"The Austin ISD school board has voted against a multi-million dollar tax break for NXP, a semiconductor company...
"It is not fair that those who have the greatest ability to pay are the ones who don't want to pay a dime," Rev. Minerva Camarena Skeith of Central Texas Interfaith said.
The tax break called the appraised value limitation, or 313 agreement, lets potential businesses build property and create jobs in exchange for a 10-year limit on the taxable property value for school district maintenance and operation.
"We want more dollars for AISD and for every school district in this state. We want every child to have every opportunity they need," Rev. Miles Brandon with Central Texas Interfaith said."
NXP Fails to Gain School District Tax Incentives for Possible Factory Expansion, Austin Business Journal
With Weeks to Spare, Austin ISD to Vote on NXP Incentives, Austin Business Journal
Central Texas Interfaith Commends AISD Board for Rejecting Chapter 313 Deal with NXP, Central Texas Interfaith [pdf]
We, the undersigned, call on all AISD Trustees and Trustees-Elect to end consideration of NXP’s $100Million Chapter 313 property tax break application to the Board. While we want economic development and good jobs in Central Texas, Chapter 313 prohibits school boards from requiring high living wage and worker safety standards as part of these agreements, unlike city and county incentives in which good job standards can be negotiated. Chapter 313 is a failed corporate giveaway program that was killed in the last legislative session by Central Texas Interfaith/Texas IAF, the Texas AFL-CIO, and other union and advocacy groups. Central Texas Interfaith calls on all AISD trustees to vote against NXP’s Chapter 313 application to the Board.
Chapter 313 is Texas’ largest corporate welfare program which costs taxpayers over $1 Billion annually, money which could be going to public schools and other public needs. Not only do corporations get out of paying most of their property taxes (for 10 years) they would otherwise owe for our schools, but the state must replace that revenue with taxes collected from all Texans. The current legislation ends in December of 2022, which has led to a “gold rush” of over 450 applications, which could cost taxpayers as much as $10 Billion/year. Not only do state taxpayers foot the bill for this with state taxes; over time, local taxpayers and businesses will also be paying more. With the support of Central Texas Interfaith and its sister organization Valley Interfaith, school boards in Elgin ISD and Port Isabel ISD school have rejected Chapter 313 applications, as well as several other districts. We urge AISD to do the same....
The AISD board is scheduled to vote on a $100 Million Chapter 313 school property tax break to NXP corporation at its Thursday, Nov 17th meeting, with a board information session scheduled for Thursday Nov. 10th. While we want economic development and good jobs in central Texas, Chapter 313 prohibits school boards from enacting high living wage and worker safety standards as part of these agreements, unlike city and county incentives in which good job standards can be negotiated. Chapter 313 is a failed corporate giveaway program that was killed in the last legislative session by Central Texas Interfaith/Texas IAF, the Texas AFL-CIO, and other union and advocacy groups. Central Texas Interfaith calls on all AISD trustees to vote against NXP’s Chapter 313 application to the Board.
Chapter 313 is Texas’ largest corporate welfare program which costs taxpayers over $1Billion annually, money which could be going to public schools and other public needs. Not only do corporations get out of paying the property taxes (for 10 years) they would otherwise owe for our schools, but the state must replace that revenue with taxes collected from all Texans. The current legislation ends in December of 2022, which has led to a “gold rush” of over 450 applications, which if passed could cost taxpayers as much as $10 Billion/year.
WEAK/NONEXISTENT JOB AND WORKER SAFETY REQUIREMENTS IN CHAPTER 313
- Chapter 313 has NO wage, job creation, or worker safety requirements for construction and building trade jobs.
- For permanent jobs, Chapter 313 has extremely weak job creation and wage requirements, and no workers safety requirements.
- Companies are only required to create between 10-25 permanent jobs regardless of the size of the tax break.
- These jobs are only required to meet 110% of the median manufacturing wage.
- There are no worker safety requirements required by Chapter 313.
- The Comptroller routinely grants waivers even to these weak requirements.
- School boards are prohibited by law from enacting stronger wage, job creation, and worker safety requirements.
NXP APPLICATION TO AISD FOR CHAPTER 313 AGRREMENT
- NXP (formerly Motorola/Freescale) is Dutch multinational Chip Manufacturer with nearly $11 Billion in annual profits is asking for over $100 Million in school property tax breaks over the next 10 years to expand its operation in Austin. Ordinary taxpayers, small businesses, and most other corporations do not get these tax breaks.
