2019 City of Richardson Legislative Agenda

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2019 City of Richardson Legislative Agenda
86th Texas Legislature
116th United States Congress


RICHARDSON'S HIGHEST PRIORITY

The City of Richardson’s highest priority is to preserve the ability for locally elected officials to govern and respond effectively and efficiently to the individual and market driven needs of its residents, businesses, and stakeholders. As a result, the City will oppose any legislative action that would erode home rule authority of municipalities or establish unfunded mandates that constrain the ability of cities to allocate scarce resources to locally determined priorities.

FISCAL MANAGEMENT

The City of Richardson is committed to financial accountability and transparency through prudent financial policies and fiscal practices. Richardson has received the highest-level award for online financial transparency by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s rating agencies have repeatedly assigned “AAA” to the City’s outstanding debt obligations for the City’s strong management, financial policies and practices, and budgetary performance.

The City of Richardson will support legislation that results in greater public fiscal transparency; however, the City will oppose legislation that will limit the City’s ability to be a strong fiscal steward of the resources entrusted to it by Richardson residents, businesses, and visitors.

  • Oppose legislation that would impose revenue caps of any type including implementing a reduced rollback rate, mandatory tax rate ratification elections, reduced rollback petition requirements, or limitations on overall expenditures to maintain local control
  • Oppose legislation that would reduce the appraisal growth cap established in current law
  • Oppose legislation that reduces the ability of cities to provide economic and efficient methods of financing local purchases and projects, including limiting the City’s ability to control and manage its debt
  • Oppose legislation that would cap or eliminate the tax exemption for municipal bonds
  • Support legislation that ensures fair and equitable valuation and taxation of all real property without mandatory disclosure of purchase or sale prices of real property
  • Support legislation that simplifies the notice of tax rates to the public

 

TRANSPORTATION

The City of Richardson is committed to being accessible by a variety of modes of transportation. As a member of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Richardson hosts several bus routes and four light rail stations, with two additional rail stations planned for service in 2022. Strategically located with I-635 to the south, S.H. 190 to the north, and U.S. 75 running through the City, Richardson believes transportation supports the economy and jobs.

While recent legislative sessions have discontinued some diversions from the state highway fund, currently one-fourth of the Texas Gasoline Tax is diverted to education. Funding for highway infrastructure has eroded because the Texas Gasoline Tax is not indexed to inflation and does not account for recent increases in construction material, labor costs, and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

  • Support legislation that ensures adequate funding of statewide and regional efforts to maintain and improve multimodal transportation systems
  • Support legislation that discontinues diversion of transportation revenue to non-transportation purposes
  • Support legislation that expands and sustains regional transportation funding options that account for economic inflation and enhanced motor vehicle fuel efficiency
  • Support legislation that allows all tools necessary for successful planning and development of new and/or expanded multi-modal transportation corridors and technology
  • Support legislation that allows a robust national passenger rail system, including a privately financed high-speed rail solution between Dallas and Houston where eminent domain is used as a last resort

 

ECONOMIC VIBRANCY

The City of Richardson fosters a vibrant economic environment through a positive approach to development and quality municipal services and amenities. Also known as the “Telecom Corridor” due to its high concentration of high-tech innovative companies, Richardson is one of the largest employment centers in North Texas.

Richardson has shown it can provide and serve the diverse and distinct needs of its community. Cities regulate private real property through a variety of ways such as zoning and platting and prohibition of specific nuisances. The specific regulation varies based on the individual needs of the community. While there are issues that affect all Texans, the needs of Richardson residents may be vastly different than the needs of residents in west Texas or on the Gulf Coast.

As such, the City of Richardson will support legislation that allows the State of Texas to address matters of statewide concern, such as predatory lending practices, as well as legislation that entrusts discretion over the use of local fees and policies to address the needs of individual communities. Richardson will also support legislation that enhances the City’s ability to provide cultural and recreational amenities through state and/or federal grant funding and programming.

