Office of the Governor Rick Perry

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Key Initiatives

  • Business Tax Reform

    For years, an outdated business tax structure had been placing an unfair burden on the state’s largest employers and while allowing other companies to make little or no contribution the state’s vital services. To explore the best approaches to resolve the disparity, Gov. Perry creating the Texas Tax Reform Commission which studied the state’s tax system and recommended improvements. When the 79th Legislature codified the Commission’s comprehensive business tax reform plan into law, Gov. Perry pledged to revisit the tax in subsequent sessions. As a result, the 81st Legislature responded to the governor’s call to raise the revenue exemption to $1 million, essentially extending a tax cut to approximately 40,000 small businesses in Texas.

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  • Medical Liability Reform

    Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, Texas passed sweeping medical liability reforms, returning balance to the medical liability system and reversing a trend of double-digit increases in liability insurance rates.

    The reforms included capping the amount of non-economic damages that could be awarded in medical liability lawsuits and stemming the tide of unmanageable increases in medical liability insurance costs for doctors and other health care providers. This halted the frivolous and excessive lawsuits that forced doctors to stop practicing in Texas, particularly in high-risk specialties like obstetrics, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, and enabled doctors to spend less time in the courtroom and more time in the examining room.

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  • Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform

    Governor Rick Perry has long championed property tax relief for Texans.  In 1999, as Lt. Governor, he helped pass a record $2 billion property tax cut for Texas homeowners. In May 2006 Governor Perry signed a historic school finance reform plan that has since saved property owners over $16.4 billion in taxes.

    Governor Perry also recognized that rising property appraisals were also causing the tax burden property owners across the state to grow rapidly. In response to this issue, Governor Perry created the Task Force on Appraisal Reform to conduct a study and make recommendations on how to address Texans’ continuing concerns over increasing appraisals. The task force held hearings throughout the state and issued a report on its recommendations in January 2007.  Since then several pieces of legislation have been passed to make specific reforms to the appraisal process.

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  • Tort Reform

    Frivolous lawsuits are not only one the top job killers in America, but were also hurting the quality and availability of healthcare across the state. Under Governor Perry’s leadership, Texas enacted several key legal reforms that are protecting the state’s economy and improving the availability of medical care.
    These reforms freed doctors from excessive medical liability insurance premiums that had been driven many doctors out of Texas and some out of medicine altogether, depriving Texans of needed medical care. They also stemmed a tide of frivolous and excessive litigation by ending class action abuse, protecting innocent parties from expensive product liability suits, reining in excessive punitive damages claims and cracking down on phony asbestos suits. Ultimately, the reforms imposed reasonable limitations on lawsuits while still allowing Texans with valid claims their day in court.

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  • Workers’ Compensation Reform

    In 2005, Governor Perry signed into law the most comprehensive organizational and policy reforms to the Texas workers’ compensation system since 1989.  The key provisions in House Bill 7 led to reduced bureaucracy and increases in efficiency by abolishing the old Workers’ Compensation Commission and moving its mission to a new division in the Texas Department of Insurance governed by a single, appointed commissioner.  In addition, the legislation created workers’ compensation networks and the Office of Injured Employee Counsel, enhanced benefits for injured employees, provided TDI with the authority to mandate rate reductions, and renewed focus on returning injured employees to work.

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