This month: a look at funding events
Partnering for Impact
Hotel occupancy tax, other programs help cities boost event budgets.
The Comptroller’s office empowers local governments and communities across the state with the information and tools they need to support economic development and create new jobs for Texans. Look for our special “Partnering for Impact” section in each edition, featuring timely, important information and tips for local governments and economic development corporations.
Tips for Funding Events:
- City hotel occupancy tax. This tax provides a revenue stream to fund programs that promote tourism. Funds may be used for both advertising and operational expenditures, as long as the primary purpose of the event is to attract out-of-town visitors.
- The Governor’s Economic and Development Tourism Division. The Governor’s travel industry Web site, www.travel.state.tx.us, provides information on the Texas travel industry. Communities can also find information on the economic impact of tourism and other market research information.
- GO TEXAN Rural Community Bootstrap Bucks and Hometown STARS Programs. The Texas Department of Agriculture’s programs offer reimbursements to promote specific events for certified members for the purchase of promotional materials and activities. Visit www.gotexan.org for more information.
Community events such as fairs, craft shows, festivals and cook-offs are as old as Texas. While such events are important to help a community establish its identity, they also can play a key role in attracting tourists. Funding and planning community events often requires organizers to seek assistance from a variety of sources.
A key local revenue source for funding community events is the city hotel occupancy tax. Adopted by nearly 600 Texas cities, the tax provides a revenue stream to fund programs that promote tourism. These funds may be used for both advertising and operational expenditures, as long as the primary purpose of the event is to attract out-of-town visitors.
Service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Sertoma are also sources of assistance for community events. These organizations can provide financial assistance and experience organizing and implementing civic events.
Key sources of state funding for community events are the GO TEXAN Rural Community Bootstrap Bucks and Hometown STARS programs administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Bootstrap Bucks and Hometown STARS funding is available to GO TEXAN Rural Community Program certified members. The Bootstrap Bucks program offers reimbursements of up to $2,500 to certified members for the purchase of one of the following promotional materials and activities: broadcast spots (television/radio), newspaper advertising, posters or banners to promote a specific event. There is no requirement for local matching funds. To apply for Bootstrap Bucks or Hometown STARS, visit www.gotexan.org.
For information about including events in your community’s economic development plan, contact the Comptroller’s Local Government Assistance and Economic Development Division at www.TexasAhead.org. TR