BAD BILL ALERT
Calls needed to STOP
This Bill Alert provided by: TURF
They think Texas is for Sale
everything BUT roads
Call your State Representative (House member) first thing Monday morning and tell them to:
VOTE NO ON SB 1048! Texas is NOT for sale!
Find your State Representative here
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (512) 463-4630
(Open 8 AM – 5 PM weekdays)
SB 1048 (Jackson) – This bill is on the General State Calendar for Monday and would privatize virtually every kind of public infrastructure except roads and charge user fees or lease payments (Sec. 2267.057) for the public to access its own buildings: schools, hospitals, nursing homes, water supply facilities, ports, mass transit, libraries, public buildings of all sorts, even telecommunications and pipelines. Apparently Texas is for sale, and this bill would be Katie-Bar-the-Door on selling off virtually everything not nailed down. The bill was written by British infrastructure firm, Balfour Beatty.
We say ‘sale’ not ‘lease’ because these firms depreciate these ‘assets’ on their taxes and when you give control of something to an entity for 50 or 100 years, it’s effective ownership (especially if Uncle Sam and the IRS treat it that way). There’s no limit on the length of time a PPP can last (one example given in Austin was for 100 YEARS) or whether such broad authority expires.
Two of the biggest anti-taxpayer provisions are the fact taxpayers secure the private entity’s debt
(2267.061 (f)) and authorizes public subsidies for private profits by raiding taxpayer money through the State Infrastructure Bank
to loan or grant money to a PRIVATE ENTITY
, which is currently NOT authorized in law (Sec. 2267.060 (2)).
Eminent domain for private gain
represent eminent domain
for private gain, which is what caused much of the backlash to the Trans Texas Corridor, where CDAs/PPPs were the financing mechanism that grants these private entities the control of not just the facility, but the right of way/surrounding property where they make a killing on concessions. The bill (Sec. 2267.001 (10) (a)) grants the private entity rights to apurtenance, which the legal definition given by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law
is “property (as an outbuilding or fixture) or a property right (as a right of way) that is incidental to a principal property and that passes with the principal property upon sale or transfer.”
In Sec. 2267.002, the bill also uses “public purpose” (which could mean a shopping mall) as opposed to the stricter “public use” (to ensure the taking is for a legitimate public necessity).
New authority granted
The bill analysis specifically says it GRANTS
AUTHORITY to local units of government to enter into Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). The bill’s supporters claim cities and counties are already entering into PPPs (which they apparently lack the legal authority to do) so we need to give guidelines or try to impose some limitations on them because right now it’s sky’s the limit. If the bill is permissive, how is that solving the problem? The Legislature should be banning PPPs altogether not granting authority to enter into them and make the “guidelines” permissive. So we’re basically granting entities a blank check.
Sweetheart deals, government-sanctioned monopolies
The bill requires entities to use a design build method of procurement which eliminates low bid competitive bidding and replaces it with “best value” bidding, rife with abuses and favoritism.
Michelle Malkin has called PPPs corporate welfare
, we agree. Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac
were PPPs, and we know how well those turned out for taxpayers. There are far more examples of PPPs being a taxpayer disaster than those that have worked out well. We’re not willing to bet this crap shoot will favor the public interest. PPPs socialize the losses and privatize the profits.
Public interest not protected, kept secret from public
These contracts can be negotiated in SECRET, without financial disclosures (like financing, the structure of the ‘user fees’ or lease payments, viability studies, public subsidies, or whether or not it contains non-compete clauses or other gotcha provisions), under the “trade secrets and financial records exception in the bill (Section 2267.067 (1)(B)(c) & (g)).
The only oversight required is by the Comptroller and only periodically, not EVERY contract and not prior to signing it. The Partnership Advisory Commission is NOT required to review the contracts included as riders in the budget (nor would it haveveto power if it’s determined that the contract is not in the public interest), and it simply exists to advise the governmental entities outside the public purview.
Sec. 2267.057 allows a private entity “to collect lease payments, impose user fees.” This means a private entity will have the power to levy a tax. The public cannot pressure nor hold accountable a private corporation if the “fee” or “tax” is too high. A private entity ought NEVER to have the power to tax our citizens! It’s the marriage of the corporation with the state and grants monopolies to private entities for a private benefit.
PPPs and this bill violate the public trust and your fiduciary duty to Texas taxpayers. It’s piracy of the public’s assets.
Provided by Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom
Texas TURF is a non-partisan, grassroots, all-volunteer group defending Texans’ concerns with toll road policy, Trans Texas Corridor-style projects like public private partnerships, and eminent domain abuses. TURF promotes non-toll transportation solutions.