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Tax incentive program set to expire may cause economic disadvantages

The state offers these 10 year tax incentives to be able to attract companies like Gulf Coast Growth Ventures.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over the past decade the Coastal Bend area has seen over 50 billion dollars worth of economic development. Most of those deals got done because of Texas Tax Code 313. 

It's a law that's been on the books -- for many years and it's used to attract companies to our state by offering them property tax breaks, but chapter 313 is set to expire at the end of the year. 

That's going to be bad news according to one top economic official.

Iain Vasey Regional President and CEO of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, said he's talking about the chapter 313 property tax incentives that are set to expire at the end of the year.

"It's one of those things that without these tools in our toolbox it puts us at a competitive disadvantage compared to some of our competing states," Vasey said.

The state offers these 10 year tax incentives to be able to attract companies like Gulf Coast Growth Ventures. The company has a chapter 313 agreement with the Gregory Portland Independent School District. Since the company is getting the tax incentive it pays fees directly to the school district to make up for the loss in property tax revenue.

"On paper it looks like a great program but in reality it's not working the way it supposed to work," Vasey said. 

Texas State Senator Chuy Hinojosa said lawmakers ran out of time last year to make changes to Chapter 313. He feels that when lawmakers meet again next January that it will be one of the priority issues. He is not in favor of the program continuing on in its current form.

"We intend to continue the program but we intend to make some changes to bring some accountability and make sure that the companies keep their side of the bargain and provide the jobs they promised and the wages they committed to a local community," Hinojosa said. 

Vasey told 3News that his organization is a member of the Texas Economic Development Council and they are going to be working to try and get the chapter 313 extended for another five years. He said it has worked to secure large investments and create local jobs.

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