Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
House Bill 1717 would provide that an eligible barrier island municipality be able to use revenues from the municipal hotel occupancy tax to pay for promotion and expenses related to ecological tourism events, and for expenses related to acquisition of sites, as well maintenance of facilities, for spaceport activities.
According to the statement of intent for the bill, "SpaceX recently announced its decision to build a commercial space launch facility at Boca Chica Beach, just south of South Padre Island. Once open, the facility is expected to have at least eight launches per year."
House Bill 1717 seeks to authorize the city of South Padre Island to use revenues from the municipal hotel occupancy tax to subsidize ecological tourism events and space launch viewing facilities in order to grow tourism. Basically, local tourists, or any visitor that needs to spend a night in a hotel room would be forced to subsidize these activities every time they spend a night in a hotel room in that city, whether they take part in these activities or not.
The role of a limited government is not to grow tourism or to subsidize certain events at the expense of others with taxpayer money. If the concern of the city of South Padre Island is to see more tourists come and visit, the repeal of the municipal hotel occupancy tax would encourage individuals to stay longer in hotels and to spend more of their money -- that would have otherwise been paid in taxes -- within the local economy, and in tourism events and activities. Such a situation would benefit tourists, municipalities and their communities and would also favor a limited government and the free market system.
As a consequence, we oppose HB 1717.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.