Texas House Bill 1515, which has been signed by Governor Greg Abbott, extended the business development incentives in the Texas Economic Development Act—also called Chapter 313—while adding new requirements for eligibility and an adjusted application process.
Chapter 313 expired and was replaced by the Texas Jobs and Security Act, which allows school districts to offer property valuations at half of the market value as an incentive to attract investment initiatives. In certain areas—designated as Opportunity Zones—that valuation will be a quarter of market value.
The Texas Jobs and Security Act has created certain new requirements for eligibility for these incentives. First, while the previous program required a minimum investment amount calculated according to a school district’s taxable property value, the new program will calculate minimum investment amounts according to the county’s overall population.
The second significant change is that the new program has a stronger jobs creation requirement for eligibility. Under the new law, an eligible investment initiative must create a minimum number of new jobs based on the county population.
For example, an investment in a county with a population of 750,000 must create 75 new jobs in order to be eligible for the program’s incentives.
The new program also limits the types of projects which are eligible for the incentives more strictly than before. Projects related to electric energy generation are no longer eligible.
Finally, the application process under the new legislation has been brought under the purview of the comptroller, with the governor retaining the final say over the application’s acceptance. Previously, applications had gone to the governing body of the school board itself.