As the fight to protect children across the state from gender mutilation procedures and abortion continues, some Texas cities are giving millions of taxpayer dollars to a company actively subverting these priorities.
Following multiple open records requests submitted by Texas Scorecard, three cities provided documents detailing 10 years’ worth of payments to Apple.
From 2011 to 2021, the cities of Austin, Fort Worth, and Houston provided more than $10 million in taxpayer dollars to Apple Inc.
Included among the records, Texas Scorecard received a report detailing Austin’s economic incentive payments to the company.
Typically, cities attract businesses by refunding property taxes, providing loans, and a variety of other economic incentives. In return, corporations are supposed to create jobs and spur the city’s economy.
In 2012, Austin signed a 10-year economic agreement with Apple in which the company promised to create 3,600 jobs in the area in return for $21 million in funding. From 2017 to 2020, the city made four yearly payments totaling more than $7.2 million in taxpayer money to Apple Inc.
A similar document from Houston broke down the city’s numerous payments to Apple from 2011 to 2021. In those 10 years, Houston paid Apple more than $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars, while Fort Worth (which, unlike the other two cities, has had a Republican mayor since 2011) paid the corporation more than $942,000 from 2016 to 2021.
Although Apple accepts funding from these cities, the company recently signed an open letter imploring Texas lawmakers to stop their efforts to ban child gender modification procedures.
The letter, organized by the Human Rights Campaign, was created in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recently issued legal opinion declaring the procedures child abuse and Gov. Greg Abbott’s letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services calling for investigations into these cases.
“The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies,” stated the letter. “It’s not just wrong, it has an impact on our employees, our customers, their families, and their work.”
After Texas passed the Heartbeat Act in 2021, Apple announced that it was “actively monitoring” legal challenges to the law and that the company would pay travel expenses for any employee who crossed state lines for an abortion.
The eradication of both child gender modification procedures and abortion are currently official Texas GOP priorities. Additionally, in this month’s primary election, more than 2 million Republicans voted in favor of banning both practices.
However, three of Texas’ largest cities have been forcing taxpayers to give to a company openly working against their interests.
With the 2022 midterm elections only months away, city officials will have to decide if using taxpayer dollars to fund companies actively working against Texas policy is in the best interest of their constituents.