  • Oppose legislation that limits the City’s existing economic development authority
  • Oppose any attempt at preempting local regulatory authority related to land-use and zoning, local amendments to model building codes, local building permit fees, and eminent domain
  • Oppose legislation that further erodes municipal authority over the rights-of-way or erode municipal authority to collect reasonable compensation for the use of rights-of-way
  • Support legislation that would continue, maintain, protect, and/or enhance the utilization of state and local funds for economic and community development funds including the Texas Enterprise Fund, Chapter 312 Tax Code, Skills Development Fund, Tax Increment Financing, Section 380 Agreements, and other economic development tools that enable Texas to compete for projects
  • Support legislation that builds equity in economic development between communities able to utilize 4A/4B sales tax and those who utilize sales tax funding for regional transportation
  • Support legislation that promotes and/or enhances Richardson’s existing arts and cultural amenities throughout the community
  • Support legislation that restricts or eliminates predatory lending
  • Support legislation that requires all lenders and brokers of payday, auto title, or other consumer loans to be licensed with the State and to comply with the same standards and consumer protection laws of licensed lenders under Chapter 342 of the Texas Finance Code
  • Support legislation that establishes clear instructions and the ability for citizens to electronically report possible violations of state regulations related to credit access businesses to the appropriate, identified state agency and for state officials to investigate and prosecute violations in a timely manner

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Richardson residents expect and deserve to be safe and secure where they live, work, and travel. Almost 40% of the City of Richardson’s general fund expenditures are for Police, Fire, and Emergency Management services.

The City of Richardson supports legislation such as state and/or federal funding that enhances the ability for local public safety to protect and serve their community, using the latest in technology and transparent policies. Richardson also supports statewide efforts to ensure criminals are efficiently and effectively processed through the judicial system.

  • Oppose legislation that limits a municipality’s ability to implement and/or maintain safety camera program or further divert proceeds from intersection safety camera programs from local traffic safety uses
  • Support legislation that provides grant funding and/or resources to protect local law enforcement officers and enhance their ability to serve
  • Support legislation that enhances the burglary of a motor vehicle from a misdemeanor to a State jail felony
  • Support legislation that authorizes sobriety check points in Texas
  • Support legislation that requires a DNA sample from all suspects who are arrested for a Class B misdemeanor or higher
  • Support legislation that authorizes a City Council to opt-in to require residential fire sprinklers in new constructed single-family dwellings as provided by the applicable international building code
  • Support legislation that enhances collection of court-imposed restitution

 

ENVIRONMENT

The City of Richardson promotes a high quality of life for residents and corporate citizens through its commitment to the environment through the creation of public open space and parks as well as conservation of water and other natural resources. Richardson has a variety of successful community programs that promote environmental stewardship.

While significant progress has been made to increase the funding for water development, the City of Richardson supports additional initiatives to continue to ensure Texans have enough water supplies to meet current and future demand with reliable and reasonably priced water. The City of Richardson also support efforts to enhance local parks and open space amenities through state and/or federal grant opportunities.

  • Support legislation that improves access and funding available to expand or enhance Richardson’s existing parks and recreational opportunities
  • Support legislation that accelerates the permitting process for development of new water resources in Texas, preserves water storage options, and advances viable projects in the statewide water plan

 

EDUCATION & WORKFORCE

The City of Richardson is located within two school districts, the Richardson Independent School District and Plano Independent School District. The Texas Legislature must design a school finance system fit for our dynamic and fast-growing State’s unique characteristics. Also located within the City of Richardson, UT Dallas is a Tier One research institution that has a backlog of private grant dollars that has not yet been matched through the state created Texas Research Incentive Program.

  • Support legislation that ensures and protects adequate funding for public school districts to meet the state’s education standards
  • Support legislation that allows local control for locally elected public school board trustees
  • Support full funding for Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) to match private funds given for research, which will help The University of Texas at Dallas on its path to become a major national research university
  • Support legislation that appropriates and/or directly benefits public library service, including funding for TexShare databases and TexQuest programming as libraries support the workforce, education, and economic development of local communities
  • Oppose legislation that erodes local control of pension, insurance, and compensation of public employees

 

COMMUNITY COLLABORATION

The City of Richardson is committed to productive collaboration with several community partners, so all residents, businesses, and stakeholders enjoy a high quality of life and are proud to call Richardson “home.”

As such, the City of Richardson will support the Legislative Agendas and initiatives of the following, except if in conflict with the City of Richardson: