As the Texas House debates and amends the state’s biennial budget, two forms of corporate welfare have been stripped out of their version for now.
An amendment proposed by State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) eliminated the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, moving the $45 million to the Teacher Retirement System.
That amendment was accepted and adopted without debate.
A follow-up amendment by State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) zeroed out the $100 million appropriated Texas Enterprise Fund, the state’s “deal-closing” fund that gives tax dollars to businesses that move to Texas, and instead sent the money to be dedicated to property tax relief.
Similarly, the amendment was accepted and adopted without debate.
Does this spell the end of these corporate welfare programs? Not necessarily.
In 2017, the Texas House similarly voted to defund the enterprise fund and later put the funding back in during the conference committee stage, during which a group of members from the House and Senate reconcile the differences between their two versions of the bill.
At the time, some criticized the tactic as an attempt to avoid record votes on the subject and allow the real discussion take place behind closed doors.
When the budget comes to the Texas House, it remains to be seen if the corporate welfare programs will return.