"Foreign corporations are people, too, y'all" Mitt Afkababble.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs had pledged two years ago that the state would provide $250 million over 10 years to defray the costs of bringing F1 racing to Austin, but she did it before the city of Austin had either requested or signed off on the deal as required under Texas law.
But critics -- Tea Party activists in particular -- want to eliminate tax subsidies altogether for the private sector when the Legislature reconvenes in January. Activist Jo Ann Fleming, who chairs the Legislature's Tea Party Caucus advisory committee, said the government should not award tax dollars to private entities at a time when vital programs are being cut.
"The state should not be acting as an investment banker or venture capitalist. This is the same kind of stuff that Washington does that conservatives stomp their feet and shake their fists about," she said. "It's not the core function of government. We've got plenty of big-ticket items to pay for."
State Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 and was re-elected in November, said he hopes the Legislature will phase out the tax subsidies next year.
"I have a really hard time putting $25 million into a Formula One event when we're cutting education by $4 billion," Perry said. "I'm not anti-economic development, but we provide a great environment for business."
If the past is any guide, it will be a difficult battle. Though the Legislature enacted deep spending cuts in the 2011 session, lawmakers preserved Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technology Fund, even as Tea Party conservatives criticized them as "corporate welfare."