Over 94 percent of delegates at the Texas Republican Party’s Convention oppose local governments giving taxpayer handouts to private corporations.
The language adopted in the GOP platform plank also calls for government at all levels to end taxpayer bailouts of any entity, and to stop operating “businesses” that could be privately funded.
“We encourage government to divest its ownership of all business that should be run in the private sector and allow the free market to prevail. We oppose all bailouts of domestic and foreign government entities, states and all businesses, public and private. We oppose local government handouts to businesses and other private entities in the name of economic development.”
Over the last three decades, the Texas Legislature has repeatedly expanded the ability of local governments to subsidize private companies in the name of “economic development.”
Since Republicans gained a majority in the legislature, the practice has been expanded, not curtailed. The negative impact on taxpayers is pernicious.
A competitive culture has emerged between local governments quick to give certain corporations special tax carve-outs at the expense of other taxpayers.
For example, the legislature allows cities to spend sales tax revenue on corporate handouts to new developers and companies, as opposed to dedicating those funds towards city roadway maintenance, core services, or across-the-board property tax relief.
Local governments are quick to give property tax abatements to large corporations, while simultaneously raising tax burdens on existing homeowners and businesses in the process.
As a city’s tax base grows with new development, taxpayers often pay a higher price for local government, not a lower one.
Local officials take advantage of rising property values and growing tax bases by keeping their tax rates the same, resulting in higher taxes for all residents, except those who get a handout.