Joe has always worked to support private-sector growth. He believes that government should not get in the way of the private sector’s success, but that those who serve in elected office should prioritize solutions that will encourage economic activity, such as making sure that the state has a well-educated workforce and a reliable infrastructure.
Under Joe’s leadership, the Texas House has acted to promote economic growth by:
Strengthening the workforce: Joe believes that public schools are the best economic development tool that we have. He has repeatedly pushed the Legislature to invest more dollars in public schools, colleges and universities. In 2013, he led the successful passage of House Bill 5, which revamped the state’s high school graduation requirements in order to give students more flexibility to learn about fields and careers that interest them. The legislation provided new incentives for high schools, colleges and industry to work together to ensure that all students receive the education and training needed for productive and lasting careers.
Protecting the economy: Joe led the successful fight against discriminatory “bathroom bill” legislation that threatened to significantly harm economic activity in Texas. Businesses across Texas spoke out against this legislation, which would have made it more difficult to attract needed workers and would have discouraged some companies from doing business in the state. The Dallas Morning News named Joe the 2017 “Texan of the Year” for his courageous fight against this harmful legislation.
Addressing the state's water needs: For decades, the State Water Plan was hailed as innovative and visionary, but it lacked the funding it needed for implementation. Meanwhile, rapid growth in the state's population and persistent drought worsened the state's water shortage. In the 2013 legislative session, the House authorized a $2 billion revolving fund so that communities across the state could get loans to start long-needed water supply and conservation projects. This new funding was approved as part of an amendment to the Texas Constitution, and Joe led the public campaign to build support for that amendment. Voters approved it in November 2013 by an overwhelming margin.
Prioritizing transportation: Under Joe’s leadership, the House has dedicated billions of additional dollars for transportation across the state. For example, he led the effort to ensure that all of the money in the State Highway Fund will pay for transportation. For decades, some of that money had been diverted to other programs. Under his leadership, the House voted to dedicate certain sales-tax dollars for transportation in order to improve mobility and encourage private-sector investment in the state.
Providing tax relief: Under Joe’s leadership in 2015, the House reduced the state’s main business tax by 25 percent, providing billions of dollars in tax relief to job creators. The House also expanded the homestead exemption in order to help homeowners facing higher property tax bills. In 2011, the Legislature significantly expanded the small business exemption in the franchise tax, allowing tens of thousands of small businesses to stop paying it. The House has also eliminated occupational fees on hundreds of thousands of Texas professionals.