Texas House OKs statewide ride hailing rules, defying Austin

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 20, 2017

The state's tax at the pump hasn't been increased since 1987 and at nearly 17 cents per gallon, stands as one of the lowest in the country.

The proposal will be discussed today in a Texas House committee hearing that will no doubt also focus on how the bill would impact sporting organizations, events and tournaments held in the state. "We will continue to work on a longer-term solution, but in the meantime, this relief is critical for people in my district who are having to choose between rent and health care".

Senate leaders have accused House budget-writers of using improper accounting tricks to balance their version of the budget, as well, for delaying a $1.9 billion payment for public schools into the next two-year cycle.

Lucas, the House speaker, said the governor's idea is misplaced.

Governor McMaster says raising taxes in SC is not the answer. "It's our belief that discrimination issues related to privacy should be handled at the state level", said Rep. Ron Simmons, the bill's author, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

They blamed Senate Republicans and Gov. Henry McMaster, who vowed earlier this month to veto any gas tax increase, as his predecessor, Nikki Haley, did for years. "I'm all for HB 21", Waggoner said. Don Coram (R-Montrose) - and bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. "It is now time for the Senate to act".

The House bill was approved by the appropriations committee and has one more committee stop before reaching the house floor.

The bill by Chris Paddie, a Republican from Marshall, brings ride-hailing companies under Texas regulators' control while requiring them to pay state fees.

The Senate's chief blocker, Republican Tom Davis of Beaufort, insists no additional money should go to the DOT until legislators eliminate the DOT commission, which they pick, and the governor's office has full oversight.

The House is working late into the night Wednesday to pass a major school finance bill.

According to AAA, the average cost of regular gas Tuesday in SC varied from $2.09 per gallon in the Greenville area to $2.18 in Charleston.

Another small but noisy faction - made up of Republican libertarians - insists a tax hike isn't needed, saying restructuring of the state's Transportation Department and spending priorities in the answer.

With interest rates still historically low - though higher than a year ago - and state debt low, lawmakers see this as the ideal time to borrow for work at colleges and universities that has gone undone for years. "My hope is that these bills ultimately won't go forward". Democrats like Sen. Vincent Sheheen are calling this a "poison pill" that could kill the bill entirely when senators don't agree on tacking on tax cuts to the gas tax bill. Senate Joint Resolution 38 would have discouraged the use of emergency clauses by requiring two-thirds approval for any bill bearing such a clause.

"There's always room for an agreement", Massey said. "But it's gonna have to move in a way that it gets sufficient votes in order to pass".

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