Legislators Face Tough Decisions

January 30, 2009

State Representative Phil King

On Tuesday, January 13, the Texas Legislature kicked off the 81st Legislative Session. Over the course of the next five months, I look forward to serving Parker and Wise counties in my sixth term in office, continuing to provide leadership on key public policy issues while upholding conservative fiscal and social principles.

The upcoming fiscal cycle marks a difficult time for Texas. Despite our ability to sidestep much of the country’s economic downturn, Texas, according to the State Comptroller, faces a $9.1 billion shortage to work with for the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Due to this unpleasant reality, state lawmakers have a responsibility to make budget cuts where necessary, making the same tough decisions that you make in your own home when money is tight. There is already talk of dipping into Texas’ rainy day fund, however, I feel strongly that this is not the time to deplete this important emergency fund. The legislature must demonstrate fiscal restraint where necessary, and be realistic with our budgetary goals.

In addition to passing a sound state budget, there are also several important policy issues that this session will present. One of the issues I will be focusing on is Texas’ energy market. There is a growing need to look for new ways to address the market’s volatility, our dependence on natural gas in Texas, and the imminent need for more energy sources due to our growing population.

I have filed House Bill 469, a proposal that will focus Texas on promoting clean coal energy projects. This bill provides financial incentives to build clean coal plants by authorizing the State of Texas to contract with organizations interested in implementing a clean energy project. Environmental concerns with coal driven energy are addressed with the use of this technology, and I hope to see Texas become the first state to successfully build one of these plants.

Furthermore, the economic development possibilities for these projects are incredibly exciting. Each plant will bring 2,000 construction jobs for the building of the plant, and 120-150 very well paying, permanent jobs to Texas. Creating jobs and maintaining our reputation as one of the most business friendly states in the US is the key to preserving a strong, independent and thriving Texas economy.

Over the course of the next several months, my goal is to keep you informed of the events in Austin. Each week I will focus on various issues or important bills that the legislature will be addressing, so please watch for these future updates. As always, please contact my office if we can ever be of assistance at (817) 596-4796.

It is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives.