The Development Corporation Act of 1979 gives cities the ability to finance new and expanded business enterprises in their local communities through economic development corporations (EDCs). Chapters 501, 504 and 505 of the Local Government Code outline the characteristics of Type A and Type B EDCs, authorize cities to adopt a sales tax to fund the corporations and define projects EDCs are allowed to undertake.
Type A EDCs are typically created to fund industrial development projects such as business infrastructure, manufacturing and research and development. Type A EDCs can also fund military base realignment, job training classes and public transportation. More details »
Type B EDCs can fund all projects eligible for Type A, as well as parks, museums, sports facilities and affordable housing. However, Type B EDCs are subject to more administrative restrictions than Type A. More details »
There are some limitations on how sales tax revenues can be used to fund a project. Eligible expenditures include:
The main requirement is that the businesses bring new money into the community. In 2003, the Legislature voted to require that certain projects create or retain primary jobs. A primary job is one at a company that exports a majority of its products or services to markets outside the local region, infusing new dollars into the local economy. Primary jobs are further limited to specific industry sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and scientific research and development. Those industry limitations can be found in Local Government Code, Chapter 501.
EDCs cannot simply give sales tax proceeds to businesses. An EDC must enter into a written performance agreement with any business enterprise that it funds directly or makes expenditures that benefit an eligible project. At a minimum, the performance agreement must contain:
Development corporations created by cities located within 25 miles of the Texas-Mexico border may fund airport facilities if the city has a population of less than 50,000 or an average unemployment rate that is greater than the state average rate during the 12 months prior to the project's approval. In addition to airports, Type A and Type B corporations located in Hidalgo County may fund ports and sewer or solid waste disposal facilities required or suitable for infrastructure necessary to promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises.
This information should not be construed as, and is not a substitute for, legal advice.
Cities are urged to consult the Attorney General's Economic Development Handbook and their own legal counsel for any questions or interpretations of economic development laws.