Legislation designed to attract large businesses to Texas was passed by the Texas Senate last month, potentially having significant economic development implications in Wise County.
House Bill 5, intended to replace the now-expired Texas Economic Development Act, offers property tax abatement for large-scale economic development projects. It was sent to Governor Greg Abbott May 30.
The Texas Economic Development Act, also known as Chapter 313, provided 10-year incentives for school maintenance and operations property tax for large projects. Texas lawmakers allowed the tax incentive program to sunset in 2022.
Kevin Holzbog, Director of the Decatur Economic Development Corporation, said offering these incentives is an important step in keeping Texas as a business-friendly destination.
“[Chapter 313] was a major incentive for companies to create quality jobs and invest in Texas, where we are ranked among the least attractive states for property taxes in the country,” Holzbog said. “School districts were able to decide whether they wanted to provide this incentive to a company or not. Most of Texas’ largest investments and job creators over the past 20 years have utilized this program to make Texas a viable location for their operations. Today, House Bill 5 is the new version of that important tool for Texas to continue being the top state for business. While Decatur has never utilized school district incentive programs, it is important for us to have the ability to do so if the school district stands to benefit greatly from a private sector project.”
These projects are subject to local school district approval, as they assess the benefits of job creation and other impacts from a major company moving to town versus the tax implications.
The Senate’s plan reduced the tax abatement proposed by the House from 100 to 50 percent, while offering a 75 percent incentive for development in “opportunity zones,” which are economically disadvantaged or rural areas of the state, according to the Texas Tribune.