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Rep.Button, Angie Chen

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Interim Committee on Economic Development Incentives Releases Report 
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by: Rep. Button, Angie Chen

(AUSTIN) Wednesday, January 14th, the Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives, chaired by State Representative Angie Chen Button of Garland, released its committee report. The thirteen member committee began meeting in July 2014 to examine the various economic development incentives in Texas.

In order to further increase transparency and to ensure that every tax dollar spent on incentives brings a return, the committee recommends all incentives have a sunset date with a required independent audit attached to the date. According to Chairwoman Button, "We must ensure that our Economic Incentive Programs remain fluid and adjust to the constantly changing market. This is more evident than ever given the recent drop in oil prices." The report also recommends the immediate elimination of several underutilized programs.

The report includes recommendations for consolidations of several of the major economic incentive programs in Texas including the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund to make the process more efficient and effective. In order to address issues raised in the findings of recent audit reports conducted by the State Auditor's office and to improve transparency of the funds, the committee recommended a strong oversight committee to manage the disbursement of the funds.

The Select Committee, appointed by Speaker Joe Straus, had the difficult task of evaluating Texas programs designed to attract new jobs to our state and to decide which ones are working. “Texas is the number one ranked job creator in the nation and has been for years. We must work hard to stay on top and to ensure we are not wasting resources on ineffective programs and that the processes in place are transparent,” stated Chairwoman Button.

Amanda Willard

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