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Subsidizing Death of a Community; Chapter 313

A Texas Tax Code Chapter 313 (aka the Texas Economic Development Act) creates a state tax incentive program for certain large businesses to limit the appraised value on their property for the purposes of local Texas public school district property taxes. In essence, big business gets the tax breaks, little homeowners pick up the tab.

According to Austin Interfaith,

"With Chapter 313 set to expire at the end of the year, the state's comptroller office has received a record number of applications. Since Jan. 1, 2022, school districts have sent in 393 company Chapter 313 applications. In any given year before this, the office received maybe 150 applications." (More here)

One 313 application recently filed by the Elgin ISD with the Comptroller's Office and looking for approval is for yet another Bastrop County solar farm that will require clear-cutting. In September 2021, a divided Smithville ISD, passed a controversial 313 subsidy for a solar farm that clear cut 1200 acres in Rosanky. This new proposed solar farm will require the clear-cutting of 2,100 acres bisected by Little Sandy Creek south of Elgin, Texas, in an area prone to flooding. According to residents the land provides "an ever-diminishing refuge for area wildlife." Read the full article published in the Elgin Courier with a joint statement by area residents and Bastrop Interfaith here.

If the Elgin ISD application is approved, the Comptroller will send the application back to the ISDs for a vote, according to this June 10th KVUE article.

You can attend (in person or online) the Elgin ISD meeting this Monday night, June 20, at 7 pm where landowners are expected to ask this application to go away. Meeting details here.

We suggest you read this statement by the very conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation's statement against Chapter 313 subsidies.

This Houston Chronicle editorial released last December contains some important background on this issue.


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