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Summary: SB 1678 would modify the guidelines for participation and reporting for the Major Events Trust Fund (METF) and Events Trust Fund (ETF). Changes would include the shortening the amount of time the Comptroller would take to assess an event's impact, the participating events would be required to make payment regardless of the contingency clause, the Comptroller's Office would be required to disclose reporting information on their website, the funding disbursement would be reduced if the estimated turnout did not meet objectives, the events would not be allowed to use funding to construct a facility or conduct routine maintenance on a facility, funding would be used to conduct the event rather than for other purposes, and there would be a limit to the number and type of events under $200,000 that would be eligible to receive funding. Lastly, the Comptroller's Office would have to conduct a study to 1) determine an event's economic impact and 2) determine if the event would have occurred without funding incentives. The Comptroller would submit a report on its findings to the legislative leadership by January 1, 2015.
Analysis: SB 1678 would streamline the METF and ETF, holding both funds accountable for project performance and acquiring data that will help determine future policy decisions. Although this bill does not address the merits of maintaining the METF and ETF, it does move in the right direction of assessing the funding objectives and providing transparency to determine if the funding is necessary. This legislation would make government more transparent and hold funding recipients accountable for using taxpayer dollars. We support SB 1678.