Gov. Abbott signs DRC priority bill to establish revamped incentive program to help bring companies and jobs to Texas

In the final stretch of the 88th Texas Legislative Session on Sunday, May 28, lawmakers passed House Bill 5 (HB 5), a key priority bill for the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) that will create a new transparent and accountable economic development incentive tool designed to help attract large corporate projects to the state. Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law Wednesday, June 7.

Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 5.

The DRC entered the legislative session in January advocating for a bill such as HB 5—named the Texas Jobs, Energy, Technology, and Innovation Act—to keep Texas competitive in economic development. Texas’ previous economic development incentive tool, known as the Texas Economic Development Act, expired at the end of 2022 after two decades of helping fuel an economic boom that included the addition of 222 corporate headquarters, hundreds of industrial projects, and 1.3 million new jobs to Dallas-Fort Worth since 2010.

“Economic development tools like the one House Bill 5 establishes are a vital piece of Texas and the Dallas Region’s winning economic formula,” said Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the DRC. “This action by our state leaders helps Texas maintain its current position as the nation’s number one state for business, and I am deeply proud of the DRC’s tireless and effective advocacy efforts in support of this critical effort in concert with our partners statewide. Thank you to the legislators who worked on this bill, championed it, and ultimately voted for it.”

HB 5, authored by Chairman Todd Hunter and sponsored by Chairman Charles Schwertner, incentivizes corporate development projects by allowing school districts to offer temporary property tax abatements to induce big long-term gains, including enduring tax wealth and high-paying jobs in innovative sectors. This is especially important in a property tax-intensive state like Texas, and the bill, which makes significant improvements to its predecessor program, passed both the House of Representatives and Senate by a wide margin with bipartisan support.

“Texas is the most dynamic and diverse state economy in modern American history due in large part to forward-thinking incentive tools like this one,” said Mike Rosa, DRC Senior Vice President of Economic Development. “Passing HB 5 signals to diverse industries that they can thrive here and sets the table for our economy’s continued growth for years to come. This program will help us continue to recruit large capital investments and create jobs for residents throughout the state.”

DRC Senior Vice President of Public Policy Matt Garcia with the signed bill.

Rosa served as one of just 11 people statewide invited to testify in support of HB 5 before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means; he was the only economic development professional invited to lend his expertise to the same committee.

In addition to Rosa’s expert counsel, the DRC’s Public Policy and Economic Development teams worked hundreds of hours with House and Senate members and their staff to serve as a resource for changes that could help make HB 5 as impactful as possible. DRC staff worked in close coordination with a statewide coalition of over 260 chambers and corporations to promote the critical nature of HB 5 and advocate for its passage.

When HB 5 was considered in the Senate, the DRC worked with the office of Senator Royce West to include a provision incentivizing companies to locate projects in federally designated Opportunity Zones, which are under-championed areas in rural and urban communities across the state.

DRC member companies joined the coalition’s advocacy efforts for HB 5 in meetings with lawmakers during the DRC’s 2023 Austin Fly-In and made many subsequent calls to their legislators to siren the importance of this legislation to the continued growth of the Dallas Region.

The DRC thanks Gov. Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dade Phelan for urgently passing HB 5 before conclusion of the regular legislative session, as well as Chairman Hunter, Chairman Schwertner, Chairman Morgan Meyer, and Chairwoman Angie Chen Button for their diligence and commitment to this initiative throughout the entire legislative process.

The DRC also thanks members of the Dallas Region’s delegation who supported HB 5 and the members of the Conference Committee on HB 5, including Senator Nathan Johnson, Chairwoman Button, and Chairman Meyer, for their hard work and commitment to this important legislation.