Some of the nation’s largest oil refineries are seeking huge tax refunds that could force school districts and local governments across Texas to give back tens of millions of dollars they were counting on to pay teachers and provide other services.
The owners of the refineries--including San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp.--want the tax breaks in exchange for buying pollution-control equipment. But the cost to public schools would be dear, coming only months after legislators slashed education spending by more than $4 billion.
If the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality grants the refunds, nearly half the money would be taken from schools.
The TCEQ is evaluating 16 refund requests that could add up to more than $135 million in counties where refunds are being sought, according to county tax data and application documents analyzed by the Associated Press.