2011 Federal Priorities
Government Relations Committee
Committee members regularly receive updates on initiatives in Central Texas and recommend public policy positions for consideration by the Austin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Issues Documents & Presentations
Issues Documents & Presentations
From time to time, Chamber committees or staff develop informational documents for the membership. Occasionally guest speakers for the Chamber Board or Committees provide handouts or power point presentations. Below are recent materials and presentations related to infrastructure.
- 11.07.10 — Alternative Transportation Funding Scenarios
- 01.14.10 — City of Austin Urban Rail Presentation
- 11.05.09 — Austin Area Freight Presentation
- 08.07.08 — Austin-San Antonio Freight Rail Presentation
- 06.05.08 — City of Austin Bicycle and Pedestrian Update
- 05.01.08 — Mobility Authority Presentation
- 04.03.08 — Austin-San Antonio Commuter Rail District update
- 03.06.08 — Cap Metro Dillo Task Force
- 02.07.08 — Cap Metro Market Study Presentation
- 12.06.07 — TXDOT Bridge Presentation
- 05.03.07 — Capital Metro Commuter Rail Update
- 05.03.07 — Capital Metro Financial Update
- 04.05.07 — Sustainable City Presentation – Cid Galindo
- 12.21.06 — Chamber Recommendations to CAMPO
- 06.22.06 — DAA Presentation on Downtown Development
- 06.21.06 — Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Presentation to Austin 50
- 06.15.06 — Texas Aviation Association Presentation
- 05.11.06 — CAMPO Land Use Presentation
- 04.13.06 — Trans Texas Corridor — 35 Update
- 04.06.06 — Capital Metro Future Connections
- 03.23.06 — Transportation Funding Crisis
- 03.09.06 — TXDOT Update on Texas and Central Texas Freight Studies
- 11.10.05 — SH 130 Report
- 11.10.05 — SH 130 Update
- 10.13.05 — Austin-San Antonio Commuter Rail District Update
- 09.08.05 — Capital Metro All Systems Go! Update
This two and half hour forum was offered to Chamber members interested in learning which agencies are responsible for addressing congestion in the region, obstacles and solutions. Below is the agenda and copies of the presentations from the forum.
- Planning Central Texas Transportation Infrastructure
- Funding Transportation Infrastructure: Issues & Approaches
- Building and Maintaining Central Texas Highways
- Transit—Capital Metro
- Transit—Austin-San Antonio Commuter Rail District
This forum focused on the transportation financial crisis and how regional transportation projects are funded and funding trends and challenges. Below are the agenda, speaker bios and copies of the presentations from the forum.
Health Care Reform
Side by Side Legislative Comparison Tool
Kaiser Family Foundation — review healthcare bills side-by-side with this legislative comparison tool.
StateHealthFacts.org — provides the latest state-level data on demographics, health, and health policy, including health coverage, access, financing, and state legislation and budgets.
The Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard, 2009 — Use the map to view state-specific rankings and results compared to benchmarks, and to view the number of lives and dollars each state could save by achieving benchmark levels of performance. Use the tool on the right to select years, performance indicators, and states for comparison and then generate custom, downloadable tables and bar charts.
District by District Impact of HB 3962 — the 2-pagers include information on the impact of the legislation on each district's small businesses, seniors in Medicare, health care providers, and the uninsured. It also includes an estimate of the impacts of the surtax that is used to pay for the legislation.
"The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform" – 9/30/2009 — Urban Institute Report takes a state-by-state look at the impact that failing to reform health care would have on insurance coverage, government, employer and family spending report (Texas is on p. 57)
"Insurance Reform: Leveling the Playing Field? Should there be a new federal law and regulations to broaden coverage and make the market work better for individuals and small businesses?" – 10/2009 — Health Affairs/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brief takes a close look at potential health insurance reforms, explaining what different proposed reforms could mean for individuals and the country as a whole
"Connecting American Values with Health Reform" – 2009 — 11 essay set on American foundational values and their policy implications as they relate to healthcare reform — Hastings Center
"Health Care Reform: The Perils of Inaction and the Promise of Effective Action" 09/2009 — Hewitt Associates
"Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth" 09/2009 — Brookings Institute"
The Cost of Current "Policy"" – 09/2009 — US Budget Watch provides long-term deficit projections under current law and current policy
"Options to Pay for Health Care Reform" – 07/2009 — US Budget Watch offers over 60 tax and spending options which could help pay for the costs of health care reform.
