By JENNIFER HARRIS
AUSTIN – All Texans can vividly recall former Gov. Rick Perry travelling across the nation to lure businesses to the Lone Star State.
Gov. Greg Abbott has continued this practice and both leaders rightly hammered home the benefits of Texas’ as a low tax, low regulation state that lets businesses thrive.
Yet, our state is at a serious disadvantage in a key area and the same type of regulatory complications our leaders rightfully deride in other states are now suffocating economic growth right here in Texas.
The problem? The excessive time it can take to get a permit for any major environmental project if the project gets stuck in the contested case hearing process — a process that in other states takes about six months, but in Texas can drag out for years. The process is so long, convoluted and overly-litigious that other states are now pointing to it as reason for why companies should ignore the Lone Star State.
In a state that has created one in four jobs nationwide since 2009, this is completely unacceptable.
This legislative session, there are several bills pending that would work to preserve the public participation and contested cases processes in Texas, while also streamlining and reducing abuse in the system. HB 1247, HB 1113, and HB 1865 would all work in unison to allow potential new businesses to have some peace of mind and predictability in forecasting the length of permitting when they’re looking to start new projects in Texas.
These bills would, in turn, speed up a companies permitting approval period, while also continuing to protect the environment.
If Texas will continue to lead the nation in job growth and opportunity, members of the legislature must continue to make smart minded reforms that encourage investment while also protecting the environment.
We strongly encourage you to contact your Texas legislator and urge them to support HB 1865, HB1247 and HB 1113.
Harris is a spokeswoman for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse.