"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
"Tax increment financing" is a particularly obnoxious form of subsidized 'redevelopment' that we've discussed previously (Note: The 2016 Austin Transportation bond was full of this nonsense). Essentially, they tax all property owners in a given jurisdiction, then give subsidies to politically favored developers for "blight removal." On top of that, local governments are essentially allowed to pursue these agreements in secret.
This coming Tuesday, the Senate Natural Resources/Economic Development committee will hear SB 650 (Bettencourt), which would begin to reign-in this practice.
Section 1 of the bill tightens the definition of the type of property that qualifies for this designation.
But the most important part is section 4, which we will let speak for itself:
Honestly, it's astonishing they didn't already do that.
SECTION 4. Section 311.015, Tax Code, is amended by adding Subsections (m) and (n) to read as follows: (m) Not later than the seventh day before the date of the meeting at which the governing body of the municipality will vote on an ordinance to issue tax increment bonds or notes, the municipality must provide notice of the date, time, and place of the meeting by delivering the notice by mail to: (1) each property owner in the municipality; (2) the commissioners court of each county in which a portion of the reinvestment zone is located; and (3) each state senator and representative whose district includes territory in a county in which a portion of the reinvestment zone is located. (n) At the time a municipality submits tax increment bonds and the record of proceedings relating to the authorization of the bonds to the attorney general under Section 1202.003, Government Code, the municipality must deliver notice of the submission by mail to: (1) the commissioners court of each county in which a portion of the reinvestment zone is located; and (2) each state senator and representative whose district includes territory in a county in which a portion of the reinvestment zone is located.
Bottom Line: Local governments pull this garbage all the time; while "tax increment financing" should be eliminated entirely, Senator Bettencourt's bill represents a significant step in the right direction.