Texas Government News: Texas Hotel and Lodging Association
The following report was produced by the Texas Lobby Group for one of our clients. We offer this article as a service for Texas Government Consultants, State Lobbyists, Texas Politics and Government Studies, and for all interested parties.
Texas Political Primary Date
At long last we have a date for the Texas primary elections. They will be on May 29th, which is right when the travel season begins.
Redistricting is a big issue currently. Texas studies and changes its districts every ten years, and the process is always one filled with passion and emotion. The new changes have been tied up in the court system since the end of the 2011 legislative session. Everyone has been watching this issue closely throughout the year, but it appears things have been decided, the current districts are in place, and our election season is beginning.
What will all of this mean for the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association?
Redistricting means there will be retirements among legislators
In the House of Representatives, thirty members (1.5 of the House) are either retiring or running for a different office. There will be a lot of turnover this session. And a lot of experience and wisdom will be leaving. This offers an opportunity for people in our industry to help educate the new members of the House and Senate about issues that are important to Texas travel and tourism.
The redistricting delay means this election cycle will be held later
Usually Texas votes on Super Tuesday with much of the nation. We’ve missed that day this year. Our later primary date may affect those who are traveling. And the lack of a heated race between Republican presidential hopefuls at this late date may affect turnout as well. Look for lots of early voting in 2012.
The new districts mean that this campaign season is going to be expensive. If you have not contributed to the HotelPAC, please click here.
Additionally, when the Session rolls around there will be a lot of opportunity and need for our industry to educate new members of the Legislature about our industry and the benefits of tourism to the State of Texas.
KEY ELECTION DATES
Deadline to register to vote: April 30
Early voting period: May 14 – May 25
Deadline to request ballot by mail: May 22
Primary elections: May 29
Deadline to register to vote: October 9
Early voting period: October 22 – November 2
Deadline to request ballot by mail: October 30
General election: November 6
Texas Government Lobby Legislative Issues of Note
Interim committees in the House and Senate are now holding hearings on issues that will face our state in the next session. Go to www.capitol.state.tx.us to find lists of these hearings and charges.
Because the Texas legislature only meets for 140 days every other year, advance work is critical. And budget discussions are already beginning for next session. Last session the budget was cut drastically, but it is under scrutiny again. Medicaid costs are somewhat alarming, while educational advocates are suing the state, seeking more funds for education. The budget struggle promises to be a robust one for the next session. The good news is, Tax revenue is up in our state, and we again lead the nation in jobs created.
In addition, our Texas economy is booming. Susan Combs (State Comptroller) has announced that our sales tax revenue in February was up $2.01 billion, which is a 14.8 percent increase over February of 2011.
“Sales tax revenue in all major industries was up, indicating growth in both business and consumer spending” Combs said. “Rapid growth in tax collections continued from oil and natural gas sectors, while revenue from retail trade, restaurants and telecommunications was also up significantly.”