HB 1754

84(R) - 2015
House Economic & Small Business Development
House Economic & Small Business Development
Economic Development
Property Rights

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Joe Pickett

Bill Caption

Relating to the conveyance of property by a municipality for the public purpose of economic development.

Fiscal Notes

A fiscal note dated April 19, 2015 anticipates no fiscal implication to the State or units of local government.

Bill Analysis

House Bill 1754 would amend Chapter 253 of the Local Government Code related to the sale or lease of property by municipalities to allow for the conveyance of property for economic development purposes.

House Bill 1754 would allow a municipality to transfer to an entity with which the municipality has entered into an economic development agreement authorized by Chapter 380, Local Government Code, real property or an interest in real property for consideration. 

The entity would have to use the property to primarily promote a public purpose of the municipality relating to economic development. Under the agreement, the municipality would have to be granted sufficient control to ensure that the public purpose is accomplished and the municipality receives the return benefit.

Before a transfer is made, the municipality would have to provide notice to the general public in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is located, or in an adjoining county, if no such newspaper exists in the county where the property is located. The notice would have to include a description of the real property, its location, and would have to be published on two separate days within 10 days before the date the property is transferred.

Vote Recommendation Notes

5/24/15 update:

No amendments have been introduced on the House floor and no changes have been made to the bill in Senate committee. We continue to oppose it.

The second chamber sponsor is Senator José Rodríguez.

First chamber recommendation:

House Bill 1754 would allow a municipality to transfer real property or interest in real property that is owned by the municipality (taxpayers) with little notice to and no possibility of recourse from taxpayers.

According to the statement of purpose for the bill, current law is unclear as to whether a city in Texas can offer municipally owned land to a prospective business, and that the bill seeks to enhance current economic development incentives intended to lure businesses to cities in Texas.

Although the bill requires that the municipality be able to make sure the economic development character of the project for which land is donated is completed, it leaves zero option for public hearing, overview, and adoption or rejection of the project, and of the conveyance of municipally-owned land, by taxpayers.

Government should play no part in economic development other than protecting rights and getting out of the way (keeping a low-taxation, low-regulation environment) of those involved. In cases when government does expand its scope to economic development, the process and agreements should at the very least be open and transparent, and taxpayers should have the ability to get involved in the overview and decision process. This is not what House Bill 1754 offers. As a consequence, we oppose this bill.