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Local Priorities

The Greater Houston Partnership works with our city and county leaders to foster a thriving business environment and economic development which is critical to making Houston greater. In order to advance the Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership supports city and county policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent.

Violent Crime and Public Safety

Like many other metropolitan cities across the nation, Houston has been experiencing a recent uptick in criminal and violent activity. Additionally, Harris County is facing over 100,000 in backlogged criminal court cases stemming from the impacts of both Hurricane Harvey's destruction of the criminal court building and the operational disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of these backlogged cases have been sitting unaddressed for close to four years.

Without a functional and timely court system and operating with a sensible bail structure for violent crimes, those who seek to commit these crimes will continue to act with impunity. 

The Greater Houston Partnership is supporting our local leaders as they work to address the increase in violent crimes, improve public safety and providing law enforcement the support they need, and invest critical resources to clear out the backlog of cases.   

Economic Development

The Partnership promotes policies, programs, and investments which encourage inclusive economic development in the greater Houston region and across its major industry sectors, including energy, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, commercial aerospace and aviation, and digital technology. Economic development initiatives help to maintain a diverse local economy, while creating and retaining jobs, and improving the quality of life of greater Houston.

The Partnership believes competitive economic development tools are critical to bringing new businesses to the region and growing our economy, and the Partnership stands ready to work with all stakeholders and policymakers to develop new opportunities that will serve as economic engines for our region.

KEI Meta - Building Contracts

Infrastructure Opportunities

Congress recently passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which provided $550 billion in new spending for infrastructure projects relating to transportation (including transit, highway, and freight), energy and power grid infrastructure, broadband, electric vehicles, and flood mitigation. This once in a generation opportunity contains over 130 competitive grant opportunities offering a total of $120 billion in project funding. The Partnership works with our public and private partners to develop priorities for the Houston region and strategies to capture resources.

Transportation

Given the interdependency of our regional, national, and international markets, maximizing the region’s economic prosperity depends on efficiently moving goods and people throughout the region. 
 
The Partnership supports the Federal Highway Administration's working with the Texas Department of Transportation, local officials, and complainants to resolve and conclude its evaluation of the I-45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) [link to page]. An expeditious evaluation of the FHWA’s concerns under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related environmental justice issues regarding the NHHIP will allow this critical project to move forward. 

The NHHIP can be a transformative project to alleviate congestion, enhance safety, expand transit options, and address flood mitigation and disaster evacuation needs. While the project is on hold, improvements are challenging to make within the existing Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement. It is important that existing concerns are evaluated and resolved so that this project can improve mobility, connectivity, air quality and achieve logistical efficiencies, while simultaneously attracting new investment into our region.

The Partnership has long-supported investments in the region's transit infrastructure. The Partnership urged voters' passage of the $3.5 billion METRO Next bond program, and the organization takes an active interest in the program's leveraging of federal funds and implementation.

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Flood Mitigation

Strengthening infrastructure in coastal areas is important, especially when that coastal area is also the Energy Capital of the World. The Partnership supports the construction of a coastal barrier to protect residents and critical industry from the hazards of severe weather events and storm surge. 
 
The Partnership supports the efforts between local officials, the congressional delegation, the Corps, and the non-federal sponsors – the Texas General Land Office and the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD) – to move this project forward. 
 
Preventative infrastructure projects, like the Coastal Barrier, can help mitigate the devastation from a catastrophic storm surge and save the tens of billions of dollars in disaster recovery funding by protecting vulnerable communities. Impacts to the Houston Ship Channel alone would disrupt the annual handling of nearly 250 million tons of cargo, over $800 billion in annual economic activity, over three million jobs, and the supply of approximately 60 percent of the nation’s jet fuel and 30 percent of the nation’s gasoline. The coastal barrier is also an investment in our national economic security. The Houston region is home to one of the largest concentrations of refining and petrochemical complexes in the world, and a storm’s direct hit to the unprotected ship channel would have devastating economic consequences across our nation. 
 
Inland, the Partnership champions city and county investments in flood mitigation. The Partnership is a long-time supporter of the 2018 Harris County Flood Control District $2.5 billion bond program. We are pleased that all of the bond program projects have been initiated and support their timely construction. The Partnership urges the adoption by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of a state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) mitigation program amendment, which would allocate at least $750 million in resources for flood mitigation projects in Harris County. The Partnership urges increased investment in Harris County and a direct allocation to the City of Houston for CDBG mitigation funds.

Houston Ship Channel Expansion

The Partnership supports the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel to provide safe and efficient transit for each vessel traversing the busiest deep-draft trade waterway in the nation. With the project included in WRDA passed by Congress at the end of 2020 and $142 million in Corps funding included in the agency's FY 2022 work plan, we continue to work collaboratively with local officials, the federal government, Port of Houston Authority, and private industry to ensure the project's completion.

Port of Houston

Houston's Energy Transition

Because of the region’s position as the Energy Capital of the World, the Partnership and its member companies pursue federal policies that invest in Houston’s position in leading the global energy transition and creating high-quality, high-growth jobs. Last fall, the Partnership launched the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI). Through this initiative, the Partnership embraces the dual challenge of the energy transition by meeting growing global demand for energy while lowering emissions. 
 
Within HETI, the Partnership engages in industry-led working groups across a handful of issues. The work groups leverage Houston’s energy leadership to accelerate global solutions for a low-carbon future. Members collaborate to develop low carbon technologies, including carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, energy storage and innovations associated with the circular economy. Working group members also identify solutions for the decarbonization of industrial assets, capital and funding needs, and university research and innovation ecosystem infrastructure. 
 
There is tremendous business opportunity in addressing the dual challenge through developing and scaling technologies, creating and servicing markets for the global energy mix, and investing in energy priorities. If no action is taken to respond to the changing energy landscape, Houston could lose up to 650,000 jobs in a 1.5 Celsius Pathway that calls for CO2 emissions to drop by 90 percent by 2050. With decisive action for Houston to lead in the energy transition, Houston could gain up to 560,000 additional jobs by 2050.
 
Through leveraging members’ experience and expertise, the Partnership works with local governments to advance the region's energy competitiveness and secure Houston’s position as a leader in the global energy transition. In the City of Houston, the Partnership supported the development of the City's Climate Action Plan and Resilient Houston strategy. The Partnership channeled the business community's voice in the development of these plans. The organization is engaged in the Climate Action Plan development at Harris County.

Green Space & Park Development

To be a more resilient city and improve our region's quality of life, Houston must have thriving parks. The Greater Houston Partnership is active in the 50/50 Park Partners program, alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department, and the Houston Parks Board. The program drives positive social, environmental, and economic change through creating long-term relationships for sustained impact between businesses, communities, and parks.

Learn more about becoming a 50/50 Park Partner

Hermann Park trail crowd

Convening to Make an Impact

The Partnership's impact work happens through Committees, which convene business and community leaders to fuel the growth and vitality of the Houston region. 

Public Policy Updates

Related News

Public Policy

2023 Ballot Initiatives - Week 2

10/5/23
In the weeks before early voting, the Greater Houston Partnership will share essential information on the 2023 ballot initiatives that will impact our region. This week, we focus on state Propositions 8 and 10, which would allow Texas to expand its broadband infrastructure and become more competitive in attracting the medical and biomedical manufacturing industries. We will also go deeper into Harris County’s bond proposal, which would upgrade and enhance the hospital district’s facilities.  Prop 8: Bridging Texas' digital divide Equitable access to reliable, high-speed broadband provides economic opportunities to all Texans, and investment in broadband expansion enables local communities to thrive. However, U.S. Census Bureau data indicate almost 2.8 million Texas households and 7 million people lack broadband access. To close this digital divide, Proposition 8 creates the constitutionally dedicated Broadband Infrastructure Fund (BIF). The BIF will assist in financing connectivity projects and invest $1.5 billion toward expanding broadband infrastructure around the state, enabling Texas to successfully draw down funds from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, & Deployment (BEAD) Program. If approved by the voters, Proposition 8 will ensure our communities remain connected, competitive, and adaptable in the face of whatever challenges and opportunities tomorrow may bring. Prop 10: Boosting Texas' medical manufacturing competitiveness As Texas strives to become a hub for life sciences, our state needs to become a more attractive place for companies in the medical and biomedical industry to relocate.  By the numbers: Texas has one of the highest effective tax rates for the medical and biomedical manufacturing sector, taxing these businesses over 28%. For comparison, none of Texas’ largest competitors taxes the same industry more than 13.5%.  Proposition 10 is a constitutional amendment to exempt medical and biomedical manufacturers from the state’s inventory and equipment taxes, therefore reducing the effective tax rate for these manufacturers. If voters approve Proposition 10, Texas would be more attractive for existing medical and biomedical manufacturers to expand while also drawing new innovators to Texas from around the country and around the world.  Harris County Prop A: One step closer to urgent expansion The Harris Health System, our county’s hospital district, has provided care and served the residents of Harris County for nearly six decades. Acting as the county’s safety net care system and operating one of our two Level I Trauma Centers, the system is an integral part of our health care ecosystem.  By the numbers: Harris County's population has more than doubled in the past 30 years to nearly five million residents, while the facilities run by Harris Health have decreased in capacity, and many are nearing the end of their lifespans. This drastic increase in population over the decades has necessitated the need for an additional Level I Trauma Center, especially one located outside of the Texas Medical Center that is more easily accessible to all residents.  Harris County Proposition A seeks voter approval of a $2.5 billion bond issuance for constructing a new Level I Trauma Center, a new hospital, and other upgrades and investments in the Harris Health system’s facilities.  Important Election Information:  View the Greater Houston Partnership’s Ballot 2023 Initiative Guide before you head to the polls.  Important Election Information:  Last day to register to vote: Oct. 10 Early Voting: Oct. 23 – Nov. 3 General Election Day: Nov. 7 You may find more information on voting and polling locations here. Find more information on each of these ballot measures supported by the Greater Houston Partnership at Houston.org/2023ballot.
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Public Policy

