On Friday Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced the creation of the Select Committee of Economic Development Incentives, which will examine if the state’s business incentives are really driving companies to move to Texas and if the programs are still worth their weight.
In a statement, Straus wrote:
“We owe it to taxpayers to take a detailed look at what has worked and what can be improved. Some incentive programs may need retooling and others may have outlived their usefulness.”
The two largest business incentive programs are the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund.
Since 2003 the Texas Enterprise Fund has provided $487 million to out-of-state businesses to either relocate or expand their operations to Texas. Since 2005 the Emerging Technology Fund has provided $205 million to startup tech companies.
Critics of these programs, which were created by Gov. Rick Perry, take issue with the state picking economic winners and losers. One of those critics is Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is the Republican nominee in the 2014 governor’s race.