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Economic development fund focus of Texas gubernatorial debate


The final debate between Texas gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott, was Tuesday night.  The New York Times reported the focal point of the discussion was the economic-incentive fund.

Mr. Abbott is responsible for prosecuting misuses of state money as attorney general.  A recent audit revealed there were companies who received the money who complete applications requesting funds.  Ms. Davis sponsored the bill calling for the audit.

Abbott said the audit was not critical of him or his office.

“From the beginning of my campaign, I have been questioning this very fund,” he said.

Abbott said Cabela’s hadn’t submitted a formal application to build a store in Fort Worth, but received funds.  Ms. Davis supported that action when serving on the Fort Worth City Council.

“When you used those incentive funds to attract Cabela’s, and then closed the deal, it was your title company that benefited by closing that deal, so you personally profited,” Mr. Abbott said.

“You know you are not telling the truth,” she responded. “I did not personally profit from that.”

Davis said it was not her title company.  She was an employee of the company.  Her salary was not dependent on any business deals.

The state auditor’s report found the fund had awarded more than $200 million to recipients without requiring them to submit applications or to specifically commit to job creation.

More of the story is available from the New York Times.