In today’s Spotlight on the 87th Legislative Session, we look back at Senate Bill 609, authored by State Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston). SB 609 created a new corporate welfare program for music venues by creating the Texas Music Incubator program which in turn hands out tax rebates to venues that qualify. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott and now is actively wasting taxpayer dollars by giving handouts to music venues instead of giving much-needed tax relief to everyday Texans.
When SB 609 passed the Texas Senate, only 9 Republican Senators voted in opposition. The Republican State Senators who voted for the corporate welfare program include State Sens. Dawn Buckingham (Lakeway), Donna Campbell (New Braunfels), Kelly Hancock (North Richland Hills), Joan Huffman (Houston), Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham), Jane Nelson (Flower Mound), Charles Perry (Lubbock), Charles Schwertner (Georgetown), and Larry Taylor (Friendswood).
SB 609 saw virtually no resistance in the Texas House of Representatives either. Only 40 lawmakers voted in opposition.
A lot can be said about this legislation, but the fact that it made it through the entirety of the legislative process without much fuss or effort and then went straight to Abbott’s desk where it was signed into law says enough. Our lawmakers are not serious when it comes to limiting the size and scope of government. This program never should have been created, and now that it is, it will likely not go away any time soon. This new program came about at the expense of real property tax relief for Texans and is just another example of where our lawmakers prioritize tax relief for corporations instead of the individual taxpayers that elect them. Will Texans continue to elect these same lawmakers? We will find out on March 1st.
Texas taxpayers should be aware of the tremendous resource made available to them in the Fiscal Responsibility Index. TFR spent hundreds of hours analyzing votes that your lawmakers take and we have condensed them into an easily understandable metric that is available for anyone to use. We recommend you look at how fiscally responsible your lawmaker is before casting your ballot in the upcoming primary election.
Stay tuned, additional spotlights are to come!