UPDATE on SB 14
SB 14 has died in the House on
a point of order raised by Rep. Phillip Cortez of San Antonio and
sustained. The bill will not be resurrected this session.
Modifying this bill from its original form was WHA's primary
legislative priority this session. Our reasons are detailed
WHA Opposes anti-mud sb/hb 14
in texas legislature
The Association strongly
opposes SB/HB 14 and all of their derivates bills for the
extremely negative impact on the ability of MUDs' and local
governments ability to finance infrastructure needed to support
new growth. The Association registered in opposition at a
hearing of SB/HB 14 Monday, March 18th and submitted the following
statement to Senate and House subcommittee members:
The Honorable Jim Pitts
Texas House of Representatives
House Appropriations Committee, Chair
The Honorable Tommy Williams
Senate Finance Committee, Chair
Re: Senate Bill No. 14 and House Bill No. 14
Dear Chairmen Williams and Pitts:
The West Houston Association (WHA) has a 34-year history of planning
for and supporting improvements in infrastructure and public policies
that help accommodate the significant population and employment growth
of Greater West Houston. Our membership works for a better living and
working environment for the 1.5 million residents and 500,000
employees in Greater West Houston. WHA members are property owners,
major employers and related interests who advocate for improved
mobility, better infrastructure and a sustainable quality of living
environment for the region.
We have deep concerns about the effects of SB/HB 14 on local
governments’ ability to issue debt needed to build infrastructure and
support growth and development, the key drivers of the robust and
prosperous economies of Greater West Houston and the State of Texas.
We know growth and development can only occur and be sustainable with
proper infrastructure. The private sector is dependent upon local
cities, counties, school districts and water districts to provide that
In this growth and expansion oriented economy, it is inevitable that
local debt increases. Moreover, local governments face increasing
responsibility for infrastructure financing as less money is available
from state and federal sources and as federal regulation increases the
costs of infrastructure. Fast growth areas, like Greater West Houston,
struggle to keep up.
The growth of Greater West Houston infrastructure--streets, water,
wastewater and drainage--can be most efficiently financed through the
use of municipal utility districts (MUDs). It is logical that with
this growth the number of MUDs has increased in Greater West Houston.
This is a sign of prosperity; a testament to the increased number of
homes and businesses being built in our rapidly growing communities.
We believe the purposes of MUDs are self-evident, without need of
bureaucratic self-evaluation reports.
SB/HB 14 will make it more difficult for local government to finance
infrastructure through bonds. Provisions of SB/HB 14 will make ballots
more confusing to voters. Voter education about the need for bonds
begins well in advance of an election not at the voting booth. Our
experience is that voters are inclined to vote against new taxes and
bonds unless they are otherwise informed. Proponents of bonds must
therefore work diligently to build consensus and support far in
advance of an election.
The importance of developing the State’s water resources is a major
topic this Legislative Session. It is important to recognize that the
State’s water resources are delivered to individual customers via
locally built and financed water systems. Municipal and MUD water
systems are integral to the development of our State’s long term water
Rather than imposing additional burdens and red tape, as we believe
SB/HB 14 does, the State should work with and support our local
governments in building quality roads and highways, environmentally
sound water and sewer utilities, and classrooms in which our children
are educated. Private enterprise depends on our local government
For these reasons, the West Houston Association must oppose SB/HB 14.
This bill as originally written and
currently filed essentially deals a death blow to the abilities of
municipal utility districts to finance the building of roads, water
supplies, wastewater facilities and drainage facilities to accommodate the
1 million forecasted residents of Greater West Houston by 2050. The bill,
under the guise of transparency, also renders the financing abilities of
cities, counties and schools difficult at best and is a practice in
redundancy of accountability and reporting requirements.
• The Association has prepared the statement below and submitted it to
Senate and House subcommittee members currently hearing the bill.
• Registered in opposition to SB/HB 14 at hearings Monday, March 18th.
Parties such as the TAB and GHBA, TML, Association of Urban Counties have
joined developers in opposing this bill. It is being supported by state
newspapers and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
In negotiations with the Comptroller Combs’ staff, the bill is being
redrafted to exclude some of the more onerous elements but a substitute
bill has not yet been filed (as of March 19, 2013). Companions or related
bills to SB/HB 14 are: SB 636 (Paxton); SB 637 (Paxton); SB 843 (Paxton);
SB 867 (Paxton); HB 1805 (Pitts); HB 1983 (Murphy); HB 2176 (Kolkhorst)