San Antonio economic development leaders are joining forces with their counterparts in Austin to lobby for programs that attract new business to the state. 

Greater:SATX announced recently that it has agreed to partner with Opportunity Austin, an initiative of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and work together in pushing for legislation that moves the needle on economic development and job creation. 

“Our regions share a mutual interest in infrastructure, education and workforce development to foster even greater economic growth,” said Randy Smith, chairman of San Antonio’s nonprofit economic development group and CEO of downtown development firm Weston Urban. 

“As the megaregion between Austin and San Antonio continues to emerge, this teamwork is both critical and strategic. The impact of our efforts and collective investment will be felt throughout the entire corridor.” 

The collaboration brings together the muscle of two major Texas cities, between which lie two of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S.: Hays and Comal. The corridor is home to roughly 5 million people and is expected to reach up to 7 million by 2030, according to the state demographer, Lloyd Potter. 

In 2021, Greater:SATX officials developed a more regional-focused economic strategy that aligned its efforts with the eight-county metropolitan area that includes San Antonio. 

Since then, the organization pitches the broader region as a whole. Last year, as a result, the Texas subsidiary of the Japan-based Maruichi Stainless Tube Co. chose Seguin for its new plant.

The new partnership with Austin will focus first on lobbying economic development tools that make the region more competitive in attracting, retaining and growing business in the region, said a statement from Greater:SATX.

Those tools would ensure economic security for the state and promote technological and manufacturing independence, a Greater:SATX spokeswoman said. They also could help solve the supply chain crisis and create new capital investments that give local schools additional resources. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said during a visit to San Antonio earlier this month that he backs renewing some form of Chapter 313 agreements, an economic development incentive program intended to attract businesses to Texas by cutting the taxable property value for school districts. The program expired last year.

Abbott shared the stage to promote his agenda with Greater:SATX President and CEO Jenna Saucedo-Herrera in a program also sponsored by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. 

Such economic development policies are important to making Texas communities a contender for large job-creating investments, said Gary Farmer, chairman of Opportunity Austin, an economic development organization that fosters job-creating investment in the Austin region.

“Our collective efforts will help ensure our region remains a top choice for premier employers and talent,” Farmer said. 

In addition to pushing for legislation, the two groups also could work together on other initiatives around infrastructure and workforce development in the region, said the statement.

“We’ve brought a lot of opportunity to our region, but we need to innovate to remain competitive,” Saucedo-Herrera said. 

“As a mega-region between Austin and San Antonio continues to emerge, it is critical for our teams to prioritize shared advocacy for collective prosperity. This is the first formalized step in an ever-growing partnership between our organizations and our respective regions.”

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.