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Summary: Under current law, counties and municipalities together can create a spaceport development corporation. These corporations are government run companies that specialize in the space industry; therefore, operating as economic development entities that attract businesses in a specific industry through incentives to enhance economic growth for a certain area (Local Government Code, Chapter 507; "Spaceport Board Named"). Currently, a county may create a spaceport development corporation while a municipality may not. HB 545 changes this by allowing a municipality to have the same privilege as a county and be able to create a spaceport development corporation independent of a county.
Analysis: HB 545 expands the basis for inhibiting free market interaction and enlarges government's scope. Allowing municipalities to create their own spaceport development corporations allows those municipalities to use preferential tax treatment to entice an industry to a specific location. This sets up government entities to compete with private business and allows the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, hindering voluntary market transactions. This leads to a less efficient economic system and higher cost to taxpayers. Furthermore, according to the Bill Analysis, "[t]hese corporations have the ability to issue bonds and exercise the power of eminent domain and are exempt from certain taxes." As a result, HB 545 leads to expanding government's scope by providing cities with the authority to create corporations that will lead to increase costs to taxpayers and potentially the forcible taking of private property through eminent domain. We oppose HB 545.