"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....
“While we want economic development and good jobs in Central Texas, these agreements prohibit 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,” said Carlota Garcia of the Central Texas Interfaith organization.
Garcia said these agreements are “Texas’ largest corporate welfare program, which costs taxpayers over $1 billion annually—money that could be going to public schools and other public needs. The state must replace the revenue that the corporations get out of paying in property taxes for 10 years by collecting more taxes from all Texans.”
“We’re not anti-economic development,” said the Rev. Miles Brandon of St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church and member of Central Texas Interfaith. “We believe that all of the dollars we can possibly put together in this state should go to educate our children.”
-Austin Business Journal
“We are a part of the AISD community,” Brandon said. “We implore you to choose your advocates and partners over corporations. It makes certain there will be $100 million less to fight for. It is in our children’s best interest now and in the future.”
-Austin American Statesman
[Photo Credit: Community Impact]
Possible Chapter 313 Agreement Between Austin ISD, NXP Draws Criticism, Community Impact [pdf]
Austin ISD to Vote on NXP Semiconductor's $100M Tax Break, Austin Business Journal [pdf]
Time Ticking for Austin School Board to Vote on Proposed Tax Breaks for NXP Semiconductors, Austin American Statesman [pdf]
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.
Bastrop Interfaith and Friends of the Land, a farmland preservation coalition, worked with local Elgin residents and landowners to defeat a 10-year Chapter 313 corporate tax abatement at the Elgin ISD School Board last night by a unanimous vote. Solar Proponents, a startup owned by an oil and gas hedge fund, would have clear-cut over 2,100 acres of trees bisected by Little Sandy Creek to build an industrial solar farm. While the community had been testifying monthly since May at the school board meetings against the project, last night was the first time the public got to hear from Solar Proponent about the project. Speakers argued the project endangered Greenbriar Community School and neighboring homes with water runoff in an area already prone to flooding with an already diminishing refuge for wildlife.
“In these past six months, we haven’t heard a single person speak in favor of this project. Compare that to more than 1100 signers of our petition to stop this project and all the comments here you have so patiently listened to since then,” said Skip Connett, a leader with Bastrop Interfaith and founder of Friends of the Land at last night’s school board meeting.
“We spoke for our communities and our trees. Our school board listened,” Connett said after the vote.
This past May, Bastrop Interfaith and Friends of the Land, one of its member institutions, opposed the initial Chapter 313 application which would have given the company a 10-year school property tax abatement from Elgin ISD. Chapter 313, Texas’s largest corporate welfare program, costs taxpayer $1Billion/year to fund these tax breaks, money which could be going to public schools. Chapter 313’s reauthorization was killed last legislative session by Bastrop Interfaith and the Texas IAF along with allies. However, the program doesn’t expire until this December, and there has been a rush of nearly 500 applications by companies looking to get tax breaks before the deadline.
Reverend Minerva Camarena Skeith of St. John's Episcopal Church explains to Jon Stewart how Central Texas Interfaith/Texas IAF organizations fight corporate incentives that negatively impact public budgets, including schools.
“What’s happening right here, right now, very powerful.” -- Jon Stewart
In a Behind the Scenes Cut, Rev. Minerva Camarena-Skeith describes how communities can organize.
Full episode and panel discussion streaming on Apple TV+.
As a supporter of Texas public schools and as a taxpayer, I oppose all school districts giving property tax breaks to major corporations under the state's failed Chapter 313 program. Small businesses and ordinary taxpayers have to foot the bill when companies are given school district tax giveaways. Chapter 313 takes $1 Billion in taxpayer dollars each year and gives it to major oil, gas, energy and manufacturing companies, money which could be going to public schools.
The program was not reauthorized last legislative session due to bi-partisan opposition of legislators, the Texas IAF, and allies. Chapter 313, which will end December of 2022, should not be revived by the legislature, and school districts (governed by elected school board members) should refuse to grant any more of these corporate tax exemptions this year. Since the current program will end in December 2022, there has been a rush of over 500 applications from Major Oil, Gas, Energy and Manufacturing Companies for over $10 Billion in school tax breaks.
By signing up, I pledge to hold candidates and elected representatives accountable to opposing Chapter 313 at the school district and state levels.Sign up
The Chapter 313 program, authorized in 2001, allows Texas school districts to cap the taxable value of a property for some new projects, saving companies tens of millions of dollars in taxes, or more. It is set to expire at the end of December, after a bipartisan coalition in 2021 stopped efforts to reauthorize the program.
Critics of Chapter 313 call it corporate welfare that deprives Texas public schools of funding....
The Rev. Miles Brandon of St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church in Round Rock spoke in support of ending the program for good. He appeared on behalf of the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation and Austin Interfaith, both community... groups.
Clock is Ticking on Texas' Chapter 313 Incentives -- and Major Projects May Miss Out, Austin Business Journal [pdf]
Last summer, Central Texas Interfaith/Texas IAF leaders and nonprofit allies shut down Chapter 313 (a state tax exemption program giving away hundreds of millions of dollars per year to industrial and petrochemical companies). Since then, over 400 corporate applications flooded the system ahead of the program's expiration date at the end of this year -- more than twice as many than before. Central Texas Interfaith leaders took to every medium available to raise the alarm about the potential impact on school district budgets across the state.
[Excerpts from Austin American-Statesman]
"It's fiction," said Trenton Henrichson, a computer engineer and a leader of Central Texas Interfaith, a group that is opposed to the incentives. "If you're talking about (fabrication plants) 10 years in the future... you’re just making stuff up.”
....Leaders of Central Texas Interfaith called such applications "smoke and mirrors," saying the plans are fuzzy and local officials have no way to evaluate them. The organization helped lobby against renewal of the Chapter 313 program during last year's session of the state Legislature, saying the corporate tax breaks granted under it have decreased the amount of money available for public education in the state.
'Smoke and Mirrors' or Long-Range Planning? Possible Samsung Tax Breaks Stir Debate, Austin American-Statesman
What Could Epic Samsung Expansion Mean for Central Texas? Opportunities Savored, Concerns Raised, Austin Business Journal
CTI Leaders Take Hard Stand Against NXP's Corporate Welfare Request to AISD, Community Impact, CBS Austin, Austin Business Journal, Austin Chronicle, and Austin Independent School District
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]