Texas House lawmakers delayed the floor vote on a controversial corporate welfare program, a longtime practice where state and local officials make “economic incentive” deals with handpicked businesses.
“HB 3600 seeks to create a Multimedia Production Program, or corporate welfare program, to subsidize Hollywood entertainment, even though another problematic program already exists in the Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (MIIIP),” reported Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. “[It] also lacks transparency and a sunset provision, essentially ensuring the cost of such a program would be unlimited.”
TFR president Tim Hardin told Texas Scorecard, “HB 3600 is nothing more than a power grab for taxpayer dollars.”
According to the fiscal note for HB 3600, nearly $1 billion would be spent on the program, with $137 million coming directly from the Property Tax Relief Fund.
“This session, we have seen a massive amount of corporate welfare legislation pass both chambers. This is something TFR warned about before the session began; the temptation of lawmakers to waste money is amplified when we have a $33 billion surplus,” explained Hardin.
“Unfortunately, the Legislature has decided to give corporations billions of dollars in corporate welfare in lieu of giving taxpayers back the money that was over-collected from them,” said Hardin. “I can’t imagine a more blatant slap in taxpayers’ faces than this bill.”
“Allowing the state to favor one industry over another with tax credits disfavors other industries,” testified Ruth York—of the Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County—against the measure. “The state should act with absolute neutrality in taxation. Furthermore, tax credits have the effect of increasing the tax burden on other entities and individuals.”
“Lawmakers have shown this session that they do not care what their party thinks of their actions, and they do not care what voters think of their actions; they have completely sold out to corporate interests and are hell-bent on growing government,” said Hardin. “Taxpayers must respond to this next cycle by voting out these self-serving, corrupt politicians from their seats.”
The Texas House moved consideration of the measures from May 1 to May 8.