Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of January 24, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.


1. Lubbock Chamber & Sales Tax Increase

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce released their results of a survey that has been going around. The topic? Increasing the sales tax to pay for projects in the City of Lubbock. According to the Chamber's press release:

LUBBOCK, TX – The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce conducted a poll of 15,115 households in Lubbock who were considered likely voters and asked their opinions and attitudes regarding the popularity of a sales tax funding capital improvement projects, and factors affecting the decision to vote for improvements.

By a margin of two to one, voters responded in favor of having the ability to fund major projects by using a voter-approved, time-specific sales tax that ends when the project is complete. (Complete results of the poll are included in an executive summary found below.)

Lubbock and the state of Texas have a wide range of legislatively-enabled economic development funding and organizational programs that can have a direct applicability to implement the Imagine Lubbock Together strategic plan. This venue sales tax initiative would add to those funding programs already available, especially for Lubbock.

Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and Imagine Lubbock Together Poll; January 2013

Executive Summary of Poll Findings

  • Polling Method
    • Scientific Poll
      • 15,115 households of likely voters based on historical voting records
      • Polling period: January 9 to January 14
      • 21.5% response rate (13% is industry standard for excellent response rate)
        • 30.6% of respondents in District 83
        • 69.4% of respondents in District 84
      • Margin of error: 2.165%
      • Expected deviation: 4% within 45 days
  • Sales Tax Legislation Results
    • By a margin of 2 to 1, voters responded “Yes” in favor of having the ability to fund major projects by using voter-approved, time-specific sales tax that ends when the project is complete.
    • 2 out of 3 voters responded “Yes” that state law should be amended to let local citizens vote whether to enact a temporary local sales tax of up to 1 cent for voter approved capital improvements.
      • District 83 and District 84 voter breakout reflected virtually the same result
      • 60 percent of Republican Primary voters responded “Yes”
      • 66 percent Democratic Primary voters responded “Yes”
  • Purpose of Temporary Sales Tax:
    • Voters ranked importance of categories in the following order:
      • Infrastructure Enhancements
      • Career Preparedness and Technical Workforce Training/Education
      • Retail Expansion Opportunities
      • Recreation and Green Space
      • Arts and Entertainment

"Temporary" Sales Tax. So, the Chamber looks to championing a tax increase in order to pay for pet projects locally. This goes right along with rumblings that local leaders have been putting pressure on some State Lawmakers to increase the sales tax.

Time to stand up and say no. There is no reason to increase the sales tax for the type of projects that Imagine Lubbock Together wants.

2. Small Biz Weighs In (link)

How do those in the business community feel about the economy? According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not good. According to the Daily Caller:

More than eight in ten small businesses, 82 percent, feel that the U.S. economy is off on the wrong track. What’s more, over half of small businesses,  54 percent, expect business climate for small business to worsen in the next two years.

Small business owners are concerned about uncertain health care costs. Three-quarters, 75 percent, of small businesses expect the Affordable Care Act to increase costs for their business while only 5 percent reported it would make health care coverage more affordable.

The new health care law is also expected to put a strain on hiring, 71 percent reported that it will make it harder to bring on new employees.

While the Obama administration continues to tout tax breaks and hiring incentives for small business, business owners are crying for something else: 88 percent of say they are looking for more policy certainty, not more assistance, from Washington.

The economic future of small business is unclear with 41 percent reporting they are unsure if America’s best days are ahead of them or behind them. “This sentiment is similar when looking at their own businesses — 28% say best days are behind, 30% say best days are ahead, and 42% are unsure,” the survey found.

Not too surprising here. I think many small business owners believed the election was going to go the other way. Now, they have little hope that the economy will turn around. There is just so much uncertainty out there right now.

3. Drawing Terms (link)

Talk about luck of the draw. Yesterday, the Texas Senate decided who would have 2 year or 4 year terms. How did they do it? Luck.

The unusual practice of drawing for terms traditionally takes place the first session after the Legislature redraws the state’s Senate districts. Last year, all 31 Senate districts were on the ballot. Unless new maps are drawn between now and then, Wednesday’s drawing determined which half of the Senate will be back on the ballot in 2014. The results could help influence some senators’ future political plans, such as if they run for statewide office or re-election.

One by one, senators walked up to the front of the chamber and picked an envelope, each with a piece of paper inside a capsule. The papers were numbered 1-31. Senators who picked an even number will serve a two-year term. Senators who picked an odd number got a four-year term.

Senator Robert Duncan drew a four year term if you were wondering. Sometimes the simple ways of doing things are the most interesting ways these days.

Other Top Stories:

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