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State Audit Finds Perry's Enterprise Fund Lacked Accountability

Photo illustration by Gage Skidmore / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune
The governor's Texas Enterprise Fund is under scrutiny from a state audit that claims funds were allocated without review.

Gov. Rick Perry made a name for himself luring businesses from other states to Texas with the help of the Texas Enterprise Fund. A new report by the state auditor shows the fund handed out millions in grants to businesses without requiring the companies to create jobs or even apply for the money.

Gov. Perry started the fund in 2003, with a goal of providing additional money to entice businesses considering expansion in or relocation to Texas.

The auditor's report shows a lack of accountability over money awarded in the funds first few years. In the 2004-2005 state budget years, the Office of the Governor, which oversees payouts, didn't require a dozen projects to submit applications for funds or create direct jobs. Those projects received more than $222 million, or about 44 percent of all money given out during the funds first decade.

Business groups have backed the fund over the years as a way to recruit companies to Texas. Opponents, which recently have included a bi-partisan slate of lawmakers, say the program either needs dramatically improved oversight, or should be eliminated altogether.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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