Employment growth in Texas has been impressive. Through 2023, the great state of Texas has outperformed other states in the nation with an almost 3% annual growth rate. In the Lone Star State, having lower taxes and enticing business incentives helps so many companies to grow and succeed. Economic development opportunities are so important for business growth. In Texas, businesses can capitalize on many different incentives; there are tax incentives, offers for franchise or business relocation, incentives for renewable energy, tax credits for research and development, and plenty of other exemptions and opportunities. Read on to learn more about 3 Texas business incentives that you haven’t thought about.

  1. The Events Trust Fund: This program applies local and state gains from things like sales and use, auto rental, hotel, and alcoholic beverage taxes that have been generated over a specified period of time. Basically, the ETF allows for business to be boosted by tourist dollars from a major event.

Altogether, this fund is comprised of three different funds, which include the Events Trust Fund (ETF), the Major Events Reimbursement Program, and the Motor Sports Racing Trust Fund. Venues for these events are selected through a competitive selection process. Parties who can apply include municipalities, counties, or local non-profit organizing committees that are endorsed by a Texas city or county that has been selected to host an approved event. Some examples of major events done in conjunction with ETF include: NASCAR races, Wrestlemania, Big 12 Football Conference Championship, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Junior Olympic Games, X Games, and the Superbowl. 

For the ETF, it is key to identify a qualifying event such as a sporting event, convention, festival, or similar event that attracts out-of-state visitors. Partnering with a local government is key; your Texas city or county must endorse the event and contribute local funding. Also, you must submit a proposal to the Texas Comptroller’s office using the event details, approximate economic impact details, and plans for how funds will be used. For every dollar contributed, the state will match funding at a higher rate. Once you are approved and have received funding, funds can be used to cover various event-related expenses such as security, facility improvement or rentals, public transportation, traffic management, and crowd control, maintenance and janitorial services, or marketing and promotion.

Some key things to note are that an ETF event must be held in Texas and generate out-of-state visitors. It must be held no more than once per year, and the local government must contribute matching funds. 

Attracting a major event with the benefits of the ETF can help Texas businesses too. Events can increase foot traffic and sales, create networking opportunities, influence media exposure, and even inspire positive brand association. Event organizers can partner with local businesses and organizations to strengthen their proposal and chance of success for their event. 

The ETF creates a great opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the financial power of a big event. You can learn more about ETF guidelines here. 

  1. Economic Development and Diversification In-State Tuition for Employees: For qualified businesses who are considering a relocation or expansion to Texas, this program allows employees and employees’ family members to pay in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education without first establishing residency.  

Businesses that are qualified for this program must operate in an industry that has the potential to create high economic impact in its region in Texas. It should be a target industry or a support industry for the state. Eligible businesses must also promote highly skilled, high wage jobs and plan to create new positions to be filled by both local residents and transferred employees. Some companies who have taken advantage of this incentive include Apple, Tesla, Merck, and the PGA. 

This incentive has a rolling application period, and businesses must be in the decision-making step of their process when they apply. A letter to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism must be sent from the city, county, or economic development group that is covering the region in which the qualified business would be located. This letter should detail the eligibility criteria, the number of employees who are transferring, approximate wages to be paid, and the estimated capital investment in the project. 

  1. Texas Jobs, Energy, Technology, and Innovation (JETI): The JETI Act is a competitive new economic incentive program that is aimed at attracting large, capital-intensive economic development projects that will both bring more capital investment and new high-paying jobs in Texas communities. The Texas Comptroller’s office started receiving applications for JETI in January 2024.

There are certain categories for eligible companies that are planning new projects; these include: manufacturing facilities, dispatchable electric generation facilities, natural resource development facilities, research, development, or manufacturing facilities for high-tech infrastructure equipment or technology, and the construction or expansion of critical infrastructure. Some non-eligible categories include renewable energy projects and energy storage facilities.  

JETI allows companies, school districts, and the Governor’s Office to enter into an agreement for a 10-year school district maintenance and operations tax appraised value limitation of 50%, based on qualifying job and capital investment minimums. Projects that are located in Opportunity Zones can get an additional 25% limitation of taxable value. 

There’s a tiered structure for JETI businesses that is based on the county’s population size to determine the level of required jobs and capital investment to qualify for the program. Visit the Texas Comptroller’s website for more information on applying. 

There are so many options for business incentives in Texas. The Texas Economic Development Connection adds value by taking the guesswork out of relocating your business to Texas. The TexasEDConnection connects businesses with economic developers across Texas through our extensive network and years of experience, and they can help you find the best business incentives for you. Set up a call with the Texas Economic Development Connection to learn more about what Texas business incentives could work for you.