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Public Policy Updates – March 2011

April 11th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Public Policy Updates

Just Ten Cents a Drink…

By Judy Bergfield, Consultant for the Christian Life Commission

What is the meaning of the two following images – one carton of cigarettes and 22 grocery carts each filled with six- packs of beer?  The excise tax received by the state of Texas on 22 grocery carts of beer is equal to the tax received from one carton of cigarettes! Quite a disparity!

If the legislature were to increase the tax to TEN cents per drink, that would generate approximately ONE BILLION dollars per year in tax revenues. Given the budget shortfall, any increase in revenues would be welcome but what’s particularly great about this scenario is that when the cost of a can of beer is increased, under-aged drinkers will drink less. It is shown that they are price sensitive while adults will tend to drink about the same amount:  thus a double win of reduced under-aged and younger aged drinking coupled with increased revenue from adult consumption.

Contact your legislators and ask them to support a measure increasing the tax on beer to ten cents a can?  Now that’s something to picture… a win all around!

Texas Makes Progress in Dealing with Electronic Waste – TV Recycling Passes the Senate

Electronic Waste is an ever-growing problem in modern society as people update their electronics regularly, especially their televisions. Flat screen TVs contain mercury and many electronic products contain PCB-like brominated flame-retardants that are dangerous to the health of Texans.  Senator Kirk Watson of Austin and Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa have identical bills that require take-back and recycling of televisions by manufacturers, helping reduce chemical leaks into our landfills and allowing manufacturers to reuse old parts from these products.  SB 329, Senator Watson’s version passed the Senate on March 23rd, signaling progress with regard to electronic waste in Texas.

Upcoming Policy Days at the Capitol… Join us!

One of every five human trafficking victims in the United States is trafficked through Texas. The 82nd Legislature is building on the Office Attorney General’s interim Task Force.  The Senate unanimously passed Senator Van de Putte’s SB 24, which takes many of the Human Trafficking Task Force recommendations and puts them in to statute.  Join us on April 27, 2011 on the South Steps of the Capitol for a rally to combat human trafficking, this horrific form of modern-day slavery. The rally begins at noon. If you are interested in more information about the event, please contact McCall Johnson at mccall.johnson@texasbaptists.org.

The Texas Food Policy Roundtable will hold its’ first-ever food policy day. The purpose of this special day is to brief legislators, legislative staff and other advocates at the Capitol about food-related bills and issues. Since our ultimate goal is food security in Texas, we want to show support for food policy and educate our legislators about the impact current food policy bills may have in Texas. If you would like to participate in food policy day, please contact Anne Olson at anne.olson@texasbaptists.org.

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