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Posts under ‘Bidness’

What Houston is showing to Amazon

Meet the Innovation Corridor. Houston leaders hope to entice Amazon with a spot somewhere within the four-mile stretch of the Metro rail line that runs from downtown to the Texas Medical Center, an area they’re calling the Innovation Corridor – and the city’s best shot at winning the Seattle tech giant’s $5 billion second headquarters. […]

Amazon and Houston

Does our city have a shot at landing Amazon’s HQ2? Eh, maybe. Bringing Amazon to Houston almost certainly will be a heavy lift. The pursuit of the company that revolutionized the retail industry has highlighted both the potential and shortcomings of the local technology sector, made up of scattered groups of engineers in the energy, […]

AirBnB tax collection deal

Seems reasonable. [AirBnB] announced Wednesday it will begin collecting and remitting the 6 percent state hotel occupancy tax May 1. The decision followed more than a year of talks, said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb’s Texas public policy manager. Airbnb has similar tax-collection agreements with 25-plus states. “These agreements are a meaningful revenue boost for communities, and […]

“Texas lives on immigrant labor”

Ain’t that the truth. In Texas, an estimated 400,000 construction workers reside illegally, according to one study. If they were forced to leave the country, contractors say, state construction companies would face a difficult fallout, including higher labor costs, construction delays, and some projects canceled altogether. “Texas lives on immigrant labor,” said Jeff Nielsen, executive […]

Global investors against SB6

From the inbox: Led by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management, a group of some of the largest investors in the world, with a combined $11 trillion of assets under management, today spoke out against Texas Senate Bill 6 (or SB6), a “Bathroom Bill,” as well as similar discriminatory legislation. […]

The “border adjustment tax” is a sales tax increase by another name

That’s a feature, not a bug. Retailers across Texas and the country are warning that a proposed border adjustment tax would increase the cost of imports and, by extension, the price of food, clothing and other consumer goods. Texas companies, including Stage Stores of Houston and Neiman Marcus of Dallas, have joined more than 150 […]

Dan Patrick and the wall tax

Hey, you know who’s going to pay for Dear Leader’s wall? You and me and everyone else in the country. The Trump administration sparked widespread surprise Thursday by announcing it intended to implement a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for a coming border wall — followed by extreme confusion when it appeared […]

Business owners tell Dan Patrick to back off on bathrooms

More like this, please. Saying Texas Republican leaders are threatening jobs and the economy, more than 200 small-business owners issued an open letter Tuesday urging legislators to abandon plans for a state law targeting transgender bathrooms. The letter described “a growing sense of dread” that Texas will follow the path set by North Carolina, where […]

Buc-ee’s files another logo lawsuit

That’s one litigious beaver. Buc-ee’s has sued the San Antonio-based operator of Choke Canyon Travel Center for promoting its barbecue and other travel essentials with its grinning, lip-licking, hat-wearing, finger-pointing alligator. The alligator sits in a circle -much like Buc-ee’s beaver — and adorns a wide range of products, from sweet and salty snacks to […]

Here come the cannabis growers

For medicinal purposes only. About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana. The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at […]

Tesla takes its auto dealership fight nationwide

There’s more than one way to get into a market. Tesla Motors Inc. hopes to capture mainstream auto buyers with its Model 3, an electric car it [recently unveiled] at a price about the same as the average gasoline-powered vehicle, but it may need a federal court ruling to succeed. The Palo Alto, Calif., auto […]

Bu-ee’s to expand to Louisiana

The road to world domination leads east. The first Buc-ee’s outside Texas promises lagniappe, a little bonus, worthy of its Louisiana locale. “It’s going to look like what we build, and it’s going to feel like what we build,” co-owner Beaver Aplin said this week. But in addition to the Beaver Nuggets and other proprietary […]

TOP releases report on inefficiency of development tax subsidies

From the inbox: [Thursday], the Texas Organizing Project and the Workers Defense Project released a report on the ineffectiveness of tax subsidies in cities across Texas, and proposed ways to increase requirements for such deals in Houston to offer benefits in the form of good paying jobs with community investment for Houstonians. The report, compiled […]

Another look at AirBnB

Interesting. The hotel industry is starting to object. On Wednesday, a report funded by a national trade group claimed some Airbnb hosts function illegally and operate essentially as full-time hotels without the same health and safety oversight. It also says they can reduce the number of affordable options for full-time renters. The home-rental site has […]

The Uberization of moving companies

For when you don’t have a friend with a pickup truck and you need to move on the cheap. A new breed of online moving companies with names like Buddytruk and PICKUP has drawn interest from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, which wants to ensure the companies are following state laws requiring moving truck […]

Would you like to sit in armed or unarmed?

