Business Development

Galveston Industrial Development Corporation

The Galveston Industrial Development Corporation is organized for the purpose of aiding, assisting and acting on behalf of the City of Galveston in the undertaking and completion of projects. Such projects include parks, athletic facilities, concert halls, parking facilities, roads, water, and sewer facilities. The Corporation may promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises through the improvement of streets, drainage, and public safety facilities. The Corporation also is organized to aid and assist with beach renourishment projects. The IDC has all powers provided to a Section 4B Corporation.

Economic Development Local Incentives – Summary of Programs Available 

  • 380 Agreements: Chapter 380 authorizes home-rule municipalities to offer loans and grants of public money and provide personnel and services of the municipality to promote local or state economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity in the municipality.
  • 381 Agreements: Refers to Counties, and enables similar support as provided with 380 Agreements.
  • Galveston IDC- Type B Sales Tax for Economic Development: Galveston operates the Galveston Industrial Development Corporation as the Board appointed to oversee the allocations of the Type 4B Sales tax for Economic Development. Currently, projects may be considered under the categories of Parks, Beaches, Infrastructure, and Economic Development.
  • Chapter 313 Agreements: Which allows school districts to attract new taxable property by offering a tax credit and an eight-year limitation on the appraised value of a property for the maintenance and operations portion of the school district property tax.
  • Galveston County Tax Abatement: Businesses seeking tax relief from Galveston County may apply for abatement on their property taxes.
  • Foreign Trade Zone (Zone No. 36 - Galveston, TX): Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ’s) are sites in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry where foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered to be in international trade. Goods can be brought into a zone without formal customs entry or without incurring customs duties or excise taxes unless they are imported into the United States.    
  • Freeport Tax Exemption: The Freeport Tax Exemption allows local authorities (only applicable to the City of Galveston and the Galveston County Navigation District #1) to exempt from ad valorem property taxes all business inventories acquired in or brought into Texas for fabricating, assembling, manufacturing, storing, or processing and then exported outside the state within 175 Days. All inventories are covered except oil, gas, and petroleum products, with no restriction on the destination of such goods. The goods must remain in the continuous ownership of the person who exports them from the time of their acquisition until the time of their export.
  • Non-Financial Tools & Resources: Expedited permitting/processing; Disaster Preparedness; Regulatory Assistance; Historical/Environmental Assistance.

Economic Development State Incentives – Summary of Programs Available 

  • Texas Enterprise Fund Program: Texas Enterprise Fund was developed to provide financial resources to help strengthen the state’s economy. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House must unanimously agree to support the use of the Texas Enterprise Fund for each specific project.
  • Texas Enterprise Zone Program: Texas Enterprise Zone Program is an economic development tool for local communities to partner with the State of Texas to promote job creation and capital investment in economically distressed areas of Texas. The level and amount of refund is related to the capital investment and jobs created at the qualified business site.
  • Skills Development Fund: Created to assist Texas public community and technical colleges finance customized job training for their local businesses. Grants are provided to help companies and labor unions form partnerships with local community colleges and technical schools to provide custom job training.
  • State Sales & Use Tax Exemptions:
  • Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment: Texas companies are exempt from paying state sales and use tax on the purchase of machinery exclusively used in processing, packing, or marketing agricultural products by the original producer at a location operated by the original producer.
  • Natural Gas & Electricity: Texas companies are exempt from paying state and local sales tax and use tax on electricity and natural gas used in manufacturing, processing, or fabricating tangible personal property.  The company must conduct a “predominant use study” that shows that at least 50% of the electricity or natural gas consumed by the business directly causes a physical change to a product.
  • Data Center Exemption: Texas provides a 100% exemption on sales tax for computers, equipment, cooling systems, power infrastructure, electricity and fuel for Data centers meeting the minimum thresholds of $200 million in capital investment, 20 new jobs, and an average salary of at least 120% of the county average salary.



Galveston is situated in an advantageous position along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Interstate 45 serving as the main corridor connects Galveston Island to the Houston Metropolitan region. Three beltways (610 Loop, Beltway 8, and 99 Grand Parkway) around Houston all intersect with I-45, giving Galveston access to every major city in the State of Texas.


Scholes International Airport is a General Aviation Reliever Airport owned and operated by the City of Galveston. Scholes features two 6,000 ft. runways, and includes activities such as; private aviation, air taxi operations, and corporate air travel.

Approximately 40 miles to the north of Galveston are William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Field. Hobby Airport is Houston’s oldest commercial airport, offering international flights. Ellington Field supports operations with the U.S. Military, NASA, and a wide range of aviation tenants. As of 2015, the Houston Airport System (HAS) and NASA entered into an agreement allowing the newly formed Houston Spaceport at Ellington Field, to tap into NASA’s assets in order to expand the spaceflight industry in Houston.

Rail access

Galveston Railroad (GVSR) is a 38-mile short-line railroad that serves the Port of Galveston, which interchanges with BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Commodities that are transported include food products, agriculture feed, machinery, paper, wind generation equipment, and chemicals. GVSR was acquired by Genesee and Wyoming (G&W) in 2005 and became a part of Genesee 7 Wyoming’s Coastal Region Railroads. The G&W region serves 10 major U.S. ports.

Deepwater port access

The Port of Galveston provides a tremendous impact, providing 13,892 jobs, 1,861,549 cruise passengers, and $2.3 Billion in economic impact. The Port of Galveston’s facilities are located 9.3 miles from open sea, or 30 minutes sailing time. The Galveston Channel has an authorized minimum depth of 45 feet and is 1,200 feet wide at its narrowest point. Shipping lines that regularly serve the Port of Galveston include American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier (ARC), Del Monte, Hoegh Autoliners, K Line, and Wallenius Willhelmsen. 

The Port of Texas City immediately across Galveston Bay provides direct access to the 14th largest port in the United States. The Port of Texas City has had tremendous success as a privately owned port, with shareholders that include Union Pacific Railroad, and BNSF Railway. The Texas City Terminal Railway provides switching inside the port, and for the petrochemical industry requires rail services.

Port Houston lies north of Galveston and includes a 25 mile long complex of approximately 200 private and public industrial terminals along the 52 mile Houston Ship Channel. Port Houston is the largest port on the Gulf Coast, moving more than 247 million tons of cargo each year.

Big Radius Tool

Big Radius Tool is intended to provide “gross” numbers for a mileage-based radius, beginning at 25 miles and going up to 500 miles.

This can be used to:

  • Enumerate how many people live within a certain radius.
  • See which counties are the largest and/or the fastest growing.
  • Quickly learn the size of the labor force and unemployment rate ranges of the counties in the radius.
  • Determine which industry sectors are among the largest in the radius.

How to use the Big Radius Tool

  • Type in the name of a city or county and use the “autofill” to choose the center point of the radius. Then use the slider to increase or decrease the radius (minimum is 25 miles).

Click here if you want to use Big Radius Tool

Helpful documents