Monday, February 20, 2017

Notes on Texas' various Corporate Welfare programs....

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Over the weekend, we read TPPF's recently released Policymaker's Guide to Corporate Welfare; we offer some notes on things we found interesting, but we recommend reading the whole thing yourself.

TPPF divides corporate welfare into three areas:
  • State Subsidies -- Direct payments from taxpayers.
  • Local Tax "Incentives" -- Special interest carve outs that lead to higher rates for everyone else.
  • Regulatory favoritism -- According to TPPF: "the government enacts a series of regulations that essentially locks in a guaranteed revenue stream for existing players, all while discouraging new players from entering the market."
TPPF makes a number of policy recommendations; all move the ball in the right direction, though we will note some areas where they don't go far enough:
  • Eliminate the Texas Enterprise Fund.
  • Repeal all of the "Event Trust Funds."
  • Eliminate the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program.
  • Eliminate the Agricultural Loan Guarantee Program.
  • Eliminate the Texas Emissions Reduction Program.
  • Eliminate the mandatory Texas' Renewable Portfolio Standard.
  • Abolish the Skills Development Fund.
  • Require "Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones" to publish their financial information on a the local governmental entity in questions public website.
    • Note I: This doesn't go nearly far enough; Tax Increment Financing and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones should be abolished in their entirety.
    • Note II: The "Transportation" bond Austin passed last year is full of this crap.
  • Allow Chapter 312 "property tax abatements" to expire in 2019!!!
    • Note: Did you know that all local property tax abatements will go away in two years if the legislature does nothing?!?  Neither did we!!!  The Senate needs to grow a pair and kill this nonsense without a hearing.
  • Eliminate Chapter 313 "abatements" from school districts.
    • Note: Apparently, the office of the comptroller was recently given authority to deny this foolishness as well; we'll be keeping an eye on Glenn Hegar's performance in this area.
  • Require local governments to make their "economic development" policies consistent and transparent.
    • Note: No, we should just abolish this drivel.
  • Eliminate the ability of political subdivisions to impose section 4A and 4B sales taxes.
  • Discontinue public funding for "Economic Development Corporations."
  • Eliminate Hotel Occupancy Taxes.
  • Deregulate Title Insurance.
  • Deregulate medical "scope of practice" requirements.
  • Eliminate Texas' "three tier" system of alcohol regulations.
    • Note: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is a public policy abomination that should be abolished in it's entirety.
  • Review every occupational license category in Texas and eliminate all but those that demonstrate the highest level of need to protect health and safety.
    • Note: Licensing is theft.  There is no 'health and safety' for any category of license.  That's always been true, but it's even truer in a world that includes Yelp!
Read the whole thing here.

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