HBA-TBM, CCH H.B. 877 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 877 By: Flores Appropriations 4/8/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) does not provide benefits to the surviving spouses and minor children (survivor) of state peace officers killed in the line of duty, who have not yet vested in ERS at the time of death. Providing survivor benefits to the beneficiaries of deceased peace officers would help to ease the financial burden that compounds a surviving family's emotional difficulties. These benefits could be funded by taxing the sale of bullets by one percent and depositing the resulting funds in a dedicated account within the state treasury. House Bill 877 creates a bullet sales tax to provide survivor benefits for the family of state peace officers killed in the line of duty. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 877 amends the Government and Tax codes relating to the benefits provided to the surviving spouse or minor children of a peace officer killed in the line of duty who had not qualified for an annuity under an employees' retirement plan. H.B. 877 requires the state to pay for the deceased peace officer's funeral expenses and the greater of monthly annuity payments that the deceased peace officer would have received had the officer survived and retired on the last day of the month in which the peace officer died, or the minimum monthly annuity payment the deceased peace officer would have received if the peace officer had been employed by the state for 10 years, had been paid a salary at the lowest amount provided by the General Appropriations Act for a peace officer, and had been eligible to retire under the Employees Retirement System of Texas. The bill entitles a surviving spouse to receive monthly payments until the surviving spouse remarries, becomes eligible for retirement under an employees' retirement plan, or becomes eligible for Social Security benefits. If an eligible surviving spouse does not exist, the state is required to pay the funeral expenses of the deceased peace officer to the guardian or legal representative of any surviving minor children. These benefits supplement any other benefits provided under current law. To pay for these benefits, H.B. 877 sets forth provisions to impose a tax on each sale of a bullet in this state at a rate of one percent of the sales price of the bullet, but does not apply to a sale for resale of a bullet. This tax supplements any other tax imposed under current law. The bill requires the comptroller to allocate the taxes collected other than penalties and interest to the peace officer survivors account that is part of the general revenue fund. Money in the peace officer survivors account may only be used to pay benefits to the surviving spouse or guardian or legal representative of the surviving minor children. The bill also requires any unobligated amount in the account in excess of $5 million at the end of each state fiscal year to be transferred to the undedicated part of the general revenue fund. This Act applies only to a peace officer killed in the line of duty on or after September 1, 2001. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.