Last week, I attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 41st Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas. ALEC brings together a diverse group of state legislators, policy analysts, private sector leaders, and the public who discuss and promote reforms that advance free markets, limited government, and federalism at the state level.
I had the opportunity to present during the Fiscal Policy Reform Working Group meeting on the Sales Tax Relief (STaR) Fund, a mechanism state legislators could use to temporarily lower tax rates over a specified period. Though the video is not available of this presentation, you can watch my presentation on this topic during a panel discussion at TPPF’s Free Market Summit “Texas at a Turning Point” earlier this year.
While at ALEC, Jennifer DePaul, a Senior Reporter of State Tax Notes at Tax Analysts, interviewed me about the state’s economic incentives to companies, such as the dollars from the Texas Enterprise Fund.
In her article entitled “Texas Legislators Evaluating Incentive Programs” (behind a paywall), she points to a report by Good Jobs First showing that the Lone Star State ranks seventh in the nation for handing out the highest total subsidies.
She notes my key points regarding this issue by the following statement: “Texas should make its tax system as competitive as possible so that tax incentives aren’t necessary to lure businesses to the state. One way to do that would be to eliminate the state’s franchise tax so that businesses have more revenue to create jobs.”
With Texas House Speaker Joe Straus creating the Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives to examine the costs and benefits of state incentive programs, this use of taxpayer dollars will receive much needed attention going into the 2015 Legislative Session.
In front of this Select Committee, TPPF’s VP of Research Bill Peacock testified on how best to advance the Texas model: “Texas should reduce or eliminate current economic development programs while restraining growth in overall government spending and regulation. This is the path toward expanding the prosperity of all Texans.”