Visit San Antonio: Legislative Update, August 2022
The Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office (contained within the Governor’s Office) is currently under Sunset Review. The Texas State Legislature created the Sunset process in 1977 to address the need for and the effectiveness of state agencies and the programs administered by these agencies. This process provides the state with a mechanism to review an agency and their mission to determine if it provides relevant and necessary services.
The Sunset Commission will recommend continuation with any recommended improvements to make them more effective and efficient. If the agency and its mission are not deemed relevant and necessary, the Sunset Commission may/will recommend abolishing the agency or transferring its functions to another agency with related functions.
The way the process works is typically as follows:
- Agency Self-evaluation one year before the next Regular Legislative Session,
- Sunset Commission staff review,
- Sunset Commission review and vote to continue or terminate the agency,
- If the agency is continued (generally for another 12 years), the State Legislature will approve their budget in the next Regular State Legislative Session (in this case the 88th Session – 2023) through the regular budget process.
Listed below are several hyperlinks providing information about the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office. These links include the Agency’s Self-Evaluation, a tentative meeting calendar, and a link for public comment submissions. Currently, the only meeting notices for the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office are December 6 & 7, 2022.
Sunset Review Calendar
Sunset Review Public Comment Form Link
Visit San Antonio will be submitting comments to the Sunset Commission supporting the mission of the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Department. If partners would like to submit comments to the Sunset Commission, please contact Matthew Polanco, Director of Government Relations, for assistance or to answer any questions.
The Visit San Antonio Government Relations Team (GR Team) continues to monitor the State Interim Session activity. The GR Team will be monitoring the interim activities of the Senate and House of Representatives. Specifically, the GR team continues to monitor the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, & Tourism and the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee’s interim charges related to the travel and tourism industry and the collection of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT Tax).
VSA is working with the Texas Travel Alliance (TTA) on this issue. We believe any amendments/revisions to HOT will be financially detrimental to our industry, the City of San Antonio, and Visit San Antonio.
Specifically, we are concerned about any changes to HOT allowing these dollars to be used for other purposes that are not currently contained in Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code.
Texas law provides for local HOT revenue to be used for the direct promotion of tourism and the convention/hotel industry. All proceeds from qualified projects should be spent on projects or events that result in visitors or attendees staying overnight in the community, generating more hotel occupancy tax. The HOT statue provides for 11 specific eligible uses by local units of government.
Below is a high-level review of the 11 eligible uses of HOT:
- The construction, maintenance and operation of a convention or visitor center.
- Facilities and personnel for the registration of convention delegates.
- Advertising and promotional programs to attract tourists.
- Encouragement and promotion of the arts.
- Historical restoration and preservation projects.
- Advertising to encourage tourists to visit historic sites and museums.
- Signage directing the public to sights and attractions frequently visited by tourists.
- Certain transportation systems serving tourists and hotel guests.
- Sporting events for which the majority of participants come from out of town.
- Qualifying sports facilities that routinely host regional or national tournaments; and
- Coliseums or multiuse facilities.
The GR Team will continue to work with TTA, other DMOs, and members of the Texas House of Representatives and Senate to avoid any expansion of the HOT tax.
Finally, the GR team has begun the development of VSA’s 88th State Legislative Program. Members of the team will be contacting VSA Board members and staff, industry partners, community partners, and other stakeholders to develop and adopt VSA’s State Legislative Program for the upcoming 88th State Legislative Session.
Erik Walsh, San Antonio City Manager, presented the city staff’s proposed FY23 Annual Budget to City Council. Listed below are some highlights:
Proposed FY23 Total City Budget – $3.4 Billion
- General Fund – $1.51 billion (44%),
- Restricted Funds – $1.25 billion (37%),
- Capital Program – $641 million.
- FY22 $93.9 million (Estimated),
- FY23 $101.2 million (Proposed).
- Property Tax Relief – $95 million,
- Homestead Exemptions (240,500 accounts),
- Disabled Person Exemptions (7,000 accounts), and
- Over 65 Exemptions (102,000 accounts).
CPS Energy – Customer Energy Credit
- Total $50 Million (funds that exceeded FY22 projects),
- $5 million – for eligible low-income residential customers,
- $45 million credit to all CPS customers,
- Average credit of $31 on October bills, and
- Amount can be higher based on individual bills.
- Employee Investment – $53 million,
- 5% across the board increase,
- Market adjustment of at least 2%,
- Entry wage increase to $17.50, and
- 20% Healthcare Premium Reduction.
San Antonio International Airport
- $137.1 million total budget.
Convention Center & Alamodome
- $35 million for FY23, and
- $160 million over next 6 years.
Arts & Culture
- $7.2 million for Arts Agencies,
- $312,000 restores film incentives, and
- $15.7 million included in FY22 Bond Program.
Economic Development Opportunities – $10 million
- $5.5 million f0r Citywide Econ Devo opportunities,
- $500,000 support for small, minority, and women owned businesses,
- $2.5 million City Fee Waivers, and
- $1.5 million Inner-City Incentive Development.
The Visit San Antonio GR Team continues to monitor the City of San Antonio’s actions related to the Noise Ordinance review and the SA Climate Ready’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) initiative. Additional information related to San Antonio’s efforts to address climate change can be found here.
As additional meeting information and developments unfold, the GR Team will provide additional information on these two issues.