Open Government Advocates Celebrate State Tax Transparency Winposted on 1.31.2022
The State of Texas will continue to collect and maintain publicly accessible records on Texas’ controversial Chapter 313 tax incentive program used to recruit out-of-state businesses to relocate here.
The program, which the Texas Legislature failed to renew in the 2021 regular session, allows the awarding of significant school property tax discounts to manufacturing firms and energy companies. It is set to expire at the end of 2022.
After a vociferous public outcry, the Comptroller’s Office will not pursue a proposal unveiled last fall that would have curtailed collection and release of detailed information on the corporate school tax breaks used as incentives to relocate or expand business in state.
“I’m not going to adopt it as proposed,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar told the Houston Chronicle last week. “The data that people are concerned about or want is still going to be available."
Transparency advocates took issue with the proposed move to curtail collection and release of the information, because the actual cost to taxpayers has yet to be fully determined due to the way the tax incentives are reported to the state.
Some lawmakers have publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the program because the return on investment has been lacking while the cost to taxpayers has been significant.
“Transparency is the key to the public believing that their money is being well spent,” St. Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, told the Chronicle.
A 2021 investigation by the newspaper determined the Chapter 313 program’s projected cost to taxpayers would total nearly $11 billion, which amounts to more than $200,000 in tax incentives for each job created.
Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.
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