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House Committee on Ways and Means - 82nd R.S. (2011)

Committee Members
Harvey Hilderbran, Chair
John Otto, Vice Chair
Wayne Christian
Gary Elkins
Naomi Gonzalez
Lanham Lyne
Trey Martinez Fischer
Jim Murphy
Allan Ritter
Mike Villarreal
Beverly Woolley
Charges
• Evaluate the state's tax structure and determine its impact on the competitiveness of the Texas business climate. Specifically, determine the impact of the state's major taxes, including the sales tax and franchise tax, as well as tax exemptions, exclusions, and credits on economic growth, capital investment, and job creation in Texas. As part of this review, evaluate the franchise (margins) tax and determine whether the tax structure should continue to exist in its current form or in a revised form, or whether the existing tax structure should be repealed and replaced with a different business tax.
• Analyze the results of the reviews of appraisal district operations as conducted through the comptroller's Methods Assistance Program (MAP) and determine whether appraisal districts are applying uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes as required by the Texas Constitution.
• Evaluate whether current property tax notice requirements effectively serve the intended "truth-in-taxation" purpose of informing taxpayers about the property taxes they pay and who is responsible for deciding how much they pay.
• Analyze increases in Texas' overall state debt burden and the role debt plays in the state's fiscal management. Recommend strategies to reduce the state's debt, as well as the calculation of the constitutional debt limit. (Joint with the House Committee on Appropriations)
• Examine revenue derived from tobacco manufacturers, including differences between manufacturers that have and have not participated in the state's Comprehensive Settlement Agreement, and evaluate whether changes are needed to maximize revenue to the state.
• Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 82nd Legislature.
• Study and make recommendations for significantly improving the state's manufacturing capability.
• Find ways to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency in state government.

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