Economic Growth for All, Economic Development Tools for All.
All of Texas – our campaign to maintain the critical economic development tools that Texas communities rely upon – is counting on you, and all Texans, to make your voices heard.
The economic development options rural areas rely on could be taken away without legislative action. The Texas Economic Development Act (also known as Chapter 313, its location in the Texas Tax Code) will expire at the end of 2022, and discussions are happening now to craft a replacement. But behind closed doors an anti-clean energy faction is working diligently to see renewable energy development removed from the program.
What would that mean for Texas? It would leave us with a program that would only benefit roughly 50 of our state’s 254 counties, a program that wouldn’t serve All of Texas. Why? Because not every community is prepared support the types of heavy industry and labor-intensive investments that often capture headlines. Instead, they quietly rely on steady investments in advanced energy projects to support their public schools and their local governments.
With so much land in ag-producing counties partially exempted from ad valorem taxation, and with very low unemployment rates, advanced energy investments are ideal to provide funding for students already in the school systems and have the added benefit of increasing financial independence and reducing reliance on state funding.
Today, more than 150 counties have used the 313 program to attract investment, with two-thirds of those attracting renewable energy projects only. And, even though clean energy projects make up half of the program’s participating projects, and more than 70% of the counties involved, only 27% of the tax benefit flows to clean energy projects – and all of that in rural Texas.
Renewable energy is a key part of Texas’ economic development toolbox, with investment growing rural economies and cheaper power helping to power the world’s most advanced technology and manufacturing companies. More than 75 companies have signed long-term power purchase agreements in Texas to gain access to renewable energy, and to bring long-term price certainty, low prices, and lower emissions to their business portfolio.
Recently, APA published a list of many of the great companies who have made renewable energy purchases in Texas, which has led to investment in the wind and solar generation that delivers cleaner, cheaper power to all of us – and serves as a huge economic boost to rural communities. Some of the household names with PPAs in Texas include: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Baker Hughes, BASF Corporation, Best Buy, Clorox, Dow Chemical, Energy Transfer, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Honda, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Lyondell Bassell, Mars, Microsoft, Nucor Corp, Occidental, Owens Corning, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Home Depot, and Walmart.
In places like Tom Green County, rural agricultural producers are finding new revenue and economic stability by diversifying their operations to include wind and solar power. In times of drought or when commodity prices fall, farmers and ranchers like the ones featured in the story can count on steady income from clean energy. And that means school districts can count on the revenue, too. Because of the long-term power purchase agreements in place on these projects, their revenue streams are predictable and secure, meaning school districts can bond against the anticipated tax revenue from the property taxes these projects pay.
You can watch the CNN story here or by clicking the image below:
We’re often asked how broad and how valuable the advanced energy projects in Texas are, so we created CleanPowerPays.org for Texans to see the direct impacts of advanced power investments throughout the state. Data can be examined at the county level, or broken down by legislative or congressional districts, to see how these investments are making the Texas economy stronger, more diverse, and more resilient.
Recently, the Houston Chronicle, published and editorial that Advanced Power Alliance President Jeff Clark wrote on the Chapter 313 Program and how it has helped Texas communities create new ecosystems of investment. By encouraging capital investment, Texas has gone from a “boom and bust” economy almost entirely focused on energy and agricultural production to one of the world’s most diversified economic powerhouses.
This is the “Texas Miracle” that lawmakers refer to when they take credit for its successes, but many forget that the Texas economic miracle wasn’t inevitable, and it wasn’t an accident. It was the product of responsible, thoughtful policy making. We can’t let them allow the state’s “Economic Development Act” to expire permanently at the end of 2022.You can read the full editorial on the Houston Chronicle website, or by following this link: “Commentary: See The Texas Miracle Alive by Reviving Critical Economic Development Plan.”
Anti-clean energy state leaders and lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are working to leave advanced energy out of the state’s economic development programs. It will take every voice — from urban and rural communities — every industry and every corner of the state to remind them that our economic programs should serve All of Texas.
Sign up today to support our efforts and to keep up to date on the work that lies ahead. If you care about Texas’ economic future and creating a diverse, resilient economy, join us in this effort. Share your contact information and we will be in touch.
Thank you for your commitment to maintaining the Texas Miracle for All of Texas.