The location of today’s hearing is essential. Fort Worth is home to the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, the largest Joint Reserve Base in the nation. The base opened in 1994 following the 1991 round of federal government base closures in which Fort Worth lost Carswell Air Force Base sending “west Fort Worth into an economic tailspin”. Since the opening of the Naval Air Station JRB in Fort Worth, the economic advantages have been undeniable. The Texas Comptroller estimates that in 2015, the base was responsible for direct employment of 17,466 people and contributed $6.6 billion to the Texas economy, yet local Republican lawmakers have voted against protecting the base from 2021 federal government closures.
Texas lawmakers have taken important steps to protect Naval Air Station JRB and other bases from closure
In 2015, with the help of local officials like Fort Worth City Councilman Jungus Jordan, state lawmakers easily passed Senate Bill 318. The bill allows Texas military communities to increase their request to the state for Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant Program funds from $2 million to $5 million. The grants allow for local community improvements that make Texas bases less susceptible to the next round of federal government base closures, otherwise known as Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
Burton and Zedler abandon Tarrant County’s military community
State Senator Konni Burton (SD10-Colleyville) and State Rep. Bill Zedler (HD96-Arlington) stiff-armed the wishes of local officials and abandoned the tens of thousands of Tarrant County residents who rely on Naval Air Station JRB for their everyday economic success by voting against Senate Bill 318. By voting against military community grants, Konni Burton and Bill Zedler put their inflexible ideology ahead of creating jobs, protecting a vital Texas industry and promoting the United States military.
Military bases are critical to the Texas economy
Military communities are integral to the economic success and security of Texas. Military instillations are responsible for contributing $150 billion dollars to the Texas economy and employ over a quarter million people. Most state lawmakers of both parties understand the economic necessity of military bases and have worked together to prevent Texas communities from being subject to the next round of BRAC. It’s inexcusable that Burton and Zedler either just don’t get it or they just don’t care.