March 05, 2024

TXCPA Advocacy – A Successful 2023 and a Look Ahead

By Kenneth Besserman, J.D.

The Texas Legislature ended the 88th regular session on May 29, 2023. Governor Greg Abbott then called four special sessions during the summer and fall, keeping legislators in Austin for much longer than they wanted. The session ended with two very important developments. The first was the House impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the second was the passage of the two-year state budget and using much of the $33 billion surplus, but no agreement could be reached during the regular session about the much talked about and promised property tax relief. 

During the second called special session in July 2023, the Legislature finally came to an agreement on property tax relief – an increase in the homestead exemption to $100,000 and over $5 billion put directly into public schools. Following the property tax special session, the Senate convened – only for the third time in its history – to hold a Senate trial on the impeachment of the Attorney General.

After more than two weeks, the Senate voted to not remove the Attorney General from office. In the fall, the Legislature was called back for two special sessions to debate the issue of school vouchers – educational savings accounts – the effort to give some state tax money to families to allow them to attend private schools. After much heated debate and political pressure, the school voucher efforts failed.

In the regular session, amidst the debate over the state budget, various social issues and property tax relief, TXCPA was able to pass two significant pieces of legislation to help with the CPA pipeline. The first, Senate Bill 159, now allows CPA candidates to begin to take the CPA Exam after completing 120 hours of education rather than the old requirement of having to complete 150 hours to take the Exam.

Second, working with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, House Bill 2217 will allow more accounting students to have access to accounting scholarship funds. By allowing testing to begin earlier and more financial resources available to students, these efforts will help to increase the CPA pipeline in Texas.

The TXCPA PAC is Vital for Our Legislative Efforts

These legislative efforts are only possible with the help of the TXCPA PAC. The PAC helps to nurture and cultivate legislative relationships, so TXCPA is in the best position to advocate for issues important to CPAs and the accounting profession. Efforts to diminish the CPA license continue and are slowly gaining an audience in the Legislature.

The PAC is even more important as we move into 2024 and 2025. The large number of legislative retirements, the extreme legislative acrimony that resulted from the Attorney General’s impeachment and the fight over school vouchers will make passing meaningful legislation more difficult in 2025.

Here’s how the TXCPA PAC is protecting your profession:

Access and visibility – The TXCPA PAC provides increased access to policy makers and elected officials. 

Mitigate potential threats – Members can actively counteract threats and ensure the profession’s interests are protected.

Advance our priorities and protect the CPA license – Together, we can have a collective impact on the legislative process and help shape policies that align with the profession’s interests and values.

Contribute to the TXCPA PAC to help us achieve our legislative goals for the accounting profession. Go to the website at https://bit.ly/txcpapac.

About the Author: Kenneth Besserman, J.D., is TXCPA’s Director of Government Affairs and Special Counsel. Contact him at kbesserman@tx.cpa.

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CHAIR
Tim Pike, CPA

PRESIDENT/CEO
Jodi Ann Ray, CAE, CCE, IOM

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Melinda Bentley, CAE

EDITORIAL BOARD CHAIR
Jennifer Johnson, CPA

Staff

MANAGING EDITOR
DeLynn Deakins
ddeakins@tx.cpa

COLUMN EDITOR
Don Carpenter, MSAcc/CPA

WEB EDITOR
Wayne Hardin

CLASSIFIEDS
DeLynn Deakins

Texas Society of CPAs
14131 Midway Rd., Suite 850
Addison, TX 75001
972-687-8550
ddeakins@tx.cpa

 

 

 

Editorial Board
Arthur Agulnek, CPA-Dallas;
Shivam Arora, CPA-Dallas;
Derrick Bonyuet-Lee, CPA-Austin;
Aaron Borden, CPA-Dallas;
Don Carpenter, CPA-Central Texas;
Melissa Frazier, CPA-Houston;
Rhonda Fronk, CPA-Houston;
Aaron Harris, CPA-Dallas;
Baria Jaroudi, CPA-Houston;
Elle Kathryn Johnson, CPA-Houston;
Jennifer Johnson, CPA-Dallas;
Joseph Krupka, CPA-Dallas;
Lucas LaChance, CPA-Dallas, CIA;
Nicholas Larson, CPA-Fort Worth;
Anne-Marie Lelkes, CPA-Corpus Christi;
Bryan Morgan, Jr, CPA-Austin;
Stephanie Morgan, CPA-East Texas;
Kamala Raghavan, CPA-Houston;
Amber Louise Rourke, CPA-Brazos Valley;
Barbara Scofield, CPA-Permian Basin;
Nikki Lee Shoemaker, CPA-East Texas, CGMA;
Natasha Winn, CPAHouston.

Design/Production/Advertising
Media By Design, LLC
mediabydesign@gmail.com

CONTRIBUTORS
Melinda Bentley; Kenneth Besserman; Kristie Estrada; Holly McCauley; Craig Nauta; Kari Owen; April Twaddle

 

 

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