This Sunday is the 175th-anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, the deciding battle in Texas' War for Indepen-dence. In a sneak attack on Santa Anna's army, Gen. Sam Houston lead the Texas forces to victory in a battle that lasted less than 20 minutes. While not as heroic, passing bills can work the same way. It takes months or even years of preparation to craft good legislation, but the actual process of passing it usually just takes a few minutes. As we near the end of session, more bills are facing decisive battles to become law.
Five things that happened this week at your Texas Capitol are:
1. Business Tax Cuts
On April 15, Governor Perry announced his support for $1.6 billion in business tax cuts. This tax relief would affect 109,000 Texas businesses over the next two years, and would include a 5 percent cut of the state franchise tax, a $1 million exemption for businesses that make less than $20 million and a deduction for moving costs for companies relocating to Texas.
The Governor noted that the state is "the epicenter of job creation" in the U.S. and said he hopes these measures will help keep Texas "the most competitive place in the country" to do business.
2. More doctors for Texas
This week the Senate took a step to address the state's doctor shortage. At least 100 of the state's 254 counties have been "diagnosed" as having shortages of primary health physicians, the majority of which are in rural areas.
Part of this problem came about because, currently, there are not enough medical residencies for the number of graduates Texas medical schools are producing. Consequently, many medical graduates are going out-of-state for their residencies, and then staying in those states to open practices.
On Wednesday I was proud to be able to vote for SB 143 by Senator Jane Nelson to create additional medical residency slots and keep more young doctors in Texas. It does this by creating a grant program to create new residency positions, including incentivizing the development of residency programs in hospitals that have never had such a program. It is a step forward for health access for all Texans, including the many medically underserved areas within Senate District 3.