Texas has been the national leader in economic development, and we must take steps in the 2015 Legislative Session to maintain that leadership role. TAB will again work with lawmakers this legislative session to invest in future job and economic growth through successful incentive programs.
Much of Texas' progress in the past decade is attributable to Texas' commitment to economic development so it is the focus of TAB to continue support measures that provide business in Texas a competitive advantage when making decisions to invest capital. TAB supports the following measures in the area of economic development:
Creative Industries (Arts and Culture). Support increased funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts to foster the growth of the arts and culture industries throughout the state, resulting in job creation and increased cultural tourism.
Economic Development Programs. Continue support for the Texas Enterprise Fund, the Texas Enterprise Zone Fund and the tax incentives available under the Texas Economic Development Act under Chapter 313 of the Tax Code.
Education Tax Incentives. Support legislative efforts to provide tax incentives to encourage business participation in education initiatives.
Electricity Costs. As Texas continues to grow and in order to ensure that business can continue to expand and attract new investment, the state must consider the overall, delivered cost of electricity and the establishment of regulatory policies that allow for appropriate capital investment in Texas’ electric infrastructure. Electricity costs and a reliable electric grid system are key inputs to the success of Texas businesses. TAB supports policies that:
- Continue the promotion of competitive electric markets in all areas of the state to spur fair competition in the best interest of all consumers, energy producers and businesses.
- Promote a balanced approach to cost efficient expansion of the electric grid system by regulated utilities to improve and expand the system in order to maintain reliable service.
- Implement new technologies that are market-ready to encourage energy efficiency and to meet the state’s growing energy needs.
- Allow for appropriate expansion and mitigation of transmission congestion without unduly burdening the existing customer base.
- Create incentives for the development of generation capacity in places that minimize the overall cost to produce and deliver the electricity.
- Oppose policies that work to increase electricity costs without a corresponding benefit, or that favor one technology or group of customers over others through manipulation of markets.
Energy and Economic Development.
- Support healthy economic growth in Texas by promoting the production of adequate supplies of all forms of energy at competitive prices.
- Oppose increased taxes and fees on energy sources with the exception of fees that will be dedicated to regulatory programs that will improve the oversight and approval of energy development projects.
- Eliminate tax inequities between energy sources.
- Discourage the use of subsidies that distort market economics.
- Encourage the conservation of resources.
- Balance environmental quality objectives against the actual impacts of energy production and usage and the public welfare benefits of lower energy costs.
Rural Economic Development.
- Support state-appropriated economic development funds for rural areas.
- Support expansion of the ability of the Texas Agriculture Finance Authority (TAFA) to finance economic development activities in rural areas and streamline TAFA to make it more “user-friendly.”
Sales Tax for Economic Development.
- Support continued use of a locally approved 1/2 cent sales tax collected by cities to fund economic development efforts.
- Oppose efforts to reduce local control of these funds or efforts to limit the uses of these funds. Because these funds are local funds, taxpayers should retain the right to manage their use so long as they are used for economic development purposes.
- Support the removal of county average wage restrictions that limit a local government’s use of these funds for local job training purposes.
- Support efforts to clarify that the purpose of the sales tax funds is to serve as economic development tools and to prevent raids on the funds for projects that are not related to economic development.
Skills Development Program. Support increased funding for the Skills Development Program administered by the Texas Workforce Commission. Maintain Skills Development Fund grants at the Texas Workforce Commission to improve workforce training.
Tax abatements and other economic development incentives. Continue to support local control and flexibility in the use of tax abatements, tax increment financing, reinvestment zones and other incentives to promote economic development and job creation.
Telemarketing. Support efforts to develop additional jobs while maintaining the more than 300,000 jobs held by Texans in the telemarketing industry. Support better enforcement of existing fraud and consumer protection laws while opposing efforts to impose additional regulatory burdens on businesses that use telemarketing. Support adequate resources for law enforcement and various state agencies to eliminate fraud and provide protection to Texas consumers and businesses, while not placing undue restraints on legitimate telemarketing businesses.