Straus Critical Of Texas Enterprise Fund, Says Plan Favors Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Apr 13, 2018

Gov. Greg Abbott, left, Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Credit Vince Kong / Texas Public Radio

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is concerned a special grant program doesn't help Texas businesses equally, and he shared those concerns with Gov. Greg Abbott.


The Texas Enterprise Fund uses business grants as an incentive for companies and projects that promise to create a significant number of jobs and capital investment in Texas communities.

 

In his March letter to the governor, Straus said since 2004, 39 percent of these grants have gone to businesses wanting to relocate to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, far outpacing awards in other parts of the state.

 

Straus writes that he is aware the companies choose their projected site locations, but he also says it is the responsibility of the governor's office to promote every part of the state equally.

 

In April, Abbott countered this argument, saying that while more funding from the Enterprise Fund may have gone to the Dallas-Fort Worth region, San Antonio had the highest approval rate for these grants since he took office.

 

Ray Perryman, president of the economic research firm the Perryman Group, said a lot of what businesses are looking for right now exists around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

 

“Because it’s a financial center; because it’s a major trade and transportation hub; (because it) has a major airport has given Dallas a lot of momentum lately. I think a lot of it has worked out that San Antonio just doesn’t have as many projects right now. San Antonio is doing really well with the economy right now, it’s growing a lot, but it’s probably hasn’t led to the types of things that would apply to a Texas Enterprise Fund grants,” Perryman said.

 

The governor said any grant awarded from the Texas Enterprise Fund requires the approval of the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house.

 

The governor decides which projects should be considered.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1