Corporate Tax

Home Republicans are extending the most important Texas corporate tax break, which is predicted to price taxpayers $ 9.6 billion in Texas

(The Center Square) – Texas’ largest corporate tax break program passed the Republican-controlled home with almost no debate. It would expand a program called for abolition by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

HB 4242, submitted by Republican Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, passed the House by 112-29 votes. It would extend the Chapter 313 program for another two years. The cuts “have cost Texas taxpayers more than $ 7 billion to date,” said the Texas Observer. “The program knows no borders.”

Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code allows school districts, renewable energy, and other businesses, including wind farms, to offer large tax breaks for 10 years. The school districts do not “feel” the high financial losses directly because taxpayers subsidize the difference through sales and other government-imposed taxes.

The Texas Legislative Budget Board estimates that the cost of extending the program between 2023 and 2049 would cost an additional $ 9.6 billion in “lost local school district revenue.”

In 2019, the Republican majority house voted overwhelmingly to extend the program for another 10 years from 2022 to 2032. The move failed in the Senate, but the bills to fund the program reappeared this year.

Texas taxpayers subsidized the wind industry with more than $ 19 billion between 2006 and 2019.

Known as a renewable energy source and greener alternative to oil, gas, and coal, more than half of the wind turbines and their generators distributed across the Texas plains in mid-February froze during sub-zero temperatures, leading to power outages throughout State for more than a week.

Senator Bob Hall, R-Rockwall, teamed up to end the program and has been warning other lawmakers for years that the Texas power grid would fail. He and Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, had warned of the network’s infrastructural problems in at least the last four legislative sessions and were turned down by members of their own party, they argue.

Hall’s bill, Resilient Energy Communities, was tabled four times in four different legislative sessions.

“Plain and simple – when it comes to grid safety, the state government has let the people of Texas down,” Hall said. “Now that even the greatest skeptics see just how vulnerable we really are, I want to reassure the people of Texas that I am more committed than ever to making sure our network security and resilient community legislation pass this session.

“I am pleased to announce that we have received significant support from my Senate colleagues who are now realizing the seriousness of this problem. The most important thing we can do for people is to hold accountable for the particular interests that have misled lawmakers into believing that both natural and man-made threats to the electricity grid are not real and that our infrastructure is in an exceptionally good condition. We now know that is not true. “

Rep. Jeff Cason also filed HB 2084, the Ending Renewable Energy Tax Reduction Act, to end the program. His bill has been forwarded to the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Meyer, who has held it up to prevent a hearing.

“Renewable energies are the most subsidized form of energy generation in this country,” said Cason. “This subsidy has created an excessive reliance on unreliable wind and solar power in Texas, which contributed significantly to last week’s energy disaster.”

Hall and Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Mineola, also filed laws to require the shutdown of solar systems that have outlived their usefulness and to ban tax incentives.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said after the blackout that Texas “should never build another wind turbine in Texas. The experiment failed very much. Abbott’s Public Utility Commission officers must be laid off and more gas, coal and oil infrastructure built. “

However, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility notes that 41 additional wind and solar plants are expected to receive tax breaks as early as 2021.

Corporations have received more than $ 10 billion in real estate tax exemptions – roughly $ 1 billion a year from the state to school districts to subsidize wind and solar companies, according to the TFR. It has published a list of detailed records of every solar and wind company that receives subsidies, as well as every school district tax break.

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