Friday, December 02, 2005

Texas Farm Bureau remains steadfast in its opposition to the Trans Texas Corridor

TFB Resolutions

Committee completes work

December 2, 2005
Texas Farm Bureau

The Texas Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee met at the farm organization's state headquarters in Waco this week to review proposed policies submitted from County Farm Bureaus throughout the state.

Now it will be up to some 1,100 voting delegates, who will gather for TFB's 72nd Annual Meeting in Waco, Dec. 3-5, to approve or reject the resolutions.

Texas Farm Bureau Vice President Lloyd Arthur, committee chair, commended the 41 county and district leaders who participated in the process.

"They came with a knowledge of the issues," he said. "They were well prepared regarding the resolutions sent in, and I think that's what made the work of the subcommittees and actual resolutions committee flow so smoothly."

While remaining steadfast in its opposition to the Trans Texas Corridor, one resolution called for reforms that address landowner access to, and compensation for, property divided by the corridor. Another notable proposal said that all existing toll-free roads in Texas should remain toll free.

State eminent domain legislation was passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in September. A TFB resolution goes a step farther, calling for a state constitutional amendment to make it permanent.

Arthur reported that several resolutions came in proposing streamlining the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) process.

Some additional grassroots resolutions to be considered by some 1,100 voting delegates at the state convention next month would support:

•The Communications Act of 1934, which would retain the "access charge" for rural telephone co-ops and oppose the "bill & keep" concept.

•Increased access to high speed internet connections in rural areas.

•Lowering the current appraisal cap of 10 percent and lowering the current rollback rate of 8 percent.

•Exploring alternative sources of taxation, including a fair tax proposal and a sales tax increase, to lower tax burdens on property owners.

•Texas opting out of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

•A law requiring the use of ethanol blends in areas where air quality violations exist.

On the state and federal front, a resolution was proposed that would cut through red tape to allow for more rapid clean up of damaged trees by the U.S. Forest Service when faced with situations like the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast area and East Texas this year.

Additional resolutions at the national level call for:

•Legislation granting producers a "Hold Harmless" position from any changes that occur after their production is sold and leaves their control.

•The keeping of a national database for livestock identification by private industry rather than a government agency.

•Retaining the structure of the 2002 farm bill, which has worked well for producers, in the 2007 version.

•The pursuit of more energy sources and construction of more refineries—possibly on abandoned military base sites—to address energy shortages and high fuel prices.

•Re-authorization of the Endangered Species Act as passed by the U.S. House in September, 2005; and reforms in the Act that would respect private property rights.

•The funding level allowed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be tied to Gross National Product (GNP) of agriculture instead of historical levels.

© 2005 Texas Farm Bureau