Texans are calling for their officials to finally end the unjust special deals with big businesses—especially corporations fighting against citizens’ values and principles.

“I believe in capitalism. However, when some are given unfair advantages, it becomes corrupt cronyism,” citizen Phil McMillan told Texas Scorecard.

The Issue

The problem is “corporate welfare,” a longtime practice where state and local officials make “economic incentive” deals with handpicked businesses—whether they directly pay them taxpayer cash or give them special perks, such as exemption from taxes or regulations.

One of countless examples: In 2018, Williamson County officials gave tech giant Apple the exclusive perk of 65 percent off their new building’s property taxes for the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, local businesses, homeowners, and apartment renters have never received such perks, and they know all too well they don’t get to play by those kind of rules.

On top of that, officials funnel citizens’ cash and privileges to companies that then lobby against citizens at the state Capitol. As Texas Scorecard reported, more than 60 major corporations recently signed an open letter to Texas’ officials promoting disfiguring “transgender” experiments on Texas minors; such experiments include administering sterilizing cross-sex hormones and puberty blocker drugs to children, as well as cutting off and mutilating adolescents’ healthy breasts or genitalia.

Several of those corporations—Apple, Microsoft, Emerson, Ikea, and others—are all hooked up to the state government’s taxpayer-funded welfare machine, and they’re sucking tens of millions of dollars.

State & Local Officials Did This

Top state officials primarily make these deals by using the nearly two-decade-old Texas Enterprise Fund, a mountainous pile of taxpayer money they dole out for such exclusive agreements.

According to the TEF website, “The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House review all applications and must unanimously agree to support the use of TEF for each applicant.”

Officials have offered more than $667 million to favored businesses so far.

More recently, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have doled out tens of millions from the taxpayer fund to their select companies—including $25 million to Apple and nearly $4.9 million to Microsoft.

“It is not the government’s job to pick the winners and losers,” said Greg Reinhart, a taxpayer from Lubbock.

“The equality of capitalism is what gives it honor. All participants should have the same starting line,” added Phil McMillan, a Plano resident. “The practice of corporate welfare kills small businesses that are competing in the same field.”

Furthermore, counties, cities, and school districts across the state use your money to make these deals (they’re allowed to by Chapter 313 of the Tax Code and Chapter 380/381 of the Local Government Code). And they often funnel to those same leftist corporations.

Completely Worthless

Not only are the deals unjust, but they’re often useless. For instance, that aforementioned Williamson County deal with Apple will be worth up to $16 million over the next 15 years—maybe five one-thousandths (.005) of a percent of Apple’s total revenue just in 2018 ($265 billion).

In other words, that’s the equivalent of getting a $3 “signing bonus” on a $50,000 salary.

Alternatively, if county officials stopped the needless special treatment and simply created a level playing field for everyone, they could have lowered taxes for everyone.

“Create a business-friendly environment with less regulations and lower taxes, and business will come without the handouts,” said taxpayer Jim Hughes of Chandler.

Will We Follow Florida’s Lead?

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is fighting back against the destructive practice and the lefitst corporations who benefit from it.

Last week, after entertainment mogul Disney came out opposing Florida’s recently enacted Parental Rights in Education law (which prohibited teaching the same aforementioned “transgender” ideology to kids in grades K-3), Florida lawmakers and the governor revoked Walt Disney World’s longtime special tax privileges.

“Corporations respond to power,” American Principles Project policy director Jon Schweppe recently told The Daily Wire. He explained that corporations historically placate to Democrats “with woke platitudes and virtue signals” because “Democrats are willing to use state power against them.”

On the other hand, “Republicans are a dependable, cheap date,” Schweppe added. “They can always be counted on to defend the interests of corporations—and so corporations feel free to oppose Republicans on various issues without fear of reprisal.”

The Republican Party of Texas has long opposed corporate welfare programs, and their most recent platform urges lawmakers to eliminate the slush funds. However, the Republican-controlled state Legislature has so far declined to act.

“All subsidies to any business are egregious, foolish, and unfair,” taxpayer Roger Taylor of Lubbock told Texas Scorecard. “The practice should never have gotten started, so it should be eliminated as soon as possible. Yesterday is not soon enough.”

Concerned citizens may contact the governor, lieutenant governor, and their state lawmakers.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.