City may tap into tax rebate
Port Aransas wants to get in on some of the money the Texas General Land Office (GLO) collects through statewide hotel-motel taxes.
City Manager Michael Kovacs told council members at their March 15 meeting that he'd discovered that Galveston receives a rebate from the GLO on hotel-motel tax money sent to the state, and that the town of South Padre Island had a bill before the legislature that would also allow it to receive a rebate. He said a 1 percent rebate to Port Aransas could add as much as $275,000 a year to city revenue without adding to local taxes, and suggested that the council ask state Rep. Juan Garcia, D-Corpus Christi, to write legislation allowing the rebate.
The council thought that was a splendid idea.
If it passes the legislature, the proposal would become effective on Sept. 1.
Kovacs said Garcia's staff was agreeable to writing the legislation. Although the deadline for submitting major legislation has passed, the House and Senate will still allow bills that are of only local jurisdiction to be filed.
Port Aransas can't ride on the coattails of the South Padre Island legislation because that bill, submitted in newer form earlier this year, calls for the tax rebate to go to cities that are on a barrier island, that have a population of less than 10,000 and that "are within 30 miles of the United Mexican States."
Last year, Port Aransas had $815,000 in revenue from the hotel-motel tax and $351,000 from the same of beach parking stickers. While not all the hotel-motel tax was used for beach cleaning or maintenance, a significant part of it was.
The addition of another $275,000 a year in funding from the state that could be used to clean Port Aransas beaches would mean a significant increase in the money available to maintain beaches.