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TDA March Legislative Update

So far this session we’ve submitted letters of support for:

Texas Commission on the Arts
We support the restoration of $5 million in funding for the Cultural and Fine Arts District grants.  These grants make a huge difference to communities that seek funding for the arts.  95% of the communities that are designated cultural districts in Texas are TDA members and most include downtown.  We believe that the arts are an economic development tool and hope the Texas Legislature will restore this funding.

Texas Historical Commission
We support THC’s exceptional budget item requests for the Texas Courthouse Preservation Program and the Texas Heritage Trails program. 

The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program has made a tremendous difference to downtowns across the state.  While the program’s primary impact is the restoration of iconic structures, it can be argued that such the program also positively impacts private property values and sales tax as owners invest in their buildings and more visitors are drawn downtown to work, shop, and play.   

The Texas Heritage Trails Program promotes many small and rural communities that otherwise would not be able to connect with potential visitors.  The relatively small investment by the state allows this program to reach a wide audience with information and stories about our beautiful and diverse Texas. 

SB 550 - Campbell
This bill would expand the market for credits earned under the program by allowing insurance companies to purchase the credits for use against the premium tax. Although the credits may be purchased by any entity for use against the franchise tax, insurance companies are exempt from the franchise tax because they instead pay premium tax under the Insurance Code. Thus, a credit that is applicable only to the franchise tax is of no value to them. We believe expanding the pool of potential buyers will make the credits more valuable and further enhance the program.

We are so grateful to our organizational partners – Texas Municipal League, Association for Rural Communities in Texas, Texans for the Arts, Texas Economic Development Council, and others - for keeping us up to date on legislation that would affect downtown development and revitalization. 

If you’re curious about a legislative issue or would like to pass on information about a bill, please contact the TDA office.

posted on 3/6/2017