2023 Ballot Initiatives - Week 1

9/29/23
In the weeks before early voting, the Greater Houston Partnership will share essential information on key ballot initiatives impacting our region. This week, we focus on state propositions 5 and 6, which would allow Texas to invest in its higher education system and improve deteriorating water infrastructure. The 2023 Ballot On November 7, Texas will hold a statewide general election, allowing voters to decide on 14 to the state’s constitution. Since Houston will be the only major city in Texas conducting local elections, Houston voters will disproportionately impact the statewide results. In this general election, Texas could invest in its higher education system, improve deteriorating water infrastructure, expand equitable broadband access, and incentivize biomedical manufacturing and job creation. In addition, Harris County could receive much-needed funds to enhance and expand the Harris Health System. Proposition 5: Boosting Texas Universities with $3.4B Fund A strong college-educated talent pipeline is becoming increasingly important to attract the companies and investments that can power economies for decades. There are just two national top 50 public universities in Texas: The University of Texas at Austin (ranked 9th) and Texas A&M (ranked 20th). Consequently, Texas is ranked 23rd nationally in the number of students attending a top 50 public university.  With the goal of elevating other Texas universities to top-50 status and improving Texas’ competitiveness, the 2023 Legislature passed House Bill 1595 and House Joint Resolution 3, which will establish the Texas University Fund (TUF). The TUF is a permanent $3.4 billion research endowment that will appropriate up to $100 million dollars annually to four Texas public universities, including the University of Houston.  Why it matters: This historic investment will strengthen Texas’ higher education institutions by providing the necessary funding to improve Texas universities’ national rankings, which will help the state attract top talent and reduce “brain drain.” Additionally, it will allow Texas schools to compete for federal research grants, secure private research funding, drive increased alumni support, and position Texas as a top destination for premier higher education.   What’s next: Establishing the fund is contingent on voters passing Proposition 5. The Partnership urges support for the constitutional amendment creating the Texas University Fund, which will expand educational opportunities for all Texas students and strengthen the state’s economy. Proposition 6: One positive step toward addressing looming water challenges According to the most recent State Water Plan, the population in Texas is expected to grow by 73 percent from 2020 to 2070, while the water demands are projected to rise by nine percent. Meanwhile, the existing water supply is expected to decline by around 18 percent. The result would be a crisis-level water shortage of 6.9 million acre-feet per year by 2070. To address this need, the Texas Legislature passed a constitutional amendment to establish the New Water Supply Fund, the Texas Water Fund, and the Statewide Water Public Awareness Account and put dollars toward crumbling water infrastructure across the state. The measure will help address future shortfalls by enabling the state to take on new water infrastructure projects, thereby increasing access to water for residents.   What’s next: Establishing these funds and funding is contingent on voters passing Proposition 6. The Partnership urges support for the constitutional amendment creating the Texas Water Fund to assist in financing water projects in Texas. Important Election Information: Early Voting: Oct. 23 – Nov. 3 General Election Day: Nov. 7 Find more information on voting and polling locations. Find more information on each of these ballot measures supported by the Greater Houston Partnership at Houston.org/2023ballot.
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Become a Member Today

Interested in joining the Partnership? Take the next step and learn how you can make an impact on Houston.

Get in touch with our team to:

  • Learn more about the Partnership's policy priorities
  • Get involved in a policy committee and meet industry peers 
  • Help shape the Partnership's policy initiatives
Taylor Landin
Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Public Policy
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tlandin@houston.org
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713-844-3624
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Partnership Staff
Executive Partners