AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday he would prefer that tax breaks for renewable energy companies are not included in any economic incentive bill the Legislature might pass to replace Chapter 313, a popular corporate tax break that expired at the end of last year.
The governor’s comments were in response to reporter questions during a press conference, where Abbott announced Texas won its 11th consecutive Governor’s Cup, an award given to states for excellence in job creation and capital investment.
During the press conference, Abbott lauded the legislative efforts that he says have made the Lone Star State attractive for business, despite a popular corporate tax break program — known as Chapter 313 — expiring last December.
When asked about one of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan’s key priorities, which could serve as an economic incentive workaround in Chapter 313’s absence, Abbott described House Bill 5 as an innovative approach.
“There are great legislative proposals that are being offered up that would replace 313 to ensure that Texas continues to have very substantial economic development tools,” he said.
But Abbott said his support for expanding tax incentives would not extend to renewable energy companies.
“There’s already a federal incentive for renewable projects and those will continue to be allowed,” he said. “As it concerns, especially energy and power and the power grid, our focus is on dispatchable power to make sure that we will have the needed dispatchable power to provide reliable electricity to everybody in the state.”
Notably, Abbott’s remarks align him with his Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Patrick has made expanding dispatchable energy — any type of power source, typically sourced from natural gas that can be easily turned on or off — one of his keynote legislative priorities.
Additionally, other key Republican lawmakers echoed Abbott’s remarks earlier Wednesday. At the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s policy summit, Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said he would vote against incentives for wind and solar and do everything in his power to stop it.
Phelan’s priority bill, HB-5, doesn’t specify whether renewable companies would be excluded from the subsidy proposal.