With no state budget in place by the May 30, 2011 adjournment of the regular session of the 82nd Texas Legislature, Gov. Perry immediately called legislators into Special Session on May 31, 2011. Only the governor can determine what’s on the agenda for the special session and he has decided on the following items so far:
- Legislation relating to fiscal matters necessary for the implementation of House Bill No. 1 as passed by the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, including measures that will allow school districts to operate more efficiently.
- Legislation relating to health care cost containment, access to services through managed care, and the creation of economic and structural incentives to improve the quality of Medicaid services.
- Legislation relating to congressional redistricting.
- Legislation relating to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
- Legislation relating to the abolition of sanctuary cities, the use of the federal Secure Communities program by law enforcement agencies, and the issuance of driver's licenses and personal identification certificates.
While none of these items specifically mention taxes, HB 1 as passed in the regular session and SB 1, which is the Special Session substitute, contain both franchise and sales tax issues. SB 1 has already passed the Senate and is now being debated in the House floor as this is written. The bill being debated includes an extension of the $1 million minimum revenue required to be subject to the franchise tax for two years until Dec. 21, 2013 and an extension of pre-margin tax credits for four years until Dec. 31, 2016.
Perry vetoed HB 2403 by CPA Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton), the so-called Amazon bill, which requires retailers with any operations in Texas to collect Texas sales taxes. Despite the veto, language identical to HB 2403 is included in SB 1 now being debated. In a press release today Perry urged legislators to eliminate that section of the bill.
This afternoon the House rejected an amendment that would have stripped the HB 2403 language from SB 1, despite Gov. Perry’s objection to the provision. Perry still has a chance to get the provision eliminated in the Conference Committee likely to be appointed to rationalize Senate/House differences in the bill.