Lobbyists are in Austin now to protect massive tax breaks that local governments give to businesses.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, “One of the major programs — allowing local governments to enter into so-called Chapter 312 agreements to abate property taxes — must be reauthorized by lawmakers in 2019 if it is to continue,” . “A similar program allowing school districts to waive portions of a company’s property tax bill — known as Chapter 313 agreements — survived an effort to kill it during the 2017 legislative session. Such agreements are named for the sections of the state tax code covering them. ‘We simply have to have’ the ability to provide property tax breaks, said Tony Bennett, president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers. ‘Competition (for projects nationwide) is not going away, and your team has to have everything the other team has’ to win.”
There is no evidence that Chapter 312 and 313 agreements, when given to renewable energy projects, result in more jobs-increasing business investment in Texas.
When wind and solar farms are given these big tax breaks, it’s a transfer of wealth from regular ratepayers and taxpayers to big companies. That being the case—and adding in the fact that renewable projects create very few jobs, it is worth asking what exactly Texans have gotten for the more than $1 billion of local tax abatements that have subsidized renewable energy in Texas?