Election day is fast approaching and the Weslaco Area Chamber of Commerce would like to provide opportunities for businesses and citizens to learn about local issues and candidates that are being considered on November 6th. Early voting begins Monday, October 22nd.
The Chamber will be hosting a candidates forum for Weslaco City Commission candidates and Weslaco Independent School District Board candidates on Tuesday, October 23rd at the Weslaco Business Visitor and Event Center, 275 S. Kansas at 5:30 pm.
In addition to the city and school races, local ballots in Weslaco include a special election for six propositions that will expand the use of the local sales tax for economic development. The State of Texas Development Corporation Act of 1979 allows municipalities to create nonprofit development corporations that promote business development in Texas communities. Weslaco currently has a one-half cent sales tax approved by Weslaco voters and dedicated to economic development. These monies are administered by the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.
State law allows for two kinds of economic development sales tax uses, one is a Section 4A tax and the other is a Section 4B tax. Weslaco’s economic development sales tax is considered a “Type A” tax, but has some 4B purposes.
Section 4A sales taxes are restrictive and generally are used to create or retain primary jobs and can be used for targeted infrastructure programs that develop or expand business enterprises. Section 4B tax can be used for a wide variety of projects in addition to the 4A purposes. Many of these purposes are generally considered to be community development initiatives such as facilities for professional and amateur sports, park facilities, affordable housing and public facilities such as public safety facilities. The 4B purposes are not as closely related to job creation and retention as the 4A purposes.
The Special Election that the City of Weslaco has put before the voters includes the six propositions to expand Weslaco’s Economic Development Sales tax. Each proposition listed on the ballot allows voters to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” each proposition independently. The propositions allow for economic development sales tax to be used for maintenance and operation of each item as well. The propositions are:
1. Authorizing use of sales tax proceeds for Athletic Facilities (Professional and amateur sports and athletics, including stadium and ball parks); and pay maintenance and operation.
2. Authorizing use of sales tax proceeds for Commercial Facilities (Related store, restaurant, concession and parking facilities); and pay maintenance and operation.
3. Authorizing use of sales tax proceeds for Certain Public Facility Improvements (Public Safety Facilities that will promote new or expanded business enterprises); and pay maintenance and operation.
4. Authorizing the use of sales tax proceeds for Transportation Improvements (Related streets, roads and area transportation facilities); and pay maintenance and operation.
5. Authorizing the use of sales tax proceeds for Other Business – related improvements (Any other improvements or facilities to promote new and expanded business enterprises); and pay maintenance and operation.
6. Authorizing the use of sales tax proceeds for Affordable Housing (Projects required for the development and expansion of “Affordable Housing” as defined by Federal Law); and pay maintenance and operation.
Visit the following sites for more detailed information:
City of Weslaco Election Information
Attorney General of Texas Economic Development Handbook