- In its initial applications to the AISD board, NXP promised only 50 jobs in exchange for its tax break, at a cost to taxpayers of $2,000,000/job. After being called out by CTI, the company changed the jobs promised to 500 on the night of the initial board meeting, but still short of the 800 it had promised in the media.
- Central Texas taxpayers will be investing in 3 major bonds (AISD, ACC, City of Austin) and are facing rising Austin Energy rates and other inflation costs. Now is not the time to grant tax breaks to billion-dollar corporations.
- NXP is free to approach the city and county for tax incentives, entities which have much higher job creation and worker safety requirements. They also have the newly passed federal CHIPS Act available for them to pursue public funding. Unlike Chapter 313, these programs do not take potential funding from schoolchildren.
Last night the City of Austin voted on a budget that includes one of the highest living wages for their workers: $20/hr for municipal workers including contracted workers and those employed by corporations benefiting from City tax subsidies. At the urging of Central Texas Interfaith, through meetings with individual council members and communications that persisted even as votes were taken on amendments, the City of Austin expanded emergency assistance for struggling renters and sustained spending on essential human development initiatives including long-term workforce development and after-school programs.
- $20/ hour base pay for all City of Austin staff, contract employees and employees of corporations receiving City tax subsidies - Sponsored by CM Fuentes
- $8 Million in emergency rental assistance - Sponsored by CM Vela
- $3.1 Million for long term workforce development - Sponsored by CM Alter
- Increased funding for AISD programs including Parent Support Specialists and Primetime After School programs - Sponsored by CM Tovo
Central Texas Interfaith commends the Mayor and the entire City Council for investing in these important initiatives.
When NXP sprung a request for a Chapter 313 tax subsidy before the Austin Independent School District, Central Texas Interfaith leaders decided to descend upon a meeting of the Board of Trustees to ask them to reject the request. Chapter 313 tax subsidies are 10 year tax breaks to major gas, oil and manufacturing corporations that drain $1 Billion from state coffers on an annual basis. In response to a barrage of 20 CTI leaders testifying over the phone and in person against the tax giveaway, NXP (the company requesting the subsidy) changed the number of promised jobs on their application during the meeting from the statutory minimum of 25 to 500 overall.
The majority of community members who provided testimony on May 19 asked the board to vote against the Chapter 313 agreement with NXP. Many speakers were members of Central Texas Interfaith, a nonpartisan coalition of congregations, schools and unions that opposes Chapter 313.
“Hardworking taxpayers don’t get this kind of giveaway. Nor do small businesses, or responsible corporations,” said Central Texas Interfaith leader Trenton Henderson. “We want our money to go to public schools, but not to pay the bills for corporations shirking their responsibility to public education. Without a Chapter 313 agreement, NXP would have to pay their full share of school taxes.”
NXP Seeking Up To $140 Million in Tax Breaks for School Districts, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
Chapter 313 Incentives: What They Are and Why They're Suddenly the Talk of the Town, Austin Business Journal [pdf]
Statement on Austin ISD and Round Rock ISD Chapter 313 Votes, Central Texas Interfaith
Oped: Don't Ask Texas Schoolchildren to Fund Your Corporate Expansion, Austin Chronicle [pdf]
AISD Board Meeting Broadcast, Austin Independent School District [calls begin at -2:33:30, in-person testimony at -1:52:30]
Austin Interfaith and Austin Independent School District (AISD) jointly announced they will launch a program to train high school students at Travis, Crockett and Lanier how to land and keep a job.
Modeled off the Summer Youth Employment program, created by Austin Interfaith 20 years ago in partnership with the City and County, this program will teach high schoolers leadership and soft skills like timeliness, and professional conduct with bosses and colleagues. Another goal is to develop summer internships in 2016 for students who complete the leadership training. Senator Kirk Watson was in attendance at the press conference at which AI leaders Rev. Robert Elford and Ms. Ofelia Zapata spoke.
This program launch is happening with the support of AT&T.
[Photo Credit: Julie Change / Austin American Statesman]
Austin Interfaith to Launch Jobs Program at Three High Schools, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
Austin Interfaith Launches Internship Program for At-Risk High School Students, Community Impact [pdf]
Austin Interfaith, AISD Launch New Leadership Development Program for Crockett, Lanier and Travis High Schools, Austin Independent School District