• Various

Legislative session boosts Texas’ pro-business rep

By Bob Sechler, Austin American Statesman

The state’s business-friendly reputation has a new coat of polish, thanks to the just-ended legislative session.

The buffing by Texas lawmakers included reauthorizing a key publicly funded economic development program, constraining the growth of property taxes and beefing up education programs aimed at better preparing homegrown workers to take jobs generated by the state’s strong economy.

“There were things done this session that allow us to stay ahead of our competitors (nationwide) and keep the Texas business environment No. 1,” said Tony Bennett, president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers. “We were quite concerned that business was going to have a difficult session, but we’re happy to say some good things were accomplished.”

Among other notable measures, lawmakers laid groundwork for an entirely new industry in the state when they sanctioned the cultivation and processing of hemp, marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin. They also took steps to preserve the status of Texas as a hub for cancer research and startup biotech companies by scheduling a referendum in November to ask voters statewide to authorize more taxpayer-funded grant money for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, known as CPRIT....