Bill That Could Help Pay for Downtown Abilene Hotel Passes Texas Senate

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The Texas Senate has approved the bill that could help fund a new hotel in downtown Abilene. 

This, after the Natural Resources & Economic Development committee of the Texas Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to send the bill to the full Senate. 

Senate Bill 729 was authored by State Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-24).

The bill was passed to engrossment, meaning it will now go to the House side, on a vote of 25 to six. 

SB 729 relates to the "authority of certain municipalities to pledge certain tax revenue for payment of obligations related to hotel projects."

This bill, if approved, would allow the City of Abilene to use portions of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) to help pay for the downtown hotel.

The only tax that would be used would be the tax generated by the new hotel. According to the legislation, the tax money that can be used must be from a hotel with land owned by the municipality and within 1,000 feet of a convention center.  The only portion that would be used for the hotel would be the state's portion. 

A common misconception is that a portion of all HOT tax in Abilene would be used for the project. That is not the case and only a portion of the HOT tax derived from the land owned by the city could be used. 

This is one of the initial steps needed for the full approval of the project.

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