Why Tax Incentives Are Bigger in Texas
The Austin City Council is holding a public hearing today on proposed tax incentives for Visa, which wants to expand operations in Austin with about 800 new jobs. KUT’s Jennifer Stayton spoke with Louise Story of the New York Times about her recent article on such subsidies that showed Texas gives out more than any other state. One way it does this is through reimbursements of school districts’ tax abatements.
Though the state has continued paying the districts across the state back for this program, the state’s general funding for school districts was slashed by $5.4 billion in the last couple of years. I talked to some officials on school boards who said, gee, when we gave these out, we thought it was win-win, because the state would pay us back for these economic development deals, but now we’re losing funding out of this other state fund for education, and you can’t help but wonder if the state wasn’t on the hook for all these economic development deals that were signed off by school boards, if they wouldn’t have more money to help with education. And the same goes for lots of other incentives in Texas; it’s kind of one big pot of money.
Story’s series of articles includes an interactive page where you can look at the data in various ways.