The 10th Biennial Converge on the Capitol day was Thursday, February 21st!
Thank you to all our members who joined us in Austin.
Converge on the Capitol was a huge success this year.
We had over 400 attendees from across the state attend over 130 meetings with State Legislators. We appreciate your participation and engagement.
The issues we presented at the Capitol were well received, and any members were able to visit directly with their representatives.
If you were able to attend, please take a moment to provide us with feedback. Your comments help us plan for a better experience in 2021. Click here to fill out our Converge survey.
1. Maintain Funding for Tourism Promotion in the State Budget
Every legislative session, the hotel and travel industry advocate to protect the 1/12th dedicated portion of the state hotel occupancy tax that is used to promote Texas as a tourism destination as part of the state appropriations bill.
The full 1/12th of the state hotel occupancy tax revenue remains dedicated to promoting tourism under state law and cannot be spent for any other purpose. This means the dedicated state hotel tax dollars must be spent promoting Texas as a tourism destination, which increases the State’s return-on-investment.
Texas needs tourism activity. According to data maintained by the Office of the Governor, tourism spending in Texas is over $74.7 billion annually. Tourism directly supports over 677,500 Texas jobs. This number nearly doubles if indirect employment is included.
As Texas continues to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, it is more important than ever to continue promoting Texas as a tourism and travel destination.
2. Preserving the dedicated nature of local hotel occupancy taxes
State law has always required that local hotel occupancy taxes be dedicated revenues that directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. This standard has benefited Texas communities by generating significant economic activity from travel, tourism and hotel activity. Legislative proposals to use local hotel tax revenue for general city purposes harms our communities’ ability to generate more economic activity from tourism and hotel activity.
Hotels currently fund important local government activities through property tax exactions, sales tax revenues, and alcoholic beverage tax revenues—all of which are un-dedicated, general use funding sources for local governments. We ask our state legislative leaders to continue to support the dedicated nature of local hotel occupancy taxes and oppose any legislation offered that would change the dedicated nature of these funds, and not allow these funds to be used for general government functions.
3. Restoring the uniform school start date for Texas school districts
State law has traditionally required School districts required to begin classes no earlier than the fourth Monday in August. This ensures a full summer travel period for families, allows students the opportunity to have seasonal summer jobs, attend summer camps, and allows teachers the opportunity to take summer coursework or have a seasonal job.
However, beginning with the 2018/2019 school year, a state statutory exemption from the uniform school start date requirement through the Districts of Innovation (DOI) program has led to more than two-thirds of Texas school districts opting for their own unique start dates.
This has caused a significant detrimental economic impact to travel and tourism, all without any documented benefit on education outcomes for students.
THLA is partnering with the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) to advocate for the elimination of the school start date exemption in the DOI program to restore the uniform school start date that benefits both families and the Texas economy.
No matter where you reside in Texas, each of the above items have a direct impact on the success of your business.
Register here to secure a meeting with your state representative.
Thank you again for your dedication to our industry! We are very excited to have you join us for this important event on Thursday, February 21.
Texas Hotel & Lodging Association