FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2023
AUSTIN — For the first time in the history of the state of Texas, an economic development bill, CSHB5 (Committee Substitute House Bill 5), that prioritizes attracting major business entities to invest in Qualified Opportunity Zones, passed the Legislature. The bill will provide a 75 % tax abatement of school property taxes in exchange for new businesses committing to provide its employees a minimum salary that is at least 110% of the industry average and with healthcare benefits. This tool should assist local chambers and governmental entities in marketing their respective cities and counties.
We hear about property tax abatement projects in our downtown areas and in other cities that lure and entice businesses to relocate or to build in a specific area. CSHB5, which passed the Senate Wednesday, would establish provisions for property tax abatement agreements between school districts and business entities interested in constructing an eligible, large-scale economic development project in an Opportunity Zone that lies within district boundaries.
Projects eligible under the bill would include a national or state security project or supply chain infrastructure project, a manufacturing project, certain agricultural projects or a project that would require an investment in a Texas school district of more than $1 billion.
My goal was to make certain that Dallas County, District 23 and similarly situated areas across Texas - that often sit on the sideline while the Friscos and Planos of the state land deal after economic development deal - were in position to take advantage of these game-changing opportunities that serve as catalysts for further growth, while also providing good paying jobs for the people who live there.
CSHB5 mandates that a higher percentage of businesses must identify the federally designated areas and relocate or build in older and often overlooked communities and also expanded the types of industries and businesses that are eligible to apply for the tax abatement program.
I amended CSHB5 to require businesses to indicate as part of their application, whether or not they considered locating in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.
Making more economic development opportunities available to more Texas cities and neighborhoods could be the rising tide that will lift us all.