"Different Measures for Analyzing Current Proposals to Reform Health Care" 10/2009 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — details the CBOs methodology for analyzing the fiscal impact of reform on federal budget deficits and on the magnitude of the federal budgetary commitment to health care
US Budget Watch, A Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Project — Provides financial analysis of Congressional legislation including a summary of major metrics (such as cost of coverage provisions and deficit projections), healthcare costs and savings, gross cost of coverage provisions by year, the impact of the legislation on insurance coverage, and the budgetary impact by year Projected Federal Medicare and Medicaid spending under current law
"Health Insurance Fraud: An Overview" 06/2009 — George Washington University Medical Center School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Health Policy -Assesses fraud-related losses as a percentage of annual health care spending concluding that those losses alone are enough to cover the uninsured. Delves into the notion of health care fraud as a systemic issue affecting public and private insurers alike, in the individual market, the employer-sponsored group market, and public programs.
"Health Reform and Small Businesses" 11/2009 — Congressional Research Service
"The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business" – 06/2009 Small Business Majority
"The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Business and Their Employees" 07/2009 — Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisors"The High Cost of Small Business Health Insurance: Limited Options, Limited Coverage" — Hearing Before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations United States House of Representatives Testimony by Linda J. Blumberg, Urban Institute, covering the health insurance challenges facing small businesses and their workers
Employer Provided Health Insurance (ESI)
"Microhistory of Employee Benefits and Compensation in the United States, 1636-2009" 09/2009 Hewitt Associates
"Importance of Preserving and Strengthening Employer-Based Health Care System" – 05/2009 Written Statement by Kenneth L. Sperling ,Hewitt Associates for the Senate Finance Committee Roundtable Discussion On Expanding Coverage in Self-Insured and Fully Insured Markets
"Tax Subsidies for Private Health Insurance - Who Benefits and at What Cost?" – 07/2009 Update - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presents essential information about the structure and distribution of existing tax subsidies for employer-sponsored insurers (ESI) and the implications for policy options.
"Health Savings Accounts and High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans -Implications for Those with High Medical Costs, Low Incomes, and the Uninsured" – 02/2009 — Urban Institute and Brookings Institute Institution Tax Policy Center examines the tax structure and incentives built into HSAs and looks at HSAs impact on cost-containment, higher value shopping, and reductions in the uninsured.Employer Mandates
"Shared Responsibility": Should employers be required either to pay a substantial share of their employees' health insurance or to subsidize coverage of the uninsured? – 08/2009 Health Affairs/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Explores the concept of an employer mandate as well as the current state of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI)
Taxing Employer-Provided Insurance
"Taxing Health Insurance Plans Debate" – 07/2009 — Health Affairs/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Brief explores both sides of the debate over taxing health insurance benefits to pay for expanded coverage
"Changes to the Tax Exclusion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Premiums: A Potential Source of Financing for Health Reform," – 06/2009 — Urban Institute -Estimates the amount of revenue that could be raised from a range of proposals to cap or eliminate the tax exclusion, as well as which households would bear the brunt of taxation
Taxing Adjusted Gross Income Instead of Taxable Income 08/2009 — Urban Institute and Brookings Institute Institution Tax Policy Center Contains calculations for the proposed new surtax on high income individuals (shows the ratio to AGI of income taxed at ordinary rates, taxable income, capital gains and dividends, and exemptions and deductions for different income groups)
Exchanges and the Public Option
"Explaining Health Care Reform: What Are Health Insurance Exchanges?" – 05/2009 Kaiser Foundation
"Health Insurance Exchanges -Organizing Health Insurance Marketplaces to Promote Health Reform Goals" – 04/2009 — Urban Institute/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – reviews some of the key problems facing purchasers of insurance – whether they be individuals or employers – and outlines whether and how a public health insurance exchange might address them.
"Lessons for Health Reform from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Issue Brief" 08/2009 Urban Institute discusses exchanges and lessons learned using the FEHB as a model for such a marketplace, the nation's largest employer-sponsored health plan, to non-federal employees or replicating its features nationally is not feasible, lessons can be drawn from the program that enhance and inform federal reform efforts.
"Fork in the Road: Alternative Paths to a High Performance U.S. Health System" – 06/ 2009 Commonwealth Fund Report looks at three versions of a healthcare system that uses exchanges and public options
"Public Health Insurance Plan: Should some uninsured Americans be able to enroll in a newly created, publicly administered health plan as the nation works to expand health insurance coverage?" – 11/2009 — Health Affairs Policy Brief / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -The brief lays out the details of the plan, including who could enroll, who could receive subsidies to buy coverage, and the anticipated impact on health insurance premiums, and explores the key arguments for and against the public plan.
