The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) reports that the Texas legislature has not passed House Bill 3579, which would have applied new taxes to the fees and markups travel advisors charge clients for Texas hotel bookings.
ASTA said its members played a critical role in opposing this proposal, making their case through phone calls, face-to-face conversations and emails, including over 1,000 advocacy messages sent to state policymakers through ASTA’s online grassroots portal.
On May 9, during the measure’s consideration by the Texas House, the House adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Eddie Lucio, who had been contacted by his constituent, Dennis Acosta, director, member sales and service at ASTA Premium member Leisure Travel Alliance (LTA) in Austin, TX, and LTA Vice President Bobby Godwin. The Lucio amendment would have exempted from taxation any agencies earning less than $250,000 in “annual receipts for securing rooms or spaces in hotels for others,” protecting most – but not all – Texas agencies from new taxation. The point became moot on May 27 when the legislature adjourned without sending the bill to the Governor.
In addition to LTA, during this campaign ASTA said its headquarters worked closely with consortia and network partners and with Texas members such as American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services, Ensemble Travel Group, Hickory Global Partners, Signature Travel Network, Travel Leaders Group, Virtuoso, Nexion and Frosch.