Economic Development

Texas has received numerous honors in recent years including the “Best State for Business,” #1 for private sector job growth, the top exporting state for 14 consecutive years and the “Top State for Fortune 500 Headquarters.” To continue to be a national leader in economic development, we must take steps in the 85th Legislative Session to maintain that leadership role by investing in future job and economic growth. We must provide the state and local entities tools to compete for corporate relocations and expansions. In addition, TAB will work hard to “Keep Texas Open for Business” by ensuring that businesses (which make up more than 60 percent of the tax base) are heard regarding any proposed legislation that hinders employers from being able to recruit talent.

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 to support measures that provide businesses in Texas a competitive advantage when making decisions to invest capital. TAB supports the following measures in the area of economic development:

Economic Development Programs. Continue support for state and local tools used to compete for corporate expansions/relocations and job growth, such as 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. TAB supports refreshing the Texas Enterprise Fund with adequate funding to keep it competitive by maintaining a $200 million balance at the beginning of each biennium.

Education Tax Incentives. Support legislative efforts to provide tax incentives to encourage business participation in education initiatives.

Feeding Texas Program. Support an increase in funding from $6.9 million to $22 million for the biennium for Feeding Texas’ Surplus Agricultural Product Grant Program.

Innovation. Maintaining a vibrant and innovative economy will be dependent on our ability to create and cultivate innovation-intensive companies, and greater research and commercialization capacities.

  • Support investment in world-class research to spur groundbreaking innovation, including the Governor’s University Initiative.
  • Support the promotion of and leveraging partnerships between private industry and academia, thus bridging the gap between innovation occurring on the campuses of Texas universities and the marketplace.
  • Provide pilot proof of concept funding to accelerate university tech transfer and commercialization.
  • Maintain R&D tax credit.
  • Oppose any unnecessary regulations or legal or legal requirements that increase cost, reduce consumer choice, hamper innovation, and limit technology advancement and availability.

Investment Capital. Support entrepreneurs and small businesses via a healthy ecosystem of capital to attract, grow and retain companies in Texas. Innovative, high-growth companies require significant and specialized capital resources.

  • Establish and promote slight preference for in-state money managers over out-of-state managers in public investment, all other investment objectives and past performance being equal.
  • Support the development of a domestic venture industry through the use of long-term incentives.
  • Support investment in rural Texas.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)/Recruitment of Talent. Oppose legislation that would broaden the current RFRA or other legislation that is seen as discriminatory and would impact workforce recruitment and/or cause a negative economic impact on the state.

Rural Economic Development.

Support state-appropriated economic development funds for rural areas. Also, 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 ½-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.

Support TexasOne™. Support the mission of TexasOneTM, which is to create a public-private partnership to market Texas in a dynamic and competitive manner. TexasOneTM is funded through private contributions by businesses, organizations and individuals interested in the promotion of the business climate, economic development and job creation the state of Texas.

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.

Texas Commission on the Arts.  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.

Texas 2050 Plan: A Framework for Long-Term Economic Growth. Support Texas 2050: A Framework for Long-Term Economic Growth in order to continue the level of economic development success that Texas has received in recent years. The plan, developed and endorsed by a broad-range of statewide business groups, includes taking a long-term view of human capital, investment capital, innovation, education, tools to compete and infrastructure.