AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation's Center for Local Governance will host a policy panel entitled, "Economic Development: On the Backs of Taxpayers or by their Bootstraps?" at the 12th Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature on Thursday, January 9, at 9:45 a.m. at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol.

"Texas' local governments are increasingly turning to economic-development tools to spur business investment and job growth in their communities," said James Quintero, Director of TPPF's Center for Local Governance. "But research suggests that these policies threaten to undermine transparency and accountability, two critical values that Texans have come to expect of their government officials."

Panelists include:

  • James Quintero (moderator) is the Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
  • Benjamin Powell, Ph.D., is the Director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. Dr. Powell is also a Senior Fellow with the Independent Institute and the North American Editor of the Review of Austrian Economics.
  • Art Martinez de Vara, J.D., is the mayor of Von Ormy, Texas, business attorney, historian, and publisher. He has a Doctor of Law and Master's degree from St. Mary's University.
  • Carlton Schwab is the President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council, an Austin-based, nonprofit professional association dedicated to bringing new investment and jobs to Texas.
  • Bennett Sandlin is the Executive Director of the Texas Municipal League. Mr. Sandlin is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and has previously worked at the Municipal Affairs Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office.

For twelve years, the Foundation's Policy Orientation has been one of the nation's top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. Last year's Policy Orientation attracted approximately 1,100 attendees including 100 state legislators and hundreds of legislative staff from both sides of the aisle.

This year's program includes more than 25 panel discussions and debates on the major issues affecting Texas' future.  The program will be updated with additional events and speakers in the coming weeks. Members of the public and media who wish to attend may register and view the agenda here:

James Quintero is Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. As a Senior Policy Analyst with the Center for Fiscal Policy, Quintero concentrated on restricting the growth of taxation, appropriations reform, increasing governmental transparency, and instituting expenditure limits. Quintero holds an MPA with an emphasis on Public Finance from Texas State University. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.


Primary website:

Facebook page:

Twitter feed: