorney General communicated in an opinion that these zones could not be formed without a constitutional amendment. Senate Bill 1788 aims at correcting this problem in statute, by permitting a county with such a zone to use money in the tax increment account to provide funding for transportation infrastructure projects throughout the county rather than simply a zone within the county.
Regardless of whether Senate Bill 1788 fixes the problem inherent to SB 1747, we oppose Senate Bill 1788 for the same reasons as we opposed SB 1747 the past session. While we recognize that transportation infrastructure is an important concern, these zones redirect tax revenues for transportation projects. Transportation projects should be funded through the appropriations process.