Oversight & Transparency Bills Casualties Of Governor's Legislative Agenda

May 28, 2013

At the start of the legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry outlined several agenda items, one of which was over $1 billion dollars in tax cuts for businesses.

A bill calling for additional transparency and effectiveness of those tax cuts was added as an amendment, but taken off when voted on in the Texas House and also faced the threat of a veto by the governor.

"If we really want to have meaningful reform on the various loopholes that we have in state law, at some point that would be a process that we ought to have in place," said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who authored the amendment. "Some of them obviously do bring in jobs, some of them fall into that trickle-down category and some of them just trick us."

Ellis' amendment would have called for a review of those businesses that receive a tax cut, but was removed by House Republicans at the last minute. 

Another legislative causality was a bill authored by Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, that would’ve mandated all non-profit political groups report their contributions - it was vetoed by the governor.

"The taxpayers and voters have every right to know who is trying to influence their politics in government," Seliger said in defense of his bill.

Perry now face critics that say his veto empowers Democratic groups like Battleground Texas to operate without any checks or balances.

The bill was was strongly criticized by political organizations like Empower Texans, who said that the legislation resembled similar actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service against Tea Party groups applying for nonprofit status.

Also not making the cut this session was a bill that would have set a two-term limit for the governor and another bill that would have required Perry and other political office holders to pay back the state for travel and security used during their election campaigns.