economic incentives

Austin City Council
4:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Austin OKs Economic Incentives for Dropbox, Websense (Update)

Websense is a San Diego-based Internet security firm. It's looking to relocate to Austin, contingent on city and state economic incentives.
websense.com

Update: Dropbox and Websense will receive economic incentives to expand in Austin.

The Austin City Council voted 5-2 today to offer the two tech companies approximately $700,000 in incentives. The money comes on top of $6 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. 

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Austin City Council
10:13 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits

The Austin City Council passed regulations to limit occupants in single-family homes from six to four last night on first reading.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours.

"Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and  even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe. 

With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.

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Austin City Council
11:45 am
Fri January 31, 2014

City Council Approves Athenahealth Incentives Deal - But Not Unanimously

Massachusetts-based athenahealth will open its offices inside the former Seaholm Power Plant
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Last night the Austin City Council approved a deal that offers nearly $680,000 dollars in incentives for athenahealth to expand in Austin. The grant will be offered in addition to a $5 million subsidy from Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund.

But not everyone is happy with the deal. Some council members argue that the city’s booming economy doesn’t need to offer subsidies to bring business to Austin. (The deal passed on a 5-2 vote, with city council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo voting no.)

Austin Monitor publisher Michael Kanin says that this debate is heating up as council members become increasingly divided on the issue of business incentives.

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Politics
9:47 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Rick Perry's War On The Blue States

Texas Gov. Rick Perry meets with Illinois media during his April trip to lure businesses.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 8:35 am

Gov. Rick Perry's outsized Texas swagger is coming to the heart of blue state America.

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Austin
1:54 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

How Many 'Austin Bashing' Bills Made It Out of the Lege? (Update)

With five Austin-centric bills this session alone, lawmakers are keeping a keen eye on the Austin City Council this legislative session.
flickr.com/atmtx

Update: The legislative session adjourns Monday – and Austin City Council members can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

All of the bills below disappeared into the legislative black hole – that is, they either never made it out of committee, or were never cleared for a vote.

Update (March 26): Here’s some additional bills that meet the Austin City Council’s definition of “Austin bashing” – legislation that would defang local policies.

  • HB 1858, Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin)

The bill would ban cities from restricting the removal of trees if a developer or land owner deems the tree to be a fire hazard. Opponents worry the bill provides a work-around the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance, and point to an additional piece of Workman legislation, HB 3087, as creating additional development loopholes for removing trees.

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Texas
1:45 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Five Smaller, Stranger Events That Tapped Texas' Events Trust Fund

The Texas Events Fund draws events to Texas every year, like the American Miniature Horse Association Championship in Fort Worth.
flickr.com/bsterling

Texas’ official motto is “friendship.” And the state’s long drawn on its welcoming ways to attract tourism and convention crowds from all over.

One example of Texas hospitality is its event trust funds: the Major Events Trust Fund and the Events Trust Fund. (And that’s not counting the Motor Sports Events Trust Fund and the Special Events Trust Fund.)

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
9:05 am
Wed April 10, 2013

At the Capitol: Three Bills Gov. Perry Should Be Watching Today

Bills related to Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund and an abortion bill Perry’s championed are getting hearings today.
KUT News

Three bills related to Gov. Rick Perry are getting a vetting today.

The Texas Senate is set to hear two bills scrutinizing the use of money from the Texas Enterprise Fund. The Texas Enterprise Fund is Perry’s economic development program that gives taxpayer money to private business. Some Austin recipients include Apple and Visa.

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Football
8:34 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Bill Lets College Football Playoffs Tap Major Events Trust Fund

The Major Events Trust Fund might be altered to include NCAA football playoffs.
KUT News

Public subsidies could attract college football playoffs to Texas.

A public hearing will be held Thursday on a bill that would modify the language of the major event trust fund to include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football post-season playoff or championship game.

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Economy
4:40 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Austin’s Economic Incentive Payments: $19 Million & Counting

This graph produced by the city plots city economic incentive agreements against local unemployment.
Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, City of Austin

Austin got a look at the return on its investments Thursday. 

The city currently has 11 active economic incentive agreements in place – deals with companies like Visa and Apple stipulating that as long as a company meets negotiated hiring and spending goals, they’ll receive annual benefits from the city, often in the form of tax breaks.  Total incentives, if honored over the course of their entirety, approach $73 million.

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Business
12:59 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Survey: Texas an 'Oasis' for Businesses, Austin Shows 'Overall Friendliness'

http://www.flickr.com/photos/schidambara/

Texas has been courting businesses for some time now, attracting job creators and corporations to the state in droves.

State and city officials have lured corporations in with sales tax incentives. That's prompted accusations of corporate welfare and ill-gotten subsidies, but the state’s dance card is full when it comes to reeling in businesses. In fact, the state’s attracted more businesses than most.

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Austin City Council
8:28 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Council OKs F1 Track Team’s Bid to Tap Texas Trust Fund

The grandstands at this November's F1 race, held at the Circuit of the Americas.
flickr.com/michaelpaul

The promoters behind Austin’s Formula 1 racetrack may tap a state trust fund for more than F1. The Austin City Council authorized the team at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to act on the city’s behalf in negotiating payments from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

The payments would be for four upcoming races, with the first scheduled for this spring. COTA's promotions group just received more than $29 million from the trust fund to help pay for costs associated with putting on November’s F1 event.

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Economic Incentives
10:05 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Calls for Reform of Incentive Programs Grow Louder

Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov, Texas Tribune

The Texas approach to doling out financial incentives to businesses faced fire on multiple fronts Tuesday, adding momentum to calls for broad reform of the state’s economic development programs.

In the Capitol, the Senate Economic Development Committee discussed adding more transparency and accountability to the state’s patchwork of incentive programs and heard support from attendees for such reforms.

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Economy
10:35 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Incentives for Business Scrutinized in Texas

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The billions of dollars in incentives that Texas hands out to businesses each year are set to draw fresh scrutiny this week on the heels of a New York Times series that raised new questions about the practice while also ruffling some feathers.

On December 3, the Times devoted Part 2 of its three-part “United States of Subsidies” series to Texas. The article alleged that the state gives out $19.1 billion a year in business incentives, far more than any other state. (Disclosure: The Texas Tribune has a content partnership with The New York Times.)

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Business
7:28 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Council Approves $1.5M in Incentives for Visa

If Visa comes to Austin, the company promises to make about $27 million in capital investments.
flickr.com/MoneyBlogNewz

The Austin City Council unanimously approved a deal that offers the Visa credit card company about $1.5 million to bring almost 800 jobs to the area.

The city’s received some criticism for offering big companies these incentives. A council committee has been talking about adding a provision that would require companies seeking incentives to meet a minimum wage requirement of $11 an hour. While Visa doesn’t have to meet those requirements, yesterday they offered to anyway.

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Business
3:49 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Visa Plans 800 New Jobs in Austin

flickr.com/photos/declanjewell

Credit card company Visa says it will build a new IT center in Austin, bringing almost 800 jobs to the area within five years.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced the project this afternoon.

Perry is using $7.9 million dollars from the Texas Enterprise Fund to entice Visa to Austin.

The city will kick in about $1.5 million over 10 years, according to a memo released by the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office.

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