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Funding, transportation among the Victoria business community's key interests this legislative session

By ALLISON MILES
Dec. 28, 2010 at 6:28 a.m.


MORE INFOWant to learn more about the 2011 legislative session? The Texas Legislature's website offers information on legislators, bills and other key issues.

For more information, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW SCHEDULE

Dec. 24: Rep. Geanie Morrison

Dec. 25: Senator Glenn Hegar

Dec. 26: Nonprofits and the arts

Dec. 27: Transportation

Dec. 28: Health care

Dec. 29: Business

Dec. 30: Law Enforcement

Dec. 31: Faith

Jan. 1: Education

Jan. 2: Immigration

Jan. 3: Environment

As the Legislature prepares for the 2011 session, Victoria business leaders will keep an eye out for bills that could affect the local economy.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said he planned to watch out for any legislation that dealt with freight transportation. Such regulations would affect local manufacturers, as well as the incoming Caterpillar plant, he said.

Other key topics include higher education and any bills that could affect economic development, Fowler said, explaining that such legislation was part of the reason the development corporation was able to attract the Caterpillar plant.

"I don't know what all bills have been filed," he said Thursday. "But I'm sure there will be more to come."

Funding is an issue Joe Harper, director of the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center, said he planned to keep an eye on this legislative session. He said he hoped to see his center maintain its current funding levels.

The organization brings in more money than it uses, he said, explaining it generates $6 for every $1 the Legislature puts in.

"If the program is a revenue generator, we want to be recognized," he said of the center, which covers 11 counties in the region.

At the same time, he said he knew many organizations will likely feel the pinch of lower funding. It's important to keep things fair, he said, and if that means taking in less money, the center would make due.

Henry Guajardo, executive director of Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent, said he was not following any particular bills. Like Harper, he said he would keep an eye on funding.

Cut funds will likely affect many organizations this legislative term, he said.

The legislative session begins in January and lasts through May.

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