The Facts

* The Texas Open Meetings Act exempts deliberations regarding economic development activities from the public meetings requirement in section 551.087.

* Smaller and smaller businesses have been offered incentives in recent years, raising questions about the effectiveness of economic development tools. 

* Chapter 380 of the Local Government Code offers virtually unlimited authority to localities to pursue economic development for the broad definition of meeting an undefined “public purpose.”

* The economy is most prosperous when government stays out of the way, including when government purports to direct resources better than the market can. The substantial weight of history’s evidence has shown that central economic planning fails, and fails completely.


* Require local governments to create an economic development policy that clearly lays out the incentives that its governing body is willing to offer business prospects as part of its economic development negotiations.

* Allow a public comment and review period for all economic development agreements before the final vote on passage; at least two weeks after agreement is reached. 

* Require that local governments maintain active economic development agreements on the entity’s website that are accessible to all. 

* Consider restricting or repealing Section 551.087 of the Texas Open Meetings Act.