Texas Political Lobbyist News
Texas Hotel and Lodging Association
The following lobbyist update was written by the Texas Lobby Group for one of our clients. We offer this digest of our original article for all Texas Politicians, political lobbyists, government consultants, and all other interested parties.
Texas Political Primary Date
The date for the Texas political primaries will be May 29th, which means it is right about the time the traditional travel season begins.
Texas legislative redistricting is done every ten years. The latest redistricting process has been in the courts since the end of the 2011 session. All interested parties have been keeping an eye on this process over the winter. But finally the redistricting lines are drawn and the campaign season has begun.
All of this brings up a number of issues for the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association. Please notice a few things:
First, the redrawing of the district lines means that there will be numerous retirements.
In the House of Representatives, 1/5 of this congressmen are retiring or running for another office. That means a lot of wisdom and experience will be leaving us. In addition, ten House District rematches will be taking place. Ten House Members who lost in 2010 will be running for office again. In the Texas Senate, Texas Tourism Caucus Chair and Champion Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) faces a tough primary race.
The redistricting delay means the election cycle will be later than usual.
Texans normally vote on Super Tuesday in March. But our later primary date may affect those who travel. This may mean an increase in early voting and voting my mail.
All of this means that the 2012 campaign season is going to be expensive. If you haven’t contributed to the HotelPAC, please click here.
When the Session arrives, there will be good chances and the need for people in this industry to help educate our new legislators about our industry and the benefits of tourism in 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
News from the Legislative Front
Both the House and Senate are holding hearings on issues that will face lawmakers in the upcoming Leg. Session. Visit www.capitol.state.tx.us to check out all upcoming hearings and committee charges.
With our State legislature only meeting every other year for 140 days, we have to begin work now. Budget discussions have begun for the next session. Our budget is under intense scrutiny, even after the cuts of last session. Medicaid costs are overwhelming the state, and education advocates have brought a lawsuit against the state, seeking more money for education. On the positive side, Texas taxes are up and we have created more jobs than any other State.
The budget debate in Texas is intense, as always. Some seeking budget cuts while others attempt to restore items cut from the last session. We are busy keeping our eyes on issues related to tourism funding in Texas.
There is good news. The Texas economy is robust. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs stated that our sales tax revenue was up in February $2.10 billion dollars over 2011 figures – a 14.8 percent increase.
“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.”
Hotel revenues in Texas were $30 million in March, an increase of five percent over the previous years. That’s good news.