The DRC’s Public Policy & Advocacy Team will be distributing a Weekly Legislative Update throughout the session to keep you up to date on legislative activity.
Please contact the DRC Public Policy & Advocacy Team with any questions or comments.
Learn more about the DRC’s legislative agenda and priorities for the 85th Texas Legislature.
By Dave Moore, Data Journalist and Staff Writer
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings declared that despite the challenges of heavy police and fire pension fund obligations, and a high childhood poverty rate, the state of the City of Dallas is very healthy [as evidenced by strong job growth across a diversity of industries, and a pipeline of initiatives designed to reverse the child poverty and public safety pension problems]. He noted that Dallas’ job growth and corporate headquarter relocation successes would be the envy of other municipalities.
Rawlings delivered his State of the City address at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Thursday, Dec. 8, at an event organized by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
“The tax base values have never been higher,” said Rawlings, a Texas native who began his career in Dallas as an entry-level employee at TracyLocke ad agency and eventually was elevated to the level of CEO, later taking over the helm of Pizza Hut. “We’re on a growth rate of 6, 7, 8 percent, per annum. And we went through a little deficit back in ’08 and ’09, but we’re coming back stronger than anybody. Any mayor throughout this country would love that.”
Rawlings often showed his CEO pedigree during his address by accompanying it with a PowerPoint presentation loaded with charts, which included a slide showing the valuation of construction permits for building projects more than doubling in the city of Dallas since 2012.
“Every year, we put [the equivalent of] a new Addison or a new Rockwall in our city,” Rawlings said. “We’re growing at that rate because people believe in this city, and they believe it’s going to be a great place to live, work and invest in.”
Another slide presented by Rawlings highlighted the city’s job growth rate.
“Our job growth of the city was 4.1 percent, early numbers show for this year,” he said. Rawlings’ chart showed job growth in 2014-2015 across virtually all major sectors, from energy, to manufacturing, to leisure and hospitality.
Rawlings expressed particular pride in statistics that showed Southern Dallas’ taxable property values having increased by $1.6 billion between 2011 and 2015.
Rawlings said one of the primary reasons he became mayor is to grow Southern Dallas.
“It’s 55 percent [of] our land mass,” he said. “The most beautiful part of our city is growing south. In the past three years, we have increased property values by $1.6 billion. Real property values are up by 25 percent. In residential investment, people are investing in their homes, at a rate of $77 million a year. People are believing in Southern Dallas. They’re building middle class homes for people in Southern Dallas, and it’s a great growth strategy for our city.”
Rawlings also saluted the Dallas Independent School District’s increase in pre-K enrollment, and its launch of 18 collegiate academies by fall 2017. The initiative involves more than 40 corporate partners and allows students to obtain college credits at the high school level.
The Dallas Regional Chamber is assisting in those efforts as part of its mission to create better career options for students and to establish a highly trained workforce for the Dallas Region’s growing economy.
The presenting sponsor of the event was Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Hunt Consolidated and Oncor were gold sponsors.
Join the Dallas Regional Chamber for our last Legislative Power Hour of 2016, featuring Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. During this DRC members-only event, Comptroller Hegar will provide an in-depth look into our state’s revenue and its effect on the budget in the upcoming 85th Legislative Session.
Comptroller Hegar oversees the $100 billion-a-year enterprise of Texas state government – as Comptroller of Public Accounts, he’s had to follow the trend of the Texas economy and the wishes of the Texas legislature who approve spending.
This summer, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus sent a letter to state agencies asking them to scale back their spending for the 2018-2019 biennium. Texas’ top elected leadership has asked for a 4% reduction from the previous budgets of many state agencies.
This upcoming Texas Legislative Session, Comptroller Hegar’s analysis and predictions will inform the legislature’s decision making as Texas’ population, and accompanying government services, grow along with the Texas economy.
We hope you will join us for this DRC members-only event with Comptroller Hegar.
Power Hour with Comptroller Hegar
5:00 – 6:30 PM
Dallas Regional Chamber
500 N Akard St.
Dallas, TX 75201
To register for the event, click here.
By Dave Moore, Data Journalist and Staff Writer
Many of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s campaign promises – repealing Obamacare, increasing spending on the military, improving infrastructure, renegotiating trade deals, etc. – must overcome political and fiscal challenges if they’re to become realities, according to a panel of policy experts assembled by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
The conversation, led by Susan Warren, Dallas Bureau Chief of Bloomberg News, included former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost (D-Dallas), now a shareholder at Polsinelli PC, economist Dr. Ray Perryman, and Polsinelli Policy Advisor Tim Perrin, occurred at the Chamber’s Election Impact, Analysis and Industry Outlook event at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on Nov. 10.
“The new president has said he wants to repeal Obamacare,” said Frost. “Congressional Republican leaders have said they want to repeal it. However, it takes a long time in our country to do anything. That’s actually been a strength of our system.”
To repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately would require 60 votes in the Senate, and the Republican Party will likely only have 52 votes, Frost said. He added that changing the existing law might be more expedient than rolling back the law, which could take six months or longer.
Another challenge is Trump’s promises of increasing spending on infrastructure and defense, while reforming the tax system.
“It’s interesting that both candidates for president agreed on one thing – that a lot of money has to be spent on infrastructure; bridges, highways, airports, all kinds of things,” said Frost. “And the question is, if, in fact, Donald Trump really decides to pursue that. That’s going to cost a lot of money. The question is, how are you going to pay for it?”
Paying for tax reform, eliminating or changing the Affordable Care Act, while making infrastructure improvements by increasing the federal deficit would be a tall order, said Perrin.
“President-elect Trump is going to have to wrestle with federal budget issues,” Perrin said. “We’re going to have to raise the debt limit next year. This is money we’ve already spent. We’ve got to figure out how to deal with it. Budget issues are going to be a paramount.”
Perryman said that the Dallas Region stands to gain substantially if Trump increases military spending and relaxes regulations on energy companies. At the same time, he acknowledged if Trump tries to change international trade agreements, it could hurt Texas businesses that rely on those relationships. He noted that several companies in the Dallas Region, such as Mary Kay, have strong overseas trade.
“Trade is good,” said Perryman. “We in-source more jobs than we outsource.” Speaking about the recent relocation of Toyota’s corporate headquarters, Perryman said “That’s in-sourcing. That’s thousands of high-paying jobs coming in from somewhere else.”
Polsinelli was the presenting sponsor of the event. The Sheraton Dallas Hotel was the Gold Sponsor. Silver Sponsors for the event were Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Capital One Bank and DFW International Airport.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick summarized some of his top priorities for Texas’ 85th Legislative Session at a Dallas Regional Chamber event at Belo Mansion on Oct. 20. In his address, key initiatives Lt. Gov. Patrick mentioned were continued support of Texas’ Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, expanding school choice options, and increasing the percentage of Texans holding post-high-school certificates and degrees, in line with Texas’ 60×30 Higher Education Plan. To read more, click here.
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