TSCPA Member, Mike Collier, to Challenge Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor in 2018

TSCPA and Houston Chapter member, Mike Collier, announced last week that he is “assembling a campaign team to run against Dan Patrick for Texas Lt. Governor.”   Collier, a Democrat, is stepping down from his position as Democratic Party finance chairman to start his campaign.  Click here for the Tribune’s coverage.

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TSCPA bills get filed

GAAP Legislation Proceeding – HB 1930 and SB 753:  We now have legislation in the House and Senate to eliminate the “opt out” to GAAP for state and local governments. Rep. John Frullo, CPA, (R-Lubbock) introduced the legislation in the House as HB 1930. It is identical to the bill in the Senate, SB 753, which was filed by Senator Charles Perry, CPA, (R-Lubbock). So we are now good to go and will work on getting co-sponsors on each bill. If your legislator expressed an interest in being a co-sponsor, please let us know so we can follow up with them.

Insurance Services Tax – HB2381 and SB1083:  We have worked out a compromise solution on the insurance services tax issue that is on our legislative agenda for this session. The bills have been filed in the House and Senate by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Rep. John Frullo (R- Lubbock). They are Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 2381 and you can read it here.
After many meetings with the Texas comptroller’s office we were able to work out a limited exemption for licensed CPA firms that have less than 1 percent of their total revenue from this type of insurance service/activity. The comptroller was willing to support that type of proposal and issue a no significant revenue impact statement. Any bill that was classified as having a significant revenue impact by the comptroller was going to be DOA in the Legislature. So while not a perfect fix, this proposal will provide relief for those who do a limited amount of this type of work. We encourage all our Key Persons and others to ask their legislators to support SB 1083 and HB 2381 and our efforts on this issue.

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TSCPA Advocacy Day a Success

The biggest event in Austin last week for TSCPA was our Advocacy Day and Midyear Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. A couple hundred TSCPA members came to town to help us carry our message to Texas legislators. And in terms our new U.S. president likes to use, our program was a “huge” success. The weather even cooperated and it was a beautiful day for CPAs to make the trek to the Capitol for personal visits with their elected representatives and senators.

At our Advocacy Day, attendees got to hear from a variety of speakers on topics ranging from what’s likely to happen in the current legislative session to how to effectively communicate and establish relationships with legislators.

Joe Gagen, an expert in political and legislative matters, gave attendees advice on the “do’s and don’ts” of conducting their Capitol visits, and helped them understand the world of elected officials.

Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune gave insight to the political process at the state and national levels. He gave his read on the unexpected victory for President Donald Trump and how that is starting to play out in Washington, D.C. He also provided insight into the major trends (demographic changes and a shift from rural to urban) that are affecting the state of Texas and how the Legislature needs to begin to focus on those issues.

Rep. Angie Chen Button, Rep. John Frullo and Senator Charles Perry, all CPAs, served on a panel moderated by former Rep. John Otto, CPA, now a TSCPA lobbyist, to discuss their take on the current legislative session and a variety of legislative topics. It was a lively session with the panelists providing very frank comments and responding to a number of questions from attendees. Rep. Button shared that earlier on Tuesday morning, she had sponsored a resolution on the House floor acknowledging TSCPA’s CPA Day at the Legislature and the important work that Texas CPAs do for the public. You can read the resolution here: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HR00193F.htm.

After visits to the Capitol, members who had contributed $100 or more to the CPA-PAC were invited to the annual CPA-PAC Reception where good food, drink and conversation was enjoyed by all.

All in all, it was a great meeting and we thank all of the TSCPA members who traveled to Austin to help us communicate with Texas legislators and form effective relationships with them.  It’s members who are the “heart” of our grassroots program and without them, we could not effectively represent the interests of Texas CPAs. So thanks to all who help us in this effort.

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Election results

Well, the votes are in and the outcome for Texas legislative races is not nearly as exciting as the results are at the national level.  All incumbents won their seat except Rep. Kenneth Sheets, HD107 (Dallas), one of the four candidates endorsed by the TSCPA CPA-PAC, Gilbert Pena, HD144 (Houston) and Rick Galindo, HD117 (San Antonio).  (As of this writing, there is still one race, HD105 (Dallas), that has not been finalized but incumbent Rodney Anderson is up by 120 votes with 360 provisional votes left to count.)

There will be 3 new faces in the Texas Senate:  Bryan Hughes, SD001 (East Texas/Texarkana) and Borris Miles, SD013 (Houston), both former House members and newcomer, Dr. Dawn Buckingham, SD024 (Abilene, Austin, Central Texas).  The House will welcome 22 new legislators when the session convenes in January.

It’s time to move on from the elections and get to work.  Bill filing begins on Monday, November 14 and the first day of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session is Tuesday, January 10.

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2016 TSCPA Election Guide

Click here to review the 2016 edition of TSCPA’s election guide.

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CPA and TSCPA Member Randy Sweeten to run for Congress

Rance Sweeten, known to most TSCPA members as Randy Sweeten, has filed to run as a Democrat in Congressional District 15.  Sweeten is from McAllen and acknowledged that many Democrats might not know him well, but many TSCPA members know him because of he has been very active in TSCPA’s government affairs program for many years.

You can read more about the announcement at http://riograndeguardian.com/sweeten-enters-race-for-congressional-district-15/.

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CPA and Railroad Commissioner David Porter Withdraws from RRC Race

In announcing his withdrawal from the RRC race current RRC Chairman Porter said, “This decision was not an easy one, but I feel that all the goals I set out to achieve were accomplished during my tenure.  Now is a good time to focus on my family and my return to the private sector.”

Before being elected Porter was a practicing CPA.

According to the Quorum Report former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he is considering a run for the seat and hopes to make a decision by Friday.

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