Attorney Trey Wilson - RL Wilson Law

25 August 2008

Time to Abolsih the TRCC?

This editorial was taken directly from the San Antonio Express News, and appeared on August 25, 2008:

On paper, the Texas Residential Construction Commission sounded like a good idea. The Legislature created it during the 2003 session to resolve disputes between homeowners and homebuilders and keep those disputes from entering arbitration and an already-clogged court system.

The commission might have been a model for homebuilder dispute resolution. But from the very start, it was plagued by political missteps that doomed it to failure.

Critics contended that the resolution process was already stacked against homeowners before the commission went to work. So it was incumbent on lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry — who appoints the nine commissioners — to create a new entity that leveled the playing field.

That wasn't likely to occur in Austin, where the campaign contributions and lobbyists of builders and developers are a potent force.

What happened, in fact, is that they tilted the field even further in the homebuilders' direction. By statute, six of the nine commission seats are designated for representatives of the homebuilding community. And the prescribed procedures placed additional costs and burdens of proof on homeowners.

The Texas Residential Construction Commission came up this year for its first review by the Sunset Advisory Commission. The sunset review process is supposed to eliminate waste and inefficiency in state agencies.

The sunset panel found a construction commission that was “fundamentally flawed.” “It's really doing more harm to homeowners than good,” the panel's executive director told the Express-News Austin Bureau.

The Sunset Advisory Commission recommends abolishing the Texas Residential Construction Commission. That's a recommendation that will be challenged mightily in the halls of the state Capitol.

But lawmakers — especially those inclined to rail against government waste — should heed the sunset review recommendation. More than being abolished, this once-promising, now-failed commission needs to be demolished.

Trey Wilson --Named By Scene in SA Magazine As One of San Antonio's Best Real Estate Litigation Attorneys -- September 2008 -- As voted on by peers