The Sunset Advisory Commission began its work yesterday in a public meeting in Austin. Prior to the meeting, two public members were appointed to the Commission. Speaker Joe Straus appointed Casandra Cascos Ortiz of San Antonio for a term of two years. Ortiz is an attorney with the law firm of Shelton & Valadez. In addition, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst appointed Jan Newton of Boerne for a term of two years. Newton previously served as President of SBC-Texas and served on the Texas Tax Reform Commission from 2005-2006.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed four Texans to the Select Committee on Economic Development and named James Epperson Jr. of Dallas presiding officer. Created by House Bill 2785 from the 82nd Legislative Session, the Committee will make recommendations to the Legislature on economic development policies for the state. Epperson is senior vice president of AT&T Strategic and Employee Communications. The three other members include Stacey Gillman Wimbish of Houston, president of Gillman Companies and chairman of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association; Maher Maso, Mayor of the City of Frisco; and Carlton Schwab of Austin, president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council.
Texas displayed strong sales tax collections in March with revenue increasing to $1.87 billion, a 16.9 percent jump over the same month last year. The state is now almost 13 percent ahead of last year’s sales tax collections at this time. Total tax collections from all sources are up close to 15 percent. The majority of the growth in collections comes from the oil and gas sector as well as retail and restaurant sales.