> The Comptroller’s office recently posted a new online resource for rural communities looking to breathe new life into their economic development programs.
The Rural Assistance Programs section of TexasAhead.org, launched in January, features the economic development resources and information rural communities use most often. It is a helpful starting place for anyone researching tax programs, incentives and many other economic issues affecting local governments.
“Changes in technology and the globalization of the markets have reduced employment in farming and many rural-oriented industries,” says Sarah Hall, an economic development analyst in the Comptroller’s Economic Development and Analysis Division. “To strengthen the economic opportunities in rural Texas, it is important to develop a sound strategy. We want to help by giving rural communities a new resource — a sort of a one-stop shop — to see at a glance the programs and opportunities that are available to them.”
Economic development analyst Russell Gallahan says that rural communities most often search the Comptroller’s website for information about two economic development tools.
“Type A and B economic development corporations (EDCs) are probably the primary source of revenue for economic development in rural communities,” Gallahan says. “The next biggest economic development tool our office works with is the Chapter 313 property value limitations for school districts.”
Towns typically form Type A EDCs to fund industrial development projects, such as business infrastructure, manufacturing and research and development. Type B EDCs can fund all Type A-eligible projects, as well as parks, museums, sports facilities and affordable housing. Both Type A and B EDCs are funded through sales taxes levied by cities.
An appraised value limitation under Texas Tax Code Chapter 313 is an agreement in which a taxpayer agrees to build or install property and create jobs in exchange for an eight-year limit on school district maintenance and operations tax.
“At the end of the limitation, the property goes to fair market value for appraisal,” Gallahan says. “So the school district gets several benefits from this. In the long term, the property is going to be worth more, but in the short term, the community gets jobs and capital investment.” TR
Learn more about economic development tools available to rural communities on the Comptroller’s Rural Assistance Programs webpage.