The Pleasanton City Council participated in a 1 1/2 hour workshop on Jan. 23, on the proper use of the Hotel Occupancy Tax. The special session was attended by Councilmembers Roger G. Garza, Jimmy Magel, Abraham Saenz and Jeanne B. Israel.
Texas Hotel and Lodging Association General Counsel Justin Bragiel gave a presentation on the eligible uses of the local hotel tax and discussed the most effective practices utilized by cities in Texas, to maximize the impact of these funds.
First, explained Bragiel, every expenditure must directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. He further explained what is meant by the term “directly” and he defined what makes a person a tourist.
He gave some history on laws dealing with hotel tax. Bragiel also shared with council some of the many calls he has received from cities about using the Hotel Occupancy Tax.
Bragiel also covered how there are certain categories every expenditure of the Hotel Occupancy Tax must fit into. Some of these include: funding or maintaining a convention center or visitor center, paying the administrative costs for registering convention delegates, advertising and promotion and promoting the arts.
Bragiel added that he was presenting what the law requires. However, council can impose additional rules. It just cannot have less restrictive ones.
At the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, Bragiel handles a diverse array of legal and legislative issues, including local and state hotel occupancy tax, hospitality law, regulatory issues, contract law, employment issues and more. He is also active in handling the association’s affairs. The Texas Hotel and Lodging Association is based in Austin and is the largest state lodging association in the United States. It serves over 2,500 member businesses.