From Houstonia: Imagine it’s a Saturday afternoon. You stop into Whataburger to pick up lunch with your kids in tow, the only thing on your mind remembering which kid doesn’t want ketchup on his burger, which kid only wants ketchup on his burger, and whether you want to add jalapenõs to your own. You place […]

Some power companies like the Clean Power Plan

Not that you’d ever know it. Thad Hill, in a split with many fellow power company executives, flatly opposes the lawsuits that Texas and 25 others states have filed to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The plan, which the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled in the summer, seeks to combat climate change by reducing […]

Back to the business angle

I’m sure we’ll hear more of this in the next few weeks. Business and tourism leaders worried Wednesday that voters’ rejection of a citywide anti-discrimination ordinance has hurt what had been one of their best recruiting tools: Houston’s emerging reputation as a diverse metropolis that supported an openly gay mayor and welcomes young talent looking […]

Bring back postal banking

I still like this idea. Postal unions and civil rights groups are among other advocacy organizations, along with the U.S. Postal Service inspector general, pushing USPS to expand into banking. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential hopeful, agrees. But USPS, which could use the business, has no interest. Providing financial services in post offices […]

Revisiting the Texas-Amazon sales tax deal

The Statesman looks back and concludes it was a pretty good deal all around. In 2012, the state rolled the dice on a controversial deal with e-commerce giant Amazon.com. To end a two-year battle, Texas said it would drop a $269 million sales tax bill due from the Seattle-based company in exchange for an incentive […]

Bridal Extravaganza happily adjusts to a same-sex marriage world

Love is love, and business is business. Vendors in the industry, from florists to caterers, are seeing a bumper crop of same-sex Texas weddings. “I think there’s going to be some pent-up demand, and that’s exciting,” said Laurette Veres, Bridal Extravaganza producer. In Texas, same-sex weddings could generate at least $182 million in total spending […]

Who’s afraid of a little climate change?

We should be in Texas, but we’re not. Texas probably will see a sharp increase in heat-related deaths and coastal storm-related losses in the coming decades if nothing is done to mitigate a changing climate, according to a new study commissioned by a bipartisan group of prominent policymakers and company executives aiming to spawn concern […]

Abbott sides with auto dealers

Sorry, Tesla. Giving a nod to long-established franchised auto dealerships, Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas doesn’t need to carve out a loophole in its laws that would allow Tesla to sell its high-end electric cars directly to consumers. “Texas has a very robust, very open, very effective automobile sector that seems like it’s working quite […]

The wedding industry is rubbing its hands with glee

Nothing like having your market dramatically expanded overnight. Within hours after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Texas and across the country, local wedding businesses and venues already began getting orders and bookings from same-sex couples. Those in the wedding industry said they expect a surge of gay couples who were hoping to marry […]

Nothing but not-so-good-times ahead

Maybe if everyone chants “This time is different than the 80s!” loudly enough it will have the talismanic effect we all hope it will. For five years, a domestic oil boom has created a bounty of high-paying jobs and a general climate of prosperity here. But as the rest country starts to see signs of […]

Use less, pay more

Ain’t utility deregulation grand? More than 70 percent of electric plans offered in the Houston area contain terms that may penalize customers who don’t use a certain amount of power, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of more than 300 plans available in early January. NRG and other companies with plans that include the fees […]

The LGBT Wedding Expo

I love stories like this. The Houston LGBT Wedding Expo at the Galleria-area JW Marriott, which was hosted by the North Carolina-based Rainbow Wedding Network, showcased venues and companies marketing to the growing number of same-sex couples. With the LGBT community gaining visibility and gay-marriage bans toppling in several states, wedding events and services for […]

No gigafactory for Texas

They’re going to Nevada. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced Thursday that Tesla Motors will build a massive battery factory in the state as long as legislators approve tax breaks and other incentives worth up to $1.3 billion over 20 years. Sandoval revealed terms of the deal he negotiated with the electric car maker at a […]

It’s a great time to be a construction worker

For most people, anyway. On a conference call earlier this month, the president of Houston-based developer Camden Property Trust described what it’s like building apartments in markets where construction is booming and skilled workers are in short supply. “It’s a catfight to get subcontractors to fully staff at your jobs,” said D. Keith Oden. He […]

AirBnB in Houston

When people talk about “the sharing economy” for good or ill, the main players that get named tend to be Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB. We’ve heard a lot about the first two in Houston lately, but prior to this Chron story I can’t say I’d heard anything about the latter. Airbnb launched in 2009 as […]

More on the Postal Service as financial service provider

I still think it’s a good idea, and so do a lot of other people. The Postal Banking Consumer Survey [PDF] asked more than 1,600 consumers, many of whom do not have access to traditional banking services, whether or not USPS should enter the banking arena. Most consumers, about 63%, reported that the addition of […]

CFPB makes its presence felt in Texas

Good for them. Texas-based payday lender ACE Cash Express has agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it used harassment and other illegal tactics to push borrowers into a cycle of debt. Under the agreement, the company, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, will pay […]

Good times for the craft brewers

There’s a lot more growth to come for the craft brewing industry. Texas’ smaller craft breweries increased production last year by nearly half and made deeper gains in the overall beer market, suggesting the industry’s growth spurt will continue. “Yes, this is a long-term trend,” said Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers […]

It’s not Tesla that’s asking for special treatment

A couple of auto dealers take to the op-ed pages to argue that up is in fact down. The motor vehicle franchise laws in place do not in any way hinder innovation; instead they foster the competition that benefits consumers. One motor vehicle manufacturer, Tesla Motors, has been seeking an exemption from the franchise laws […]