The Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) is prepared to lend its support to efforts targeting our state’s challenges. The 87th Legislative Session convenes to address these challenges on behalf of a dramatically diverse constituency against the backdrop of a fiscal and political climate that makes finding common ground difficult.

It is especially difficult when attempting to shape solutions for communities teetering on the brink of becoming socio-economic wastelands, where economic growth is often nonexistent, and where solutions to public education’s deficiencies, poverty, crime, welfare, discrimination, substance abuse, inadequate housing and high un- and underemployment are irrefutably linked. Effective policies to answer these challenges must be meaningfully balanced and holistic.

TAAACC believes Texas’ future as a national leader in economic vitality and social responsibility is at stake in this 87th Legislature.

We will advance our concerns to our elected representatives as evidence of our commitment to help ensure a productive and inclusive agenda for Texas.

1. Move oversight of the state’s HUB Program to the Governor’s Office. Currently housed in the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Texas HUB program deserves more attention than a mere accounting function. Direct responsibility in the Executive Branch empowers action and circumvents the perfunctory, check-the-box approach taken by many agencies.

2. Tie executive compensation to increased HUB utilization. While there are examples of exemplary performance in a handful of agencies, most Directors/Commissioners are not concerned that their agencies continue to deliver lackluster performance in HUB utilization.  Incentivizing performance is a proven tool in the private sector that can be easily implemented by the State of Texas.

3. Include HUB Coordinators in the contract award process. There is no question that the hardworking HUB coordinators around the state are more familiar with small, ethnic-minority-owned businesses vying for contract awards. Their input at the award stage of the letting process would result in increased utilization of HUB businesses.

4. STOP AWARDING CONTRACTS WITHOUT HUB PARTICIPATION! The single most effective strategy is to enforce compliance with existing regulations. This one action will communicate to both providers and procurement personnel that the status quo is unacceptable and will result in IMMEDIATE improvement in HUB utilization. Budgets of agencies that consistently fail to reach their published HUB participation goals should be capped at the level of their underutilization.