First Bill of Session Signed Into Law by Gov. Perry
SB 252 Will Provide Local Leaders Greater Ability to Protect Military Installations
Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law SB 252, which allows local officials to use a portion of sales tax revenue on projects that improve the value of military installations. SB 252 is the first bill passed by the 79th Texas legislature to receive the governor's signature.
"Today Texas is taking a significant step to support the mission of our armed forces and the communities that are proud to be home to one of the state's 18 military installations," Perry said. "I am proud to sign into law Senate Bill 252 because it will empower local leaders to take a more proactive role in improving and protecting the military installations that are an essential part of the war on terror, an important component of the local economy and a tremendous source of community pride."
SB 252 will allow local communities to use sales tax revenue collected in their communities toward military installation improvements. Bill author Sen. Craig Estes and House sponsor Rep. Dianne Delisi joined Perry at the bill signing ceremony.
"As the Base Realignment and Closure process moves forward at the federal level, giving local leaders the ability to make such investments is critical to retaining our bases and the civilian jobs that depend on them or even attracting new missions and additional personnel," Perry said. "The fact that this is the first bill to become law in the 79th Legislative Session says something about our commitment to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces."
Perry noted that in recent months Texas has taken unprecedented steps to increase the value of Texas bases and welcome a greater military presence in our state. Texas committed to making $36 million in transportation infrastructure improvements at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss to support an additional 8,800 troops that will be relocated to those bases.
The state also committed $13 million in transportation improvements at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana and will create a new Arabic language degree program at Angelo State University that will directly benefit the U. S. Department of Defense's Defense Language Institute at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo. Both the Red River Army Depot funding and the Arabic language program are contingent upon the Department of Defense expanding military missions or workloads at these bases.
Texas has also committed $5.2 million to upgrade the Port of Corpus Christi, and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi will be receiving more than $5 million from a newly created low-interest loan fund for critical infrastructure improvements to enhance its capabilities and increase its value to the U.S. Armed Forces.