This Week in Texas: October 24, 2012

Posted October 24, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has created the Texas House Interim Committee on Manufacturing.  Last year, Speaker Straus directed every House committee to make recommendations for significantly improving the state’s manufacturing capability. The Committee on Manufacturing will compile and summarize those findings and make its own recommendations about how to encourage manufacturing in the state. The Committee will also determine how those recommendations interplay with other committees’ work on business growth and retention in Texas.  Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston) will serve as Chairman of the Committee on Manufacturing, and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) will be Vice Chairman.  Other members include Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston); Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson); Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock); Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs); Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas); Rep. Tracy King (D-Eagle Pass); Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin); Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio); Rep. George Lavender (R-Texarkana); Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso); Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. (D-Mission); Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound); and Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas).

The Texas Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the state’s franchise tax once again.  Nestlé USA challenged the constitutionality of the franchise tax by alleging that it violates the Texas Constitution’s equal and uniform taxation requirement as well as the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection, due process guarantees and its commerce clause.  In a 7-2 opinion by Justice Nathan Hecht, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Nestlé’s contentions on all counts.  Justice Willett and Justice Lehrman dissented on a procedural basis by asserting again that the Court lacks exclusive original mandamus jurisdiction in taxpayers’ constitutional challenges.