While the Texas Legislature is currently in a second special session to address targeted issues, during the 2013 regular session several bills passed of importance to the Texas cable industry, including:
TAX EXEMPTION ON CERTAIN COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT: A recent study found that Texas could significantly increase broadband network investment, increase gross state product, and create thousands of jobs by eliminating its sales tax on communications network equipment. TCA, along with other communications providers advocated for a sales tax exemption on communications network equipment.
Legislation Passed: CSHB 1133 by Otto
Read April 24 opinion editorial in the Austin American-Statesman
POLE ATTACHMENTS: A unified agreement between the electric cooperatives and cable companies that will address cable and co-op pole attachment issues.
Legislation Passed: HB 3355 by Cook
Toll Road ROW Reimbursement: Currently, cable and telephone companies get reimbursed 50% of their expenses in relocating facilities as part of a toll-road project. This cost-sharing provision ensures right-of-way users and TxDOT both have “skin in the game” in the movement of infrastructure, which drives cost-efficient and effective planning decisions. TCA, along with other utilities, was able to permanently extend these provisions, originally set to expire 9/1/13.
Legislation Passed: HB 2585 by Harper-Brown
TEXAS UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND (TUSF) REFORM: As part of the USF Reform Coalition, TCA has been working for a number of years to reform the Texas Universal Service Fund so that Texans are not required to pay taxes to subsidize phone companies that that are not in high cost rural areas. TCA worked with small and rural phone companies to make sure that subsidies are continued if truly needed.
Legislation Passed: CSSB 583 by Carona
OTHER PRIORITY LEGISLATION
CABLE SUBSCRIBER TAX CUTS: Texans are burdened with some of the highest cable and telecom taxes in the country – and cable video customers pay an average of over 14% in taxes on their monthly cable bill. TCA is supporting legislative options to reduce the amount of sales taxes paid by cable customers. Learn more.
Legislation filed of interest: HB 1900 by Eiland and SB 1465 by Estes.
Read Austin Business Journal article about this legislation.