The Week in Business: Profits, Losses, and Everything in Between

Valero doesn't get a break, Southwest lands a new fleet, and Star Wars fanatics rejoice. 
Fri December 23, 2011 4:30 am
Pylon 757 | Flickr

The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across Texas this week.  

It’s Not Easy Going Green
Valero Energy will miss out on more than $90 million in tax breaks it wanted for installing pollution-reducing equipment at six Texas refineries. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (surprisingly?) denied the request because the company “could not show an environmental benefit” at the refinery sites, the Houston Chronicle reported. The tax relief package would have come out of the budgets of school districts and local governments, many of which were hit hard by cuts in the previous legislative session.

The Bottom Line: Valero, which took in $1.2 billion in profits last quarter, won’t go miss out on any millions without a fight—the company announced that it intends to appeal the decision.

Spacemen at Work
NASA’s Johnson Space Center will partner with Texas’s largest tech incubator to coordinate new professional paths for contractors and technicians who were laid off after the final shuttle program ended earlier this year. The Houston Technology Center plans to open an office at the Space Center to “develop entrepreneurial ideas based on spaceflight technology and work with space employees to develop new businesses,” t he Houston Chronicle reported

The Bottom Line: The partnership is more than an exit program— NASA plans to launch back into space within ten years, so the agency hopes to groom employees for the next mission.

208 Planes Later
This month Southwest Airlines became the first company to place an order for Boeing’s new line of 737 MAX airplanes, t he Dallas Business Journal reported. The airline announced it will

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