Ben Morse is a Texas public law attorney who devotes the bulk of his practice to public finance matters. He has served as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel and disclosure counsel on virtually every type of public finance transaction. Throughout his career, Ben has worked on over 180 public finance transactions with an aggregate par value in excess of $20 billion. These transactions have involved school districts, institutions of higher education, counties, cities, special districts, economic development corporations, tax increment reinvestment zones and local government corporations, among others.
While Ben’s public finance practice is wide-ranging, he has a particular passion for working with public school districts. He is entirely a product of public schooling, having attended the schools of Willis ISD from K-12, as well as The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Michigan Law School. Ben regularly serves as bond counsel to school districts. In that capacity, he ensures that his school district clients properly conduct their elections and that bond documentation complies with all applicable laws.
Ben is particularly well versed in the laws and strategies related to the conduct of bond and other special and general elections. He has had a primary role in some of the largest bond elections in the State of Texas, including the $3.5 billion Houston METRO Bond Election held in November 2019, the $2.5 billion Harris County Flood Control District Bond Election held in August 2018 in response to Hurricane Harvey, and the $2.49 billion Austin ISD Bond Election held in November 2022. In addition to bond elections, Ben has served as elections counsel for the Houston Community College System in connection with the System's trustee elections. He also has experience with other common special elections involving school districts, including voter-approval tax rate elections (also known as VATREs or TREs) and attendance credit elections. He has also provided counsel to special districts in connection with general elections and bond elections.
In addition to his public finance work, Ben has negotiated a variety of economic development agreements involving special districts, economic development corporations, cities and other governmental entities. For example, Ben represented the City of Webster and the Webster Economic Development Corporation in connection with their recruitment of the Houston area’s first Great Wolf Lodge. He has negotiated a number of development reimbursement agreements involving municipal utility districts and other special districts, as well as similar agreements involving tax increment reinvestment zones (TIRZs). Ben is highly familiar with the Texas Economic Development Corporation Act and has been involved in the preparation and negotiation of a variety of performance agreements and other contracts involving Type A and Type B economic development corporations.
Ben has broad ranging experience in general public law matters. He has assisted both governmental entities and private entities in connection with open records requests. In that connection, Ben has prepared a number of successful briefings to the Texas Attorney General that have ensured that sensitive information has been protected from public disclosure. In the past, he has represented a number of special districts as their general counsel, where he handled the preparation and review of day-to-day contracts, preparation of resolutions, and assisting in running meetings in accordance with open meetings laws.