A Message from Comptroller Susan Combs
September and October bring a new fiscal year for most local governments and usher in a wave of new legislation approved in the 2009 session. New laws affecting work force training, property tax appraisals and economic development will change how Texas local governments conduct business every day.
As your strategic partner for local government management, the Comptroller’s office is pleased to present this issue of Texas Rising, which highlights actions made in the 2009 legislative session that will affect cities, counties and local governments.
Our cover story explores the Every Chance Funds, which stemmed from legislation passed in response to our 2008 Texas Works report. Our office will administer these funds, which include $25 million over two years to support career and technical education in Texas. We pushed hard for this initiative because the money is a needed investment that will reap social and economic benefits for years to come.
Also in this issue, we share how a new law changing the frequency of property value studies will affect county appraisal districts. We get the scoop from Harris County Chief Appraiser Jim Robinson and Deborah Cartwright, director of our agency’s Property Tax Assistance Division.
We travel to Seguin, where heavy equipment giant Caterpillar is rolling forward with a planned $170 million facility. A change in Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code passed last session allowed Caterpillar to qualify for school tax reductions it was seeking to get the project under way.
Purchasing and procurement, a huge part of state government operations, became easier in August when our convenient online system, TXSmartBuy.com, made its full debut. TXSmartBuy works like an online shopping cart and lets users browse, select and buy a variety of goods and services, from office supplies to fleet vehicles. Local government purchasers who join the State of Texas CO-OP can order online through TxSmartBuy.com, too.
In our “Partnering for Impact” section, we share ways cities and counties can use sales tax to raise revenues and reduce their property tax rates.
When it comes to economic development, creating jobs and generating new levels of prosperity, local governments in Texas are focused on rising to the occasion every time.
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We want to hear about your town’s economic development accomplishments. Whether you’ve landed a new employer or partnered with a university to train tomorrow’s work force, please tell us the unique solutions you’re using to create success in your community every day.