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Transparency Stars

Economic Development Guidelines

Efforts to increase transparency in this area inform taxpayers about programs and incentives supported by their tax dollars that are designed to attract industry and investment, create jobs and otherwise grow the economy. Economic Development Transparency Star criteria enhance existing Comptroller economic development programming and resources aimed at local governments.

Cities

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your entity's website to qualify for an Economic Development Transparency Star. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

Economic Development Summary

Post an economic development summary that includes a narrative overview as well as these items for tax abatements granted in the most recently completed fiscal year:

  • Number of tax abatements granted in the most recently completed fiscal year
  • Estimated taxes abated in year 1 of agreements as total and per capita amounts
  • Estimated taxes abated for life of agreements
  • Number of jobs created/retained by agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)
  • Total capital investment received for agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)

Note that you may wish to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete the Summary section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Number of tax abatements granted for previous five years
  • Amount of taxes abated for previous five years

Note that you may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for templates you may choose to use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

Post the following documents separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • Economic development corporation project documents that contain the following:
    • Project goal
    • Name of entity receiving project
    • Cost of project
    • Benefit to city/EDC
  • Chapter 380 agreements that contain the following:
    • Project goal
    • Name of entity receiving project
    • Cost of project
    • Benefit to city
  • Tax abatement agreements:
    • Agreement contract
    • Ordinance granting agreement

Downloadable Data

Make the following data available for download to aid in researching your local government entity:

  • Tax abatement dataset containing items such as project names/goals, recipients, years granted, estimated total taxes abated and actual taxes abated
  • Chapter 380 agreements dataset containing items such as project names/goals, recipients, years granted, promised funding from city and actual funding from city

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Link to Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Economic Development Corporation Report search tool: https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/edcr/EdcrSearch.jsp
  • Applicable GASB guidance documents such as Statement No. 77 regarding tax abatement disclosures; links to applicable sections within financial statements
  • Other documents regarding economic development activities if available. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to non-annexation agreements and in kind agreements

Counties

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your governmental entity's website to qualify for an Economic Development Transparency Star. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your governmental entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

Economic Development Summary

Post an economic development summary that includes a narrative overview as well as these items for tax abatements granted in the most recently completed fiscal year:

  • Number of tax abatements granted in the most recently completed fiscal year
  • Estimated taxes abated in year 1 of the agreements expressed as total and per capita amounts
  • Estimated taxes abated for life of agreements
  • Number of jobs created/retained by agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)
  • Total capital investment received for agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)

Note that entities may wish to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete the Summary section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Number of tax abatements granted for previous five years
  • Amount of taxes abated for previous five years

Note that entities may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for templates you may choose to use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

The following documents are posted separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • County assistance project documents that contain:
    • Project goal
    • Name of entity receiving project
    • Cost of project
    • Benefit to county/district
  • Chapter 381 agreements that contain:
    • Project goal
    • Name of entity receiving project
    • Cost of project
    • Benefit to county
  • Tax abatement agreements
    • Agreement contract
    • Ordinance granting agreement

Downloadable Data

Make the following data available for download to aid in researching your entity:

  • Tax abatement dataset containing items such as project names/goals, recipients, years granted, estimated total taxes abated and actual taxes abated
  • Chapter 381 agreements dataset containing items such as project names/goals, recipients, years granted, promised funding from county and actual funding from county

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Applicable GASB guidance documents such as Statement No. 77 regarding tax abatement disclosures; links to applicable sections within financial statements
  • Other documents regarding economic development activities if available. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to non-annexation agreements and in kind agreements

School Districts

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your entity's website to qualify for an Economic Development Transparency Star for your school district. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

Economic Development Summary

Post an economic development summary that includes a narrative overview as well as these items for appraisal value limitation agreements entered into in the most recently completed fiscal year:

  • Number of appraisal value limitation agreements entered into in the most recently completed fiscal year
  • Estimated tax foregone in year 1 of the agreements expressed as total and per student amounts
  • Estimated taxes forgone for life of agreements
  • Number of jobs projected to be created/retained by all existing agreements to date (up to the most the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)
  • Total estimated lifetime investment in all existing limitation agreements

Note that you may wish to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete the Summary section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Number of value limitation agreements granted for previous five years
  • Amount of taxes forgone in previous five years

Note that you may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for templates you may choose to use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

Post the following documents separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • Value Limitation agreements
    • Agreement contract

Downloadable Data

Make the following data available for download to aid in researching your entity:

  • Value limitation dataset containing items such as project names/goals, agreement holders, payments in lieu of taxes, first year of tax benefit, estimated total taxes forgone and actual taxes forgone

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Applicable GASB guidance documents such as Statement No. 77 regarding disclosure of taxes foregone; links to applicable sections within financial statements
  • Other documents regarding economic development activities if available. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to non-annexation agreements and in kind agreements

Special Purpose Districts

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your entity's website to qualify for an Economic Development Transparency Star for your special purpose district. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

Economic Development Summary

Post an economic development summary that includes a narrative overview as well as these items for tax abatements granted in the most recently completed fiscal year:

  • Number of tax abatements granted in most recently completed fiscal year
  • Estimated taxes abated in year 1 of the agreements expressed as total and per capita amounts
  • Estimated taxes abated for life of agreements
  • Number of jobs created/retained by agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)
  • Total capital investment received for agreements to date (up to the last day of the most recently completed fiscal year)

Note that you may wish to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete the Summary section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Number of tax abatements granted for previous five years
  • Amount of taxes abated for previous five years

Note that you may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for templates you may choose to use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

Post the following documents separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • Tax abatement agreements
    • Agreement contract
    • Guidelines and Criteria

Downloadable Data

Make the following data available for download to aid in researching your entity:

  • Tax abatement dataset containing items such as project names/goals, recipients, years granted, estimated total taxes abated and actual taxes abated

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Applicable GASB guidance documents such as Statement No. 77 regarding tax abatement disclosures; links to applicable sections within financial statements
  • Other documents regarding economic development activities if available. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to non-annexation agreements and in-kind agreements

Get the word out: