Joint Committee Examines Private Activity Bonds
Private Activity Bonds are issued by Texas governmental bodies for various purposes, such as to provide low interest loans to first time home buyers and new projects to process Texas agricultural products. Under federal guidelines, the state can issue up to $1.6 billion dollars in bonds for such projects. Today, Tuesday, March 26, 2002, the Joint Interim Committee On Private Activity Bonds examined how effective such programs are.
The bonds can also finance student loans, small rural industrial developments, multi-family housing, and sewage, solid waste, and hazardous waste disposal facilities.
Monica Kasparek, Administrator of the Private Activity Bond Program at the Texas Bond Review Board briefed the members on which bonds had been issued for various projects across the state. The members wanted to ensure that the board supplied them with details on how the bonds are being used. A report about those used will be issued to the 78th Legislature. Other questions centered on how bond money could be carried over from one fiscal year to the next.
During public testimony, CEO Barry Hogan of Duratherm, Inc., testified that his industry has a difficult time getting funding for developing new technologies and that such bonds can be a great help. Duratherm recycles hazardous petroleum waste in Galveston. Other speakers represented various local housing finance corporations.
The committee is chaired by Senator Jon Lindsay and Representative Kip Averitt. Members include Senators David Bernsen and Carlos Truan, as well as Representatives Bill Carter and Chuck Hopson. It is scheduled to file its final report with the Speaker of the House and Lieutenant Governor's office no later than November 15, 2002. The committee recessed subject to call of the chair.