Health Reform Subsidy Calculator Tool — Premium Assistance for Coverage in Exchanges/Gateways — Kaiser Foundation illustrates premiums and government assistance under the types of reform proposals being considered in Congress for people under age 65 who purchase coverage on their own in an Exchange or Gateway and are not covered through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid.
Delivery System Reform
"Legislating Delivery System Reform: A 30,000-Foot View Of The 800-Pound Gorilla" – 2007 — Dr. William Sage, Health Affairs
"Can Accountable Care Organizations Improve the Value of Health Care by Solving the Cost and Quality Quandaries?" – 10/2009 Urban Institute — Looks at ACOs as a mechanism for providing coordinated care that is high quality and cost-efficient. Examines the definition of an ACO, design and implementation issues, and opportunities and challenges with the concept.
"Implementing Comparative Effectiveness Research: Priorities, Methods, and Impact" – 06/2009 — An Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and Hamilton Project Event Discussion Papers) – Brookings Institute
"A Macropolicy View of Comparative Effectiveness Research" 01/2009 – Brookings Institute
"Comparative Effectiveness Annual Report to the President and Congress" 2009 – Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research
"Prioritizing Comparative-Effectiveness Research" – 07/2009 — Institute of Medicine Recommendations New England Journal of Medicine
"Research on the Comparative Effectiveness of Medical Treatments: Issues and Options for an Expanded Federal Role" 12/2007 - Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Tort Reform Analysis – 10/2009 — CBO Hearing Before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations United States House of Representatives – Testimony by Linda J. Blumberg, Urban Institute – Testimony covers the health
"The Perverse Nature of the Medical Liability System" 03/2005 Joint Economic Committee
Research Organization Websites
Brookings Institute — a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC whose mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research rooted in open-minded inquiry and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations from scholars that represent diverse points of view.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget/US Budget Watch — a bipartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact.
Congressional Budget Office — CBO's mandate is to provide the Congress with objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.
Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President — this agency is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy and bases its recommendations and analysis on timely and authoritative economic research and empirical evidence.
Health Affairs — peer-reviewed, it is the leading journal of health policy thought and research.
Joint Committee on Taxation — bi-partisan Congressional Committee.
Kaiser Foundation — a non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the U.S., as well as the U.S. role in global health policy.
OpenCRS — online site to find Congressional Research Service reports not owned by CRS who works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation.
Urban Institute — non-partisan, independent, fact-based research and analysis.
- White House
- United States Senate
- United States House of Representatives
- THOMAS, Library of Congress — provides federal legislative information to the public and includes information in Congress, Congressional Record schedules, calendars, committee information, presidential nominations, treaties, and more.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce hosted the Texas Global Intellectual Property Leadership Summit November 22, 2010. Chief Intellectual Property leaders from the U.S., Korean, and World markets discussed the rapidly evolving international systems for safeguarding and enforcing trademark, copyright, and patent rights, the global importance of IP to corporate decision-making, and protecting market positions.
David J. Kappos,
LEE Soowon, Commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office
Innovation and invention are key characteristics of Austin's distinctive culture. Austin embraces new ideas in every field and from every source, from disruptive technology companies and world class research institutes to emerging musicians and artists. Consequently, Intellectual Property (IP) laws and trends have an enormous impact on the economic climate of Central Texas.
Notable changes to strategic IP leadership around the world are signaling an unprecedented opportunity for synergy among the major agencies and a game-changing shift in international cooperation that will forever alter how global IP laws and policies are developed, adopted, regulated and enforced. Visiting IP dignitaries will share timely information about this new engagement and IP-related initiatives for revitalizing both domestic and international economies with innovative and technologically robust products and services.
Today, the State of Texas, with a $1.2 trillion GDP, is home to more Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies than any other State in the country. In addition to these globally competitive companies, the Texas economy and its rich intellectual output is fueled by higher education assets and an ambitious entrepreneurial community. In the last year alone, these diverse economic engines helped to significantly increase startup firm creation in Texas, moving the State from a top 20 position to fourth in the country for entrepreneurial activity.
The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Programs provides incentives for film, animation, television, video games, and post-production. Qualifying projects can receive rebates on qualifying Texas production expenses, up to 29% for film and 7.5% for video game development.