One of the most valuable tools Texas uses to attract major investments to Texas is the Texas Economic Development Act (more commonly known as Chapter 313) program, the state’s single most important economic development program. This provision in law gives communities and school districts the ability to attract major capital investments to grow their economies.
Chapter 313 allows school districts to offer a temporary, 10-year limitation on a portion of the taxable value of eligible new investment projects. The limit only applies to school maintenance and operations (M&O) taxes—there is no limitation for debt service taxes, nor for business inventories. Current law allows school districts to receive supplemental payments from the project of up to $100 per student. A project also must hold the district harmless from any revenue losses under school finance formulas as well as any extraordinary costs incurred from the project.
How Does the Program Work? This report from the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association explains 313 in detail: Understanding Chapter 313: School Property Tax Limitations and the Impact on State Finances
The 313 program is currently under assault in the legislature. Lawmakers in Austin who don’t understand the innovative Chapter 313 program, are working to take this tool away from Texas counties and school districts. The loss would be felt immediately, especially in rural areas that have used 313 to attract more than $32 billion in wind energy investments.
Correcting the Myths About 313 Agreements. People don’t understand the 313 program. This page corrects the myths and sets the record straight.
Why wind in Chapter 313?
Wind Energy Benefits All of Texas. Texas has benefited tremendously from wind energy’s growth. Wind is bringing cheaper power to consumers statewide. Wind is bringing new revenue streams to support farmers and ranchers. Wind is creating new high-quality jobs, delivering economic opportunity in our rural communities. And, wind is creating new, stable, long-term tax revenue for local governments and schools.
Wind energy has become the reliable, affordable, stably priced energy source that other industries rely on too. More and more companies are committing to use wind energy from Texas to make their manufacturing cheaper, and to guarantee long-term affordably priced power. From our chemical manufacturers on the Gulf Coast, to our automobile manufacturers in the Metroplex, to small factories in towns across the state; leading American companies are using Texas wind energy to be competitive and that wind is making Texas more attractive for job-creating investments.
313 Works for Rural Texas Economies. One of the reasons that wind energy has been competitive in Texas is the Chapter 313 program. As rural communities know well, Chapter 313 in our tax code gives local communities and school districts a discretionary tool to help attracts investments that grow the economy. This essential tool helps communities compete against other states where taxes are lower by offering a short-term property tax reduction. Because wind energy projects are long-term projects with expected lives of 25 years or more, a short-term tax incentive delivers long-term value to schools and other property tax payers.
The attack on the ability of rural communities to attract investment is real. If certain lawmakers in the capitol have their way, one of the most valuable and flexible economic development tools available to rural Texas will disappear, or be limited dramatically. In some cases, proposed changes target wind energy development. That means that, while other areas of the state will benefit from the program in other industries, rural areas with rich wind energy resources, will be left behind.
That’s why rural constituents are reaching out to Austin, keeping the pressure on until the legislature adjourn on May 29th. Until then, they’ll be reminding them that rural Texas needs tools to attract investments and grow rural economies. The Chapter 313 program is one of the most important tools available today, a critically important tool for rural economic development, and one that community leaders rely on to grow their tax base and economy that funds local schools and communities.