AUSTIN – State Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) has been appointed to the newly created Select Committee on Economic Development Incentives by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
Along with the other committee members, Ashby's role will be to assess the economic benefit provided by state and local incentive programs and make recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of those programs.
"I'm certainly honored to have been selected to serve on this particular committee, as it deals with an issue that I know is important to rural Texas," Ashby said. "Economic development and job creation has been, and continues to be a priority across our district. I'm excited because through this appointment I will be able to roll my sleeves up and dig into our state's economic incentive programs to see which programs and policies are working as intended."
The committee will determine the types of economic development projects that offer the most benefit to the state and suggest opportunities on meaningful reforms. It will also discuss how to make programs more efficient.
"While other states are working aggressively to ramp up their own economies, Texas has become the frontrunner in job creation," Ashby said. "My goal on this committee will be to continue that success, while promoting programs that value taxpayer dollars, and making sure that rural Texas does not get overlooked."
Straus, who has prioritized efficiency and transparency so far during the interim, said taxpayers deserve to have incentive programs looked at carefully.
"We owe it to taxpayers to take a detailed look at what has worked and what can be improved," Straus said. "Some incentive programs may need retooling and others may have outlived their usefulness. I'm confident that this committee can supply the answers that will help the full House prepare to address this issue in next year's session."
Ashby added that the state's ability to attract businesses cannot be tied to inefficient or unproductive incentives.
"Taxpayers in Texas deserve transparency and efficiency," Ashby said. "I think everyone agrees that we have to continue to grow our economy and present a viable and appealing business climate that attracts job creators and fosters economic opportunity. But there is no reason we cannot do those things while eliminating wasteful spending on incentives that no longer produce or eradicating policies that do not prove to be worthwhile for Texas taxpayers."