AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation released today the policy paper, Hidden from Public View: Increasing the Transparency of the Chapter 312 and 313 Tax Abatement Process.
The paper, authored by TPPF’s Vice President of Research Bill Peacock and Policy Analyst Cutter Gonza´lez, examines how property tax abatements under Chapters 312 and 313 of the Texas Tax Code allows entities such as counties and school districts to reduce the amount of taxes paid by favored businesses within their geographic boundaries.
These tax abatement deals are often used by renewable energy developers in addition to state and federal subsidies to turn a profit on what would otherwise be an unprofitable investment in highly inefficient renewable energy.
“The process of getting an abatement under Chapters 312 and 313 of the Texas Tax Code is complicated and often leaves taxpayers in the dark,” said Gonza´lez. “It’s easy to get tangled up in the details, preventing oversight and accountability in government. It is imperative that Texans understand this process so they can make informed policy decisions about the financial futures of their local governments.”
Exemptions from Texas’ Open Meetings and Public Information Acts mean that negotiations over property tax abatements between the taxing entities and private businesses usually take place behind closed doors.
“Exemptions in open meetings and public information laws for local tax abatements cut the public out of the decision-making process,” said Peacock. “With citizens kept in the dark, most public input on the abatements occurs only after cities, counties and school districts have negotiated deals with businesses seeking special treatment and decided to move forward.”
To read the full report, please visit:
For more information, please contact Alicia Pierce at [email protected] or 512-472-2700.
Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility.